Tuesday, March 3, 2015


The local paper has jobs galore in the Help Wanted section, but many people claim they can't find a job!

What is interesting about our society these days is how much time and attention we pay to the whiners and losers in our society - the folks who won't get up off their ass to help themselves, but want others to do everything for them.

They don't want to get a job, or if they do, they get some shitty minimum-wage job, and then argue that the pay should be doubled for no reason at all other than they "deserve to be paid more" and that a "family of four" cannot possibly survive on such a meager salary.

But our system was not founded on the idea that a job is a right and that everyone has a right to a certain level of pay, regardless of their lack of experience, productivity, or reliability.

The funny thing is, if you look in the papers, every day, you see jobs that easily pay double or triple the minimum wage, but remain unfilled.   They run week after week, with no takers.  And these are not jobs that require a college degree.  Indeed, a college degree would be an impediment.

In our local paper (in depressed South East Georgia) there are jobs listed available every week.  These are not great paying jobs, but they easily beat working at McDonald's.   Moreover, many of them are jobs that could lead to advancement, self-employment, or even running your own business.

Few people have the basic qualifications to get these jobs - and few people want to try.

Trucking companies are big advertisers - looking for everything from dump truck drivers to OTR long-haul drivers.   The problem is, you have to have a Class-A or Class-B CDL (Commerical Driver's License) and a clean driving record.   Most kids rack up ticket after ticket driving like maniacs, and thus can never even get a job as a truck driver.

And that is too bad, too.  Even if you are not a rocket scientist, if you set aside money, you could buy your own rig and be self-employed, or even start your own trucking company (how do you think existing trucking companies got started?).   So it is not a dead-end job, but does have opportunity.

HVAC repair and installation companies always have an ad.  One promises a starting pay of $20 an hour (that's $40,000 a year, or about the median household income in the USA).  This does require you have some experience in HVAC systems.  However, you can get such training, fairly inexpensively, at your local Community College or Trade School.  Many high schools offer training in such fields (or used to, anyway).   It does require that you seek out some job skills.   But it is one instance where a college degree (2-year) directly leads to increased income in your lifetime.

Again, if you are frugal and set aside money, you can buy your own van, tools, and license, and become an independent contractor - repairing and installing HVAC systems.  You could end up owning an HVAC company.  Again, how do you think companies like that get started?  One guy with a set of manifold gages and a can of freon, that's how.  So again, this is not a dead-end job, but does provide opportunity for those who are motivated.

Welders are always in short supply.   Everything from shipyards to construction jobs requires welders.   And there are always numerous repair places that do everything from fabricating structures to welding together broken bulldozers.  Yes, it is messy and difficult work and requires a real talent (that I didn't have).   That's why it pays more than flipping burgers.

Again, if you set aside money and are smart, you could end up with your own welding truck or shop and be self-employed as a contractor.   You could even end up with your own company.  It all depends on your talent, dedication, and willingness to sacrifice to get ahead.

The list goes on and on. I am just pointing out jobs that are regularly advertised in the paper.   There are always jobs available for computer programmers, IT professionals, Engineers (of all sorts), Nurses and other medical professionals, pharmacists, etc.   The bottom line is that all of these jobs require some job skills and education and often this means studying "hard" things like math and science - at least a bit.

Where are there no jobs?  No one is hiring "office workers" at huge salaries with corner offices and no real duties.   "Manager Trainee" is just a come-on they use in the papers to get you to sell magazines door-to-door.   No one wants a Liberal Arts major who wants to "start at the top" and has no real life skills, job skills, or job experience.

Now I know the reaction from some folks already.   You think such jobs are beneath you.   Drive a truck?  Repair an air conditioner?  Weld?   Well, I never!
Well, I did.   While going through life I at least tried to do all these things, and I learned a lot about how the world works.   And sometimes, I learned skills that served me well later in life.   After wiring up three-phase industrial chillers, re-wiring a house was a snap.   And ditto for plumbing.   There isn't such a thing as a "useless job skill" in life.   You can't learn enough, over time - or work hard enough.

Many people even look down their noses at professional jobs.   "Me a Nurse?  I'm not emptying bedpans!"  For such folks, it's either brain surgeon or nothing.   And since they don't have the smarts to be a brain surgeon, they settle for nothing.

When I decided to study Engineering, my own Mother sneered at me for getting a "Trade School Education."    As I have said time and time again, career advice from parents is always suspect.

And what is sad is that still goes on today - parents advise kids to "go to college!" because they'll get an education that will lead to a "good job" in business.   I have a friend advising his kid to do just that - right now - even as Dad has been laid off from such a job for months now.   Jobs like that no longer exist.  A degree in History doesn't land you a job in business anymore - it just doesn't.

The complaints about the job market are starting to fade.   And this is not unpredictable.   When Congress finally let the extended unemployment benefits lapse, many people went back to work - but at much lower wages than before.   There are a lot of unhappy people today, who think they deserve more in wages and this may or may not be true.   I can tell you that even in the legal profession, wages are largely stagnant.

And of course, over time, as employers become more desperate to fill job slots, we will see wages increase.   Companies like Wal-Mart are announcing higher wages, which is largely moot as they have to pay more to retain good employees and attract new ones.

In fact, we could find ourselves in an stagflation cycle in the near future, as wages start to spiral upward, which in turn drives up costs, which in turn means don't spend as far, leading to higher demands for wages.

But in the meantime, there are jobs out there - even some pretty high paying jobs.    Maybe you don't qualify to work as an Anesthesiologist or a Computer Engineer.  But hell, there are lots of opportunities, even for people who never went to college - provided they are willing to learn a skill.