Morning Ed: Labor {2018.05.03.Th}


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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93 Responses

  1. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Lb4: Maybe but I think there is a big difference between guaranteeing everyone who wants one a 15 dollar an hour job and cutting food stamps and saying”you are on your own fucker and it is good for you.” Plus lots of liberals will point out that plenty of people who work depend on food stamps because they are still below the poverty line. I don’t think Booker or company would cut food stamps as a form of aid.

    But the GOP’s zeal for getting rid of all welfare continues unabated. How do they maintain such a hardcore Calvinism as it went away in the rest of the West?Report

    • Avatar Dark Matter says:

      But the GOP’s zeal for getting rid of all welfare continues unabated. How do they maintain such a hardcore Calvinism as it went away in the rest of the West?

      We’re in the 9th year of a recovery, the number of unemployed is getting low enough that we’re seeing wages rise and companies desperate for workers. At what point does it become appropriate to cut SNAP levels back to 2008 (and the number of people who starved to death then was zero)?

      The argument seems to be that ANY cut in welfare, at all, under any circumstances, is unacceptable; that welfare is only allowed to rise.Report

  2. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Matt Y thinks cities might regret asking fir Amazon HQ2 because it will mean an influx of wealthier new residents who will drive up housing costs. Not better jobs for older (and probably unqualified) residents.Report

    • Avatar InMD says:

      I live in one of the candidate jurisdictions and am ambivalent about it for just this reason. On the one hand it’d probably guarantee I make a killing on my condo, on the other I’m not sure I’d be able to afford to keep living here.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      Speaking of Amazon, remember when I talked about how Seattle’s desire for a head tax to pay for efforts to combat homelessness? Amazon is wondering if the city will blink.Report

    • Avatar Marchmaine says:

      Judging by how my little town spends money without regard to the wants and needs of existing residents, I’d say the entire raison d’etre of town and city management is to find new and better residents.Report

  3. Avatar Kolohe says:

    If the political party that is fighting for a job guarantee also unionizes its campaign staff…well, Team Neoliberal can take the rest of the day off.Report

  4. Lb9:

    Henry asked Cartwright why he didn’t take some potato chips with him for his journey and the trucker responded, “That’s worth money.”
    Cartwright added: “That’s the load I was hauling and I didn’t want to damage the property.'”

    That’s a pro of a truck driver who gets it, though he took it to the extreme. This is fantastic story, its almost like a parable: “There once was a trucker who GPS stranded but he refused to eat the profits…”Report

    • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

      Yabbut, my “get off my lawn” response kicks in for this:

      Henry said Cartwright’s troubles started when he put the wrong address in his GPS at the start of his trip. It told him to turn south off Interstate 84 near the town of Pendleton.

      Henry said Cartwright eventually realized he was on the wrong road and put in the correct address. The GPS then directed him to take a U.S. Forest Service road that started out paved but eventually became impassable.

      “What it boils down to is a simple matter of human error,” Henry said. “He made the proper effort to correct his mistake. From that point on it was out of his control. He had no reason to believe the GPS was wrong.”

      You know what technology would avoid this problem in the first place? A map.Report

      • I agree. One note though: depending on his in cab system he wouldn’t have the choice. Most companies now the GPS is tied into the telemetry of the truck and they are not allowed to deviate from optimized route for a variety of reasons. Not sure that’s the case but it’s very probable. Report

  5. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Lb2: Software engineers still make too much money, get too many perks, and have politics that go against unionization. Workers want to unionize when they feel put upon by the higher ups and exploited to the tilt without any benefit for them. Software engineers aren’t close to there yet. Many of them also have politics that really don’t go well with unionization even though hardcore libertarianism might be rarer than it was in the past.

    Lb4: Besides the difference that Saul noted that a federal jobs guarantee means that government is going to look out for you in theory while the Republican zeal for cutting food stamps means your on your own.Report

    • Avatar Dark Matter says:

      Software engineers as a whole, yes. Unionism should be created by bad, abusive management and that’s a company level thing, not an industry level thing.

