We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Thursday, December 31. 2020
I literally read all the comments, which came to 76 (not counting my own, and a few other, comments which were not specifically about work).
Everyone had very different specific circumstances and jobs, or 'jobs' as the case may be, but what interested me is that few seemed to be mentioned in a grudging or unsatisfied/disappointed manner. My own comment to Mrs. Bulldog was that I remember my first job fondly because of the odd circumstances which led to me getting it, but also because I remember little else about that summer, and the work itself only lasted the month of August. But we had our own room at the resort if we wanted to spend the night, and we could use the pool as long as we didn't annoy guests and were respectful.
It was also the first summer where I really learned about music and girls, which had previously never been primary interests. Girls and music do seem to go together pretty well. The girls at the resort were impressed that we had money, and that we worked. The parents still couldn't know we were interested in them, though.
Commenters mentioned roofing (something I did on a few holidays), picking fruit or vegetables (which I had to do in my mom's garden), babysitting (which I did, too), paper routes, flipping burgers, and a variety of other things which I have less experience in.
It's my view that if people let their work define them, it becomes a limiting factor. If our work is just part of who we are, we control our outcomes. We can choose to be what we want and who we want. I see a lot of that in our comments. We've all done many things and each seems to have mostly good memories of what has been done. I can only think that the young people today who complain, protest and make demands simply have not worked hard enough to know that you're happier when you produce rather than when you demand things.
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My DH always reminds me that in those days the people of our community knew each other not by the work they did, but by the nature of the person. Something like this: "Joe is kindly", "omg--Billy tries hard", or "that SOB drinks too much". Never by the fact that Joe is a logger, or Billy works on the highways, or that SOB was a truck driver. Always, by the nature of the person. Their work identity was secondary.
We've all done many things and each seems to have mostly good memories of what has been done.
After a lifetime of jobs, good ones, bad ones, fun ones, crappy ones, and a few WTF-am-I-doing-here ones I learned a few lessons:
a person who really wants a job will always find one
there's a whole class of workers with two jobs
there is dignity in labor, pretty much all labor
good co-workers keep you sane, so reciprocate
I have yet to work a job where i didn't learn something unexpected
money in is always better than money out, so get a job
One of the most pernicious myths propagated by everybody from guidance counselors to lifestyle gurus during my formative years, and I think continuing to the present, was the claim that it was necessary to find 'meaningful work' and that 'following your passion' would lead to, implied financial, success. That's great if it happens but sometimes, maybe for a lifetime, you have to do what's necessary to put food on the table, and you're going to have find meaning for your life in other ways. Simultaneously the ability to develop communities of meaning freely has been polluted over the years by the injection of politics into every sphere of life. I can feel for the young people who are simultaneously struggling to find any work right now, and who feel like every single one of their life choices is microscopically examined.
You nailed it Christopher B !
The social confusion that is the result of the past 25 years of feminist ideology has created to classes of employees: those whose single mother teaches school, and those who have a family member that is a member of a union somewhere. Of course, we have several large communities of specific individuals and those members have a leg up, i.e. sororities, religious networks, etc. If you are an independent young male with a good education and limited political connections the possibility of you getting to work in the field of your choice, or in an ideal job is limited.
Agree completely — I have never liked this “find your passion” mindset for several reasons, and I wonder how it became institutionalized — why suddenly hearing it from everyone everywhere all the time? Seemed like a propaganda effort to me, probably part of the “everyone gets a trophy” culture; I literally never heard anyone say that, ever, when I was young.
Think about how much pressure this mindset puts on a teenager, especially one who is already facing important choices of college, major, and then oh by the way, it costs 50 grand per year! It’s not good enough to just find something you like and are good at, you have to discover and then satisfy internal emotions like “passion” too!
They would have been better off learning “nobody gives a shit” about your passions or any other emotions you should keep inside where they belong.
It’s no wonder so many young people are on anti-anxiety meds.
What struck me from the comments was it was mostly guys.
Is that our readership, or something else? All of my sisters always worked.
My dart board guess is that 75% of MF readers are male at a minimum and that maybe one in fifteen commenters are female.
My feeling is that women would rather read about celebrities and get their news information directly from facebook.
I have no evidence to back any of those presumptions. It's just what I think.
I don't think anyone, men or women, read blogs in my neck of the woods.
Lots of them do facebook.
I think you might be wrong in many cases as if a woman who prefers the company and conversation of men, and not sexually just preference, has a different opinion on something she may be attacked for being a woman. Posting on a blog one can be attacked very quickly due to a different opinion. A good number of readers of this blog may be women but just readers not participants. A lot of women see the stupidity of following "celebrities".
