This explains the system of values that revolve around it, such as for example the notion that it's somewhat something to be ashamed of for an employee to leave its employer, while it's perfectly OK for the employer to terminate the employee at any time.
The servant was not expected to leave its master, that was not OK.
Or that you are expected to be available at all times, even though the contract only mentions 40h, and that is perfectly OK and even interiorized as acceptable by most people, which will even go to the extent of defending that state of affairs.
What I see in the workforce is a desperate need for people to continuously prove the need for their own role, as automation and informatization eat away more an more jobs.
It's a game of face time, who sends most emails past midnight, and who is willing to sell more of their personal life and squeeze other people out of theirs, often to do "important" tasks that are often completely unnecessary.
I had a couple of jobs where I was working overtime, running for deadlines all the time, sending emails left an right, meetings, you name it. One day I had enough and I left, and to my surprise, I was never replaced :-)
Your entire post is overgeneralization and dramatizing to prove some poorly thought out hypothesis but this here is the most obvious example. When there is enough choice people change jobs all the time - the demand in my local dev market went through the roof last couple of years for multiple reasons - I see people change 2 jobs within a year, demand all sorts of things - last round of job interviews I did the interviewers spent double the time explaining why their company was a great fit for me instead of actually interviewing me for position - compared to the usual narrative of asking why I fit them.
The situation is pretty much dictated by supply/demand and both sides take advantage. Firing and quitting can have negative implications for both sides, just depends on scenario.
I don't see where shame enters the equation.
- It's considered professional for employees give their employers two weeks notice before leaving. It's considered completely reasonable for employers to terminate employees and not even pay them for the rest of the day.
- It's considered unprofessional to talk about what you're getting paid.
- It's considered normal for potential employers to do background checks, call references, and even run credit checks on potential employees. Ask a potential employer for references or any information on their financials, and that's weird. The latter is particularly strange, because the employer is paying the employee, so the employee has a much larger interest in making sure the employer can pay them.
I have never worked anywhere that did not provide notice or some severance. Even at a startup that cut 50% prior to going down in flames, they paid those half that were released two weeks pay and two weeks insurance coverage. (even though they were asked to leave immediately)
Large corporations tend to offer minimums plus based on years of service at termination.
Even termination with cause (performance, not legal) will generally be after a half year of 'remediation' training, then plenty of notice to find a new job.
The other thing is that you seem to be speaking as a developer. Everyone knows that our industry treats employees better than average. You really need to look at the broader landscape though.
I think this is a misleading (although frequently stated) comment.
Large companies I've worked for have a bureaucratic procedure before they fire anyone, and generally allow people to save face even when they really want you gone.
Technically it's "at will", but I think it's primarily the mom & pop businesses that are going to fire on a whim.
Furthermore, you are implying that there are no constraints on companies in the US, like for instance the WARN act.
Talk to some people in the hospital business who are over 50. I have a friend who worked for a huge hospital, was good at her job, had been doing it for many decades. One day an HR person called her into the office, said she needed to take a test, and said she had to leave that day until she took the test, administered by some 3rd party. A younger worker, doing the same job, also didn't have this credential they invented, but she got to stay. She wasn't making as much money because she hadn't been there as long.
My friend had a couple of weeks to study for this test, which was about the physics of the machine she had been using for 30 years. She failed the 1st time, they wouldn't tell her her score, and wouldn't tell her what she got right or wrong. The test itself was ridiculous: how many of us could explain in detail the physics of how our hard drive works? She was given a small severance and told to sign papers that I'm guessing gave up her rights to sue. And besides, it's well known in my area that suing a hospital is a fool's errand. The local lawyers do so much business with hospitals that they won't even take cases against them.
If you tell someone "your job ends today, but we'll give you a month's pay if you sign these papers", many people have no choice but to sign: they can't afford to have zero income starting today.
For other terminations .... there should be a performance improvement plan in place and you should have seen it coming for a long time.
Only the most severe, egregious situations should result in a off-the-cuff, surprising firing.
[I'm not saying that everyone lives up to this standard, but it's the way it should be.]
Not everyone works at "firms": this is extremely common in food service, for example.
> Talking about how much you get paid is not only normal it’s protected by law
Citation? I've worked at least one place where it was explicitly against the rules to share what you were paid with your coworkers (although this was years ago--I'd be happy to hear if the situation has changed).
> you should definitely be doing both legal and financial research on any perspective employers.
Obviously, but you simply don't have the same tools to do that. Have you tried asking employers for references?
The NLRB has taken action against companies that have attempted to use such handbook policies against workers: https://www.nlrb.gov/rights-we-protect/enforcement-activity/... (click the pin on Missouri, it isn't direct-linkable :()
I routinely ask my perspective boss for references. I also routinely ask for financial data before accepting a job. It has never caused even an eyebrow to be raised.
Future potential employees. If I go on glassdoor and read about this happening I'm either going to
A: raise my rates as I need to keep a larger emergency fund to deal with these guys
B: decline to work there at all
They end up only ever getting entry level kids to work for them. The system sort of works in that regard if you come from a non-traditional background you can work for a year or two at a job like that, skill up and move on.
Murder also happens all the time and it is not okay. Something happening does not mean it is okay.
So where does the sentiment that it is completely okay come from?
> It's considered unprofessional to talk about what you're getting paid.
This is no longer the case. Some companies have even taken the transparent route where everyone's salary is publicly available.
> Ask a potential employer for references or any information on their financials, and that's weird
You can work for a publicly traded company if you really want access to financial data. Even some startups will provide it if you just ask.
You can also glean insight through sites like Glass Door. They have existed well over a decade now. This issue mainly stems from employees not habitually doing enough due diligence on companies, unless there are legal and financial barriers that I missed.