      So I fully approve of what they’re doing. Inflicting a union on a company because of bad behavior is a great lesson to everyone else.Report

  6. Avatar PD Shaw says:

    [Lb6] Will linked to a study last year that reported that unemployed people would prefer job-training / jobs to handouts. Perhaps people without jobs know something about jobs that the privileged do not.Report

  7. Avatar LTL FTC says:

    LB1: that “give me the confidence of a mediocre white man” line was condescending, counterproductive and played into every negative stereotype about feminists. May it die an ignominious death.Report

  8. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    Lb2: can’t say I am surprised, given how poorly a lot of tech treats it’s software engineers. Much like how Boeing deserved getting SPEEA, the tech industry will deserve whatever unionization it gets.

    And @leeesq, remember that libertarians don’t generally have an issue with the idea of labor organization. They take issue with certain aspects of how America does labor organization.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      If they have problems with how America does labor organization than any other example of unionization is going to be worse from their stand point. There does need to be an element of we are all in it together when it comes to organized labor. You can’t have a few people taking all the perks of organized labor but not contributing anything.Report

  9. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    The NFL continues to treat cheerleaders like shit:

    I don’t know how they can be defended anymore or watching football is defensibleReport

    • Avatar Kazzy says:

      Maybe I’m a “bad liberal” or blind to something but I can’t get too worked up about the cheerleading situation.

      It seems to me that the reality is there simply isn’t much of a market to pay cheerleaders. While some segment of the population enjoys looking at them, there doesn’t seem to be enough demand for their services to really call it a job and certainly not a career. If they all went away tomorrow, I doubt it’d have any real influence on the sports’ leagues. So the extent to which they persist is because some women — most of whom are gainfully employed through other means — enjoy cheerleading enough as a hobby or passion to essentially do it on a volunteer or near-volunteer basis.

      None of that justifies some very real abuses that have taken place, but those seem more about empowered assholes than it does about cheerleading itself.Report

      • Avatar LTL FTC says:

        Half a dozen NFL teams already don’t have cheerleaders. More may follow suit.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy says:

          Many NBA teams don’t, MLB doesn’t have them, nor does hockey.

          They’ll probably go away soon and most people won’t care or notice. In fact, I wonder if the people most bothered by the demise of cheerleading will be the cheerleaders themselves.Report

          • Avatar dragonfrog says:

            What non-slip surface would cheerleaders stand on at ice hockey games?

            I guess they could have figure skating between periods. That would be kind of cool.Report

            • Avatar greginak says:

              They usually don’t go on the ice. They cheer from a spot in the stands essentially. Some places in Canada have had skating cheerleaders.Report

          • Avatar LTL FTC says:

            NFL cheerleaders are essentially at risk of getting Pence Rule’d. It’s the perfect “make nobody happy” scenario.Report

      • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

        Did you read the story. It wasn’t about crappy pay. It was about how the team flew the squad overseas, took away their passports, required them to prance about topless, and some of them to “escort” creepy rich guys. Apparently actually fucking them wasn’t mandated, but one trusts that is not the applicable standard.Report

        • Avatar PD Shaw says:

          Ugh, I’m kinda glad I didn’t read it. This sounds criminal.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy says:


          And as I said, real abuses should be treated as such. Saul made it about cheerleading as a whole and the NFL. What is alleged to have happened is not about cheerleading or the NFL but about abusers.Report

      • Avatar Dark Matter says:

        It seems to me that the reality is there simply isn’t much of a market to pay cheerleaders.

        The problem isn’t the demand, it’s the supply.

        High level cheerleaders need to be attractive, energetic, charismatic, physically fit females willing to submit to team-comes-first schedule constraints. In return they become a minor celebrity with media exposure and get to hang out with Billionaires and physically fit Millionaire celebrities; Given team dating rules the former is probably more of a lure than the later but whatever.

        If we think of them as acting jobs then they’re basically steady “bit parts”. I’d be fine with all Cheerleaders joining the actresses guild. And like with acting jobs, the situation is ripe for abuse, such as paying them less than minimum wage (even extras are paid min wage).

        (wiki) A bit part is a role in which there is direct interaction with the principal actors and no more than five lines of dialogue, often referred to as a five-or-less or under-five in the United States, or under sixes in British television.

        A bit part is higher than that of an extra and lower than that of a supporting actor. An actor who regularly performs in bit roles, either as a hobby or to earn a living, is referred to as a bit player, a term also used to describe an aspiring actor who has not yet broken into supporting or leading roles.

