Tag Archives: jobs

How’s that work ethic coming along?

work ethic caption

Growing up in a family where everyone worked, was expected to work, some things are branded on the psyche and tend to remain there. When I was a pre-schooler and my mother was working in the cotton-patch pulling boles during harvest, my sisters and I had our own pillow-case sized sacks. And though we didn’t pull a lot of cotton, the experience established a niche in our thinking processes that never went away, for me.

[The Runaways – 1947, posted here July 9, 2013, tells a bit about that time]

It’s only as I had five-or-so decades of life behind me that I ever seriously examined the values concerning work I’d lived with and adhered to all my life.

I’d pursued a career almost twenty years, blindly believed my dedication to the job, and the job, itself, were a major piece of what made me valuable as a person. And a spinoff of that belief was that a person who didn’t hold that view and allow a job to measure his worth probably wasn’t worth much.

But toward the end of that career the realization began to creep in that I was devoted, pouring my heart into a job that probably didn’t need doing. That I was wasting my life and that I was actually having a negative influence on the lives of many other people by my single-minded pursuit of that career.

Tough wake-up call it was for me. Jangled my entire life.

So I left that career for another, and wasn’t long in realizing that I was not that job. The job was just a way of making a living. That I was actually in another job that probably didn’t need doing. And I looked around me and saw it was true for almost everything going on around me.

Yes, there are essential jobs out there. Jobs that really need doing. Running the municipal sewer plant, for instance. Driving the garbage truck. Making sure the crops farmers plant are nurtured and harvested. Delivering food essentials to the population. Placing food on the counters for sale to the public.

Now isn’t that interesting? The most fundamentally essential jobs in our ‘civilization’ are the least coveted? That the rewards for doing them are less than those for people selling something, or representing someone in a lawsuit, or working in a unionized factory as a piece of an assembly line? Or repairing automobiles?

I’m inclined to believe the entire issue of the work ethic in this country, and the people who embrace the notion it’s a measure of human worth, needs a lot more careful examination.

I hope I’ll be doing some more blog posts about it for a closer look. Which I expect will raise the hackles of some readers.

Old Jules

Immigration reform

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

Later this year when the petrodollar crashes and burns most of you will probably be hoping the Mexicans will revise their immigration laws.  Likely you’ll recall the last time the US economy fell on really hard times how US workers drifted to Mexico and further south looking for work.  It wasn’t a lot better there, but there was less English speaking competition for jobs.

Here’s an example from the Bogart movie, Treasure of Sierra Madre:

Things haven’t really changed much, have they.  Except the guy doing the hiring and cheating them out of their pay is a gringo in Mexico instead of a gringo in the US.

I’m betting those Mexicans will be tickled pea-green to have gringos coming down to work.

Old Jules

Making money the old fashioned way

Hi readers. Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

I saw a bumper sticker in town yesterday in the parking lot of the last Gibson’s store in existence. 20 year old beat-to-hell pickup with the sticker, “I make money the old fashioned way – I work for it“.

Judging by the truck, I’m guessing he’s probably telling the truth.

Inside the store when I went to pay for my purchase the cashier held the bill up to the light, then used a black felt tip pen on it and squinted at it again. When she decided it was okay I asked whether they get any phonies.

Lots of them.” She shrugged and counted out my change, which I didn’t examine closely. That’s trust.

The fact is there are lots of old fashioned ways to make money. Working has always been the least efficient method, but it’s widely praised by people who have a lot of it by inheritance, politics, graft, bailouts, handouts, subsidies, and prostitution. Someone has to do the grunt work or the whole system of economics falls apart.

Fact is, someone has to ring the cash registers, clean out the sewer lines, change the oil on cars, sit behind desks doing meaningless, boring, dead-end chores all day or it would become downright inconvenient for people who made their money the various other old fashioned ways.

And those hamburger flippers and sewer plant operaters need to be able to find something about it they can construe as a virtue, rather than just being fools and useful zombies drawing lousy pay for essential work to keep things running.

