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>> I've never heard of anyone here being asked for a verification, but it would tend to discourage people doing the "sanity day" sort of thing.

I suspect that the lack of trust this indicates on the part of the company (not to mention foster on the part of the employee) is probably a sign that you're past the point of no return. I suspect a company that asked for verification was not doing so to see if you were genuinely ill, they're doing so because it's already a problem and they want a nice paper trail for when they terminate you. Of course if you are abusing it, I think that's totally reasonable.

But I think most of my employers (except for one, where I quit for exactly this kind of disrespect) would have had no problem with me saying, "hey I just need a mental break day in order to keep doing this job - I'm taking one of my sick days". If one significantly exceeds allocated sick days, then the reason starts mattering more.




You're generally correct for the folks who have decent salaried careers. If I got asked to justify a regular random day or two I took off as PTO I'd tell HR to pound sand as anyone rightfully should.

Get into hourly low wage stuff and you are treated like children, many shops require a doctor's note for any and all absences with 1 or 2 dermits until you're fired.

This has reasons from both ends of course. When I was younger I saw the need for this sort of policy or you'd get eaten alive by the low-wage masses abusing it (and abuse it they did). But on the flip-side, these policies tend to simply be abused by management once enacted - with no leeway for people to be human.

In the white collar arena it's pretty damn trivial as a manager to tell who is abusing a PTO policy and who isn't, so only the shittiest of companies enact such policies. Managerial laziness is definitely creeping into this area of life as well too though.


Culture can matter a great deal as well. In my experience working in Japan and Taiwan, everyone is considered an immature child that must be babysat minute by minute.

My go-to story: Friend in Japan's train route was significantly delayed by a suicide. Rather than sit in the train station for ~2 hours waiting for cleanup, he leaves, gets on his motorcycle, and rides to work. Shows up 30 minutes late, but his pay is docked those 30 minutes, because unlike everyone else that showed up 2 hours later, he didn't have the little ticket they give you in Japan when your train is delayed. Regardless of him telling HR the situation, showing his house on the train route, etc, nope, he didn't have the slip from mommy, so his pay got docked.

I love working there, but the work culture is infuriating.


If the work culture is infuriating, why do you love working there?


Because Japan is fun and the food is good.

Also Japan is just about the most photographical country I've ever been to.


Not OP, but besides the work culture, there is also the actual work. Which you can love doing :)


I have friends and family working in Japan and requiring a stamped slip for metro delay (not sure if it's still stamped or just printed) is just a cultural thing everywhere, or so I'm told.

That kind of tradition means a lot more to Japan society than it does for some Western countries, I suppose. You can search for articles on "Japanese corporate bureaucracy" for different perspectives.


And appeal to tradition is a logical fallacy


There is more to a job than the culture?


Depends on if you are working in a big corporation or no.


Another reason blue color jobs might be stricter about attendance policies is that many rely on someone's physical presence. If there's nobody there to make the sandwiches, the sandwich store can't open. If I'm not there to make progress on my code on a particular day, who cares.

Not advocating treating people like shit for missing work once in awhile, just sayin'.


It's not just managerial laziness -- if you want to terminate someone for abusing the paid time off policy, there needs to be a paid time off policy in place. Otherwise it would be relatively easy to claim wrongful termination.


>by the low-wage masses abusing it (and abuse it they did).

This feeds directly into the popular narrative that the working poor somehow lack moral fortitude. Do you have evidence to justify this claim?


I'm not the person you're asking, but I have my own experience which mirrors theirs.

Only 5 years ago I was working hourly just above minimum wage in a job I disliked. The management had a very strict tardiness and absence policy, and a strike system that meant if were absent without proper excuse more than 2 times in a 3 month period you were terminated.

I didn't exactly have a traditional support system while I had that job. Lived with some friends, but couldn't reach out to family or the like for help. That's how most people were at that job. Independent, but broke. Still though, the job was miserable. I think of myself as a work-loving sort of guy but I dreaded every day of it. So we all were absolutely looking for any way to get out a day. Even if it meant we didn't have a 40 hour paycheck, when you loathe your job it just doesn't matter. Maybe you'll not eat lunch or dinner for a couple of days - but at least you'll be free.

I used my hatred of that job to propel me into something more. A lot of people in those positions are held down by other forces which did not affect me. I hope they can find their own ways out someday.