        Unlike extras, who do not typically interact with principals, actors in bit parts are sometimes listed in the credits.Report

    • Avatar Kolohe says:

      The local news last night had some people (including former cheerleaders) pushing back on the narrative.Report

      • Avatar InMD says:

        I saw that too. It should be looked into but I think @kazzy ‘s point above is probably right.

        On the allegations themselves, if someone actually was forced to do something or held against her will that would be a crime and I’m all for prosecuting. The program director said the passport confiscation was a security issue which could be BS but also isn’t unheard of for travel to Central America.

        The pseudo-volunteer nature of the gig kind raises some other questions about it. Like, where’s the leverage? And if you accept an all expenses paid trip to the Caribbean to be the subject of sexually suggestive images, does it not follow that you might be treated (non-criminally of course) as though you are for sale? It’s all very sleazy but the more I read about this the less explosive it sounds.Report

        • Avatar Jesse says:

          “And if you accept an all expenses paid trip to the Caribbean to be the subject of sexually suggestive images, does it not follow that you might be treated (non-criminally of course) as though you are for sale?”

          Um, no. For example, while modeling is a dirty business, corporate sponsors of Sports Illustrated aren’t flown to watch when they shoot the swimsuit issue. Their passports aren’t taken away. They aren’t pressured to go on dates with high ranking members of Time Inc. during the photo shoot.

          They wear swimsuits, body paint, and have their pictures taken. Ya’ know, what they agreed too.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq says:

          No, just no. Agreeing to prance about with pom poms to a big audience is not an agreement to prance about for wealthy people alone.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq says:

          This scandal took place in Costa Rica. When I vacationed in Costa Rica, Americans were greeted by a big sign reminding them that sleeping with an underage person will result in prosecution back home. This vast violates the Mann Act on its face. Snyder should be prosecuted.Report

          • Avatar InMD says:

            While I’d love nothing more than to see Snyder in shackles on Phobos you have to be joking.Report

            • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

              The Mann Act is very broad but I don’t know if it travels internationally. But a lot of countries do have warnings against foreign sex tourism.Report

              • Avatar InMD says:

                Some people won’t be happy until every unwed couple that takes a romantic trip to the islands is doing time. What a progressive new society we will have then.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq says:

                There are still people like this but that isn’t a reason to let Snyder get away with great dip sh*t behavior. You believe that we should allow this sort of thing to slide in order to protect unwed couples doing romantic trips to the islands. I believe that we need to do a smash down on really exploitive practices to protect the people from the powerful of all sorts.Report

              • Avatar InMD says:

                Dude. You’re talking about reinvigorating one of the dumbest, most overbroad federal laws on the books drafted during a moral panic over the (still) non-existent scourge of white slavery, and to enforce Christian sexual morality. Over some anonymous, disputed claims of creepiness on a tropical adventure to create some soft smut. All those discount cruise lines better watch out if you’re ever appointed AG.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                But… jocks!Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

        @kolohe @inmd @kazzy

        There is also the cheerleader who filed an EEOC charge against the New Orleans Saints because of a different set of rules for the player and another for the cheerleaders.

        I don’t think there is any valid reason for an employer to take and hold and employee’s passport. We consider this a form of human rights abuse when done to foreign workers in Dubai. Why should NFL team owners be held to a different standard?

        Kareem Abdul-Jabar had a good point. NFL owners seem to see themselves as the defenders of very traditional notions of American masculinity and control. As Chip says below, this often comes across as wanting it both ways (both the owners and the fans). They want to be sexually aroused by the cheerleaders but also want the cheerleaders to have valor and modesty and no autonomy. One of the rules is that cheerleaders are not allowed to socialize with the players.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq says:

          Valor? Valor just means courage. I’m not sure what your getting at. I guess you mean grin and bear it.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy says:

          Did you even read what I wrote?

          What’s your point here? Not every bad thing that happens is evidence that your personal preferences are objective good.

