It’s not war, it’s just automation

Misc
6 Comments

Why is it that we like to bitch and complain about the way things are but are completely unwilling to change our circumstances? If that’s not bad enough, why is it that so many people expect someone else to swoop in and solve all their problems?

It doesn’t work like that. Unless you are really, really stupid, have no memory and are willing to believe everything you hear. Note to self: Start a presidential campaign donation box with Paypal. This need to believe that it’s someone else’s fault, that someone else needs to fix things… it’s so ridiculously powerful. Eight years ago this country had a surplus and we elected a guy who promised change, end to partisanship and had jack worth of experience. But this time around it’s going to be all different, because the dude is black, cause that makes a difference you know. That’s the change we can believe in! And we’re back to getting exactly what we deserve, case and point:

I’m waiting in the line at McDonalds and watching CNN cover the “War on the middle class: Driving down the wages” and they spotlight breaking news from two months ago about Nielsen firing 7% of their Florida workforce. Here is the funny part: Not only are these geniuses losing their jobs to 2-bit Indian script readers, but in order to receive their severance pay and benefits they have to train the previously mentioned Indians to do their job!

Talk about your daily dose of humility. Not only are you losing your job, but you get to train your replacement – in another country! Nielsen, who ironically enough is not an American-owned company to begin with but part of a Dutch conglomerate, is saying that it is making the move in order to remain competitive in the global commerce environment. Business is business, bitches, but what do the pundits say?

“This is a part of the large scale agenda to eliminate the middle class and drive down the wages in America to the point that everyone is poor. They (Microsoft and Google leading the list) are begging for more H1-B VISA applications which have gone to the low-wage labor instead of highly technical competent labor, in a large effort to – you’ve guessed it, drive down the wages. We are being systematically reduced to lower and lower paying jobs while more and more of our labor goes overseas and more immigrants are invited in to commoditize middle-class areas of professional services like technology but also legal, finance and media!” To the gaypile!

Phew. Thank god. Just in time too, now I don’t have to study for my Windows 2008 technical certifications because some damn Injun is going to go stand in the line and take it before I do. You’ve guessed it, I am blaming Vijay for coming to America on July 5th and thats why I am not going to be training or taking the test. Phew, that saved me a lot of time. Pass the Cheetos.

Excuse me sonny..

Now that I’m done with my brief moment of insanity – go to the article please. What kind of rocket science were these 400+ now former Nielsen employees doing that the big evil company fired them? You’ve guessed it, they were conducting annoying interviews!!!!! They probably got replaced by a Celeron-powered Trixbox! Among the sob stories: 85 year old Rae Elliott, 79 year old Rose Schulz, 71 year old Bill Georgius.

When asked “If I look for a job, will you give me a reference?” the company responded with “Number of years worked and your position” – which only shows just how long its been since both the person and the reporter thought that bit was relevant – legally an employer is not allowed to say anything else!!!

The kicker? While some roles are being outsourced, most of the job cuts are because the company has figured out a way to be more efficient. They shocked the monkey!

Damn Vijay

There is a prevailing thought in this country not just that it’s someone elses fault that we’ve become complacent, uneducated and outdated, but that jobs are going to uneducated third world countries to fight a war on American middle class. As soon as the wages are low enough, those jobs are going to come right back to the good ol’ US o A.

Umm, no, not likely.

You see, while waiting at McDonalds for the future outsourcing victim of global economy to get me my wifes double cheeseburger I noticed that the menu nearly quadrupled since the last time I looked at it and there is the same amount of people behind the cash register. They somehow managed to get a bistro and a Starbucks into a McDonalds without doubling the braindead drones?

You remember when they used to put a cup on the soda machine and select small, medium, large and supersized button and it would automatically cut off when the cup was filled up? Guess what Jimbo? They did er in! There is no more selection tray with ice underneath – it’s now done by a robot on a rotary mechanism that takes the order from the cash register, drops down the correct size cup into the rotating cylinder underneath which automatically dispenses the ordered beverage and ice option.

That’s right, demotivator comes true: If a pretty picture and a cute saying is all that takes to motivate you, you likely have a very easy job. The kind that robots will be doing soon!

So, we want cheap Japanese cars. We want cheap goods at Walmart. We don’t mind cheap services rendered by kids that should be learning Calculus instead of pulling a double shift at Best Buy. We treat business as a business.

But when that same behavior bites us in the ass we want to blame someone else. Personally, I blame Vijay. But I’m not a fool, I am not resting on just blaming Vijay and waiting for Obama to come rescue me. I am working on products and services like Shockey Monkey that eliminate the need for the people to do the automated tasks to begin with.

Is it a war on middle class? No, it’s a war on stupidity and mediocrity and just because you benefit from things being broken it doesn’t mean there aren’t people out there trying to fix the problem and put you out of work. The message being: evolve or die trying.

A very tough message for the IT industry to learn – your occupation may not be eliminated because of some personal gripe – it just might be that your occupation exists solely due to a shortcoming in the technology which is about to get fixed.

Stay on the edge or… well, seems like even flipping burgers is not going to be much of an option.

6 Responses to It’s not war, it’s just automation

  1. I won’t even have to crawl under that security fence either or apply for one of those Visa thingies! I’ll be coming under the Visa Waiver Programme – God Bless America 🙂

    We’ve discussed this offline and one of the fundamental problems both sides of the Atlantic is that the kids don’t want to do technical/science courses because they are too hard. Much easier to go do a Arts/Media course and pretty much come out unemployable with the only option being to get on to “America/Britain’s Got Talent”. As you say we have only ourselves to blame.

    Also, people think India is one way traffic but that is a place of opportunity for those companies willing to sell/market their services there.

    It’s a global business world out there, even at the small business level. If you’re not on the edge then you are pretty much nowhere.

  2. StaceyC says:

    Great post.

    And, Vijay…truer words have never been spoken, great observation.

    A couple of articles I have read lately have pointed to a couple of interesting consequences of high fuel costs: illegal workers are returning home (they can’t make AS much more money here as they used to) and jobs may be returning overseas (rising Chinese wages+high transportation costs negates any prior benefits of outsourcing manufacturing jobs)…who knew!

  3. Jason says:

    A good friend of mine owns a trash company, and has replaced most of the guys on the back of the truck with a automated system he runs from cab of the truck “with three fingers”.
    They operate mostly in smaller communities, but a larger nearby town ran a story about him and there were howls in the paper that (some) citizens didn’t want it because they couldn’t support anything that would be taking away jobs! And this is picking up trash! And they’re paying wages, benefits, insurance, workers comp., etc. through taxes for those guys, and they don’t want it automated. Just unbelievable.

  4. Amy B says:

    80% of all career paths include a stint at McDonalds. If you haven’t work there yet, then you probably will.

  5. David Schrag says:

    @Amy B: I worked at Wendy’s for four weeks after high school; does that count?

    @Vijay: Not only are techy courses hard but (at least in my day) they’re not cool. Our culture(s?) generally link intelligence with unpopularity. Are there any cultures where the smartest and hardest-working kids are the ones who are most celebrated, or do jocks rule the world everywhere?

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