I don't think people like that lack moral fortitude. Going to work is not inherently morally righteous. Nor is a perfect attendance record. But, in my experience, people who have bad jobs that they dislike will game whatever systems are available to get as much time away from them as possible - even if it hurts their financial bottom line pretty badly.


I think your post articulates what I was trying to say much better, without going into the tangents I typically do.

Absolutely mirrors my experience to a T. I wasn't intending to put a moral stance on any of this, but you did a much better job at explaining that.


If his experience was anything like mine it isn't the working poor. It is the young workers who are not poor. They are still living at home: they do not need to pay for their room, meals eaten at home, health insurance. That is every penny they earn is pure spending money and so despite making minimum wage they are rich with no need to work as many hours as they do.

When I was working minimum wage there was also the working poor: they needed every penny. If they called in sick you knew they were sick. If you asked them to work overtime they did their best to take it because the extra money was needed (they often couldn't find a sitter on short notice though). They didn't stay in minimum wage for long, their efforts were noticed and they were offered promotions to management (not all accepted because management often meant moving away from family, but in that case they still got maximum raises until they reached the top of the pay scale).

Note that many of the working poor got themselves into that position because of their choices, generally they had a kid at 16 and dropped out of school as a result (at best finished at the bottom of their class). They were failing to dig themselves out of the hole of their bad life choices because that kid takes the time needed to get a better education. In short they lack moral fortitude in that they were (and are...) sleeping around, but not in that they are not working hard for their employer.


> Note that many of the working poor got themselves into that position because of their choices, generally they had a kid at 16 and dropped out of school as a result

The vast majority of teenage mothers in the United States do not choose to get pregnant and do not have the choice of terminating their pregnancy. They either do not have access to abortion providers - the majority of women in the United States do not have access to abortion clinics because of fundamentalist Christian activists and politicians: https://www.guttmacher.org/united-states/abortion/state-poli... - or they are coerced by their fundamentalist Christian parents into not having an abortion.


Everyone has access to birth control though. It's common knowledge how reproduction works. You have condoms, birth control pills and copper rings among other options. If you miss that you got plan b. Let's set aside your personal vendetta against the pro lifer Christians. How can you claim that the vast majority of pregnant teenagers don't choose to get pregnant?


Respectfully, I'm not sure you fully understand these issues that you seem to have a very strong opinion about.

Teenagers around the US do not as a rule have convenient access to contraceptive pills. That's because the FDA refuses to approve them for OTC sale, despite their safety relative to many other OTC meds. The stated reason for refusing OTC sales is that allowing them would prevent women from seeing their doctors for other medical issues (this is also the reason you can't buy extremely useful and safe meds like Ondansetron OTC). I feel like I'm on firm ground when I add that this is unlikely to be the only reason you can't buy OTC contraceptive pills.

Meanwhile, about half of US states require parental consent for most minors before doctors can issue prescriptions for birth control.

As a fun additional wrinkle, churches, and in particular the Catholic church, run some of the largest hospital and health chains in US metro areas. Church-run hospitals routinely refuse to provide access to contraceptive services. In Chicago, the Loyola health system --- an otherwise well-regarded health services chain! --- won't prescribe contraceptive pills to adults even for non-contraceptive reproductive health purposes!

I don't think we need to spend too much time talking about Planned Parenthood clinics; the issues there are obvious to anyone familiar with the state of reproductive health in the US.

So, no, I don't think it's reasonable to argue that any teenaged girl in the US should be expected to be fully armed with all the tools of modern contraception.


The lack of access to chemical birth control is a major issue, I agree. However, to the best of my knowledge, condoms are still fairly universally available to members of both sexes - which, while not ideal for a number of reasons, are certainly more effective in preventing the transmission of STIs as well as being effective in preventing unwanted pregnancy. Perhaps that might be a more charitable interpretation of the grandparent post, even if it's clearly not correct on the whole.


Beyond pointing out the obvious fact that teenaged girls in the US are living in a society that goes to some lengths to actively obstruct them from using the most reliable forms of contraception, I'm not really interested in digging further into the details here.


Fair enough.


You didn't mention the most obvious solution which is condoms. I bought them easily as a teenager 18 years ago. You can get them for free in many places these days.

You're also giving teenagers a pass for having unprotected sex as if they don't know there's a risk of 1) getting pregnant and 2) getting an STD.