          Regardless of profession, anyone who abuses their employees should face the appropriate repercussions. The abuses highlighted are neither inherent to cheerleading nor unique to cheerleading. Railing against the NFL instead of the individuals committing the abuse makes you an idealogue.Report

        • Avatar InMD says:

          The people who ran it have claimed that it was for security. Plenty of group tours/resorts in rough countries do this so that your passport isnt stolen while you’re out pounding tequila. As said above its possible this is BS but it isn’t unheard of. A buddy of mine who did habitat for humanity in Honduras said they collected passports before going into town at night.Report

          • Avatar PD Shaw says:

            When my not-old-enough-to-drive daughter went on an educational tour of France and Italy through a tour group, she kept her passport on her at all times. Not that I was particularly worried about her; not so certain about some of her classmates.

            But in any event, context matters: taking passports was a choice that should be evaluated with all of the other choices made for the women.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

      I am linking this to our conversations about Douthat, sex work, bodily autonomy, and relationships.

      Specifically how professional sports treats all its players like prize animals, whose bodies exist for the pleasure of the viewers and owners.

      Whether it is brain injury to the player, or sexual exploitation of cheerleaders, their body becomes a commodity that is bought and sold.

      Which in my opinion shows the weakness of relying on “consent” as the balm that solves things.

      Its difficult to envision a world in which we simultaneously see unwanted sexual advances as a horrifying violation of bodily integrity, and yet the human body to become a commodity.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        What you say is absolutely correct. It’s also the way to ideological wackiness. Taking things to their logical conclusion led to many bad and workable decisions.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

          Ideological wackiness is what I was hoping to avert.

          That is, I am challenging the assertion that the human body or sexuality can somehow be a commodity, regardless of consent.

          Our cultural posture towards the human person can’t tolerate that sort of split thinking of “here it’s a product, there it’s sacred”.

          And if it seems like I’m diverging from many liberals and siding with Douthat here, I am but only sorta.
          Because like most other things, the cultural norms about bodily integrity were gamed and weaponized by men to give them both control over women, while the freedom to do what they wanted.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq says:

            Forbidding the human body or sexuality to be a commodity even with consent seems to lend it self to banning a lot of activity. We can’t allow tattooing, piercing, and cosmetic because it turns a body into a commodity by changing what is natural. We have to ban sports and dance as mass entertainment because playing to watch people perform with their bodies turns bodies into a commodity.Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

              Ahh, I wasn’t going there, but I guess others could.

              I’m just thinking of adapting the currently embraced social norms of the body which allow for tattooing and sports but not sex.

              But of course the boundaries always get fuzzy and debated.Report

  10. Avatar dragonfrog says:

    Speaking vaguely of labour and all that…

    Good news – no longer is May Day a dirty socialist labour movement occasion. It’s now Loyalty Day by royal presidential decree.Report

  11. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    Shorter Adam Ozinek:
    “The jobs guarantee is a bad idea! A bad, bad, terrible idea!

    What, you need more evidence? It is bad, I tell you, very bad!”

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

      The idea assumes that such jobs are there to be had. Are we saying that people picking produce in the fields will be working a ‘good job’? The areas we seem to have labor shortages are in certain specialized fields, and the jobs no one wants to do except illegal immigrants.

      I’ve also not seen much regarding what to do about people who get the ‘good job’ but don’t actually want to do it, or do it half-assed, or dangerously, or in some other way that would get a person fired. I mean, it’s a guaranteed job, right? Some people are unemployable for a very good reason.

      I’d much rather just suck it up and do a basic income.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

        I have my doubts as well, as I’ve expressed before here, that between automation and algorithms, I think the amount of human labor needed will continually shrink.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

          I’m still not convinced it will shrink, but it will continue to move away from un-specialized physical labor, which makes guaranteeing a job a very short term fix for a long term problem.Report

          • Avatar InMD says:

            One thing we could experiment with is shrinking the work week for individuals but allowing for cross trained teams operating in shifts. Someone who understands these things better than me would have to design the policy and no doubt some sort of redistribution would be necessary to make it work. The concept of splitting workloads of things that actually need to be done appeals a lot more to me than make-work projects of dubious necessity.Report

    • Avatar James K says:


      I agree that Ozinek should have been clearer, but he’s not wrong that this is a terrible idea:

      1) It would be brutally expensive. New Zealand basically used to do this and it was a large part of why our government underwent fiscal crisis in the early 1980.
      2) It will undermine recovery from recessions. If people already have government-bestowed jobs, they won’t go back into actual jobs when an economy recovers. This will suppress economic activity, possibly permanently.
      3) Having the government exercise direct control over such a large fraction of the economy is a terrible idea. I submit in evidence – the entire 20th Century.
      4) The reason work conveys a sense of purpose in a way benefits don’t is that a job represents a contribution to something outside yourself. But a job created solely for the purpose of giving you a job is saying (correctly or otherwise) that you don’t or can’t make a contribution. Its as best condescending and at worst dishonest.

