Today’s Los Angeles Times begs for a commentary, sadly not in a positive way. The problem with a lot of people in the media and in government is that they live in a bubble, separate from other people in the world and the problems they face. You hear citations of talking with “experts”, economists and government officials of various kinds. Reading the paper is definitely an exercise in patience. Who needs yoga, when the media exists. By the way, with the possible exception of Keith Olbermann on MSNBC.
Have you heard? The recession ended in June 2009. You should get at least one interview for every ten resumes that you send out (source today’s Los Angeles Times), and the people that are suffering are those in finance and manufacturing. There was a third category, but I forget offhand what that was. Jobs are plentiful, if you live in places like Washington D.C. The Los Angeles Times blamed the high unemployment on a mismatch of where the jobs are to where people live. People in California suffer because jobs are plentiful outside of California.
I live in California and am quite familiar with the job situation and the causes here in California, most specifically with the greater Los Angeles.
I was telling a friend of mine today about what the L.A. Times said and my friend’s comment was two things. One, and he is closer to being right on the first point, is that it takes more like submitting one thousand resumes for every interview unless you are absolutely 100% qualified and your resume gets to the right person and you are the right age and this and that and this and that. I could hear my mother saying, “and if my grandmother would have a penis, he would be my grandfather.” Exactly! I added that one has to be around 28 years old too. They are the easiest to train, look up to companies as something special, dirt cheap, and will work hard and long hours. He also likes to talk about the liberal media. He is a Rush Limbaugh ditto head, Glen Beck too. He is wrong, obviously, on the second point.
I keep carping on the same points, but they are valid. First off, engineers and other white collar workers seem be be forgotten. Secondly, I am familiar with the profession, but before talking about engineering further, I want to digress to tell a story that I heard.
I talked with my sister recently. She is a medical doctor and her husband works in a hospital. I was told that up until recently there was a woman, who came by every afternoon, picked up the Dictaphone, and brought back a written transcription the following day. After years of service, how do you think that she was rewarded? Did she get a raise? Yes, just not the kind that you are thinking about. She got a quick life from having a foot hand on her butt and tossing her out the door. She was laid off. Why? The hospital could hire a company, in India in this case, at half the cost.
I used to work at Verizon. Before going on, I will say that I loved that job, the people, and learned a lot. What is also true is that Verizon was guilty of not outsourcing one job, but virtually the entire engineering effort. Not only did quite a bit of interaction involve interfacing with the Indian team (numbering in the hundreds from what I could tell), but I would say that over 70% of the people in my building were Indian too working on an H1-B visa. I was one of only a few non-Indians. That mix was not good enough. Verizon decided to close that building and handle the remaining work in Texas, at least until 500 unlucky souls there got the ax. Verizon was laying people off left and right during my term there.
You may say that Verizon was a special case. Nope. My next job was even worse. Let me just say that the next time you fly on a 787 Dreamliner, you can think of the plane as an outsourced plane. The trend is getting worse, not better.
Of the companies that I have associated with in one form or another, most believe in outsourcing like many believe in spending $5 (per day) on a cup of coffee at Starbucks. Some people waste more than $5 per day. I know of at least two people that fit that bill.
I am not trying to be racist, far from it. Yes, companies have the right to go where labor is cheap. I agree with that statement. They do whatever the law permits.
Before continuing, I talked with a recruiter recently and was told the outsourcing figure. There are currently about 6 million people working currently in the United States on an H1-B visa. The government created the H1-B visa program, so that companies could hire talent that was not here in the United States. The H1-B visa program morphed into a program that does everything but what it was meant to do.
The trouble with engineering and many other industries is not the recession. The recession is responsible for some job loss, as was the housing bubble burst, but not all jobs. Manufacturing jobs got outsourced. “American” car manufacturers build most of their cars outside the United States. NAFTA is a fancy way of saying take jobs out of the United States. That was when the problem started. The problem started with manufacturing and spread to many other industries.
