when the status quo frustrates.

A Job is Not a Gift

I am moving to a new city at the end of the month, seeing as I hate where I live and also because I’ve decided to flee the world of academia for a little while (possibly forever). Hubby and I already have a new apartment, which is nice and close to where he works. But, new city means I have to do the unthinkable; get a new job.

I always hate getting a new job; mostly because I have to beg to get a job that I know is going to make me miserable. It always seemed wrong to me; I have to do all the work of constructing an advertisement for myself so I can submit to giving up the bulk of my waking hours doing menial shit that I’m never going to see the point of. But, unless this lottery ticket pays of, and since I’m awful fond of being able to pay for the rent on this new place and eating (and paying off the jackals at student loans) I’m searching for someone who wants my skills.

Probably the worst thing about job searching is the advice that I should take the first job someone is willing to give me. I am sick to death of people saying a company “gives” you a job. I am also sick to death of pundits saying that tax cuts means that more “investors” will “give” people a job. I’m also sick to death of companies seeming to think that employing people is a barrier to their wealth and growth, and talking about it as if employing people was some sort of altruistic action.

It isn’t. This goes double for the government. When they’re debating this “stimulus” package, they need to know that this is them investing in the health and growth of our own country.

Employees are where owners get their money. I realize that this sounds counter-intuitive to some, and completely “duh” to others. But without employees, businesses don’t DO anything, don’t produce anything, and surely don’t make money.

Take, for instance, the airline industry. Airline travel has decreased 7 percent, or so it is projected. Now, a bunch of different airlines have laid of employees, and shut down whole wings of airports. What is the result of this? Well, first and foremost, it means that their quarterly stock price goes up 2 percent*. In the mean time, it means a few different things. First and foremost, getting a plane down, unloaded, and off-again (called “turn arounds”) are much, much longer. This means that customers have a greater level of irritation with the flight (because no one likes waiting in a plane). But, I suppose, more importantly for the businesses, this means that they are losing money by the boatloads. Take 350 lbs of jet fuel/ hr, per side for an engine at idle on a CRJ-200, one of the most common commuter jets. Axillary power unit unit, extra 150 lbs fuel/ hour. Then there is battery power, or an external power source.

To sum; you have four different places you can get power for a plane; the engines, the APU, a battery, or the external power source. If you have people on the plane, you want some source of power, (you need lights on). Ideally, if you’re on the ground, you want to be connected to an external power source as opposed to burning fuel of any kind. But, in order to get connected to the external power source, you need a ground crew to maneuver you into position, and to hook you up. If you have very few ground crew people, each plane’s going to be going off the APU or an engine longer. A rampie costs $12/hr (if they have some seniority time; I believe they have been advertising a starting wage of $9/hr). Jet fuel costs 4 dollars a MINUTE (240 dollars per hour- this is a Hubby and Captain calculation, and they should know). A time savings of 3 minutes pays for the rampie’s wage for that whole hour. This is just one example in one industry of how less people means less money.

Additionally, having less employees also means that traveling is going to be more uncomfortable, with longer lay-over times (because of fewer flights) and more crowded planes. In the long term, this is going to mean that less and less people will be inclined to fly commercially if they have other options (like businesses deciding it’s in their best interest to get private jets) and other people foregoing the vacations entirely. So, to me, it looks as if they’re trying to fix a cut by cutting off their whole leg. If you cut off your employees, you’re cutting off the people who make your whole company run.

That’s why I say we should change the entire look of jobs; these aren’t gifts, and you shouldn’t be grateful for your company for hiring you. If I’m grateful to a company, it’s what they gave to me that they didn’t need to (additional training above the job I was hired for, flex-time, and actual interest in my well-being, bennies that weren’t there in lieu of a pay-check raise), not the stuff I contracted to do for them.

