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Old 12-26-2012, 04:44 PM   #41
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Very interesting insights, all. I'd like to hear more perspective from the GenY crowd that are on this board.

When you got out of school, did you feel like the world was your oyster, or did you feel like the chips were stacked against you? How did your parents raise you? Did they coddle you and encourage you to pursue your dreams, or did they try to expose you to the real world and steer you into more traditionally lucrative career choices? Is this really just an entitlement/unrealistic expectations issue?
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Old 12-26-2012, 04:56 PM   #42
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Perhaps Gen X and Y need to eperience chainsaw AL's nurturing management style. Real name Albert J Dunlap.

He pretty well wrecked Sunbeam as a "savior" CEO. Then the board of directors fired him. A bit late and 200 mil or so in the hole.
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Old 12-26-2012, 05:21 PM   #43
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I'm GenY and there was a definite adjustment when I started working. I'm probably still adjusting.

My frustration is not with working hard - it's with having to work hard due to dumb/inefficient internal policies/procedures (e.g. things that are in the company's control and could be changed if management wanted to).

After several years working, I no longer see the point in wearing a suit & tie if all I am going to do is sit in my cube and do email/powerpoint/excel. Sure, if someone is meeting with customers or a VP, put a suit on. But the rest of the time, I don't get it.
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Old 12-26-2012, 05:30 PM   #44
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My frustration is not with working hard - it's with having to work hard due to dumb/inefficient internal policies/procedures (e.g. things that are in the company's control and could be changed if management wanted to).
What you describe spans every generation since Adam.
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Old 12-26-2012, 05:56 PM   #45
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I think a shorter work week would go a long way to reducing unemployment. Too many employers are working the employes they have 60 hours a week. They could have had two doing 30 and both would have had a better life. Maybe a little less money for one but a lot more than 0 for the other.
Both workers and companies could structure things this way anytime they wanted, but they haven't. Workers apparently want the money, and companies prefer to have fewer workers each working more hours. Some of this might change under the new health care law and the continuing reduction of DB retirement plans.
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Old 12-26-2012, 06:01 PM   #46
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... having to work hard due to dumb/inefficient internal policies/procedures (e.g. things that are in the company's control and could be changed if management wanted to).
A megacorp where I worked had some procedures/rituals so stupid, such that I thought that either upper management hated the workers and designed the hassle to cause the latter to quit without having to fire them, or it was part of a hazing like at college fraternities before an employee was accepted.

Good thing it is all in the past for me. But I still remember fondly my first workplace. All to the top, the management was all engineering type whose goal was simply to build the best product for our customers. We had no time for all this BS empty slogans that permeates today's megacorps. Back then, I read about how Communist China had their workers spending so much time discussing methods to improve productivity that they had no time left to actually work. Some American megacorps are doing exactly that now, while the Chinese seem to be more like Americans used to be.
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Old 12-26-2012, 06:05 PM   #47
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Perhaps Gen X and Y need to eperience chainsaw AL's nurturing management style. Real name Albert J Dunlap.

He pretty well wrecked Sunbeam as a "savior" CEO. Then the board of directors fired him. A bit late and 200 mil or so in the hole.
Ms G worked for Al in Laurel MS. He begged (her words) to go to Florida with him, they didn't call him Chain-saw Al because he carved totem poles. We went elsewhere.
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Old 12-26-2012, 10:03 PM   #48
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This idea that increased efficiency and automation would improve quality of life and allow people to work ever shorter hours and enjoy equivalent or improved quality of life has been around for 50 years. Each step up in productivity surprisingly doesn't end in more leisure, but in people striving for ever higher standards of living. Houses are larger than ever, electronics and home appliances are more capable than ever, yet we always seem to want more than we had before. If there really is a post-manufacturing economy developing (automated production delivers unlimited goods at ever lower prices and labor required) there is likely to be similar adjustment. But what isn't clear is what all the people will do for paid work to buy these things.
Productivity gains and related real wage growth over the last 50 years means today's worker could live like one lived 50 years ago, and save the surplus wages to fund their early retirement. Not exactly an easy way to reduce the hours worked each week, but it can allow one to retire earlier today than a worker 50 years ago could. In other words reduce the years working and have more leisure years not working.

I think most of today's workers tend to spend the large majority of their wages, and hence aren't able to retire significantly earlier than workers 50 years ago. Productivity growth has led to cheaper prices for many goods but this has also led to more consumption (house sizes, cars, consumer electronics).

It is a little strange that part time employment hasn't become more popular, but I guess for employers they prefer workers to work 40+ hours instead of twice as many employees working ~20 hours. Overhead costs like benefits, office space, IT, compliance, training, payroll, performance reviews etc mean there are large fixed costs per employee that probably make the economics of part time employees not pencil out vs full time employees. Can't blame businesses for wanting to do things efficiently...