OK. You can't just assert things and then when someone disagrees challenge them to come up with their own explanation. The null hypothesis is "I don't know".
> The situation is pretty much dictated by supply/demand and both sides take advantage.
If that hypothesis is true, then they can use that hypothesis to explain the existent phenomena.
Why would that be the case? It is true that supply/demand largely explains what happens in the job market. It is also true that there are are socio/political/cultural forces at play. For example, supply and demand is not a good explanation for why you can't come into most work environments in your undergarments.
Sure, when we get to ridiculous cases. But things just short of that, supply/demand is a huge contributor to. Showing up to work in shorts and flip flops? How acceptable this is depends a lot upon how hot the job market is.
Of course, no matter how hot the demand situation is-- it is never going to cause one to tolerate behavior so egregious that it scares away other employees and makes the supply picture worse.
That's really more of a cultural question, though, where the culture obviously takes the kind of job into account. Specifically, showing up to a programmer job in shorts and flip flops is going to remain accepted in most places even when the job market gets less hot, until culture changes for some unrelated reason.
The supply-demand situation is only relevant when people are going against the culture.
I was disagreeing with the one-sided claim, "The situation is pretty much dictated by supply/demand and both sides take advantage."
But you said something more balanced which I agree with: "It is true that supply/demand largely explains what happens in the job market. It is also true that there are are socio/political/cultural forces at play."
The parent might be a generalisation but you're objecting based on the thinnest sliver of contrary occupations. Seems like the parent could well be on the money for all menial roles?
How medival servitude explains any of this better is beyond me.
I'm too busy to do the research for you, but Amazon warehouse workers are the first examples that come to my mind.
Amazon has the highest turnover of any Fortune 500 company in 2013. That’s because their workers quit. They have options even at a low wage. That’s why they recently raised wages.
Yes and how do they find a better job without education? You are very fortunate that you were able leave that behind you. But do you realize there are millions of people in this world who have no means of pulling themselves out of the dirt?
It wasn’t easy or fair in preindustrial times. People worked a few hours less on average, but they received less wealth in exchange and had no opportunity to educate themselves and grow wealth. Serfs were not given a choice of job or even the ability to leave or marry without their lord’s permission. Peasants were stuck for life, unlike someone who works low paid 2-3 jobs today.
Not the kind that counts to most employers (college degrees). That form of education has never been more expensive.
edit: I should also mention having options is not really a blessing when they're all bad.
Ever done manual labor? Or something that requires both intense manual labor and intellectual problem solving, like carpentry or many of the building trades?
Or think about all the various fields that require intense intellectual output, with nothing like the rewards and security of software engineering.
We've got it good. Though, really, the ideal would be for all workers to be treated more like we are, and less like replaceable, abusable cogs in a machine.
Yes, this career has been awesome. Awesome, and fun. Non-stop learning the entire time.
I can think of literally 1000s of jobs that are easier
There was a sitewide IT town hall in NY when I was there and some senior MD brought this problem up. "We're investing a lot of money in training people and then having difficulty retaining them." From the crowd of around 1000 a voice cried out "Stop training them!"
To flip it around - do you feel other people who leave the company did something shameful ? Do you see judging from others (especially outside of co-workers where it's incentive based) ?
I think as job market turns from oversupply to undersupply the culture changes simply out of nececity.
Loyalty in the work place is a one-way street. It goes from the worker to the company but not the other way around.
It absolutely is cultural.
I'm not saying that anyone should feel ashamed to negotiate for better compensation (quite the opposite!), but I'm also not sure that you can look at those little uncooked narcissists and conclude "this is how a human being naturally behaves". I think it's pretty normal for a person with mature emotions to feel at least a bit bad when making demands.
Source: personal experience
What kind of garbage comment is this statement? Argue the points of disagreement but saying something offensive like this serves no purpose and is just plain wrong, rude and disgusting.
Do you think your local development market is remotely representative of the nature of national employment trends in general? And you accuse the OP of "over-generalization"?
Well that's not true. There are laws strictly regulating the supply and demand from the labor side of things.
Even today, I software development and especially sillicon valley is a bit of outlier - people in our industry change more often then in other industries.
…proceeds to extrapolate from "my local dev market" to economy with thousands of sectors and tens of millions of workers without a trace of irony or self-awareness. Um, ok.
As others have pointed out, being in software engineering at this particular point in time is probably not super representative.
I find that the main thesis is actually pretty sound. Historically speaking, the current (capitalistic) labour / production system is a direct descendant of the medieval feudal labour relations that existed in Europe 900 years ago. When you truly look at it, they are pretty identical in their core mechanics. There is a class system, there is servitude, there is limited social mobility.
It's just that the outer appearance is different, that some aspects are improved (in degree, not in kind, if I'm making myself understood), and finally that the technological advances mask the inequality and the problems in the system (a world where one person has 500$ and the other 500,000$ seems better than one where one has 1$ and the other 1,000$, but they are equally unequal).
This apply here also. Thank you for laying it out for me
It makes it more bearable, but it still kind of sucks, and everyone in your team is doing it (taking laptop home, answering calls), eventually, it's going to cost you.
You get to work in the morning, and there is this long email thread about how something was "urgent" or went wrong and they tried to reach you and they couldn't... all that good email delivered peer pressure stuff, passing the bucket blame it on the absentee kind of thing.
Some roles (junior investment banking analysts, junior lawyers, etc) the long hours and weekends are part of an apprenticeship type weeding out process, and are almost a form of hazing ("I did it - you have to do it too") But at least in those cases there is an expected path out.