As a woman, I understand the company of women but for many matters prefer the company of men -- mostly because, while that has its own limits, there is less of the pity-me, poor-victim, male-bashing that makes the company of (some) women so unattractive.
Strong-minded women are just as entertaining as strong-minded men, but I encounter fewer of them on blogs (or Facebook) and the weak ones are if anything even more annoying than their male counterparts.
It helps that I also participate in fox-hunting circles which have a significant strong-female presence, and even if the more conventional hunting, shooting, fishing circles focus on "accomplishment, what-to-do, how to survive" topics from a mostly male perspective, I see nothing wrong with that -- those topics focused on competence are far better than the neurotic navel-gazing of the woke community, which adds to their weak-mindedness an unwillingness to live and let live.
Woman here. I couldn’t care less about celebrities, read FB only to keep in touch with extended family and HS friends, and this blog is the first thing I read every morning. 😉
I appreciate that many of our Y chromosone challenged members decided to comment! And I do appreciate that many are not aligned with some of the stereotypes that I (or others) mentioned. Mrs. Bulldog is probably more stereotypical than most, but hasn't ever commented (she made some noise about maybe making a few comments recently but never did, and she rarely even comments on Facebook).
I've noticed that there is a very independent streak that runs through ALL our readers who comment - even many who comment in opposition to Maggies' general point of view (Right-of-center, mildly libertarian, individualistic, eclectic, etc.).
Indepenent thinking is, I believe, the cornerstone of Maggie's Farm. And I have found so many of the comments on my recent posts to be in that vein.
i have always assumed a good 60-80% of our readers are male.
That said, even if it's lower, I have noticed, elsewhere on the intertubes, that women are not usually willing to comment. It's even less likely if the topic is not emotionally driven, controversial, or social in nature.
I did notice at least 3 women did make comments on the job post, at least 3 I could identify. I imagine there were a few more which I couldn't identify.
It sounds sexist or misogynist to say you can 'tell' things about people based on their gender. I think it's just common sense, though. Stereotypes exist not because they are always and everywhere correct, but because there is enough truth in them to make them seem real more frequently.
What is always enjoyable are meeting people who break stereotypes regularly. Or are at least willing to from time to time.
At 12 mowing neighbor's 3/4 acre lawn with a push mower for $5. At 15 getting a "try-out" on a commercial hay-hauling crew. Bales were 50 to 90 pounds, up to 1000 per day. The crew got 10 cents per bale. 5 cents for the owner of the truck who drove and then threw off the load. 5 cents split between 4 crew, 2 on the ground throwing on the truck, 2 on the truck stacking bales. That was a cent and a quarter per bale, up to $12.50 per day. Gas was 29 cents, a drive-in movie, and hamburgers with my girl were $2.50. Did I mention that was many years ago, but I learned what work really was on that crew. Bought my first car too.
I had my comment half-written, got interrupted and never finished it.
My first job was the summer I turned 13 at my father's sawmill. The job was putting spacers between the lumber as it was stacked and the reason I got it is because my Dad was irritated that grown men were having trouble keeping up. He told one of them one day that his 12 year old daughter could do it better and the guy responded he should get said daughter to do it then. So he did.
That was the lowest-paying job I ever had and the 2nd most stressful. (Most stressful: at 19 in a garment factory.)
Lady reader and occasional commenter here. I've enjoyed reading all the comments about work history. Mine has been fairly typical and somewhat banal - no passion involved ha ha
My first job at the age of 10 was babysitting which I continued through my teens. I had a short-lived job as a sales clerk in a Zales store. My introverted nature and lack of confidence did not serve me well. In high school I worked in the high school office (no pay) and part time after school for a small accounting office - way before Excel - everything entered by hand on ledger sheets. It was my job to double check the totals using a huge calculator - I got fast as lightening on that thing and still run a ten key dang fast. I studied Business Admin in college and every job I've had has been of a clerical nature - never loved it, but I'm good at it, mostly because I'm not good at math, so I check and re-check numbers, and I have excellent spelling and decent writing skills - bookworm all my life.
For the last forty years (I'm now 73)I've been self-employed, some of those years barely getting by, and some of them flying high. Last 10 years have been financially rewarding.
I've always envied people who love their work so much it's not work to them, even when slogging through the drudge built into every job no matter what it is. Still, I'm grateful to have skills that have made a modestly comfortable life and will continue working until, unlike Joe Biden, I'm too enfeebled to do my job with competency.
I began working at a very early age. Just didn't feel it was a piece of my bio that I wanted MF to have. ;-)
Good thing, too. Our databases are collecting data and information regularly in order to send you offers and deals. Via Pony Express.
I should mention that our databases are powered by hamsters on wheels, and utilize the latest in hieroglyphic and stone printing technology.