      Assuming technological change renders people permanently unemployable (and while its possible, it’s far from certain) our culture will need to come to terms with many people not having jobs. The job guarantee is an effort to try and deny those changes, in a really expensive and harmful way.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Would love for you to write a full post on this.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

        I don’t disagree necessarily, although how expensive it is, would depend on what we put people to work doing, or rather, how productive they would be.

        Which, ironically would be improved by….increasing the automation of what they do.

        But a full post studying this would be excellent.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          “what we put people to work doing”

          It’s when we start discussing the actual work that the food fight begins.

          The jobs strike me as likely to be unskilled labor (just based on little more than the whole “if they were capable of skilled labor (or of being trained to do skilled labor in a short amount of time), they wouldn’t have chronic unemployment problems that would be addressed by a guaranteed job in the first place” thing.

          And if we want to go “not all of the guaranteed jobs people will be like that”, I’d say “fine, fine, fine… the overwhelming majority? 90%?” and see if that is something that people would agree with.

          Because I know that we probably daydream about the people being guaranteed jobs that are skilled labor. Wouldn’t it be great if we could create people who could be employed at the local dentist’s office taking x-rays? Working as a help desk worker sending tickets to the appropriate teams? Heck, learning to code and writing web pages for corporations? (Why, are you trying to imply that the chronically unemployed who would require the government to provide them with a guaranteed job *CAN’T* do these things?)

          But it seems far more likely that the jobs are going to end up being unskilled labor. It seems far more likely that basic employability skills like “get an alarm clock” are the hurdles that will first need to be jumped.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

            Understanding who these unemployed people are and why they are unemployed is critical.

            It doesn’t do any good if being a felon prevents access to a guaranteed job, or if you have dependants to care for and no help with that.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              I was merely remembering some of the things that happened the last time we tried this:

              Dennis Drummond of Jefferson Smurfit Corp., a paper-products company, came over the border from Illinois to tell other executives about his experiences in hiring 17 welfare recipients. ““The first thing you learn is they come in late. They’ve often never owned an alarm clock,” he explained, echoing familiar frustrations. “”You’re ready to fire them. They don’t know where the bathroom is. But we didn’t know where it was when we were new either. If you work with them, give them a “buddy’ at the start, they often turn into outstanding employees.”

              I’m not saying that they can *NEVER* turn into skilled labor.

              Just that if it were easy to do so, it probably would have happened already. We’re going to need to spend some time on basic employability skills with a lot of these people (90%? We good with that?) and teach them the whole “get an alarm clock, show up on time, show up showered” thing as a pre-req to getting them to show up for the training required to make them skilled labor.

              Of course, maybe this time will be different than last time.


              • We’re going to need to spend some time on basic employability skills with a lot of these people (90%? We good with that?) and teach them the whole “get an alarm clock, show up on time, show up showered” thing as a pre-req to getting them to show up for the training required to make them skilled labor.

                This is where all the rhetoric, and polling, and policy thinking and the good intentions met reality. If you take a person like Jaybird is describing off the street straight to employment they are set up for failure. It will never work on a replicatable scale. If they do not have a intermediate step of some job/skill training before they enter working environment, its doomed. You are not only talking about an unproductive employee, but also the disruption of having to take other labor off-line to train/mentor them. Business-wise it cost a lot of money both in time used and productivity lost to do so, and if that employee doesn’t show it to be a wise investment that’s going to get a return it will be cut off quickly. Its not just on the employee either; as hard as it is to get a raw employee trained up, getting experienced employees/supervisors to invest in mentoring others, especially to that level, is even harder since mentoring is 90% give-a-damn, and most don’t. And all the while the business is dealing with these personnel issues, the competitive business world keeps turning, and doesn’t stop, and must be kept up with.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter says:

                If you take a person like Jaybird is describing off the street straight to employment they are set up for failure.

                It is not clear to me what failure looks like in this situation.