It sounds like you are in a dysfunctional shop. If it's possible, move. It's not like that everywhere.
Some do this because it's in their nature. They don't spend their free time doing enjoyable, fulfilling tasks for whatever reason, so work is really the only form of stimulation they have. Older women without children (or adult children) seem to be particularly susceptible to this.
--The Virtue Of Idleness By Tom Hodgkinson
There's plenty of reasonable measures that organizations can take to protect their equipment and data. "Give the laptops to the employees, they might be stolen if left in the building" is not one of them, not if they care at all about information security.
Where can i read more about this assertion? I was not aware that serfdom would specify such details as the number of hours. I guess that serfdom would be a very different institution in each country, or even within each province; (I guess corvée service might have been a more detailed contract, but I am not aware of the details) so I would like to hear some more details.
I'm not sure they did, but your work day was effectively limited to when the sun was up. Candles were quite expensive well through the middle ages as they were mostly made from beeswax, lower class persons would use fires or candles made from soaking things like rushes in animal fat - neither of which provided light conducive to any sort of work.
Large organizations very rarely need any particular drone. The drones always need money to survive, their health insurance, stability for their family, a clean professional reputation. So the big guys takes advantage of the little guys.
Early in my career, I worked a lot and was compensated poorly for the value I brought to the business. Then I built systems that made me very difficult to get rid of without losing all the money I was bringing in. Now I make double and work 30 hours a week when I'm busy.
For any reasonably large corporation, your employer is not your friend. They deserve professional courtesy, but never loyalty or personal respect. Always look out for yourself, what you bring to the table, and what you're getting out of it. Forget anything else. If you want something personal, go home to your wife and kids at a reasonable hour. They love you.
You're claiming the opposite of what the article does. Medieval serfs did not work a 40h week.
>This explains the system of values that revolve around it
>such as for example the notion that it's somewhat something to be ashamed of for an employee to leave its employer, while it's perfectly OK for the employer to terminate the employee at any time.
Says who? This is so overbroad that it doesn't actually match reality. Lots of people quit jobs all the time.
>The servant was not expected to leave its master, that was not OK.
You have an angle you want to argue but you can't just distort reality to fit your conclusion. Nothing you argued is broadly true, though I'm sure you can find individual examples.
Edgy. But also deeply ignorant of history. Servitude means you can't quit your job. That is a pretty significant modification!
Well, in Europe it is more the estate system and urban manufactures, I think, that have influenced the culture of work. In the US, you have something much worse even. I found this recent article eye-opening for me:
 M. Desmond. In order to understand the brutality of american capitalism, you have to start on the plantation. New York Times Magazine, Aug 18 2019.
> a desperate need for people to continuously prove the need for their own role, as automation and informatization eat away more an more jobs.
While I agree with this (go @AndrewYang! ;), I don't think it is the only (or even the biggest) factor. It is the long shadow of WWII and the resulting demographic imbalance coupled with a self-serving but fundamentally wrong narrative around "economic growth". This has led to what some have called "the big institutional lie" where throughout society you have institutions that rely on promises of advancement or necessity to lure the fresh blood but that can not keep these promises to all of them. It's basically a pyramid scheme. Peter Turchin pointed to this as a contributing factor to polarization as the educated "elite" of such countries/societies must increasingly fight among itself for the increasingly rare places or resources (relatively speaking). → revolutionary potential
The big lie is all the lavish promises people made to their future selves. Expensive medical treatments (Medicare), retirement funds (social security/pension payments), expensive infrastructure (constant access to clean water/electricity/gas/sewage/etc).
Maybe the biggest lie is pretending to be able to predict the future. All those aforementioned promises require future resources, population, growth, technological advances, all of which are just guesses as to what will be available in the future.
Universal healthcare solved that in Europe.
It is expensive, but it's a shared cost that benefits everybody.
> Maybe the biggest lie is pretending to be able to predict the future
Maybe, but back then they didn't have the means to care for more than a few days at a time, to think about the future.
If they could have done it, they would have done it.
As a person which lives in Russia and Germany, I'm really interested in what you mean by solved?
Universal healthcare in Russia is a total mess. Universal healthcare (edit: in Germany) have a lot of problems too, of which the most significant is underpayment, low salaries, and such a lack of personnel, that CDU people did really suggest to use conscription to draw the free workforce.
The very flaw of positive rights is that you can't guarantee them, since they cost money. If you have no money, your positive rights end there. Yet people still believe that one could guarantee such rights.
First, I'm not sure if you're aware, but the price of a procedure in the US is not necessarily related to its cost. There's been several news articles showing the same procedure can cost 100x more in one hospital vs the other in the same city. Hospitals literally pull prices out their ass and justify it by saying "no one pays that price". Then they bludgeon people with these completely fictitious numbers when insurance doesn't play ball.
What you're also failing to realize is the US does have a universal health care system, it's just really shitty and inefficient: its called the emergency room. Doctors can't just leave people to die if they can't pay.
Stories from the great US paid healthcare system:
When my wife had to get her gall bladder removed. The hospital charged us $25k for 1 hour use of the surgery room, and $20k for 1 hour use of the recovery room. It took insurance almost a year to resolve, and in the meantime both sides kept bothering us. Hospital told us not to worry though because things usually get resolved once both sides start threatening eachother with lawsuits. I asked what happens if insurance still doesn't pay it, and they said that the hospital usually writes it off. Sounds GREAT!
The above was on top of ~10k other general hospital bills, plus 3.6k anesthesiologist, 25k surgeon, and a couple k in post operation followup. Total charged price for one of the most common operations in the country: about 85k. Completely sustainable.
