Lion of the Blogosphere

Archive for the ‘Labor Markets’ Category

Government work, amazing job security!

A commenter asked about whether government job security is really as great as it’s cracked up to be.

Well how about the latest news about the government worker who issued the false missile alert in Hawaii?

The employee’s work history was detailed by a state investigation made public Tuesday that found he had “been a source of concern … for over 10 years” to his coworkers. On at least two other occasions, that probe found, this employee also “confused real life events and drills.”

. . .

The state report released Tuesday described the employee who sent out the alert as having a poor history dating back more than a decade. Other members of his staff have said they did not feel comfortable with his work, the report said. The employee had been counseled and corrected on the spot, state officials said, but remained in his position.

So there you have it. No matter how bad you are at your government job, you still get to keep it. You only get fired if you screw up so bad that it makes national news, and even then it takes one to two weeks before you actually get fired.

Only being a partner at PWC gives you better job security. Remember the partner at PWC who, last year, gave the wrong envelope to the Academy Awards presenter for Best Picture? He was never fired.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

January 30, 2018 at EDT pm

Posted in Labor Markets

Kid drops out of school to play videogames

Swedish kid, now 19 years old and a “pro” Overwatch player living with his team in Los Angeles.

His unusually supportive father allowed him to drop out of school so he could practice videogames full-time. Thanks to his father, he’s now a “pro.” Great for him?

In the long run, I’m not so sure. I don’t think that professional Overwatch players make that much money, so even if he’s making a middle-class salary for now, his career is only 5 to 6 years before he’s too old and his reflexes are shot, and then he’s just a loser high school drop-out with no career, and it’s doubtful that he’s going to save enough money from playing Overwatch to last him for the rest of his life, if he’s saving anything at all after living expenses.

I guess the good thing is that Sweden has a great welfare system, so he can move back to Sweden and live off welfare.

* * *

An important question is whether a few years of self-actualization playing professional Overwatch makes up for a future without a career.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

January 17, 2018 at EDT am

Male nurses in the NY Times

People in the blog comments keep talking about how men should go into trades like plumbing or HVAC.

WRONG! Nursing is the best career for men without white-collar career ambitions seeking a safe middle-class job. It’s a guaranteed middle-class salary.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

January 7, 2018 at EDT am

Secret to success in the arts!

The woman who wrote this article (and a previous article) has some valuable observations that most people are unaware of (although people who read this blog will not be surprised).

If you meet someone who appears to be “successful” in an artistic field, it’s probably because they have rich parents, or a spouse who makes enough money that they don’t mind that their marriage partner isn’t contributing anything economically to the marriage.

A college degree in art is a pretty crappy deal. After spending $150,000 to $250,000 to get a degree, you wind up making $25,000/year as an artist, if you are lucky.

So in conclusion, does the author recommend that people major in something practical like computer programming or HVAC? Nope, instead she demands that society change its ways so that people who don’t have rich parents can still have a career as artists:

• universal healthcare;
• universal care for children, seniors, and those with special needs;
• free education and vocational programs for all, from preschool through graduate school;
• affordable housing for all;
• redistribution of wealth through taxation, reparations, and universal basic incomes;

Back when I was a libertarian, I would have been outraged. But now that I realize that robots are replacing human workers, and we have a post-scarcity economy, so I just have minor nitpicks. Such as:

Affordable housing: Housing is very affordable if you want to live in a mobile home on the outskirts of a prole city in flyover country. But because there’s a zero sum game of people wanting to live in the most desirable neighborhoods (including artsy neighborhoods like Chelsea or Williamsburg if we are talking about the NYC area), those neighborhoods are never going to be affordable. Someone should establish a mobile home coop for artists in a place like Reno, Nevada.

But since a basic income and free college is definitely not going to happen during the next decade, it would be good advice for young people whose parents aren’t rich to not spend a lot of money for college and to major in something practical. Someone needs to say “sorry, if your parents aren’t rich, then you can’t do something cool and fun with your life.”

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 8, 2017 at EDT pm

Why hire women at all?

In this story, the Congressman in question:

Did not have sex with any staffers
Did not inappropriately touch any staffers
Did not ask any staffers to have sex with him, at least not directly, and I honestly don’t think it’s what he meant
Did not threaten any staffers with career consequences or any consequences at all

But somehow he has still done something wrong.

Seems to me like you are better off only hiring men. Then you don’t have to worry that you might accidentally say the wrong thing and get sued and have to resign from Congress.

* * *

gothamette writes:

Why hire women?

Because you can hire them for less.

A friend once told me about a clever solo practitioner atty/accountant, one of those Orthodox Jewish high IQ autistic men, who hired only highly intelligent, obese women. He figured correctly that they would be excellent, loyal employees, because they could not stand the humiliation of job interviews, and would be forever pathetically grateful.

I don’t believe that women can actually be hired for less, not women who can do the same quality work as a man.

Except maybe for the older ugly women. In fact, hiring ugly people of both sexes is probably a good hiring strategy, because ugly people are discriminated against so you can pick them up for less money and they will be more loyal employees.

On the other hand, pretty young women are the WORST type of employees to have.

* * *

Magnavox writes:

You shouldn’t enjoy watching men get persecuted and purged because they belong to the other, equally stupid political party. Don’t be a cuck and put your own interests above those of the party you happen to vote for.

This purge only applies to men in politics and media/entertainment. It has nothing to do with regular cubicle workers who have already had these rules applied to them for a long time.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

December 8, 2017 at EDT am

Return to farming?

I am almost sure that, some time ago, I wrote a post predicting that people would have to return to farming and living off the land because automation will be taking away all of the jobs (although I have been unable to find the post, so maybe I just imagined it, although I remember commenters disagreeing with me).

