Dysmey Post Archive > Pages for 2003 > Mid-August 2003 Edition

Labor Day 2003 Edition


The Labor Day weekend was wet, wet, wet. It was sunny and cool on Saturday morning, so I went out and mowed the lawn. I also did some weeding of the worst of the weeds. In the process, I really sprained my lower back. It hurt like blue bloody blasts, but I managed to finish the lawn. Three days later it still hurts.

labor day

This is supposed to be the holiday for workers, but over the years it had become the unofficial end of summer. There's no backyard grilling this year, though, as it rained all day yesterday. I had fried chicken Padre bought with some of his experimental spicy hash-brown potatoes.

These days the worker focus has returned to Labor Day because there are a lot of workers out there either unemployed or underemployed. Ha, it's sounds just like Mexico! Many of the lost jobs are in manufacturing and information services, outsource to India, China and who knows where else. Companies are even outsourcing accounting jobs! That is the height of folly, because most executives got their start in accounting (at least most of those in my company did). Sooner or later, if this keeps up, they will run out of people to take their places.

Ars Technica posted a news article on the coming labor shortage, quoting a business site as saying: "Executives at Cigna [insurance], Intel [electronics], SAS [software], Sprint [telecom], Whirlpool [appliances], WPP [marketing], and Adecco (the world's largest placement firm)…worry that the supply of labor is about to fall seriously short of demand." This is due to the coming retirement of the baby-boomers: those folks who turned out to be infertile due to their futile search for the perfect career/relationship ratio and thus haven't produced enough kids to replace them.

The Ars crowd, mostly hackers of the hardware variety, were not sympathetic at all: many of them were victims of the layoff and outsourcing policies of companies like these. All of them regard the executives' fears as crocodile tears.

And then those incompetent management morons wonder why they can't motivate their workers. Well, you might as well start them early with a visit to Despair, Inc., which sells parodies of the Successories line of motivational posters. The cheery sayings of their products made me feel better back when my department was flushing itself down the tubes four years ago.

You know, these very same executives cried out about a labor shortage of skilled workers during the late 1990's as an excuse to raise the threshold for importing H1-B workers. Nobody believed them then; nobody believes them now; and, even if such a shortage of skilled workers comes to pass and the outsource nations decide to restrict the export of their skilled and educated labor as too important to waste on America, nobody will ever believe them.

ball state visit

A couple of Thursdays ago I found the time to go to Ball State's Bracken Library. It was the start of the academic year at Ball State. Knowing that it would therefore take forever to find a parking space, I parked at the edge of campus and walked to the library.

I went to the library to visit the mother of a good friend of mine. That friend and I were stackers when we were students at Ball State during the 1980's. I keep in touch through her mother from time to time.

My friend worked hard for the good part of a decade to earn a master's degree in engineering and raise a son at the same time. Now she is an engineer for Chrysler, earning more than my bosses. She's also married and now has a newborn baby boy. A baby with irregular sleeping habits who insists on being awake when she needs to sleep. It's nerve-racking, but she's handling it OK, I'm told.

Copyright 2003 by Andy West. All rights reserved. Last updated on 2 September 2003. Contact me.