In another instance, we needed something done that we thought wasn't covered by insurance. When trying to figure out what the price would be, it took several weeks worth of phone calls, and tens of hours on the phone to figure out with our local hospital what it would cost. Then when we got there, someone said it didn't include something. But it was OK because insurance covered the whole thing for various reasons. We said OK. They were wrong though, insurance still didn't cover it. This is important because medical places usually have an "insurance price" and a "cash price", and we got screwed out of the cash price by going through insurance.
We also had a close friend deliver her own baby in a hospital hallway and get charged $30k for the delivery.
My sister was charged $1.2k for the removal of a cotton ball from her ear while waiting in a line.
My brother had a $5k ambulance ride.
I always think twice before interacting with the healthcare system in the US.
The point was that you can't guarantee positive rights, since positive rights require some commitment.
>Stories from the great US paid healthcare system
Did I said it is great? Why you emphasize "paid" when any healthcare system is paid?
Your services are flawed in a typical American way, i.e. overregulated crony mess where all the burden lies on
an avg Joe since he has no leverage on a political system while lobbyists do.
I bet my head that if you implement a universal healthcare, you would end up in a mess like that which Russia have, rather than something more decent.
However the true result is presented to wall street: If the insurance company is making more than a very meager profit we're getting screwed out of what should be universal affordable care.
See Zimbabwe and Venezuela.
Social programs do. Price goes up due to natural reasons, budget goes down due to natural reasons, your government can't provide a service anymore.
The most common example is social security, the pension system. Demography changed, age of retirement goes up, payments go down, and you can't do anything about it.
Sure, the governments try to deflate the price, but there are no miracles, and artificial price deflation causes deficit, for example a deficit of medical personnel or scarcity of a service.
Sure, a country with a sovereign currency can create as much currency as they wish. They can never "run out" of money, literally. Practically, though, creating more currency doesn't result in more products being made and services being performed. Most countries are aiming for their currency to hold its real value relatively steady in accord with its nominal value, and you cannot do that if you create more money whenever you "run out" of it. So yes, countries cannot "run out" of money literally, but practically they can and do.
It's not a rank, it's a (bad) efficiency metric, which says that Ukrainian and Kazakhstan HC is "more efficient" than Russian, and that Chilean HC is "more efficient" than that of Denmark.
If you assume this metric shows what's better, it's safe to assume that this metric is garbage. To lazy to dive into the methodology, they weight the date using avg schooling years and other vague staff, but the results rendering this paper totally unsound.
Comparing different countries using a single "performance" metric is nearly always garbage, since all sorts of important nuances are being omitted.
They are, according to the World health Organization.
Ukrainian healthcare system is more efficient than Russian because you don't have remote regions that have very little or no chances of being reached in case of emergency.
Chile and Denmark are basically at the same level, it shouldn't be a surprise that many South American countries rank at the same level of some western countries.
If you look at the ranking created by other entities, it's more or less the same, even though they used different metrics.
You will always find mostly European countries in the top 20s.
Italy and France really are among the best in the World when it's about healthcare.
USA really is shitty, even though they have the highest spending per capita.
The methodology is well explained, there's an entire chapter explaining it, they are not 'Comparing different countries using a single "performance"', your rebuttal is rebutted.
It's not entirely solved yet, we still have to die sometimes...
This looks very USA-centric to me. In Germany, the mentality is rather that both directions are to be ashamed of.
I think the modern wage labor relation is very different than medieval serfdom, on both sides. Marx does a good job of explaining this Kaptial Vol. I. What is the same is the basic exploitation that underlies that relationship.
I agree 100% with the rest of what you say though, there are too many people taking BS jobs too seriously.
Since then, I started a job that was ostensibly non-technical, and it seems like people are overly impressed by anyone who can provide a dashboard style report, and it's as though you're assumed to be putting forth significant effort every time you make a new one.
If I was able to act in a more strategic manner, I would not let on that I had automated such things, and soon my entire job would be pushing a button three or four times a day.
Not really, they come as rather significant modifications of early capitalist servitude, won at a substantial cost in lives.
Early capitalist servitude did itself evolve directly from feudal servitude, but it got much worse, in economic terms, in the process. It usually came with at least notional political freedom, though.
No it didn't. This Roussaunian idealization of rural subsistence living must really die. People aren't idiots, you don't move to urban factory work (as bad as it was compared to modern day) unless rural life was much worse.
Rural life was worse not because rural feudal tenancy was worse than urban factory servitude, but because the technology advances which made it possible to support the latter also simultaneously produced a population boom and reduced the total (not just per capita) quantity of rural labor demanded, producing a whole lot of surplus rural labor.
>also simultaneously produced a population boom
You think subsistence living was great before technological progress? Why do you think there was a population boom? How do you think population size was controlled before technological advances?
- high child mortality
- famine, starvation and malnutrition
- war, crime and violence
- disease and injury
... all of the above!
>the dependence on an employer was much greater than the old dependence on your lord.
I'm not sure that's actually true.
I'm not sure the dependence was much greater, but it was less likely to be honored restart than mercilessly abused by the employer, because capitalism arose in the context of a huge labor surplus created by agricultural productivity revolutions, whereas feudal tenancy arose in tighter labor conditions and had grown traditions (and in some cases legal structures) based on that. Which is not too say that feudalism was without massive abuses of dependent relationships, itself.
It really come from workers rights to have a life outside the workplace AND a salary even when they could not work (what we call safety).
In medieval servitude there was no life outside the workplace, nor safety.
Pre-induistrial workers worked less, on the average, because they were surviving
They were working when they needed money and not working (AKA doing some other job for the house or the family, like farming or breeding cows and pigs) when they had enough to go on for maybe a week or so.