Certainly some birth control measures are less accessible to teenagers, but what I'm arguing is the parent's claim that "The vast majority of teenage mothers in the United States do not choose to get pregnant"

That's not accurate unless what is meant is that "the vast majority of teenage mothers don't want to get pregnant (but choose to forego readily available birth control / condoms)". I'd believe that.


Without getting into any of the rest of this comment: that's not what you said. You blamed teenaged girls in part for not taking advantage of contraceptive pills. Specifically, you wrote:

It's common knowledge how reproduction works. You have condoms, birth control pills and copper rings among other options.

That's simply not a reasonable argument. Don't move the goalposts now.


I'm not moving the goalposts. If you're a teenager and you don't use a condom or other means and get pregnant - that's on you. You wrote a long retort which ignored condoms. That's unreasonable.

If you don't use a condom no matter what age you are and get an STD - same thing - that's on you too.

Your argument about post-conception options - I agree that not everyone has the same access. But I'm not talking about that.

Condoms work. Teenagers know the risk. They're just being dumb and it's on them.

Now - your argument that making birth control more available - sure I think that's a good thing too. But the notion that "the vast majority of teenage mothers in the United States do not choose to get pregnant" is irresponsible because almost all of them got pregnant by being wreckless while viable options are readily available. Specifically condoms.


The comment that you wrote and that I quoted from just now is still right there for everyone to read. It's weird to write as if it wasn't.

(The comment I just replied to was edited extensively after I replied to it. That's OK; I said what I wanted to say.)


I just added more to it. That's all. If you want to ignore condoms, then we're at an impasse.


Ondansetron is associated with long QT. The FDA does not like that side effect for OTC meds.


Easy: a lot of states teach abstinence-only sex education, and there's a prevailing set of social norms (often imposed by "pro lifer Christians") that makes frank discussions of birth control, sex, reproductive biology, etc. all but impossible. It sounds crazy - and, IMHO, it is - but large parts of the US operate as de facto theocracies, especially where it comes to education.

Under those circumstances, it's not surprising that teenagers have sex, don't know how to do so safely, and end up pregnant without meaning to. That is: a teenager absolutely can choose to have sex without choosing to get pregnant, simply because the society around them has conspired to make sure they don't understand how one leads to the other.


[flagged]


That's exactly the line of thinking that leads to societies where women must be accompanied by men in public.

It's strategic: prevent women from accessing the tools and knowledge to keep themselves safe, then justify denying them rights "to keep them safe."


You had the kernel of a sensible point a while ago, but now you're just digging in. Acting as if most teenage pregnancies occur because the woman involved doesn't understand how babies are made is asinine unless you've unearthed some population I don't know about; and claiming that frictions standing in the way of perfectly convenient birth control absolves a person from all consequences is both asinine and actively insulting to the agency of human beings everywhere.

Things could be better, of course, and that's worth talking about, but your argument has turned into a caricature.


Americans don't have universal healthcare, can't just go walk in some clinic / pharmacy and get a doctor / pharmacist to Rx you some birth control.

You also have minimal->zero private money and come from a poor background so it's too expensive. Your parents are religious and it's difficult to privately have & use birth control. Copper IUDs create pretty bad periods and are more painful to insert if you never given birth. Giving yourself a megadose of hormones with other implants is pretty freaky.

But your 16 years old and have a lot of hormones...

That is part of the reason why the entire obamacare free birth control fight was pretty emotional in the USA.


I'm pretty sure that you can buy condoms in America. They're not that expensive and work reasonably well.


Last I checked condoms were the only birth control that prevents STDs. All the other birth control named is not appropriate for teens who are unlikely to have settled on a lifetime monogamous partner.


So basically you're boiling it down to sex and laying down the guilt at the feet of the healthy young adults whose behavior is all but unexpected.

Wouldn't you rather call it the failure of a community - a society - to prepare its new members to the complexities of life?

Oh but it's easy to climb up the high horse, brandish the sword of Morals and throw the erring off the tower (incidentally, it's the same ISIS does to its own "deviants")


It's nothing to do with morals. Unsafe sex at an early age is just plain a stupid dangerous decision, and there's plenty of people to tell you that. Sure - I feel bad for the people who are now going to be paying for the consequences for the rest of their lives, but it's not some arbitrary religious code. It's not so different from experimenting with drugs in that regard.


Kids make stupid and dangerous decisions because their brains aren't fully developed, they don't have the same sense of perspective that they will (hopefully) have as adults. Once upon a time, this was part of why we had a separate judicial system for them, too.

