June 29th, 2005

Brad @ Burning Man

Phone Post:

VoicePost
765K 3:40
“You've heard me hype the posters at www.despair.com? Take a look at their poster entitled "Fear" - it's my current desktop backdrop. I'm just saying.

I really don't feel like there's a lesson for the rest of you to learn from my hard times, unless this one isn't obvious to you: there are a whole lot of potentially productive adults in this country, certainly more than a million of them, that employers will only hire if the economy gets SO good that they're desperate to find someone to hire. If they can possibly get by without identifiable minorities, the borderline mentally ill and developmentally disabled, and convicts who've done their time, and probably others I'm not thinking of right now, then they'd rather do without. If they can't do without, they'll only hire people like me if they are SO desperate for my skills that they can't even find them by offshoring to India or whatever.

I'm not even sure that they're wrong. When it comes to hiring identifiable minorities, lets face it, given how widespread bigotry still is it takes constant effort by managers to keep expressions of religious or ethnic bigotry below the legally actionable level. It also requires that otherwise hard-working bigots divert some large part of their mental effort and working day to controlling their expressions of bigotry. That's a big drain on productivity; I've seen that with my own eyes. And people who've been in prison, people with developmental disabilities, and people with borderline, even treatable mental illness creep out a lot of otherwise productive normal people. They don't like working around "those kind of people," it makes them uncomfortable, so that's some kind of a drag on productivity, too.

Right now, America only has two "defensible value propositions:" our creative people are more creative, and our productive people are more productive. We have to get enough advantage out of that to make up for the fact that our cost of living, our health care expenses, and our past government obligations from the Cold War and the War on Terror are triple what anybody else's are, and therefore so are our wages. So American business depends on its hardest-driving workers thinking about nothing but their specific job for 100 hours a week, and concentrating on working their fastest during the 50, 60, or whatever hours a week they're actually on their job or working from their cars without pay via cellphone.

So if they think, as I think that they do, that people like me, and like lots of you who read this, are sand in the gears of the American economy, are part of what's dragging the rest of the country down towards a 3rd world standard of living or worse, well, I wish I were sure that they were wrong.

P.S.: Remember that it might be days or weeks before I even find out if you're replying to any of these phone posts, and potentially longer than that for any emails; don't feel snubbed if it takes me a while to respond to you. That's the really frustrating thing for me. I'm not what the Ferret calls a "comment whore," but I do like getting feedback from y'all; I check my email for replies to my posts several times a day, when I have email. Not being able to do so feels like shouting down a well.”

Transcribed by: bradhicks