                You have someone with no job skills who claims they want a job and want to learn (their behavior suggests otherwise). We’ve basically increased the min wage to $15, so normally someone like that would simply not have a job, but having a job is “guaranteed”.

                What happens? Can the employer fire them?Report

              • The business reality of it is that (non-existent) skill set is not worth/valued at $15-an-hour, so either an employer is going to be benevolent and overpay until the skill level matches the production value, or they will not hire them at all. Mostly the later. This is where the argument of “the true minimum wage is zero” comes from. You can set whatever arbitrary standard you want, if the labor isn’t valued at that wage, the employers are not going to have labor on the books at a net loss.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                If you take a person like Jaybird is describing…

                This person, who is so stupid and lazy as to not know how to wake up and go to work must be the same person who put her dog in the microwave.

                That is, no one actually IS that person, and no one knows her personally, but we all know someone who knows someone who does.Report

              • Its not an unfair point that we use the extreme cases in these discussions because the black and white of such an example makes it easier. But still worth discussion so you have a reference point as you start working through the larger number of people who have elements of the extreme case.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                There’s an anecdote about Irving Kristol, father of Bill Kristol, who explained how he pulled strings to get young William into an Ivy league university, then used connections to get him a nice entry position, then used some more influence to get him settled into a soft writing position.

                Then of course, the punchline is that he states that he doesn’t believe in affirmative action because it disrupts meritocracy.

                I don’t know these people, mind you, and I don’t know anyone who knows them.

                However, I can confidently assert that this is how most of the elite have gained position and influence, and therefore we know they are all lazy and unable to find work on their own and therefore their wealth is not legitimately owned and can fairly be taxed.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter says:

                I don’t know these people, mind you, and I don’t know anyone who knows them.

                What I do know is that I see “help wanted” signs all the time, and my company has multiple positions open. More broadly, the economy is close to full employment and the unemployment still continues to fall.

                Figuring out why “Person X” can’t have a job is kind of important… especially in the context of the question “are they deliberately not working to collect benefits from the gov”? Last time we reformed welfare it seemed the answer was “yes”.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Regardless, people are chronically unemployed for a reason, and those various reasons must be understood and addressed before any kind of job guarantee has any hope in hell of working.

                My confidence in our ability to correctly identify the reasons and develop effective interventions while not using the whole thing as yet another culture war proxy is pretty close to zero.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                This person, who is so stupid and lazy as to not know how to wake up and go to work must be the same person who put her dog in the microwave.

                If you want to argue that the article I quoted is inaccurate, that’s awesome. Perhaps it’s fake news. There’s a lot of that going around. Lord only knows how much of it was happening back in the 90’s.

                I’m not arguing that these people are stupid. I’m not arguing that they’re lazy. I’m arguing that there are skills that are pre-requisites to other skills and if you want to pretend that these pre-reqs do not exist, you’re going to find yourself in a place where you’re going to assume that people who do not have these pre-req skills are lazy or stupid and that’s going to really hamper your ability to help people who don’t have them.Report

              • Avatar Maribou says:

                “This person, who is so stupid and lazy as to not know how to wake up and go to work must be the same person who put her dog in the microwave.

                That is, no one actually IS that person, and no one knows her personally, but we all know someone who knows someone who does.”

                1) I’ve managed that person many times (not like, compared to all the people who weren’t that person, but I have managed them). Me. Not someone I know who knows someone.
                2) They generally aren’t stupid or lazy. Just… didn’t pick some stuff up for some variable reasons. In fact, it offends me (having known several such people, and trained them in pre-req stuff like this) that you jump to the idea that they are stupid and lazy. Like, on a gut level. Jeez.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter says:

                This person, who is so stupid and lazy as to not know how to wake up and go to work…

                There is a difference between “lazy/stupid” and “not willing to work”.

                That is, no one actually IS that person, and no one knows her personally, but we all know someone who knows someone who does.

                My drug dealing cousin comes pretty close.

                More locally, Mom worked in the church office with the secretary when I was growing up, so she got first hand the office politics and various “reform this person” efforts by the naive Preacher who was a sucker for various hard luck stories.

                The way it’s supposed to work is he listens to the hard luck story and gives them money. If instead he offers work, then hilarity ensues.Report

              • getting experienced employees/supervisors to invest in mentoring others, especially to that level, is even harder since mentoring is 90% give-a-damn, and most don’t.