Religion comes into play because the lobby against making birth control available to teenagers is also the lobby against abortion clinics (and any clinics that offer health services and birth control to teenagers) is also the lobby to teach abstinence in schools (or not teach sex ed. at all), and that lobby gets most of its funding from religious organizations.

So, the slightly awkward week in sixth grade where my teacher gave us anatomy lessons and a birth video is something my daughter didn't get to experience, even though I brought my family back to my hometown. Instead, she gets the even more wonderfully awkward talk from her parents, which my wife likes to paraphrase as "your mouth won't get pregnant" (thanks Bill Clinton).

Teen pregnancy is not currently a common issue (it has been declining since 1990), but that doesn't mean it won't start going back up if we continue making it more difficult for young women (and men) to have access to birth control and education about safe sex.

We even had some discussion in school about how to reduce the risks of experimenting with drugs, though I don't think many people followed those directions.


Religion _was_ the birth control for a long time. It appears to have stopped working sometime in the late 1960's though.


In the old days they used to say "First babies can arrive whenever they want, the second baby better take nine months". Which is to say they knew unmarried people would have sex, but any girl that got herself pregnant was expected to marry the father before the baby was born and stay married.

Religion never worked great, but it was all they had.


Expecting kids to wisely abstain when their brains aren't fully developed yet and their bodies are telling them that having sex is the most important thing they could possibly do is foolish. Giving them ready access to contraception and sex ed so they don't harm themselves or others is easy and effective, and there's no good reason not to do it.

You are looking at a problem with a simple and well-understood solution, and instead of talking about implementation you're going "Tsk, tsk, it's their own fault for being stupid." So, yes, you're absolutely moralizing.

> it's not some arbitrary religious code.

Giving teenagers worthless abstinence education instead of proven sex ed is the definition of an arbitrary religious code.


I think you missed the part where I said unsafe sex. I'm trying my darndest to find where I said abstinence, but gee golly I just can't do it. But I guess it just has to be someone else's fault somehow.


You said: "Unsafe sex at an early age is just plain a stupid dangerous decision, and there's plenty of people to tell you that." In the US there are major political lobbies whose goal is to prevent kids from hearing that in favor of abstinence-only. You can't just gloss over that and say that kids should know better when people are actively trying to keep them ignorant.


There is more than sex involved, but that was the biggest factor - at least in my experience which could well be different from typical.

I carefully avoided passing a moral judgement on their acts. However the fact is sex at 16 immediately jumps into moral issues (not just Christian - most world religions encourage marriage). I did my best those to focus on the fact that as a result of that choice they have eliminated their ability to get a head.

YOU are the one placing moral judgement on their choices and trying to make it look like my judgement.


In what way does sex at 16 immediately jump into moral issues exactly?

I don't buy for a second that being sexually active as a teenager somehow equates to lack of moral fortitude.

There's plenty of teenagers that are aware of birth control and use it appropriately. Do they lack moral fortitude, too?


Having a kid at 16 will screw you up. Most people have a moral objection to screwing up their life like that, as well as the practical objection. Most religions of the world have some form of moral objection to sex outside of marriage, it can be easily argued that the moral objection comes form the practical issues. (most religions predates any form of effective birth control. Today you can argue that the moral is obsolete)

Or put it another way, you cannot talk about kids having sex without everybody bringing their own different morals up. The two are very intertwined.


Yeah okay that doesn't exactly equate to lacking moral fortitude. Think you're projecting a bit there.


fair enough. I should have put moral fortitude in quotes.


20th century+ humans have reliable birth control. There is a very strong anti birth control meme in the US.


>> That is every penny they earn is pure spending money

I never looked at it as pure spending money - it was mostly saving for an education and a start in my adult life. Might be why I'm one of the few of my generation that doesn't think the entire economy is stacked against them?


With the exception of a Nintendo DS, 1 game, and some beer, all of my money from 4 years of jobs went to rent,food, and the tiny little bit left over went to tuition. Anyone going to college in the past 20 years was not paying for it all with a job you could hold while going to classes


graduated with a B.S. 5 years ago debt-free with no help from parents. It's possible.


Id certainly believe that it's possible to do so. However, in the same way that anyone could be president, not everyone can be. Lots of colleges don't even have enough jobs in the area to support every student working, and the number of hours you'd have to work can prevent anyone with a difficulty major from doing so

Edit:I did say _anyone_ in the past 20 years so that is some unfortunate hyperbole on my part


> Lots of colleges don't even have enough jobs in the area to support every student working

This doesn't make a lot of conceptual sense. If 100,000 people move into a town of formerly-3000, they will severely outnumber the open job slots from before they moved in, but that doesn't mean no work is available for any of them. Most of them will find work just as most people everywhere find work.