What is my comment about the article that I read that a person should get a minimum of one (1) interview for every ten resumes submitted? If I were to say horseshit, which was my first thought, I would be saying something bad about horses, and horses are nice creatures, so I will reframe from that thought. Is there a word to take its place?
As long as I am venting, illegal immigration plays a toll. I know the Republicans want to score brownie points with their base on this issue, but there are jobs lost in this way. I was at a well known restaurant chain recently. They definitely hire knowingly illegal immigrants. One bragged to me that he came here illegally from El Salvador and makes $10 per hour. He holds two jobs. No, I am not making that up, and God alone only knows why he told me or was bragging to me on the topic. Common sense would say that he would be quite as a church mouse on this topic. Is he the only one, nope. I feel for his story, but the truth is that he is taking away a job from an American. Okay, illegal immigrants is a small percentage of the problem and outsourcing the white elephant, but even so.
Our former president said that migrant workers (that seems to whitewash the real phrase, no?) take on the jobs that no one else wants to. Okay, I still do not know of a word to replace horseshit, because that comes to mind. The truth is that there is no one that wants to work like a slave for $2 per hour in the fields or $10 per hour serving soup or warming potatoes for guests on Sundays. I agree with that. What would happen if we increased the wage to $25 in the field and in the restaurants?
What would happen if Congress got some Cojones and imposed a tax on H1-B visa and outsourcing, ff a company wants to outsource work, it would have to pay a tax of 20% plus 1.5 times the amount of money lost than if the jobs were done here? What would happen if a company had to pay $2 million tax per year for every H1-B applicant .
The cost of goods would go up (guess what folks, they do anyways), but at least everyone that wanted a job would have a job. They would be able to pay for goods.
Just to address one other point that I keep reading about in the papers and is so total whatever the word I should use (thoughts?). “We are in a deflationary time, blah blah blah.”
Supercuts charges $2 more now than a few months ago, which is $2 more now than last year. Restaurants charge significantly more now than in the past. I am thinking of a certain national American Italian chain that doubled their prices in about a two to three year span. Rents have gone up. Groceries have absolutely gone up and not by a little bit. Gasoline has skyrocketed. Airline ticket prices have gone up. We live in a radically inflationary time, just people do not complain and the media and government ignores the facts.
Another sticking point, as long as I am bitching, is a certain bank agreeing to stop foreclosures. How about landlords agreeing not to collect rent and the courts agreeing not to hear any cases of tenants not paying rent, hence no evictions. Did I make my point? I am not being heartless either, far from it. Housing costs had exponential inflation, not because people wanted a home, but because people wanted to become rich off of it, flip properties so to speak. Yes, there are those that really did get hurt, but a lot more that played the game and should pay the price like the rest of us.
I totally get ticked off hearing that unemployment is bad and that people who receive it have a disinterest in finding real work. That is the Republican mantra. I am not even being biased. They really say that and a lot. I hear this view much more so than how most people in the GOP are against abortions and “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.” Every other speech this year seems to evoke how benefits should be cut and how employees are lazy. Are you?
Finding work is a tough lonely job under any circumstances and especially if you are out of work for long periods of time. They are not lazy and really do work. I cannot give work to people and nor can I pass legislation, but maybe in my own small way, I can help by creating a program that really does help job seekers get a job. I wrote Jobfish, because there was no tool that truly helped job seekers. There was no company that listened to their needs. Butterflyvista has tried to live up to the ideal to help people. It was written by a job seeker, who knows from experience what is required. Jobfish has grown a lot this year by listening to all of you and incorporating many of the comments. Butterflyvista in the future will continue to do the same.
I hope that with these blogs that there will be a discussion started and a groundswell building so that jobs really do come back and not just temporarily and at the expense of someone else. Politics and jobs are interconnected; they always have been. Fixing the economy takes time. Fixing anything takes time, but breaking it is quick.
Do let us know your comments on Jobfish. We uploaded training videos to YouTube recently for anyone that feels a bit lost.
Sarah M. Weinberger