                One thing I’ll add to this is that mentoring is hard, or hard to do well, even for those who give a damn.Report

              • It is. I think it’s one of the biggest things that is done wrong in business right now, why I’ve written about mentoring for other sites before. It’s vital, and many do it wrong.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

                Mentoring is like being a professor, in that there is an assumption that a person who attains for themselves a certain level of experience and skill is obviously in possession of the ability to pass that knowledge onto others.

                Which is, of course, a load of horsepucky.

                I mean, corporate knowledge management is becoming a thing because people are waking up to this fact, even if KM is still trying to figure out how to be effective.Report

              • I’ve been in positions where, it turned out, a few people looked at me kind of as a mentor. I wasn’t/haven’t been particularly good at it. That doesn’t mean I can’t do it well, but it’s something I’d have to learn how to do.


                Not that you’re obliged to, but I’d be interested to read some of what you’ve written elsewhere about mentoring, if you have links.Report

              • Because it’s a people business. And people are hard. But whatever your business/profession is in, to be successful at mentoring you have to be good at the people business.Report

  12. Avatar PD Shaw says:

    Labor developments:

    More businesses are mellowing out over hiring pot smokers

    Deplorables love a tight labor market.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      You know, I should revisit my 2014 article where I called up a bunch of companies and asked them about their drug policy…Report

      • Avatar PD Shaw says:

        I would particularly be interested in knowing the cost difference between screening for pot versus not screening for pot. Because in other areas in which I am more familiar, the incremental cost of an additional screening is likely to be close to zero and less than the benefits of standardizing through package deals.

        In other words, employers probably aren’t saving any money from dropping marijuana from screening, in which case marijuana usage occupies the status of a positional good. If employers end up with more job applicants, then it will not cost much, if anything, to screen out the deplorables again.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      A part of me feels like I ought to try to figure out a way to re-enter the workforce on the hope that they will also be more forgiving of people who haven’t had a job in a long time. Alas, I’m told they still haven’t loosened up on that yet. (I probably couldn’t do it anyway. Or rather, given the requirements my taking a job would probably cost us money until roughly a year from now.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      The drug war slowly winds downs.Report

      • Avatar PD Shaw says:

        I don’t know about that. A few months ago, the bank that apparently provides financial services for most of the medical marijuana distributors in Illinois announced that it would no longer be doing so and announced a phase-out. I wish the coverage was better, but I suspect that the current administration is seen as hostile to this type of program and someone decided to ask the lawyers about the implications of their business in light of federal law and learned a lot of things that bankers don’t want to hear about the supremacy clause, the extent of prosecutorial discretion and the nullity rule.Report

  13. Avatar Kolohe says:

    I like Michael Drew’s comment on the job guarantee. The devil is in the details. Moreover, there’s going to be a tradeoff between which demon you slay, and which one you going to have to allow reside in the system.Report

  14. Avatar Dark Matter says:

    LB1: (Their Solutions) Make job requirements for success explicit. In particular, the HR department could systematically document the broad portfolio of skills (beyond technical expertise) required for success and disseminate such a list among all employees.

    HR has never hit the radar as able to detail or evaluate technical expertise, which is presumably a lot easier than “the broad portfolio of skills”. In the last 5 years I’ve had 4 HR reps, I’ve met maybe 2 of them.

    Highlight a wider array of role models. The stereotype of employees in male-dominated professions, such as computer science and engineering, is very narrow and relies on a common assumption: successful employees in these fields have poor interpersonal skills but that this is perfectly fine because only their technical ability matters for being successful.

    And here we see the “implicit bias” that was mentioned earlier. It’s possible to be an engineer with bad social skills, it does make it harder to advance. Really good engineers tend to be smart, really smart people tend to be able to do anything, that includes learning social skills.

    Monitor promotions and career advancement…. Paying attention to implicit gender biases in promotion decisions is an important first step for organizations to develop more inclusive cultures… HR can monitor promotion decisions accordingly to avoid that talented women who do not conform to gender role prescriptions end up being penalized.

    So HR is assumed to be omniscient and much better able to make these decisions than the people who only need to live/work with them. What this would mean in practice is quotas, because that’s something HR could actually measure.Report