Although I do know a number of workers that are part time in professional roles and still make the same per hour wage as a full time employee (often with lesser or no benefits, or prorated bennies).
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Old 12-26-2012, 11:04 PM   #49
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Productivity gains and related real wage growth over the last 50 years means today's worker could live like one lived 50 years ago, and save the surplus wages to fund their early retirement.
From the studies I've seen there is no surplus and real wage growth for the majority of americans has been flat. E.g. see the article by Mishel:

The wedges between productivity and median compensation growth | Economic Policy Institute

Most of the productivity gains have been going to the owners of capital not workers. Median compensation only went up 10% in the past 40 years. If you're a male, the median changed by a infinitesimal 0.1%.


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It is a little strange that part time employment hasn't become more popular, but I guess for employers they prefer workers to work 40+ hours instead of twice as many employees working ~20 hours. Overhead costs like benefits, office space, IT, compliance, training, payroll, performance reviews etc mean there are large fixed costs per employee that probably make the economics of part time employees not pencil out vs full time employees. Can't blame businesses for wanting to do things efficiently...
I would definitely choose part time work but unfortunately in many fields it is simply not an option.
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Old 12-26-2012, 11:56 PM   #50
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My frustration is not with working hard - it's with having to work hard due to dumb/inefficient internal policies/procedures (e.g. things that are in the company's control and could be changed if management wanted to).
After several years working, I no longer see the point in wearing a suit & tie if all I am going to do is sit in my cube and do email/powerpoint/excel. Sure, if someone is meeting with customers or a VP, put a suit on. But the rest of the time, I don't get it.
Yeah, it was much easier for the 1950s IBM employees when they could wear any color shirt they wanted (as long as it was white and came with a tie) and could sing the company song each morning as loudly as they wanted...
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Old 12-27-2012, 05:44 AM   #51
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Yeah, it was much easier for the 1950s IBM employees when they could wear any color shirt they wanted (as long as it was white and came with a tie) and could sing the company song each morning as loudly as they wanted...
You mean like the military?

Yeah, I was there - a long time ago...
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Old 12-27-2012, 08:25 AM   #52
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Perhaps Gen X and Y need to eperience chainsaw AL's nurturing management style. Real name Albert J Dunlap.

He pretty well wrecked Sunbeam as a "savior" CEO. Then the board of directors fired him. A bit late and 200 mil or so in the hole.
Chainsaw Al had his way with Scott Paper too. His payout was extremely large.
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Old 12-27-2012, 09:06 AM   #53
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Even worse, these median wages are for a workforce that has a much higher level of higher education. For non-college-educated men, wages have actually dropped fairly dramatically.

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From the studies I've seen there is no surplus and real wage growth for the majority of americans has been flat. E.g. see the article by Mishel:

The wedges between productivity and median compensation growth | Economic Policy Institute

Most of the productivity gains have been going to the owners of capital not workers. Median compensation only went up 10% in the past 40 years. If you're a male, the median changed by a infinitesimal 0.1%.
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Old 12-27-2012, 01:25 PM   #54
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What you describe spans every generation since Adam.
Yeah! +1

So, stop whinin' and straighten up your tie while you're at it...youngin!
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Old 12-27-2012, 02:40 PM   #55
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I'm GenY....

After several years working, I no longer see the point in wearing a suit & tie if all I am going to do is sit in my cube and do email/powerpoint/excel. Sure, if someone is meeting with customers or a VP, put a suit on. But the rest of the time, I don't get it.
It is especially important to look professional when you are preparing your TPS reports.
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Old 12-27-2012, 07:01 PM   #56
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You mean like the military?
Yeah, I was there - a long time ago...
As a submariner, I really enjoyed filling in the three-part harmony of Anchors Aweigh "We will... we will... nuke you..." It was always a big hit back in the engineering spaces.
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Old 12-27-2012, 08:38 PM   #57
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From the studies I've seen there is no surplus and real wage growth for the majority of americans has been flat. E.g. see the article by Mishel:

The wedges between productivity and median compensation growth | Economic Policy Institute

Most of the productivity gains have been going to the owners of capital not workers. Median compensation only went up 10% in the past 40 years. If you're a male, the median changed by a infinitesimal 0.1%.
I went straight to the Census historical real household income data (caution: it's an excel spreadsheet) and it does appear the bottom 3 quintiles didn't have a lot of gains in HH income the last 45 years or so (as far as that data went back). Each of those quintiles only saw between 12 and 20% gains in real HH income over the last 45 years. Looking at the top 2 quintiles, they both experienced much better real HH income gains (37% and 70% for 4th and 5th quintiles, respectively). I would surmise many on this board fall in the 4th and 5th quintiles and would have seen significant increases in real HH income over the last 45 years (or in households like theirs if their household hasn't existed that long).

