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Old 02-15-2017, 09:41 AM   #81
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It's part of the same trend. The majority have fewer opportunities, worse pay and stiffer global competition. What we are seeing is a big split between big winners and average players. The average players are losing out, the big winners win even bigger. Becoming a billionaire was never easier. At the same time, getting to what used to be (upper) middle class was never harder.

Academic careers are also a fine example of this. There used to be 1 to 3 PhD holders for every professor position. Now the ratio is 1 to 15, sometimes 1 to 30. Pointing at the winning candidate and saying things are better than they used to be isn't exactly the right conclusion.
This is the effect of "Winner takes all" as discussed by Taleb in his "Black Swan" books. And the winner is determined by fate and luck as much as talent and skill. It is true not just in business and commerce, but also in fashion, sports, entertainment industry, etc...

It's the main reason I always resist following the crowd. I never know what is fashionable, what is the hottest trend. I do not want to enrich the lucky top guys, and would rather support the runner ups.
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Old 02-15-2017, 09:57 AM   #82
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Academic careers are also a fine example of this. There used to be 1 to 3 PhD holders for every professor position. Now the ratio is 1 to 15, sometimes 1 to 30. Pointing at the winning candidate and saying things are better than they used to be isn't exactly the right conclusion.
Not to go too far off topic but, as in many other job markets, academia has broadly expanded its faculty with low-wage part-timers -- adjunct professors and lecturers who work in dead-end, non-tenure-track positions.

I am an adjunct professor who teaches five classes. I earn less than a pet-sitter -- The Guardian
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Old 02-15-2017, 10:04 AM   #83
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Bread? You had bread?
Shear luxury, bread. Why we had to make our sandwiches out of discarded roofing tiles.
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Old 02-15-2017, 10:05 AM   #84
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Why we had to make our sandwiches out of discarded roofing tiles.
What's a 'roof'?
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Old 02-15-2017, 10:40 AM   #85
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Agree, my daughter is a millennial and she (and many of her friends) are at least as hard working as I was. I think they are more serious and perhaps more flexible(through necessity). I am confident in the future.
+1

Prior to ER last Nov., I managed a staff of 70 or so, mostly millennial age. Contrary to the many stereotypes about this cohort, I found that not only were the vast majority of millennials hard-w*rking, flexible & conscientious, but they were also very good at problem solving (traits most managers crave in their staff). In addition, it seems we keep hearing - at least anectdotally - that millennials require almost constant positive reinforcement and praise, even if it is perceived as unearned. Again, I did not find this to be the case. And besides, who wants to spend 1/3 or more of their lives in a Dilbert-like environment where the only feedback from leadership that one receives is being treated like a mushroom?
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Old 02-15-2017, 11:47 AM   #86
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It's part of the same trend. The majority have fewer opportunities, worse pay and stiffer global competition. What we are seeing is a big split between big winners and average players. The average players are losing out, the big winners win even bigger. Becoming a billionaire was never easier. At the same time, getting to what used to be (upper) middle class was never harder.

Academic careers are also a fine example of this. There used to be 1 to 3 PhD holders for every professor position. Now the ratio is 1 to 15, sometimes 1 to 30. Pointing at the winning candidate and saying things are better than they used to be isn't exactly the right conclusion.

But that trend is for every cohort, not just millennials..... I could not get a job now paying more than I got 10 or so years ago... the market has changed... I took a big hit in 2008 when I was let go from mega... I could get a job paying about what I was earning on my last job, but the good old days are gone...

Even in sports, there is the dumbbell effect... the really talented get a big contract and the rest get crumbs since there is a salary cap... the same is happening in other careers....
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Old 02-15-2017, 12:40 PM   #87
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What's a 'roof'?
That thing that is supposed to protect you from the waist-high snow you are walking through in your living room.
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Old 02-15-2017, 01:37 PM   #88
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My son is working at least six days a week. Part time both, no benefits. One job is in his field-substitute teacher. There is supposedly a teacher shortage--nobody is hiring teachers or anyone else straight out of school.

