Posted by: guinness222 | June 21, 2009

“A thought for the unemployed”

        Was readiing my trusty “The Week”  magazine this morning (waiting for the wife to finish getting ready for church, why does it take so long for women,…ok another day on that one!)) and came across an interesting article entitled “The philosopher with a wrench”. In a nutshell it was written by a guy who had attained a Doctorate degree (Phd.)  in political philosophy from the University of Chicago.

        So is he heading up a think tank in Washington, or a “behind the scenes” guy running a high powered politico’s operations, or working for the “out of office political party” re-structuring them for the next election? Nope! None of the above, he’s running his own motorcycle repair shop in Richmond, VA. So why is he doing that? Did he get fired, “down-sized”, or laid off? Nope again,…but because he found it has everything he wanted in career including  job satisfaction and brought joy to his life.

        How do you find “joy” in getting grease all over you, banging up your knuckles and burning your fingers and other appendages on hot motors or exhaust mufflers? Well a lot of folks do. And he is working every day and happy,….but reader, I remind you a lot more folks are not working every day, are not happy, and are mired in self pity and supressed anger and hostility.

       Consider this, “Princeton economist Alan Blinder has argued, the crucial distinction in the emerging labor market is not between those with more or less education, but between those whose services are provided over a wire, and those who must do thier work in-person or on-site.”

       To drive the point home Blinder says, (and yes a pun is intended) , “You can’t hammer a nail over the Internet.” Nor can you fix an  , a washing machine that won’t wash, a repair a sharp little eight cylinder sports vehicle that won’t start, or a refrigerator whose contents are hotter than the outside temperature. (Picture “ooze” dripping out the freezer door that smells like Rocky Road Ice Cream!)

        You MUST have a tradesman look at it and repair it. (Or render the verdict that a funeral is in order and a major purchase you didn’t plan for is about to occur!)

       As I read on he described finding satisfaction of the work being “bound up” with the intellectual challenges it presents. Bravo, says I!

      I’ve always been of the opinion a “well rounded education” is surpassed by being a “Jack of all trades, and a master of none” For each “trade” or venture or career brings with it an education, and the more education one gets the more you distance yourself from the pack, the more you are apt to survive, not necessarily flourish, but always survive. Why?

       It was so bloody simple it was like getting hit with a 2×4 up along side the head, or as they say here in the South, “slap me, up longside, a  the head” !

       Thinkers, be they corporate executives, middle managers, or other folks who occupy the “swivel chairs” as this man, Matthew Crawford, puts it, “tend to live remote from the consequences of the decisions they make.” Think about that a minute.

       Sub-prime mortgages, “derivatives”, and all the other things we’ve seen almost destroy an economy in the past few months, did the folks who created them have “consequences” they had to pay? No! As I wrote in a recent blog article they simply “re-branded” themselves, made lateral moves to new companies, slide under the radar of responsibility, and still even got huge bonuses and pay increases.

         On the contrary the mechanic “fixes” your $55,000 dollar sports car, you pick it up and half way home it stalls out again, or the brakes don’t “feel ” right, or the like. What do you do? You take it back to the vary same person that created, or failed to deliver “correct results” and demand it be fixed at no additional cost to you. Is that how management decisions work? I think not. There is always a “pecking order” which absorbs the “blame” and holds the “big guys” from harm,…or they themselves, (the peckers) are thrown “under the bus”,…career in shambles, future prospects bleak at best, and no longer the darling of the firm. Two or three thoughts here, “S**t rolls downhill”, and “plausible deny-ability”, or simply stated, “always cover the bosses A**, or you’ll find yours dangling in the breeze.”

        If you are interested in reading more the name of Crawford’s book is “Shop Class as Soulcraft” and it just came out and is published by Penguin Books

        So before the ax drops, or even if things seem to improve, consider having  alternatives before you really need them!

       (I’m still looking to “re-career” as I write this why? Here is a fine example that is happening as I write.

         It’s Sunday morning, 11:00 AM and I just get an e-mail from my boss , no body to it, just the subject line “Two pictures for you”. I go and open them and presto I’m looking at a house with a few full trash bags in front of it awaiting trash pick up tomorrow. The second picture is the same thing from a different angle. I know what the “boy-king” expects. He wants me to send letters of violation to the owners and threaten them with a $100 fine. Oh yeah, the pictures were in another e-mail he forwarded to me from someone who should perhaps go to church on Sunday morning instead of being a “cranky neighbor”. OR, God forbid, simply go over to the offending neighbors house and remind them the trash must be in secure containers and they are put at the curb that way so the raccoons and other “wild-life”, of this “naturally preserved Florida development featuring  a closer connection with the real flora and fuana  Florida”, don’t rip it open and scatter the trash about before Monday morning!)

        Deep breathes, and repeat the mantra, “I love my job, I love my job, I love my job”,…..A**holes.

        Recently I’ve come to believe whole-heartedly that life is all about having alternatives at ALL times, not trying to “manufacture” them when all hell breaks out. (Damn this wisdom you get in your old age is great,….where the hell was it when I was thirty-five?)

        And another important thing, make sure the “new” career you are moving to is really where you want to run to , and not simply your the result of what you are running away from.  (Damn, two great hunks of wisdom at the same time,… I amaze myself sometimes!) 

-30-


Responses

  1. Congrats on the weight loss! I tried to post a comment the other day but it wouldn’t let me. You may have covered this but what changes did you make to drop the weight so quickly. I need a push myself and would rather do it without major surgery 😉 Kudos Dude for getting the weight off.


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