Tag: work

One Day, Two Seasons

 

Growing up on a dairy farm, the cow milking was an ever-present part of my life. It was as constant as the change from darkness to day when the sunlight spilled over the mountains which formed the backdrop to our farm. Every day it happened; the cows never had a vacation. The only thing that changed was the weather—the extremes of the region creating a dramatic contrast in the conditions of our never-ending ritual.

Winter prevailed for more than half of the year. It made milking cows in our old wooden barn an endurance contest. Each January afternoon the school bus deposited us at home, and with great determination, my sister and I would resolve to get right out to the barn. The sooner we got to it, the sooner we could be finished. But, once inside the house, it was so hard to leave. If Mama had baked cinnamon rolls, or cookies, the smell was so enticing. Even the damp, clean scent of the drying laundry, hung in the stairway, created a coziness that drew us closer to the heater and slowed the donning of our chore clothes, chilled from hanging on the porch.

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Here is something that left me unsettled. I have a 30 something Chinese female colleague that I try to make conversation with–like people do when they want to have a nice culture at work. She mostly seems like she wants to be alone in her office every second, but I persist.   I asked her […]

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An article in Wired says: The future of virtual reality is far more than just video games. Silicon Valley sees the creation of virtual worlds as the ultimate free-market solution to a political problem. In a world of increasing wealth inequality, environmental disaster, and political instability, why not sell everyone a device that whisks them away […]

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Americans Forced to Work Job Just to Put Food on Table

 

A husband and father to three children, Dan Allen has been receiving a vast array of city, state, and federal unemployment benefits since being furloughed from his job when the COVID-19 crisis struck last March. Nevertheless, Mr. Allen and millions of Americans just like him are learning the hard way that government largesse just isn’t enough. Shortly after the initial lockdown last spring, Allen decided to swallow his pride and return to work.

“I’m not proud of it. But my wife and I sat down and crunched the numbers and there was no way around it: I was going to have to begin earning again,” he said.

Policymakers in Washington are struggling to deal with a problem that has perplexed public officials since the New Deal: how to keep people from relying on work to support themselves?

Let’s Gas Up at the Gas-a-Teria!

 

Gilmore Gas-a-Teria at night 1948

In 1948, the first self-serve gas station was opened in the United States. The station was in Los Angeles, the car capital of the country, on Beverly Boulevard just past Fairfax Avenue and was operated by Gilmore Oil. Gilmore Oil was a large, local oil and gas company well known in southern California. Gilmore called these self-service stations “Gas-a-Teria’s”. The Gas-a-Teria was a massive station for the time featuring eight islands with three pumps per island. The self-serve gas saved the customer five cents per gallon and the attendants at the station were young women.

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  I came upon this story at Ann Althouse’s blog the other day. I couldn’t quite make sense of what the story was about so I looked into it a bit and found a wee bit of tyranny enabled by our extensive and bloated administrative/regulatory state. It turns out that Ben Domenech, the publisher of […]

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Quote of the Day: The Importance of Work

 

“Leisure time is only leisure time when it is earned; otherwise, leisure time devolves into soul-killing lassitude. There’s a reason so many new retirees, freed from the treadmill of work, promptly keel over on the golf course: Work fulfills us. It keeps us going.” – Ben Shapiro

Shapiro hits on one of the main reason the loss of jobs is so devastating. Even if the government were able to reimburse the wages of all of those thrown out of work, life would still be unsatisfying for many. They have not earned that leisure time. It feels wrong, and they feel marginalized. They feel unfulfilled.

Respecting Work: The Wisdom of “The Essential Craftsman”

 

There’s a story about a young man who hopes someday to be an airline pilot. Having to pursue his dream “from the ground up,” he finds himself servicing the lavatories for small jets on a private ramp. Employed by a penny-pinching manager, there’s an unresolved repair ticket on the waste pump hose. Due to this malfunction, about once a week the young man gets sprayed with a combination of “blue-juice” and human waste. One evening he comes home after work, stinking of disinfectant and poo. His bride suggests that maybe he should look for a new job. “What!” he exclaims, incredulously, “and get out of aviation?”