Life was on the edge back then.
You had an accident, any kind of accident, you were ruined.
There was no safety net, of any kind.
> it's a game of face time, who sends most emails past midnight, and who is willing to sell more of their personal life and squeeze other people out of theirs
It's not in Europe, for example, where we don't think that socialism is a curse word, we think it is necessary for the progress of society as a whole.
I will quote one of my favourite computer scientist ever, Joe Armstrong, creator of Erlang, that unfortunately recently passed away.
> Yes - happy days. At the time I was working a 6 hour day due to the enlightened Swedish child care policies. Parents of young children are entitled to work 80% of full time - good for creativity and family life. Result 2 kids and a new programming language.
> They were working when they needed money and not working (AKA doing some other job for the house or the family, like farming or breeding cows and pigs) when they had enough to go on for maybe a week or so.
Especially they worked depending on the season. During planting or harvest they were on the fields from dawn till dusk. In winter they took care of the animals and stayed by the fire place inside.
Manufacturing work had similar cycles.
Only industrialisation brought working cycles independent from season and daylight.
Did you just make this up? The stigma is the exact opposite. Western society makes it quite difficult to fire employees. Hell, it's even illegal to fire striking employees. You'd be hard-pressed to find any employer willing to fire an employee without thoroughly documented evidence of the employee's malfeasance.
The only time anybody gets fired is when they really really deserved it. In contrast, many employees leave their jobs capriciously with little to no consequence.
> Western society makes it quite difficult to fire employees.
Have you worked in a US "right-to-work" state? It's incredibly easy to fire people. Large companies are typically the only businesses that bother with "thoroughly documented evidence of the employee's malfeasance". And even that is rare.
> You'd be hard-pressed to find any employer willing to fire an employee without thoroughly documented evidence of the employee's malfeasance. The only time anybody gets fired is when they really really deserved it.
I'm just a single data point. I'm a bit of a workaholic. I'm also a perfectionist. And I'm someone who always busts his ass at every job. In the last 20 years in TN, I have encountered the following occasions:
- During college, I worked part-time at Books-a-Million in their little cafe. I had the laziest, most unreliable cafe "manager" I've ever met—she would regularly be 30+ minutes late to shifts, causing me to be late to classes and events; she would constantly offload managerial tasks to me when we shared a shift; she would spend vast majorities of her shifts talking on the phone with family and friends; she wouldn't respond to customers at the counter if I was busy (because she was on the phone), and would ignore them waiting for me to get to them; when I would follow her shifts, she never spent any time at all cleaning up after herself, and left the entire area a fucking mess; the list goes on. When Spring Break hit, I'd had a pre-approved vacation on the books for nearly 3 months—a road trip to Chicago with friends. My ride showed up 15 minutes before my shift ended and came in for a coffee to wait for me to be relieved by the manager. One hour later, I finally called the manager. She was at home watching TV (yes, she told me that directly). I asked if she was aware she was supposed to be relieving me so I could leave for vacation, and she said yes. I told her my ride had been waiting for over an hour by this point, and needed to leave because it was a long drive. She complained about having to work on a Saturday. Said she guessed she'd go get in the shower and start getting ready for work. I decided I'd had enough of this behavior after nearly 1 year—I told her that I would be leaving in 30 minutes whether she was there or not. And since she's the manager, an 18-yr-old kid shouldn't be displaying more responsibility, reliability, and dedication to his part-time job than she, as a 30-something, gave to her full-time job. Then I thanked her and hung up. I then wrote all this up in the cafe log book—a book we were supposed to write important notes for store management in that they would review daily. She showed up right at 30 minutes later, and I left. Upon returning from the vacation, she called and asked if I'd come in and cover a shift for her. I agreed. Upon arriving at the store, she was there, and she and the store manager told me I was fired for insubordination. I had expected it, of course, but that's beside the point. I'm sure I really really deserved to be the one fired in that situation, right?
- Nearly 20 years ago, I was fired from Best Buy. I'd worked there for somewhere close to 9 months, I think. Never missed a day. Even walked to work after my clutch went out on the interstate. The day before departing for an approved vacation, I declined the female store manager's advances and being asked out. The day I returned, I was asked to sign a document declaring that the reason for my firing was poor job performance and missing work. My direct manager on the pre-Geek Squad declined to sign the form—telling me privately afterward there was no way he could sign such a statement because he absolutely depended on me and was now fucked without a replacement—but wouldn't you know it ... lucky for Best Buy there was a store manager who was happy to do it. I declined to sign the form, informing them I'd happily sign a form that declared I was being fired after declining to go out with a superior. They declined to provide such a form, so I wrote it myself on their form, after striking through their bullshit reason, and signed that statement. But again, surely I really really deserved being fired there.
- 17 years ago, I worked as a temp worker with Randstad for Maytag in one of their customer service centers. It was a pretty easy job—just take calls all day and help people figure out appliance problems. One day, Maytag announced they were moving a US factory to Renosa, Mexico. There were quite a few jobs being lost. That night, at home, on my personal computer, I was doing some research into US companies moving factories to Mexico. There was a particular organization in Texas that helped facilitate such moves who mentioned working with Maytag on their website. They had a form on their site you could fill out for more information, or to ask questions. So, I filled out the form—asked some specific questions about working conditions, average pay rates of Mexican workers compared to US workers, time to spin up factories, worker treatment, and a few other things. I put my name, email, and phone number in the form. There was an input that asked where I worked that was required—so I just typed in Maytag without thinking and moved on. The next morning, I arrived at my desk to a couple managers waiting for me. Followed them into the office, where they showed me a printout of the form I had filled out the night before on my personal computer at home. All the questions I'd asked. They asked what I thought I was doing. I simply explained—in absolute honesty—I was very curious about how factory moves work, how workers are treated and paid in Mexico, especially compared to union workers at Maytag's existing US factories, and had found that site saying they could provide such information. They told me I was a customer service rep and had no business looking into such matters, and then informed me I was being fired for impersonating Maytag company personnel and misrepresenting their interests. But, of course, I really really deserved it.