For reference, the 4th quintile had a mean HH income of $80,080 in 2011. Around here, a household consisting of a public school teacher and a police officer or firefighter would just about break into the 4th quintile with zero years experience, and it wouldn't take long before they were solidly in the 4th quintile. Just trying to point out the 4th quintile isn't full of Phd's and MDs or those with amazing technical skills, but "average" people (and I don't mean that in a derogatory way).

So for the welfare class, the working poor or unskilled worker, they may not have seen a lot of household income growth over the last few decades. For the upper quintiles, there certainly has been decent real increases in HH income historically.

And we are currently in a slump in real HH income growth, and haven't seen much the last 10 years (in fact all quintiles but the top one saw declines in real HH income the last 10 years, and the top quintile was under 1% total growth). So yes, it isn't pretty lately, but as with many things economic, there are cycles of growth and stagnation or busts.


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I would definitely choose part time work but unfortunately in many fields it is simply not an option.
I hear you on that. It's a shame, as I wish it were an option for me. Probably won't be unless I become a self employed consultant and take the headaches that come with that.
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Old 12-28-2012, 08:35 AM   #58
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Something to keep in mind about HH income is that it doesn't adjust for the number of workers in a HH. Women entered the workforce in huge numbers during the time period you're citing.

So many of the HH's have income gains because they have two workers instead of one.

It's pretty much only the top quintile that is doing significantly better in wages/hour than they were 30 years ago.

We're doing fine productivity-wise, it has just become a winner-takes-all economy.

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I went straight to the Census historical real household income data (caution: it's an excel spreadsheet) and it does appear the bottom 3 quintiles didn't have a lot of gains in HH income the last 45 years or so (as far as that data went back). Each of those quintiles only saw between 12 and 20% gains in real HH income over the last 45 years. Looking at the top 2 quintiles, they both experienced much better real HH income gains (37% and 70% for 4th and 5th quintiles, respectively). I would surmise many on this board fall in the 4th and 5th quintiles and would have seen significant increases in real HH income over the last 45 years (or in households like theirs if their household hasn't existed that long).

For reference, the 4th quintile had a mean HH income of $80,080 in 2011. Around here, a household consisting of a public school teacher and a police officer or firefighter would just about break into the 4th quintile with zero years experience, and it wouldn't take long before they were solidly in the 4th quintile. Just trying to point out the 4th quintile isn't full of Phd's and MDs or those with amazing technical skills, but "average" people (and I don't mean that in a derogatory way).

So for the welfare class, the working poor or unskilled worker, they may not have seen a lot of household income growth over the last few decades. For the upper quintiles, there certainly has been decent real increases in HH income historically.

And we are currently in a slump in real HH income growth, and haven't seen much the last 10 years (in fact all quintiles but the top one saw declines in real HH income the last 10 years, and the top quintile was under 1% total growth). So yes, it isn't pretty lately, but as with many things economic, there are cycles of growth and stagnation or busts.




I hear you on that. It's a shame, as I wish it were an option for me. Probably won't be unless I become a self employed consultant and take the headaches that come with that.
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Old 12-28-2012, 12:36 PM   #59
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It's pretty much only the top quintile that is doing significantly better in wages/hour than they were 30 years ago.
We're doing fine productivity-wise, it has just become a winner-takes-all economy.
It's almost as if the people who have figured out a way to get rich have somehow also figured out how to keep getting richer...
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Old 12-28-2012, 01:59 PM   #60
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From the studies I've seen there is no surplus and real wage growth for the majority of americans has been flat.
That may be somewhat true, but the real cost of goods has dropped, meaning more disposable income and more leisure time, and a great opportunity to ER.

I wrote a guest post for MMM on this topic, with some citations in the footnotes at the bottom:
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/...-of-it-before/

Speaking back to the main topic as a GenY individual, there are certainly some tough obstacles for my generation, but there are also some advantages (house prices and interest rates are super low, for example). As with any generation.

Overall I think that many of the struggles come from attitude, being coddled, and a sense of entitlement. I think there are opportunities for those willing to work hard and make something happen.

Of my friends and graduating class, the ones I see succeeding and the ones not are exactly as I could have predicted when graduating. Sure, there may be a higher percent in the not successful (20% instead of 10%?) were other circumstances different, but overall my hard-working, intelligent peers are getting along, and the complainers aren't. I'd wager, for example, of we examined attendance records that there would be a strong correlation between those who didn't bother to show up many days in high school and those who can't find work now.

It's tough, so be tougher. Many though have been rescued so many times by their parents that they don't know how to persevere or deal with failure and pick themselves up.

I know it sounds callous, and certainly there are exceptions who just have had a run of bad luck. IMO though, hard work is still rewarded.

YMMV.
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