My Three Grodiest Jobs

 

I’ve always thought that the poor souls in Hell who are forced to wash Satan’s notoriously foul rear end surely have the worst job ever. (I’ve forgotten the Biblical citation for the passage in which these ablutions occur. You’ll have to trust me on this.) Even Satan’s most hard-hearted demons — those who are able to oversee, without breaking into tears, those poor souls who are forced to watch an endless loop of Nancy Pelosi’s speeches — feel compassion for the Rear Enders (their official job classification).

Their job is made worse because Satan is literally the boss from Hell. “You missed three dingleberries!” the Evil One would scream in that irritatingly screechy voice of his. “Use some elbow grease, minions!”

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We are in new territory. Three days ago, we had 300+ infected with Coronavirus. Today, we are well over 500 infected that we know about. Clorox wipes, hand sanitizer, and face masks of any kind are long gone from local stores. A recent trip to Dollar General had dwindling supplies of toilet paper and bleach. […]

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Working Like Elmer Fudd

 

The other night my beloved called me upstairs to the main floor of our house to show me something outside. I looked out the window to see a five-point buck deer, not ten feet away, staring back at us with curiosity. I said to my wife “If only I had a rifle, the creature would have nothing to fear from me.” I couldn’t hit a bullet with the broadside of a barn.

Not that I haven’t tried. After all, if you live in Montana hunting is practically mandatory, especially for men and boys. Hunters generally think of non-hunters as less masculine than they ought to be, and nobody wants to be labeled a sissy. So, I started hunting when I was fourteen, seeing it as more of a duty than a profitable form of recreation.

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Work is not just a paycheck retrieval system or hippie repellent.  There is actually a specific definition of work in physics, but we need to start before that. Force is not female, it is the push or pull on an object.  Gravity pulls you into your chair, toward the Earth, while the chair presses your […]

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Piercing the Clouded Veil of Thinking Caused by the Status Quo

 

“A relentless barrage of “why’s” is the best way to prepare your mind to pierce the clouded veil of thinking caused by the status quo.”– Shigeo Shingo

Shigeo Shingo was a Toyota engineer and the progenitor/guru of “Lean,” or “Sigma Six” business improvement methodology. When my spouse was in the military, Total Quality Management™ was a thing. W. Edward Deming’s TQM had allegedly made Japan an auto tech powerhouse, was doing the same for the Ford Motor Company, and had now come to a USAF base near you! (Though her boss still had a Two-Minute Manager book in her office. So last decade.)

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My career has been in “Embedded Software”. That means that I wrote software (and sometimes designed the hardware) for physical products. Eventually, if a company is to be successful, these products need to be introduced to the market (that part is the product launch)  and then sold for a profit. One company I worked for […]

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I recently read an intriguing book concerned with the exponential advances in technology and the impact thereof on human society.  The author believes that the displacement of human labor by technology is in its very early stages, and sees little limit to the process.  He is concerned with how this will affect–indeed, has already affected–the […]

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I have just discovered a writer named Sean Dietrich.  According to his website, he “is a columnist, novelist, and radio show host, known for his commentary on life in the American South.” I had never heard of him, but he is great – humorous, touching, smart. And he somehow manages to write a column – every […]

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Oren Cass joins City Journal editor Brian Anderson to discuss his new book, The Once and Future Worker: A Vision for the Renewal of Work in America.

The American worker is in crisis. Wages have stagnated for more than a generation, and reliance on welfare programs has surged. Life expectancy is falling as substance abuse and obesity rates climb. Work and its future has become a central topic for City Journal: in 2017, the magazine published its special issue, The Shape of Work to Come.

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I can’t write this anywhere publicly, although I want to, so I’ll waste it on a private thread on Ricochet. I’m self-employed, running a business that just passed its 15th anniversary last year. I provide direct services to small, medium and big business who need development, management and support for their websites. In some cases, […]

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