> Hell, it's even illegal to fire striking employees.
- Oh, this is a funny one. About 15 years ago, I was fired after getting involved with union organizing, and sharing some literature and discussing unions with my coworkers. This was in a factory, where part of the employees were already unionized, but the company was subcontracting jobs out to cheaper, non-union workers like me. I mean, it's supposed to be illegal to fire someone for union organizing. Ah, the beauty of a right-to-work state—where every employee is an at-will employee, and you can pretty much make up any excuse to fire them. But alas, I'm sure I really really deserved it.
I moved into sales for a few years after that, and did really well. Then I finally decided to put my computer skills to use as a software developer 12 years ago—and subsequently turned that into running my own business for the last 7 or 8 years. The tech world has been quite different—though there are still plenty of issues that could be improved. However, the lessons of my years of "normal" employment were quite clear—in right-to-work states, it's absolutely okay for employers to terminate any employee, any time, for any reason. Real reasons. Utter bullshit reasons. It doesn't matter. The employer has all the power, and the employee has to just take it or lose their job and income.
Strictly speaking, the employee can quit for any reason too.
I have done farm hand work the modern way with tractors and the old timey way with horses. If it paid as well and was as stable as computer work in the office, I'd trade my job for either.
Farm work with tractors is sweaty, dirty, solitary job but it's not particularly physically taxing. You don't need much strength most of the time, but there are times when you need to lift heavy things etc. But at the end of the day you see the field is plowed and you get to work with big machines (fun!).
Farm work with horses is sweatier and dirtier but it's a community effort with typically a minimum of two people and one horse. In the olden days it would have been a whole family group working together to put food on the table. This kind of work is very tough physically but is very rewarding and relaxing mentally.
And sitting on my ass all day in the office is also quite physically demanding in the sense that I must hit the gym regularly after work or my health will suffer.
You mention textile work, for example. Spinning yarn was an activity almost everyone took a part in. People back then carried a spool of yarn and a bunch of fibers in their pockets and spun it in their idle time, e.g. while sitting together with their family at night. It's not too dissimilar to playing with a yo-yo, or doing knitting or other activities people enjoy even today.
Pre-industrial life was not as tough as modern people think. There were many positive sides to a simpler lifestyle back then. These days we're well fed and have good health care but we work ourselves to death for no obvious reason.
But the annual work time was lower for a pre-industrial farmer compared to an American office worker making ads for the web.
You don't go to sleep thinking about that big problem you still haven't solved. You actually get the satisfaction of doing the physical activity. You know with certainty that you've done your job (you can actually see it) and you know when to stop because your body will tell you to. Finally, you might be exhausted physically at the end of the day, but your mind is definitely not exhausted, which allows you to actually do something with it afterwards.
On the other hand with mental work, mostly you can't stop thinking about work unless you distract yourself. Many times you don't see the outcome of what you did and it's pretty easy to think you haven't actually "done" anything.
Another thing I'd say is that with farming (and other manual labor activities) there is very little that is not known beforehand. You might have some unexpected events, but even then, you likely know what to do in those occasions. With mental work it's a lot more unpredictable and full of unknowns.
Having said all that, I've never had the opportunity to work with physical labor so my views are likely biased.
Found a guy who haven't done any hard physical labor before. You are confusing a 8-hourd hardcore shift/12 hours hard work under the boiling sun in the field with a 1-2 hour workout in a gym.
> Finally, you might be exhausted physically at the end of the day, but your mind is definitely not exhausted, which allows you to actually do something with it afterwards.
Namely, to lie down and get sleep at once.
I'd get home, eat, shower, and pass out, and sleep for ten or more hours. I wanted to do some reading or watch series but I couldn't keep my eyes open.
Maybe I would've gotten used to it at some point. But the experience was unlike anything else I've gone through.
I absolutely miss being in a good shape by default. I miss the satisfaction of seeing the fruits of your labour like with mudding.
> Namely, to lie down and get sleep at once.
And boy did I use to not have any sleeping issues! Slept like a baby most nights and woke up ready to go only drank coffee for the flavour. But now that I'm an office plankton I can't even think in the morning without a cup of tims.
Breaks exist, and are encouraged. I have to take breaks in my office setting and bosses act like it's not okay.
You get good at the Physical activity. The first month sucks, after that it's fine.
The Physical activity isn't as hard as it appears. There are often tools to aid. I found my 2 Physical jobs was more mental than Physical.
> Another thing I'd say is that with farming (and other manual labor activities) there is very little that is not known beforehand. You might have some unexpected events, but even then, you likely know what to do in those occasions. With mental work it's a lot more unpredictable and full of unknowns.
This is laughably false. Much of the day at physical jobs is spent problem-solving and jury-rigging stuff to work, whether it's figuring out how to mount a drill platform or dealing with the tailgate falling off your pickup.
The grind of this sort of work is far more mentally exhausting than programming, and I only worked there in the summers when I was in my late teens/early 20s. The two things are not even comparable. When I realised I'd worked my last day mining, I was as happy as I've ever been.
Very strong opinion to end up saying everything could be just false because it is a mere gut feeling.