He was a double major, as a media arts degree and education. In media arts, they won't hire you unless you have several years experience and lots of unpaid internships. He tried to find internships but none matched his interests. It's all in marketing. All the education jobs want 3 years prior experience, and substitute teaching doesn't count. So he'll either look to rural or inner city, but for personal safety reasons he won't do inner city as he is physically small. A now deceased friend was fired after 20 years as a teacher when he fought back when a student attacked him.

They shoot themselves in the foot requiring prior experience for everyone. It's just not possible.
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Old 02-15-2017, 01:43 PM   #89
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That thing that is supposed to protect you from the waist-high snow you are walking through in your living room.
You had a living room? People lived in one-room cabins.

Before people say "Eeww, how can one eat dinner in view of a toilet", let me remind them that there used to be a thing called the outhouse.
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Old 02-15-2017, 01:57 PM   #90
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You had a living room? People lived in one-room cabins.

Before people say "Eeww, how can one eat dinner in view of a toilet", let me remind them that there used to be a thing called the outhouse.
Right!

Millennials have it easy.

"Back when I was your age, I slept and ate dinner out of an outhouse without a roof that had waste(sic, ha ha) high snow in it, all while eating peanut butter, mustard, mayo, liverwurst spread on salt crackers!"
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Old 02-15-2017, 01:59 PM   #91
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OMG when did you go to college...during the Great Depression?

Because that's what my Mother said they did back then...put lots of ketchup and mustard on saltine crackers that came with the refillable bowl of soup that was all people could afford for lunch.

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I remember many "dinners" in college squeezing mustard onto saltines......
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Old 02-15-2017, 02:09 PM   #92
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Seriously, I think I am fortunate that both of my children are self-supporting now. I hope they will continue to do well in their work.

My best friend lives not too far from DC. The last time I visited, a couple of his children were having a tough time, and so was one of the boyfriends. They were raised in a solid upper-middle-class environment, went to a good state university, but jobs seemed scarce for them for some reasons.

But then, I do not really know what the real statistics are. In any age, there are always some people having a tough time relative to others.
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Old 02-15-2017, 03:48 PM   #93
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I checked my alma mater and the current price (tuition & fees only) for a semester (15 Hrs) is $7,000. When I graduated in '86, it was ~$750 and that was under the old "full time" rule where you paid for the first 12 hours but could take up to 18 for no additional cost. So, in 30 years, the price of attending a state university in my State has gone up 10 fold. I would also add that the admission's standards at my alma mater are much higher now too.

The Federal minimum wage in '86 was $3.35 and it stands at $7.25 today, so a little more than doubled. Ignoring payroll taxes, I had to work 224 hours to pay for a semester of school, whereas a student today needs to work 965 hours. That is more than four times as much, so I think that it is fair to conclude that it is much harder to work and pay your way through school now than it was 30 years ago.

With respect to the working world of then versus now, my "then" is 19 years ago when I started on my second career at my megacorp. New hires could expect a company funded 50% pension after 35 years, a 3% match in an ESOP, access to a 401k (no match), and really good health care benefits such as no drug co-pays. Retirees got company paid life insurance! New "data processing" hires were given several months of training. We did have to work a full year before we received any vacation time (had to earn it!)

Fast forward to today where new hires have no pension, just a 6% match to their 401k and much higher health care costs. And you can forget about most of those retiree benefits. FWIW I think the changes on the pension side were done because the company hated not being able to predict future costs and because incoming employees were not shopping for the best benefits package any longer. On the health care side it's purely cost driven with more and more of it being shifted to employees and I don't see any reason to expect that to slow down.

I still think that the middle class dream is attainable in America, but I do think that there are more risks now than there were 30 years ago. The 401k is still an experiment as far as I am concerned. It can work, but will it for a majority of the workforce? If we need STEM graduates, how do we make college more affordable so they don't start their careers without too much debt? Consumer spending drives our economy so I think there is a knock on effect of college graduates paying back student loans instead of buying "stuff." Shh, don't tell them about LBYM
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Old 02-15-2017, 04:18 PM   #94
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Of course, life was easier for us. When I was in college a box of Kraft Mac & Cheese was 19 cents. I ate a lot of it then, so I wouldn't ever have to eat it again.
That and Hamburger Helper. I remember one night putting my fork down mid-plate and realizing that if I ever ate one more bite of Hamburger Helper, I'd just throw up on the spot
Mac & cheese in a box? What luxury! I had to make it from scratch with elbow macaroni and ~a one-pound brick of Borden's American cheese + a bit of milk to thin it a bit. The cheese was pre-sliced and two slices were perfect for a grilled cheese sandwich.