Me, Being a People Person, And All

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

A nice little norther blew in here the past couple of days, cooled things down something awful.  I slept in the RV, and by ones and twos the cats volunteered to join me inside for a bit of quality time, sleeping on my chest, purring and kneading claws pleasantly.  They tell me, with reservations, they think they’re going to be able to hunker down and live in there.

Came just in a nick of time, too, because what?  Three daybreaks ago?  I noticed something coming out of the now-open chicken house just after dawn.  Double-take revealed it to be a bobcat, small for a bobcat, but large enough to make a meal out of any of these wannabe toughies.  Last night the cats and I played fruit-basket-turn-over, two inside alternating with two nearby waiting their turn to come up next time I got up to pee.

Got my ‘Work for RVers and Campers Newsletter by email this morning:

Work for RVers and Campers: Employment, Volunteer Positions, Jobs, and Business

http://www.work-for-rvers-and-campers.com/.

Nowhere near as many listings in there for west Texas, New Mexico and Arizona as there were last issue, which had a couple I found exciting.  This issue only has a couple in Texas, neither far enough west to suit me, and one in Arizona up in the neighborhood of Sedona.  They want someone in an RV park up there to do various things in exchange for a place to park. 

But me going to Sedona would be carrying coals to Newcastle, I reckons.  Besides, they wanted applicants to send a photo of themselves, along with a resume.  With winter coming on I reckons I’d have to figure out which winter pic of me to send:

I’d naturally want to throw out the best possible impression of myself I could.

And  they want the resume to demonstrate how I’m a people person, which of course, I am.   Ain’t hardly any more people people out there than I am, taken from certain perspectives.  But I’m not sure how I’d go about conveying it to them.

Been a long time since I wrote a resume, though I used to count myself a fair hand at doing it.  If I was the one doing the hiring out there, I’d jump at me.

Old Jules

A Perspective About Unions

Hi readers. Thanks for coming for a visit.

My biological father, Raymond Waxey [Red] Purcell, was a union organizer for 45-50 years. [One of the Fascinations of Christian TV]

I can’t think of a single thing I admire about him.  In fact, I sincerely believe in a well-ordered, well-meaning, sane world he’d never have been allowed to reproduce.  And most especially not allowed to combine his gene-pool with the gene-pool of Alice Eugenia Hudson.

However, I can thank him for a lot of what I know about unions in the United States.  During the years I knew him  it was mostly the only thing he cared about, generally the main thing he talked about.  And I do believe he cared about the workers he organized, their dismal wages, long hours, dangerous working conditions.  He was a fighter, and he fought hard for them at considerable physical risk to himself.

Especially during the early years getting thrown in jail, beaten up, harassed by cops and company goons was a way of life for him.

I’ve been a union member myself, longshoreman, construction worker, taxicab drivers, teamsters, and I’ve seen the sweetheart contracts, the corruption, the sellouts, and I’d want nothing to do with unions if I were a member of the work force today.

So when I was eavesdropping on a couple of Texas geniuses  in a restaurant the other day explaining to one another how the unions have driven all the industry out of the US I found myself asking myself,

“Could any US worker make a living on 13 cents an hour?  Would the multi-nationals have kept the operations here if only workers would work for the wage they’ll be paying in the country where they’re sending the jobs?”

To suggest organized workers have ruined this country is to turn a blind eye to the sacrifices and risks they chose to take to organize, and why they made those sacrifices, took those risks.

Jeanne’s granddad owned a lumber mill in Oregon during the 1930s.  It was burned down by unions, it’s said.  She says she was talking with her cousin about it and he explained it was at a time unions where at the pinnacle of corruption.

But then of course,” She went on, “He was a man who didn’t care anything about anyone, or anything but himself.”

That probably just about sums up why we had unions, why workers organized.  What it doesn’t explain is why, having done it, they became so corrupt so pervasively.

The nearest Red Purcell ever came to getting actually homicided as a result of his job, he often said, was when he was hiding under the table in a locked house with union goons from a competing union trying to get in.