Work is available to anyone who can do something productive.


The bar for "something productive" keeps rising though.


Step 1: Study somewhere that is not the US ;-)

Some US based acquaintances recently discussed the college options and choices of their kids. A year at the cheapest college they discussed cost more than twice (tuition, without a room) as much as my German B.Sc. and M.Sc. combined: that is, 5 years of study (or longer - I decided to study part-time and earn real money in parallel. It costs little extra).


My post was focused on those who were skipping work. As I recall the majority of the kids had enough work ethic to show up every day. They probably were saving a fair amount of their pay check, but we never discussed that.


That's a stereotype.


> the working poor somehow lack moral fortitude

NOPE. More like they feel abused by society, so they rightfully abuse it back by taking as much as they can and giving as little as possible. Of course, the result is a vicious cycle they can't get out of: if you play the lazy parasite once, you do get some kind of "abuse" back (even if it's just passive-aggressive attitude from colleagues) even if you mostly get away with it and as we're all wired up to do you then have to "retaliate".

Of course, people who don't have a history of being abused by the system, eg. people who've had good managers, don't feel the need to abuse the system themselves, so no problem here.

And breaking an established cycle requires a great manager (hint: probably the one you're not going to hire, because it makes more business sense to spend more on legal, accounting, or even a developer...), assuming not very stubborn employees and no underlying mental issues.

Most socio econ systems fail because some people feel abused and abuse the system back. Abuse your workers well enough an you get, surprise, communism, when they abuse you back. Circle of life and all that shit...

(And don't get me wrong, I think it's good that a sizable percent of population is pre-programmed to "abuse-back", this prevents us being turned into a mindless remote controlled flock of sheeple... And I kind of think lighter collar "information jobs" people should learn a thing or two from the abuse-back attitude of blue collars because nowadays they tend to be sheepified too, and some "abuse-back feedback" would help the system!)


I'd say there is a simpler thing that also contributes.

The poor have much less leeway in their lives. Sometimes, they need to choose between 'abusing the system' or e.g. dealing with a family emergency. Say your car broke down and you need to get it fixed. Do you call in sick and get it done or do you bus it until you get some free time when the mechanics are working?


With a request like this, the best you can hope for it lots of data points (ie anecdata).

What I've seen is that in the jobs filled by younger people with little skills on the worker side and near-exploitative conduct on the employer side, was a) a rather shallow loss function ("what if I lose this job? I'm underpaid, it's a dead-end, and I can easily get another job like this", that they often still live in their parents' basement exacerbates that effect) and b) a feeling of justification for these actions ("They exploit me, I'll exploit them back").

And those weren't simply rationalizations, so I'm not sure if it's a matter of moral fortitude or lack thereof, just of a different set of morals that (are understood to) underlie that type of job. There was a strong sense of moral in the people I worked with, just along other axes (eg. stronger loyalty between peers, but much weaker up and down the hierarchy).


I've seen the same rationalizations from salaried well-paid people.


Yea, it's not really a lack of morals to fuck over someone whose actively fucking you over like many low end jobs do. The few bosses I had that didn't exploit people ended up with much higher loyalty and rule following on the employee end. The other employees helped enforced it with social pressure too, as no one liked seeing the good boss get advantage taken of them


> This feeds directly into the popular narrative that the working poor somehow lack moral fortitude.

Not really. Not every bad job is held by an oppressed proletariat. Many times they're held by mischievous PFYs who still think they're immortal and that $20 is a lot of money. Youthful indiscretions are one the most common sources of this type of behavior. It's extremely common to not have a professional attitude in your "first real job", or to not even consider most minimum wage jobs as a "real job". There's an entire genre of movies that relies on this culture. Slacker culture has been part of pop culture for decades, now. When you don't have any actual responsibilities it's pretty common to treat any new ones like a big joke, or as "suggestions".

And it doesn't just happen at work - there are people with extremely cavalier attitudes towards education. I had a conversation with my kid about other kids getting around attendance rules in high school by showing up to class and then "going to the bathroom" and not returning to class again. Skipping class to go smoke, race, shop, etc has been a thing for at least 50 years. It's kind of telling, though, that most slacker movies were about college-age (or younger) kids. Ones for adults (e.g. Office Space) are pretty rare and rather niche.