*Can anybody explain to me where these prices come from? Seriously, I’m nearly convinced that these numbers are voodoo and magic but I never went beyond microeconomics in class, and people frequently say the same things about other “soft” sciences, which I know isn’t true because I learned about them.

7 Responses to “A Job is Not a Gift”

  1. Kyso K says:

    My ex is job searching currently – this is a real bad economy to be a new graduate in a soft science, so he’s basically shit out of luck. He had two job offers back when he started searching, and took the one that wasn’t Target. He ended up quitting after a month because they lied to him about the job description, which turned out to be some rather shady sales.

    If you can type and keep track of numbers, some large companies and government organizations are in the process of shedding older, expensive admin employees through retirement buyouts and replacing a fraction of them with younger, cheaper people, so be sure to check out your local beauracraies (I never could spell that damn word). Of course, when the economy picks up you’ll find yourself underpaid and need to renegotiate or find a new job again.

  2. MH says:

    Stock prices essentially are whatever people think they’re going to be able to sell the stock for in the future. If I think that I can find someone who is willing to pay $5 for a share of Company X, I will be willing to pay $4 for it so I can sell my share to him. Except he’s playing the same game, too, and thinks that some time next month, he’ll find someone who wants to own a share at $6, so eh wants to buy at $5…etc.

    Now, what is the utility of a share of stock apart from its future sale price? Nominally, you own part of the company, and therefore have a voting stake in whatever it is shareholder meetings vote on. In practice this is more or less meaningless unless you accumulate a significant portion of the total existing shares, which can number in the millions. They also pay dividends (when the company gets some CA$H MONEY SON! sometimes they just hand that money out to the owners, i.e. shareholders, on a per-share basis. Usually you can opt to plow this money back into buying more shares. I think this confers some kind of tax benefit versus just taking the money).

    But these are pretty ancillary, so the utility of a stock is mainly the future expectations thing. Which makes stocks not so removed from some kind of collectible, like Beanie Babies or baseball cards or something (with the exception that there’s only so many Mickey Mantles floating around, but they can always just re-divvy up the company to make more shares).

  3. ferlessleedr says:

    There is most often a place that isn’t Here. Their is a possessive plural pronoun. There is a difference between their definitions. Please understand this.


  4. Lisa Kansas says:

    I don’t know about you, Antigone, but I’m inclined to ban people who obsessively police the grammar here, especially in such a tone.

  5. Stacy says:

    MH got it – stock prices, at least in the near term, are the result of a herd mentality. That’s both because even smart analysts can’t actually keep mental track of the real performance of companies on an hourly basis, and because even if they could, there’s money to be made on a hourly basis by anticipating what other traders will do. That’s why successful traders are news/internet junkies and also why a huge number of individuals make a living sending out morning faxes on various topics–but only if they can convince a lot of customers that a lot of other customers also read it. Yes, this is just as silly as it sounds. I “sold” an analysis of the flat tax to one of these newsletters when I was a sophomore in college. Think about that.

    In the mid- and long term, stock prices are more closely related to “fundamentals” such as recorded profits, current financial health and future liabilities. Of course anytime you buy stock, you’re betting that it will be worth more, not less, in the future and so you’re always making a judgment call as to whether the company can do as well or better than it now is. Balance sheets and financial disclosures only tell you what happened up through yesterday, and the rest is up to your personal feel for the industry and which companies you think have a better product or service than their competitors’. Which is why, unless a particular industry is your profession or hobby, you’re better off letting a professional trader invest for you (I learned that the hard way)

    In the case of airline stocks going up while they lay off employees and close facilities, that indicates that the herd mentality among traders believes the layoffs and closures are smart moves that will result in survival and future growth for the airline industry.

  6. Antigone says:

    Nah, ferless is someone I know in flesh-world, so he can stay. Besides, how upset can you get a grammar authoritarians when their name is leet speak?

    Yeah, that’s where I thought they got the numbers; voodoo and magic.

  7. Lisa Kansas says:

    lol, ok.

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