In today’s Washington Post: A growing number of young Americans are leaving desk jobs to farm.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

November 25, 2017 at EDT am

Posted in Labor Markets, Robots

Intelligence not valued by employers

From an article at Quartz, among six factors hiring managers were asked about, intelligence was ranked at the very bottom.

There’s the real reason that IQ tests are not used by employers. Why test for something that’s not valued in employees?

And that’s also one of the reasons we see that IQ doesn’t have the correlation with income that people(people who read HBD blogs) think it does. If it’s not valued by employers, then it’s not going to help increase your income.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

November 15, 2017 at EDT am

Posted in Biology, Labor Markets

The last time I hired a computer programmer

Our junior programmer (or whatever his title was, I forgot) was let go because he failed his “Public Trust” investigation, which we believe was because he admitted on his application that he had used marijuana in the past.

“Dude, don’t you know that you’re supposed to lie about that? You just don’t list anyone you did drugs with as a reference.” Being his supervisor for a year, I am pretty confident that he was a good honest kid and no danger to our national security.

Because we had a consulting contract with a security agency, we were only allowed to hire American citizens for the position. It turns out that it’s really difficult to find computer people in the DC area who are American citizens (and this was 14 years ago). The HR department kept giving me these resumes of people who weren’t American citizens. I told the HR person (a nice black girl who you would never think was black based on talking to her on the telephone) that all the resumes were from people who weren’t American citizens, and she said “you can’t decide that from the resume, I have to interview them.” Of course, I was 100% accurate on calling out who was an American citizen and who was not. Everyone in the DC area who had a foreign-sounding name knew the value of being an American citizen and would put it on their resume if they were.

“Why can’t you please put in the ad that only American citizens are allowed for the job?” She insisted that she couldn’t. From a legal perspective, she was wrong about that, it is allowed if it’s a job requirement, but I can understand how little appetite there is by HR to push the envelope on anything, even if the push is within very clear legal boundaries.

Once we found someone who was (1) an American citizen; and (2) willing to interview for an entry-level low-paid computer programming job, I would give them the coding test. I put them down in front of a computer, with Visual Studio.NET loaded, gave them the option of using either VB.NET or C#, and gave them what I thought was a very simple programming task. And they had complete access to the help text, so it didn’t require memorization of any arcane functions. (The ability to recite back arcane stuff is typical of most of the computer programming tests they give to job applicants, but my philosophy is that people should be allowed to demonstrate competence by doing rather than by reciting. People hiring computer programmers are obviously not influenced by the Supreme Court’s alleged prohibition on testing job applicants, and no one has ever gotten in legal trouble for such tests, as far as I know.)

One of the applicants was this pretty girl. With a nice body because she was a part-time exercise instructor. Believe me, she would have been hired instantly if only she could have passed the coding test. But she stared at the computer for nearly two hours, unable to do the simple assignment. Finally, feeling very sorry for her, I said some consoling words and walked her out.

The guy we did hire, a nerdy white guy, completed the assignment in five minutes.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 8, 2017 at EDT am

Posted in Labor Markets

Libertarians are wrong about taxation

Libertarians believe that if Lazy Farmer works in his fields for 6 hours a day, and Industrious Farmer works in his fields 12 hours a day, and Industrious Farmer consequently grows twice as many crops, that it’s not fair to assign a higher tax rate to Industrious Farmer because that would punish him for his hard work in creating value.

If we still had an 18th century agrarian economy, I too would be a libertarian economist! But that’s not how our modern economy works. People aren’t rich because they put in more hours tilling the fields. They are rich because they own monopolies. They are rich because they have the right degrees, the right contacts, the right personality, to get into the high-paying career tracks. Wealth has become divorced from actual value creation. The people doing the real value-creating work, like the engineers (many of whom are from foreign countries because value-creation is work that Americans don’t want to do), are paid salaries on the high-end of middle-class but they are not wealthy.

Another libertarian talking point I see a lot is that high taxes suppress value creation because people will choose not to work. But all empirical evidence from the real economy shows this argument is bogus. The people most likely to be sitting home playing videogames are those who would have had the lowest tax rates had they been working in the labor force. Those putting in the most hours, like BIGLAW partners and investment bankers, have extremely high hourly incomes (and thus the highest tax rates). And the argument assumes that these rich people create value in the first place. There’s a case to be made that our nation would be better off if BIGLAW partners and investment bankers worked fewer hours instead of more hours.

As we move more into a post-scarcity economy, we see jobs being a luxury for the rich rather than the means to create value. Remember my blog post about Toby Milstein? She is an heiress who never needs to work a day in her life, and she lives in the Dakota, but she still has a regular job in “business development” for a tech startup, because not having a job is for the lower classes.

Libertarians say that taxation is “theft.” But as I’ve shown, REALLY rich people voted for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump by a 3 to 1 margin. Even though it was well known that there would be higher taxes under Hillary Clinton and the Democrats. People don’t vote for theft.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

July 19, 2017 at EDT am

Unemployed men playing videogames, in the New York Times

In the Upshot column in the New York Times: Why Some Men Don’t Work: Video Games Have Gotten Really Good.

More than ten years ago, I first wrote about how games like World of Warcraft mimic work but provide a better experience because your efforts are always rewarded. I’m so ahead of everyone else, yet I have a crappy job with no career future.

People, especially men, want to feel like they are working to accomplish something, but labor-market work doesn’t give most people that feeling. Especially not those without college degrees and good career tracks.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

July 6, 2017 at EDT am

Posted in Labor Markets

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