Everyone has worries and problems, if it is not the weather which is about to damage the harvest it will be the expensive providers or the fruits imported from cheaper countries or the workers who try to do as less as possible with the maintenance of their tools. And after work everyone stressed because they are afraid that this year benefits might end up not covering expenses and not knowing what to do if the price of milk drops again and your 11 year daughter does not understand why all family can't go to Disneyland during the tourist season like her friends do.
You were right about being biased.
I will echo your line about wishing manual laborers were better appreciated. I have impostor syndrome, but it's not in comparison to peers in my industry, it's feeling like I don't deserve to earn multiples more then people like my spouse who break their bodies for a pittance.
Sure we all worry, but that wasn't what I meant to say. I mean on the actual work day, almost everything is predictable or it has known responses. Today you have to plow the field, remove weeds, prepare seeds, milk the cows, etc. While on a mental job you get thrown literally anything at you and you're supposed to solve the problem.
Those worries you mention exist on both worlds equally. What if my startup fails? What if I get old and can't get a job anymore? What if the tech I'm working gets obsolete? What if I get replaced by a cheaper alternative so the bottom line grows?
> Very strong opinion to end up saying everything could be just false because it is a mere gut feeling.
Maybe I should've mentioned it but I got this from talking to friends and others that have physical jobs. It's not a study, but definitely not just a gut feeling.
This cannot be serious. I've worked at startups, and the answer is: there are 50 other companies within 10 blocks who are falling over themselves to hire programmers, especially one with the gumption to try a startup. I've never heard of anyone who worked at a tech startup who then had trouble finding other employment after it failed.
If your biggest "worry" at work is that you might not become a millionaire and may have to fall back on a $150K/yr job, I really don't know how to respond, because that is nothing at all like the worries faced by people working in labor.
I've never worked on a startup and have no intention to do it. I live in a poor country where the average developer earns $8k/year and very few of us have any fallback. Mentioning startups was a way to relate to people here on HN.
If you don't focus on the specifics I bet you can come up with examples that relate to you and my argument still stands. Everyone has a different worry. Putting one's worries on a pedestal and discarding everyone else's as "not as bad" is pretty shallow to me.
> You don't go to sleep thinking about that big problem you still haven't solved.
Possibly, but maybe not. Just because you're working in the physical realm doesn't mean you're not working at all in the mental realm.
Additionally, it's easy to worry about injury. Sprain an ankle? Sitting at a computer, it's merely an inconvenience. In labor, you're not working (and not earning money to pay the rent) until you've recovered.
Also: most people I know in labor are living paycheck to paycheck. Financial stress is real. To combine these: many people I know don't have health insurance. It's really expensive when you have to buy it yourself. More stress.
> you know when to stop because your body will tell you to
Definitely sounds like someone who has never worked in labor. You work until the job is done. If 'your body tells you to stop' before the job is done, you've got a problem.
Flip it around: does this claim still work? Are office workers so physically fresh from sitting around all day carb-loading that they all leave at 5:00 and hit the gym or the track? Some do, most don't.
When I get home from a long day of physical work, even if I didn't have any mental issues to deal with that day, I don't exactly look forward to cracking open a technical manual.
> Another thing I'd say is that with farming (and other manual labor activities) there is very little that is not known beforehand.
Not true at all, for any of the work I've done. Just last week I had a day scheduled for 10 hours that ran 6 hours over, and that wasn't even the worst I've experienced. Why would unanticipated roadblocks appear for mental problems but not physical ones? That makes no sense to me.
Just look around at physical projects and you'll see they're just as bad as digital ones. The SR-99 tunnel was 3.5 years late after they started digging.
Yes you have. You could go out today and find a job doing physical labor unless you are significantly physically disabled. It's not like there is an educational barrier to all of those jobs. (Yes, I know there is to SOME of them because they require skills and performing physical labor)
As someone that has done plenty of both, you aren't contributing anything to this discussion unless you try it.
I don't know how it works on your country but unless I was at a starter level salary fresh out of college or I worked minimum wage, I couldn't work on any physical job without starving my family.
This comment actually diminishes physical labor implying "anyone can do it", which I don't believe it's true.
And it is not so ancient (medieval) as it may seem, it depends a lot on the country and the actual area.
I am told that the family (a very large one, composed of some thirty-forty people) of my great-grandfather (born in 1860 or 1861) lived in a farm (near but not so near to a village) in a remote area of the Apennines and they made one trip each year (with a horse carriage) to a village some 60 km away, on the seaside, to buy salt.
Besides that, all they actually bought "outside" were matches and some kerosene (or lamp oil), some steel/iron tools and glass and clay tableware, all the rest, including furniture, soap and candles was created/manufactured in the farm, including shoes and clothes (they had wool, linen/canvas, leather) .
An older brother of my great-grandfather was semingly the first one to buy (circa 1865 or so) a rifle to go hunting, so you can add to the list gun powder.
 what was used largely at the time in farms were wooden clogs (or barefoot) , shoes were reserved for special occasions only
Physically too. Watch people when they get their first office job, a lot will start packing on the weight because they are sitting and grazing on junk food all day, walk considerably less, more stress "just got an email, argh my phone is ringing, ugh what does my team lead one that is instant messaging me, ugh I'm not meeting production, do I have time to go pee before the half hour meeting?" etc.
it's equally hard, one could argue it's not equally heavy, but many athletes today exercise way more than what the typical medieval "drunk till the early morning ready to beat his wife and kids" farmer did.
I have done both hard physical and keyboard tapping jobs in my life and I have no wish to go back to doing hard labor.
I've never seen her tired, she never looked like she was not gonna finish what she started because it was too much.
Truth is physical work is hard only if you're not used to it.
Your body adapts to the amount of energy you give to it.
The harder the job, the more it takes to adapt, but it happens.