Old Jules

Boom-Towning the US – Economic One-Upsmanship by Texasizing

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

When the neighbor from up the hill described a business boom going on around Edinburg, Texas, [his previous home] the other evening it got me wondering why.  According to him, the entire Texas coastline is a beehive of manufacturing concerns, either operating, or under construction.  Even a Chinese owned gigantic steel plant.

After considering why this might be for a couple of days I concluded there’s a middling chance the Texas tax structure’s probably a major piece of it.  Texas doesn’t have a State Income Tax.  It relies almost entirely on sales taxes and property taxes for revenues.

That mightn’t sound too important at first notice.  But consider the implications more closely. 

  • First, workers employed in Texas can enjoy a higher take-home pay than those employed in states where income taxes are the revenue source.  This allows employers to pay the employees less than they’d have to do elsewhere.  Workers pay more when they spend their checks on consumer goods, but it doesn’t come out on profit and loss statements of the companies paying them.
  • Secondly,  CEOs, plant managers, high-ranking professionals living within the State, but who enjoy salaries high enough for investments of their incomes pay taxes only on their property holdings and consumer purchases.  Same as the legion of minimum-wage workers they employ.
  • Thirdly, all the nearby suppliers of raw materials, parts and labor for the industries enjoy the same tax-free status and are almost certainly able to offer their products and services more cheaply than they could do located in areas where State Income Tax exists.

For states with stagnant economies, especially those with coastal port facilities, but not limited to those, seems to me the answer might be to take a page from the Texas book.  The most immediate and obvious answer would be eliminating state income taxes and making it up in sales and property taxes.  But that would take a while.  Meanwhile, Texas booms and everyone else continues to lose jobs.

Naturally each situation would require site-specific solutions for immediate competition with Texas for new industries.  But several options come to mind:

  • Locate your port facilities here and we’ll do whatever’s needed to make absolutely certain your construction costs are lower than they’d be in Texas.  Whatever corners Texan regulators would allow you to cut in construction, environmental and safety standards, our regulators will allow more.
  • We’ll reduce our spending on our State vehicle fleets by putting a moratorium on buying any new vehicles for five years.  That money will be delivered in suitcases full of un-marked $100 bills to the people charged with the decision for your location.
  • We’ll make special interim provisions in our income-tax laws exempting dividends to stockholders, CEO and other high ranking professional employees from our State Income Tax.
  • We’ll lower our minimum wage to lower-level employees to the Texas minimum wage, minus the amount of the State Income Tax.  That will allow you to hire minimum wage-earning workers at the same rate it would cost you if you’d located in Texas.
  • We’ll overlook any hiring of illegal aliens you might do involving jobs good Americans don’t want.  Outdoors, heavy-lifting, that sort of thing.
  • We’ll provide lists of the names and families of all your high-ranking employees to all law enforcement agencies and prosecutors and provide a GET OUT OF JAIL FREE card for each family member.  If you, or family members are busted for illegal drug possession we’ll make certain the arresting officers are suspended or otherwise punished.  Your executive employees will enjoy the same privileges in that regard as any State, local, or Federal politician.
  • If your executives are non-white, non-Anglo, non-protestant they’ll never overhear themselves referred to at the country club as Chinks, slopeheads, zipperheads, Mescins, mackeral-snappers, ragheads, camel jockeys, or sand niggers, as they certainly would in Texas.

Naturally they’d have to develop other business-friendly encouragements over time, but those would, at least open the door for a beginning.

Old Jules

 

New Careers for Retirees and the Unemployed

I know some of you readers are out of work and having difficulties finding jobs.  With this post I’d like to twist your mind around in a way that might give you a different way of approaching the affair of starting to make money to live on.

I don’t know whether there’s any hope or not, but I can tell you it ain’t easy. From the time I gave myself a Y2K until I moved back to Texas I tried a number of desperate ideas that might have worked if I’d been smarter.

But I think there still might be something here in the way of thinking about it to give you a fresh perspective.  Trying to find jobs flipping hamburgers at minimum wage or clerking in a motel graveyard shift, or stocking shelves and unloading trucks for a Dollar General didn’t prove out for me.  I suspect it won’t for you.  A lot of the reason is that young people don’t like working around older people.  At least, they din’t in my case.