When someone gives you an honest answer it is more honorable to not ridicule them.
Poll Follow-up. I had a myriad of jobs before I joined the Navy. The most unique of which was "Worm Picking" during the summer months at night - no light other than our head mounted minor's lights. I cannot believe how many people, mainly Asian folks, were engaged in this and that golf courses would allow such a thing to occur given the role worms have on the lushness of the soil. Nevertheless it was peace work - by the 1 gallon bucket full. The Asians were great at this but not me as I could never get the grasp of it. I quit after 3 nights.
The closest I came to that was working on the golf course, cutting the rough, cutting smaller greens (that the larger machine couldn't and required a hand-pushed one), and combing sand traps. Also, any other odd jobs which needed to be accomplished.
I never heard of worm-picking...and I'm actually surprised a golf course wouldn't want them. Maybe not on the greens, but the rest of the course needs the aeration they provide. We would aerate the greens ourselves (I loved that machine, wish I had it today).
Sorry, it was a joke. It was not meant in any way to ridicule you.
We don't collect information, nor do we care all that much about the details of people's comings/goings/goings on. At best, if you want to share, that's up to you.
As you mentioned earlier, we like to know people based on their nature. I respect that you want to keep your information to yourself.
I thought that making it appear our "technology" was antiquated I was making that point. But I'm sorry if it was not taken that way.
Thank you -- If I misunderstood it was on me as well.
Happy New Year!
I went to work at 13. It was fine except when I couldn't play with friends. But then the friends had no money. Took me some time to realize that I should not pay their way.
Both my daughters as seniors in high school had the last year with only 1 to 2 hours of schooling. I told them BULLSHIT, go to work & to local junior college.
Best education they got
First outside paying job was giving horseback rides at a YMCA camp when I was 14. Had to ride our horses 6 or 7 miles to the camp each morning, and then back at the end of the day. One of the best commutes I ever had. I think I cleared about $250 for the summer ... which I used to buy a new saddle.
City directories listed people by occupation decades ago, as in J A Lindquist, grocer, 32 Pine St.
Now, that's interesting! I'd never run across it, but a quick online search found me an example at least as late as 1930, which just barely qualifies as "decades ago." How long did it go on? By the time I was old enough to notice, in the 60s, it wasn't done, at least in Houston.
I am familiar with many of them for Manchester NH for the years 1910-1940, and I think those all had occupation listed. I have been trying to track down a (closed adoption of a relative) record from San Francisco in the the 1950's and am still seeing it there.
I have one for Baltimore 1842. Interestingly, it contains 40 pages up front of advertisements, and the pages are yellow - initial yellow pages.
Names are alphabetical, then occupation, then address by street but rarely a number - e.g. "Hamburg w of Light"
12 cutting grass and selling Christmas cards, 14 baby sitting and then delivering newspapers. Almost always had a job since then. The news paper route grew until I had 420 daily and 650 Sunday Francisco Examiners to throw from my bicycle.
IIRC, my first was as a janitor's assistant at 60 cents and hour, and I was about 14. Then 3 summers on the college poultry farm; don't remember the wage. Still, it allows me to say that I was in poultry husbandry, until I got caught at it. (That's a JOKE, son, I say, that's a JOKE.)
It's a Tom Lehrer joke, about "majored in Animal Husbandry, until they caught him at it." I don't know if it's original to him, but whatever your source was, they likely got it from him. good memory.
I was walking through a cemetery yesterday with my family, including our youngest son, who is a Special Forces candidate. One would think that is a pretty defining career move. We were noticing and commenting on the number of grave stones that referenced soldiers from the Civil War to more recent conflagrations. "Lt. Colonel, WWII" and the like... My SF son said that he wouldn't want any reference to his service on his headstone, any more than he would want "Accountant" or "Lawyer" on his headstone if he had chosen those careers... Kids got his head on straight...
For all the talk about how we ought not let our work define our selves - you really don't grasp how much that happens until you get old enough to not have to work anymore.
In our society, one of the hardest things is for a non-working retired person to HAVE an identity. That's how much "what we do" defines who we are.
I'm currently bordering on the retirement age.
In fact, the discussion I'm having with Mrs. Bulldog is that if I don't find work by the end of Feb, we may chuck it all and head south.
This, of course, means figuring out how to stay active or engaged.
Work may have defined you. I know it defined my mother. Now she is going deaf and blind and is an alcoholic. She has commented several times that she wants to work, but can't.
Part of the reason she can't work today is because her work defined her. She threw everything into what she felt was 'her calling' and when it was gone, she had nothing else and fell into depression. I had often told her, when she was younger, to expand her interests. But her entire being was wrapped up in pre-school children, running her daycare center, and babysitting. When I got married, she was nowhere to be found when it was time for me to dance with her...she was off in the hotel room with where we'd put the young kids. With a babysitter.