And Hamburger Helper, wow. I could only afford Tuna Helper and ate a lot of it.
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Old 02-15-2017, 04:30 PM   #95
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You got cheese? I ate macaroni alone. And did not have heat to boil it, so ate it raw.

Just kidding of course, but I did know a guy who ate instant ramen noodle without cooking, and washed it down with Coke.

PS. He did it out of laziness rather than poverty.

PPS. And there was a guy who cooked some plain white rice, put it in a plastic bag with some soy sauce to bring to school to eat. The rice got spoiled in the 120F heat of the Southwest. He vomited in school. I was not there, but this was witnessed by my younger brother who retold the story.
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Old 02-15-2017, 04:36 PM   #96
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Something else I like about the younger employees: They don't blindly follow rules just because they are rules. They question them, and try to get them changed. They are most unimpressed (as am I) by people who tell them "that's the way it's always been, that's the word from above, so stop whining."

Something I *hated* about my workplace culture - there were rules that made no sense, nobody could explain them, they were probably from 50 years ago and no longer needed; but you were criticized if you dared to question them. Like, *why* couldn't we work through our 30-minute lunch period and go home 30 minutes early, if our work was done? Well, because of younger employees' campaigning, we finally have that privilege.

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+1

Prior to ER last Nov., I managed a staff of 70 or so, mostly millennial age. Contrary to the many stereotypes about this cohort, I found that not only were the vast majority of millennials hard-w*rking, flexible & conscientious, but they were also very good at problem solving (traits most managers crave in their staff). In addition, it seems we keep hearing - at least anectdotally - that millennials require almost constant positive reinforcement and praise, even if it is perceived as unearned. Again, I did not find this to be the case. And besides, who wants to spend 1/3 or more of their lives in a Dilbert-like environment where the only feedback from leadership that one receives is being treated like a mushroom?
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Old 02-15-2017, 04:42 PM   #97
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That thing that is supposed to protect you from the waist-high snow you are walking through in your living room.
Living room? Room?
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Old 02-15-2017, 04:58 PM   #98
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Damned Millennials, get off my lawn...
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Old 02-15-2017, 05:03 PM   #99
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Living room? Room?
OK, so now we're down to sleeping and eating plain rice, maybe with mustard on it, out in the open, next to an outhouse, while waist high snow falls. If we're lucky, maybe some plain elbo macaroni is thrown in.

Seriously, Amethyst mentions something important. Me and some other guys actually WERE the youngsters who pushed the culture about dress code at my old Megacorp. Some were not happy with us throwing away the ties. Others were glad we took the hit.

Overall, I've really enjoyed working with my millennial colleagues. I've learned a lot from them, and they've learned a few things from me. One of the only things I don't like is their inability to work early (i.e. before 10 am) hours due to watching stupid TV stuff. But you know what? I adjusted and I do my chores and exercise in the morning and drag in late too. There are actually a lot of benefits to arrange my day that way.

The biggest impediment I see at Megac*rp is that they don't like to hire them. This has been mentioned elsewhere in this thread. Mcorp can't stand a few months ramp up time. They'd rather connect with an outsource firm halfway around the world.
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Old 02-15-2017, 06:05 PM   #100
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I have a BIL who was a CEO of a few smaller businesses. He got his start working for Chevron in the 80s. He's retired now. He told me once that in his early days there was a feeling of satisfaction and pride, from the upper echelons of management, over how well the employees were doing, including their chances for a decent retirement.

He says that in the latter years of his career, that ethos simply did not exist. It was all about how many "second homes" they could amass, how many millions of dollars they could earn. There was simply no amount of money that was considered to be too much, and if they could find a way to cut the "fat" from the bottom, it would improve the bottom line for the company and make them richer. That was the motivation.
Given that mindset, it's no wonder life is hard at the bottom.
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