Well, unless we're talking about extreme malnutrition, but I've honestly never seen it in the west, not even in the deep country of central Italy, where my family comes from.
After a while working the fields is a lot less hard than climbing a dozen steps twice a day after you sat all day eating snacks, drinking sodas and basically not exercising at all.
Hard work today, IMHO, is working at Amazon's storage facilities, where stress adds up to what's basically legalized slavery and the workers cannot even work at their own pace because they have to work at the machines speed.
Same with sitting at a computer, doing it all the time drives me insane. I've got various hobbies and interests I'm passionate about, just not so passionate that I want to do them full time for the rest of my life.
"Consider a typical working day in the medieval period,” said Schor. “It stretched from dawn to dusk (sixteen hours in summer and eight in winter), but, as Bishop Pilkington has noted, work was intermittent — called to halt for breakfast, lunch, the customary afternoon nap, and dinner. Depending on time and place, there were also mid-morning and mid-afternoon refreshment breaks."
Additionally, the medieval calendar was also one of many official Church-going holidays which were always considered mandatory. In total, leisure time in medieval England took up probably about one-third of the year.
How do I know? There are countries where it is normal that both parents work to provide for their household and there are countries when it is mostly male parent that does the same with same effect. Yet, there is not much difference in their capability to provide, it seems in cases of both types of countries the system settled and regulated itself.
Commute as a portion of work time....
4 hrs work: 25%
5 hrs work: 20%
6 hrs work: 16.7%
7 hrs work: 14.3%
8 hrs work: 12.5%
Considering you don't get paid for your commute, there is a natural incentive to work more hours.
If anything, it's an improvement over the in-office because instead of interrupting someone at work, we politely message someone (or the team) about doing a quick call once it's convenient for them.
When working similar to the Basecamp guys it's even the other way around.
Write problems down and give people time to chew on them. Everyone adds his thoughts and refining the idea will lead to better results than a two hours meeting.
Not just America. We have elections coming up in Saxony (a state in East Germany), so I watched a 2-hour interview with the current MP from the conservative party (the same party as Angela Merkel). When it came to the topic of UBI and automation, he adamantly refused to consider any policy that would move away from the 40-hour work week. He meant that there were so many challenges ahead of us, we couldn't afford to lose any of our precious working hours. His mantra seems to be "Work harder, not smarter".
Bavarian here. Your MP is a nutjob, as is Söder and the rest of the conservatives. The point is that conservatives (as well as the FDP and the AfD) focus primarily on the needs of the businesses which means keeping to old Prussian traditions no matter what.
#NotMyMP. I just happen to live here.
Why keep an arbitrary "40h" standard? Productivity has increased 100x from when it was established, what keeps it is busywork...
I don't understand how this supposedly proves that e.g. male single providers could work only 4 hours a day instead of 8. Care to explain? As an argument against both parents working it would make more sense...
They don't earn great wages but they are not indentured servants either.
The first 2 months after the birth we were both home, then my wife stayed for another 9 months & finally I took 1 more month of parental leave (so in total it was 1 year before starting to acclimate him to daycare).
After almost a year at home my wife needed (mentally & socially) to return to work & if we could afford to live off of her salary alone I think I would have gladly stayed at home for another 6+ months (instead of just 1).
But I don't think our kids would have been better off overall if my wife stayed for another 2 years but would have done so only out of a feeling of obligation and suffering during that time (it is VERY isolating to be a stay at home parent, even when you have contact to other parents of young children & there is a real lack of intellectual stimulation despite there constantly being work to do).
I don't have all the answers but I think it's a tough question & the balance really depends on the kids and the parents - I believe there is no "1 size fits all" solution.
My wife is taking more of a leading role with our 1 year old (maybe 70/30 between her and me ... also in Germany) and she gets her mental stimulation through voraciously reading about changing dietary requirements of children as they age along with general child developmental research. In fact it is leading us to a discussion about startup opportunities.
I've heard horror stories about featureless cinder block rooms as day care in the US though.
 because for some reason minimum wage is reduced for younger people, like young people don't need housing or food, I don't know ...
"No matter where you live, your child is in the catching area for a nearby preschool and is automatically enrolled there. And it's by no means a child storage facility; the primary focus is on teaching children through play and at least half the staff have a master's degree in preschool teaching. And they're fully fed. Also, it's practically free."
enjoy what they do
other people can do other jobs that the aforementioned women benefit from, such us public hospitals, roads, railroads, public transport etc. etc. etc.
FTFY, dear American friend
As I said wages are not great but they are not that far from the median. My wife (teacher in a music school) doesn't earn more than a kindergarten teacher, the advantage is mostly in economies of scale (1 teacher per 6-7 pupils vs 1 mother per 1-3 offspring).
Cause when they leave, they get jobs that earn more money.
I assume they earn less money they would otherwise, because those who left found better paid jobs without much problems.
I wouldn't say 'professionals', in the United States daycare workers can expect to make a little more than minimum wage to start and might get up to 10-11$ an hour for dealing with the maximum number of kids allowed by law all day.
And unless you're talking some elite, gotta get on a waiting list and pay 30 grand a year to send one kid, anyone that passes a background check can get a job in daycare.
That's shifting the goalposts a little. Why would they need to have "a lot of other economic opportunities" anymore than tons of jobs (restaurant staff, retail employees, factory workers, truckers, etc) have?
It varies a lot from country to country, but to assume that nobody would like to work with small children or that, as a parent, you would let your children under the care of untrained people is strange for me.
Have you ever heard about public schools?
They are a thing in Europe.
have you ever heard of family?
Kids usually have four grand parents (sometimes less, sometimes more)