But the world’s still got niches a person might fill, things that people need doing and might pay to get done that the Chinese can’t get over here to do yet.

Polishing long-haul truck rims, bumpers, gas tanks:

I don’t know whether they’re still doing it, but truckers within the past few years [some of them] had an overweening pride in their wheels, bumpers and grilles.

Frequently they’ll pay up to $100 for the tractor wheels, gas tank, bumper and grille while they catch a snooze at a roadside park or overnight truck stop. An angle grinder/polisher, portable generator and a CB radio are the main costs of going into business.

Didn’t work out for me because my angle polishing head flew off, the knurled stem that held the head walked across the gas tank, cut through a fuel line [the truck was idling] and started squirting diesel all over the place before it caught fire [after he’d shut the rig down].

Might work out better for you. A person could make $500 – $1000 per day if he was fast and good.

Bodyguard:

Bodyguard didn’t work out well for me, either, though it paid well. Anyone who needs a bodyguard usually has a reason for needing one.

Respectable people doing legal things hire bodyguards from companies who do that for a living.  But there’s a type of activity going on out there in the world that needs a different kind of bodyguard.  If you’re a person who’s generally law-abiding, but desperate or open-minded enough to look into it, you might find a place there. 

You’ve got to be a non-drug user, absolutely and unwaveringly, uncompromisingly honest, and you’ve got to be willing to be around some of the sleaziest human beings on the face of the earth all your waking hours.  And you’ve got to be convincing that you’re uglier, colder and crazier than all those lowlifes around you.

Then there’s the danger of going to prison, which isn’t likely, but could happen.  The things that go sour  in that line of work tend to be of a different variety.

Tool handles:

It used to be a person could do well trading with the tribes if he was willing to go deep into the rez. Might still be so. They always have tools with broken handles, so buying a load of handles somewhere for all manner of tools, replacing the handles on the broken tools you’ve bought, then taking them by the truckload onto the rez, buying their heads with broken handles and selling them a used one you’ve repaired can be middling lucrative. But you’ve got to be relatively near a big rez or a lot of small ones.

Those mightn’t fit you and probably don’t, but they might give you an idea or two about some crack you can shine a flashlight into and find a way to make a living.  Even in this brave new 21st Century.

Old Jules

 

Occupy Your Local Appliance Repair Shop [Limericks]

It’s the only job left.

Being on top was such fun!
The products were cheap, and the gun
Assured they’d keep coming
Velocities numbing
Til ammo we’d spang out of run.

Those multi-national boys
Didn’t make you buy all of those toys.
You bought them not thinking
From China, though shrinking
Your dollars without so much noise.

It’s jobs that you want, and you’re right
But you’ve got to be part of the fight.
Throw out all your plastic
incumbents and spastic
Buying and crying and spite.

The CEOs bankers and pols
Helped you do it but aren’t Commie moles
It’s true they’re just like you
Their coppers will strike you
While your coppers strike at the doles.

Stopping a train just ain’t easy
The methods are bloody and sleazy
But changing direction
Requires a correction
More solid than whiney and breezy.

Old Jules

A Delicate Balance

This is a confusing situation.  First I consulted my feline advisers about it, which didn’t help much.

Mr. Hydrox did, however, point out that the chickens, coons, possums and deer want to be like cats, coming onto the porch eating cat food, which gave me pause.  But then I discussed it with the Great Speckled Bird, who pointed his spurs of blame in the direction of the deer and the coons, mainly.

You’re constantly having to run them out of the chicken feed you put out for us.  Those deer aren’t even scared of you, but it’s fun watching you trying to chase them off throwing rocks, cussing and waving your arms around.  Damned deer want to be like us chickens.”

The deer were next in line for consultation.  That’s more difficult because they don’t speak proper English.  But a young buck assured me it was the feral swine causing the problem.  “Squeeee deer are just hungry.  Squeee don’t meannnnn no harm ner try busting things up.  Most of ussss.  It’s them damned wild hawggggs doing that.  They want to beeeeee like us deer.  Copycat bastards.”