It's important that we recognize that professionalism is not a natural (or an exclusive) trait. Babies don't pop out of the womb screaming "Please advise." The teenage years are full of people pushing boundaries to learn how they fit into society. We expect mistakes at that age, and those expectations are frequently met.

I've literally met hundreds of people who blew off classes because they weren't the ones paying for it, or who called in sick after a hangover or because they didn't like their job. I've stood around at parties listening to people tell stories of how they ditched work. I had a co-worker call in sick because he "couldn't get his car out of the garage." And having six dead grandmothers in a year is a trope now. It's not everyone, for sure, but it happens. It's just that people do it less with the jobs that they value in the careers they've invested into.

That said, we do need a lot of labor reforms around hours worked, employee rights and privacy, cost of living adjustments, etc. And we need better safety nets for citizens. But those will always extend far more slowly to a job that can be filled by 90% of the population. The supply of entry-level workers far outstrips the demand.


>> by the low-wage masses abusing it (and abuse it they did).

> This feeds directly into the popular narrative that the working poor somehow lack moral fortitude. Do you have evidence to justify this claim?

I wouldn't be surprised if it's far more common among low-wage-job-holders that aren't poor, actually.


That would make sense if we were talking about unpaid time off, but we're talking about PTO.


Sorry, I don't follow. The working poor have a lot to lose through abusing PTO -- losing a job is devastating for them. So I would expect them to be less likely to abuse it. Contrast it with the non-poor who work low-paying jobs... losing a job isn't that huge of a risk for them. So naturally there's a lower barrier to abuse. This is true regardless of whether the time off is paid or unpaid. Or I guess even whether we're talking about time off, or about anything else at work really.


It was pretty clear he was talking about his own experiences. Does he need evidence to justify his claim that management also abused their powers?


> It was pretty clear he was talking about his own experiences.

And I'd like him to elaborate on those, rather than make a broad generalization. Thanks.


I'd say its the other way around.

It only takes a few people abusing this before it becomes a problem. At the same time, those who lack moral fortitude are more likely to have low-wage jobs because those are the only ones they can hold down.

So, the shitty people end up over-represented at the low-end of the job market, so those jobs need to consider them more.


> Do you have evidence to justify this claim?

Sure, I worked a lot of retail/physical labor/etc. type jobs in my younger years. I was out of the house at an early age, and took these jobs very seriously since they paid my bills. My co-workers for many reasons did not, at least a very significant minority of them.

I don't think it's really "out there" to say that the typical minimum wage worker is not as high quality as the guy 4 years in making $20/hr. That is reflected in their pay, after all. The folks I worked with were either generally reliable and usually job hopped quite a bit every 6-12mo for raises, or they were just workers who barely had enough value to not get fired. The latter were more common, in my experience. Despite what you hear on HN and elsewhere - there are a significant number of people who have zero interest in working, and only do so to pay bills. If they could sit at home all day doing nothing, they absolutely would. Working with them is not fun, and until I found the whole computer/on-line community thing (in the early 90's) I felt extremely alone spending most of my day with those types that had zero ambition to improve their lot in life.

And I think it's more of a "masses" problem - not necessarily class based. Maybe investment based. You likely don't really care much about your $7/hr job, at least a significant portion of people do not. That same is not as true for the $100/hr job. It's simply a filter.

You see the same issues in other "body shop" style white collar offices too. Even relatively highly paid folks like insurance call center workers have to be treated like children, or you'd have half the office call out on a friday before a long weekend. Been there, done that as well. I imagine Infosys and similar companies have policies that look very similar to someone like Walmart.

I'm obviously having trouble describing my thoughts here - but in the end I'd say it's something like professional careerists vs. a just a job. The latter there is very little skin in the game for the average employee comparatively - and those that have that motivation generally don't stay in that socioeconomic class very long. You see the same effects in any space open to various segments of the public. The higher your admission fee the less you have to pay for people destroying things. More skin in the game.

Edit: I think it's important to state these are generalities. The actual working poor tend to be by far the hardest working most reliable folks out there. If they had issues making it to work - it was usually something huge in their lives. The thing is though? These folks typically got promoted or much better paying jobs elsewhere, so it's again a self-selection thing. Sort of like stack ranking your employees and only the lower 50% get to stay in your company.