I'm sympathetic if work was something which someone did enjoy and threw themselves into it to the point of having almost only that to define themselves. It does become a struggle after that can no longer be a part of your life. Which is one of the reasons I wrote what I wrote - both posts.
I've hoped to make sure I don't fall into that trap - and so far, I've done a good job. I have hobbies I can engage, even after I'm finished working. I have activities I enjoy, even after I'm finished working. I did work in my industry which changed it on several occasions, including my most recent stint at the company which just released me. I took on a role that had never existed and turned it into a real 'thing' - one which other companies have had to emulate.
None of that really mattered so much to me. That was just what I did to make money to enjoy my life. I'm looking forward to what's next.
But I certainly understand what you're saying and I can see where you're coming from. I just don't think it should, or has to, be that way.
It's a nice thing to be "bordering on" something when it is in your power to shift that border one way or another.
I once knew a young woman a few years my junior that was raised in the American industrial / political aristocracy. She had known wealth all her life, never wanted for anything, and as a consequence never engaged in the struggles that are part of the banal human existence, such as provision of food and shelter. But she was a good person, trying to stay honest and true to herself.
Anyway, she was talking once about her lifestyle, which was comparatively modest. She mentioned that she wasn't a spendthrift, didn't flaunt her wealth, and in fact lived fairly frugally in comparison to her station - which was true. I noted this, but pointed out what she was missing. "Your true wealth isn't in money and you don't seem to understand that although you're living a modest lifestyle, anyone can see at a glance that you're much more wealthy than they are. You have the freedom of your time. She got very quiet. I don't think it had even occurred to her that for most everybody, this was the definition of luxury.
Most of my professional career has been spend overseas, working long stints, 7-day, 70-hour weeks for weeks, sometimes months at a time. But when I was off, I was all the way off - for roughly equivalent periods. Long periods off are a great opportunity to do fun things; I've been rehearsing my retirement all along. I've got so many active interests I can't possibly keep up. My advise is, retire now and be creative finding something new.
"I'm sympathetic if work was something which someone did enjoy and threw themselves into it to the point of having almost only that to define themselves. It does become a struggle after that can no longer be a part of your life.
You are a wise man, Bulldog. After a lifetime off satisfying work, retirement can be a difficult adjustment. Sure, you find alternative endeavors...for a while...but eventually you realize that nobody wants you any more. That's hard. I used to build nuclear power plants and launch space shuttles - two careers that are definitely not in demand these days.
I am definitely experiencing this right now.
My job search has only just begun, though I've been looking for about 2 years to get into a new position.
The reality is nobody wants the experience. Literally. I have even lowered my price point, many times, to make myself more desirable. But age is definitely a problem.
Sadly, after this summer, race is also an issue. I have had several conversations with friends who had openings and each one said they would gladly hire me, but their management is pushing to 'improve' their diversity - to the point of hiring less experienced and less reliable personnel.
One told me a story in which they offered a job to the 3rd most experienced person, only to have that person not respond for one week, and upon responding asking to remove themselves from the job consideration.
This kind of behavior tells a lot about personality and character. Diversity is important, and I've written about it several times, but character and experience are far more important than anything diversity can bring.
I'm at an age, of a gender and a race, that is not desirable today. But it's ok to call me "Boomer" in a mocking way, and it's fine to call me 'privileged' as if things have always been handed to me (yet over the last 20 years I've spent a full 2 of them unemployed).
I agree, it's distressing. But the reality is I'm just going to search for the places where I am desirable. Because they exist and I just have to find them.
Aggie points out the value of time. I am very lucky to have some which allows me to prepare and get things ready...for whatever comes.
But this is what the value of our economic system provides - more time for more people. No, not everyone. That's unfortunate. But it beats the alternative, where only politically connected and selected individuals are granted the value of time by the state while the rest of the people exist in mainly subsistence situations.
Yup. Been there done that; Feel your pain. If you're over fifty, nobody will even consider you...at least that was my experience. I sent out literally hundreds of resumes and got no replies - not even the courtesy of a rejection letter. Maybe it was the stink of working for NASA, I don't know. Thankfully, I found a job as a residential electrician for $14/hr. with zero benefits. I think the only reason the boss hired me was that I had a drivers license. Most of the other guys I worked with didn't because of a DUI. When I got laid off from that job in 2008, I sent out more resumes with - again - no replies. After six weeks of $250/wk. unemployment insurance, I finally gave up and took early Social Security. Like you said, that gave me more time to finish my house so I can't complain.