What I was trying to figure out was why ‘we’ US citizens want the rest of the world to be like us.

At least, we want them to want to be like us

Time was not so long ago when the US cared so little about whether the rest of the world wanted to be like us, or not, the thought would have never entered their heads yea or nay.  Prior to WWII most US citizens wanted nothing more than to go about their own affairs and be left strictly out of the troubles spilling blood all over the planet.  What the rest of the world did was the business of the rest of the world.

 Earlier, during the Civil War, when the UK was trying to decide whether to join the French in the invasion of Mexico, the Prime Minister was saying a lot of things to Queen Victoria about the leadership of the country (Abraham Lincoln), the reasons for the war, the conduct of the war, that Americans would have found painful to hear if they hadn’t been too busy killing one another to pay attention.

 But they’d have found those remarks between the PM and the Queen painful because they contained so much truth. Not because they cared a damn what the leaders of the UK thought about the US.

 We’ve spent the last half-century trying to make the rest of the world want to emulate us, politically. Most of the world wasn’t interested.  But we did succeed in a lot of ways nobody anticipated.  We shipped all our industry off to the countries we’d spent a lot of lives and treasure whupping the socks off of, trying to help them be like us just a few years earlier.

 By ‘we’, I’m not talking about ‘me’, nor am I talking about ‘you’ if you happen to just be a regular person who wasn’t involved in making decisions to ship all our production, manufacturing and skilled labor jobs off to third world countries because of the cheap labor and ostensibly trying to help them to be like us.

The ‘we’ I’m talking about is some nebulous consortium of folks who had enough money to own companies, factories, mines, lumber mills, steel mills and all the other components involved in a healthy economy with a population of employed citizens.

And by ‘we’ I’m also talking about several generations of bought and paid for politicians of both parties who found themselves more attracted to serving the interests of those described immediately above than protecting the interests of the citizens who elected them to public office.

 When the parts of ‘we’ described above were minding ‘our’ own business the part of ‘we’ not included had thriving industry, plenty of jobs, affluence. Anyone who wanted a job could find one.

 But gradually, as ‘we #1’ and ‘we #2’ succeeded in making the rest of the world in our own image in some unanticipated ways, all three of ‘our’  industry and production infrastructures became a dead shell. All ‘our #3’  jobs became government related, or pure government, or ‘service’, such as selling insurance, flipping hamburgers, running the sewer plant, advertising, cashiers, sales, lawyering, medical, and cops.  The kinds of jobs producing nothing of lasting value, nothing for export.

 And in the process, the world we made in our own image wanted to be like us. They wanted cars, television sets, air conditioners, microwave ovens.  They became super-consumers. They began needing petroleum products for energy, for plastic rubber monster toys for the kids. Petroleum to run their power plants to refrigerate. Petroleum to run their hair dryers. Petroleum to run their industries.

 They became like us.

 Meanwhile, the dead hull of US industry didn’t demand so much energy, but our automobiles, air conditioners and plastics requirements continued to do so.

But the rest of the world wanted it, too.  They became like us. Prices skyrocketed.

 So, now we don’t have any industry, don’t produce anything, but still need the energy to run.  And so, also, does the rest of the world because they’ve done as we hoped. They became like us.  Now maybe we need to find some other ways to make them want to be like us, before they decide to be like us in some other unanticipated ways we’ll like a lot less.

But a couple of decades ago the entire Eastern Block of Nations, along with Iran, did something we might be well served to emulate.  They kicked out all the politico factions who’d been selling out the interests of the citizenries, tried a lot of them for treason and other serious crimes, and tried to start anew.

Now that they’ve managed to become like us it’s time we tried to be like them.

 Finally, Tabby pointed out what’s probably both true and obvious.

You run those chickens off the porch when they try to steal our food.  You do whatever you have to do to keep the coons and possums from killing the chickens.  You drive the deer away from the chicken feed.  And you kill the swine because they’re dangerous to all of us and destroy everything that stands in their way of taking everything from all of us.

“Where’s anything confusing about that? “

Old Jules

Guy Clark “Jack of All Trades”