> I don't think it's really "out there" to say that the typical minimum wage worker is not as high quality as the guy 4 years in making $20/hr. That is reflected in their pay, after all.

One other thing, is that minimum-wage jobs are often (not always) filled with entry-level workers. These are people who have never had a regular job. They don't know, or may have unrealistic ideas about the importance of being on time, showing up when scheduled, not taking random time off with short notice, etc. So policies are strict because many workers need to be "trained" about what to expect.


I remember at 19 having a summer job picking orders for a school book supplier. Order comes in, you pick it, then you laze around until the next order comes in. Now, I like to laze around a lot, but it still blew my mind the level to which some people would avoid work - they would spend more physical and mental energy 'not being around' when the pick came in, hiding somewhere in the stacks and keeping their 'radar' out for incoming picks... than just doing the pick and then lazing out relaxedly. There seemed to be additional value in specifically not doing work.


That's an aspect of minimum wage I haven't considered before - if I'm not feeling inherently passionate about my work, there's always the realization that I could get fired and have to take a lesser job somewhere else. If it's minimum wage you're more or less down to a binary situation. You might get fired. And then unless literally no one is hiring, you can get a similar job somewhere else. The long-term relative effects of not working short-term aren't as pronounced. I'm guessing a lot of minimum-wage employers don't do a ton of due diligence.


A technical analogy that people on HN people might understand better, is there's a difference in quality of service between paying a IT guy $100K/yr to keep your stuff like a webpage up, vs paying a discount hoster $3/month to keep a webpage up. Worst case situation will result in behavior where an outage is worth $100K/yr or the cost of sales of a $3/month AAS provider. I worked in engineering at a AAS provider a long time ago, and the realization that what I can do to fix something as a normal sysadmin is enormously greater than what I can do for less than the cost of sales of replacing the customer at a AAS shop is pretty shocking.

This effect extends thru the entire economy.

From observation its not that people who are poor have no ambition, they just have ambition in areas not involving getting lots of money from work or "reward" from management recognition. They want a happy family life, sex, be cool, get drunk often, ambition in all manner of things, just not into working 10x harder for 2x more money. I probably work 100x harder mentally than when I was a high school kid working at a supermarket and I barely make 10x as much money. For me working 100x harder is not a big deal because supermarket work is not exactly rocket surgery, but I can see a lower ability normie not seeing 100x harder work as achievable without excessive stress for them at their performance level, or perhaps being impossible for them. The "sit at home" under a UBI scenario seems incredibly unlikely. You might not agree with or appreciate the effort of "being cool" or posting high score posts on facebook or obtaining sex, but they will certainly sweat a lot of effort into achieving it. Playing video games is not very profitable but it is somewhat ambitious and takes a lot of effort.

To some extent a marketplace that doesn't meet the participants needs is a failure of that marketplace, which describes a lot of our labor system for a very large fraction of the population. Its not really their fault the system is irrelevant to their interests.


PTO is not the same thing as sick leave. Generally PTO, be design, does not require any justification whatsoever. I don't see how your anecdotal experience is relevant to this discussion.


>I suspect a company that asked for verification was not doing so to see if you were genuinely ill, they're doing so because it's already a problem and they want a nice paper trail for when they terminate you.

Eh, probably not. Some companies do it to everybody especially when they have an employee that they want to get rid of, but is in a 'protected class'. This so they can show HR and the unemployment commission they treat everyone equally and fairly. Unfortunately this leads to the average employee that does their job feeling they are being treated unfairly. The larger a company gets, and the more surface area the company is exposed to lawsuit abuse to, the more commonly these rules are applied to all people in an unfair manner.


I've seen people routinely abuse sick days and they considered it normal (they brag about it). Others coincidentally are "sick" for exactly 10 days a year, year after year. They think management doesn't notice, and wonder why they don't get much in the way of raises or promotions.

Basically, you're right. The verification thing is invoked to provide convenient evidence to get rid of someone they already want to get rid of.

Trust only goes so far. If a company does not have good cost control and verification procedures, they can and will get robbed blind. Heck, the cash register was invented by a bar owner who suspected the bartender was embezzling in a blatant and ruinous fashion.


What's wrong with people taking 10 days off per year? Why is management so short-sighted as to make promotion decisions based on ~4days/yr of presence (<2% of productivity)?

Why does it even matter why they take the time off?

Make a stupid policy, get a rational response from employees.




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