*we put the "mmm" in communism


This is the personal blog of Tim. Here, Tim writes on anything he has enough inspiration to finish a post on. That usually ends up being matters of science, pop culture, technology, religion, and philosophy.

This blog is around nine years old, which is over a third of Tim's current age. Back in 2003, it was called "Of Tim: Tim's life - or lack thereof", and it was as bad as you might expect the blog of a freshman in high school to be. Tim hopes that his writing is a little better, these days.

Tim welcomes any input that you, the dear reader, might have. Comments are very much appreciated, especially if you have a dissenting opinion. If you'd like to learn more about Tim, you might want to see his facebook or google+.

Also: Tim is a very avid consumer of various sorts of music. You may be interested in his playlists!

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Young IT employees pose a challenge to many managers who say the Millennial generation holds employers up to unrealistic expectations and makes unreasonable demands for their services.

You may have little patience for people who demand more than they are worth; but this generation has absolutely no patience for companies unwilling to engage them at market value.

It's simple economics. If a key employee thinks that he is worth $X salary, you evaluate whether or not he's worth it. If he is, you pay it. If not worth it, you don't. That's it. These people are not quitting to go work at McDonalds, they are finding other work that pays them what they want.

The 'retention' problem is not because this generation wants the kitchen sink; it's because these companies don't have any money to buy kitchens.

Hao Wu:
How often do we here, "If you don't like your job - QUIT already!"

So we do just that, and the six and seven-figure salaries in management still feel violated.

I say f- them. Either pay more, or quit complaining about our right to leave.

I dunno...I have to say "Welcome to the real world".

We've done our young people a disservice the past few schools and society, we've taken away anything that might hurt little Timmy's self esteem.....everyone gets an award for 'trying', and everyone is taught they are all equal and will be treated that way.

Parents who work too much....have tried making up for giving their kids what they want. It leads to people coming out of this sheltered environment, and being shocked that they don't walk right into a job making the $$ their parents did....not instantly being a manager...and [shudder] having to work their way up from the bottom.

I'll generation (early X) had a great deal of this too...but, not quite as bad as it seems the youth coming into the workforce now have.

I'm not saying it is all of them...but, this attitude does seem to be rising. Unless you can start your own're gonna have to learn that there is the golden rule...whoever has the gold, makes the rules. If you wanna work and make it...well, you're gonna have to sacrifice and work hard for awhile, pay your dues as they used to say.

30-50 years ago, if you went to college, chances are your parents were blue collar people who worked their asses off to save enough money to give you that opportunity, and you probably had to work your ass off to get more money and scholarships to make it. Yeah, there were a few kids of rich parents, but they were the minority.

Now we have a LOT more people in middle-class office jobs. They don't have to pull double-shifts to get their kids into college. And their kids don't have to work their asses off for it - they can just get financial aid and student loans, WITHOUT having to join the army for 6 years. Yeah, there are still kids out there who work their asses off to get into and through school, but they're in the minority.

30 years ago most kids who graduated college were thankful they didn't have grease under their fingernails when they came home from work like their parents did. Nowadays, more of the kids who graduate college are from families who never had to worry about anything. If your parents always had enough money, why wouldn't you?

"I say f- them. Either pay more, or quit complaining about our right to leave."

There's more to it than that. Someone just out of college may say, regarding his first 2-3 jobs, "This sucks! I'm not getting the {respect | money | office | projects} I deserve! F*** this. Bye." But that person mistakenly thinks that he's getting a worse-than-standard deal. So out of ignorance, he leaves a perfectly good job, chasing the mythical perfect job.

It's that pointless churn that I think employers might reasonably be frustrated by. (Of course, those employees might find that they can do less work and get paid more by working in marketing. In that case, the employers are themselves getting a bitter dose of reality.)

They've been promised the world by well-meaning educators, parents, and public figures for most of their youthful lives.

College is your ticket out of the ghetto, means a higher income, better work conditions, more freedom, more control over your career, more respect, blah, blah, blah. It's true in a way, but the way a university education is described is often as the opposite of blue-collar work. That is to say that many kids are told (I know I was, all the way up through the end of undergrad) that I was going to college to avoid certain things:

- Being poor
- Having to get paid for what I "do" rather than what I "think"
- Being stuck in a "dead-end job"
- Having to "flip burgers," "answer phones," "make copies," or other "menial labor" work
- Low pay (this is a biggy, and you hear it over and over and over)

Well... all of these things are exactly what you confront when you finish your bachelor's degree. I know it was a tremendous shock to me after having been goaded on for years to get good grades in high school, then to go to college, then to hang in there—goaded using all of these reasons for sticking with it—only to find out that college doesn't provide you with wealth, the ability to get paid for what you think, a way to avoid dead-end jobs, having to start at the absolute entry level, or getting paid nothing for all of the above... The only way up the career ladder is to climb it, from the bottom.

It's the "all kids must go to college" culture that we have—we even direct kids away from the things they're interested in in many cases using these kinds of arguments (which are really veiled threats in a way of what consequences await them if they don't go to college) and then they graduate expecting exactly the benefits that have been used as selling points for all these years.

I can completely empathize. It took me a good five years to come to terms with the fact that I'd essentially been had and would now need to choose between going out and starting up the career ladder as if I'd just graduated high school with essentially no advantage, or going to grad school on the other hand (i.e. school for many more years and at great expense) to gain at least some measurable advantage for myself with all the hard work I'd done.

I chose the latter, but I often reflect on the fact that I could easily have chosen the former as well... there was certainly a point in my life where it could have gone either way.

In a way, what was promised probably used to be true, but not because college was such a great training ground. If only the relatively gifted went to college, say, 50 years ago, then they would probably emerge to find a creative career in a respected field waiting for them. Now that any monkey with middle class parents can bum their way through, the group of college graduates is no longer self selecting for those who are talented enough to secure the things they've been promised.

Now, I don't think this contradicts your point, but it may explain it. I think people may have mistaken the self selection in the last generation for some magical property endowed by the act of going to college. But I will contradict you enough to say that SOME new college graduates do find that those expectations are met. If you're at the top of your class, intelligent, and actually good at what you do, you're never not wanted. It may take a bit of legwork to find someone who's willing to pay for that, but they're always out there, because a lot of people are really really bad at what they do.

"If young people were going to develop responsibility, they would need to have a connection to what they're responsible for, which means giving them real power in the world, which isn't happening."

This statement captures the problem beautifully. The world will be yours one day, want it or not. And if you're a bunch of checked-out WOW playing crybabies it isn't going to be much of a world. Nobody gives anybody anything worth having in this life. You get it by earning it. And if you don't give a shit now, you certainly aren't going to give a shit when the next generation is crying that you don't do enough for them.

I advise you to get your ass off your shoulders and act responsible first. You'll become elite within your generation.


I worked for a company that was bought out a few years back. The new CEO came to visit us to "pep talk" us, telling us that we were currently number two in the marketplace and that we wouldn't settle for number two: we had to be number one.

No one was enthusiastic in the slightest, and it wasn't because we were in a new company. No, we weren't pepped by his speech because it was clear to us that there was no advantage to us other than perhaps some prestige to being number one. All we would be doing is earning him and the stockholders more money.

We're told that we have to earn our place in society, but from many of our perspectives, there really isn't anything *worth* earning. What is the very best that most of us can hope for? A middle class position in an ever poverty-increasing society due to the tremendous shift of wealth towards a small number of businessmen? A marriage where we both work long hours in order to fatten a tiny number of people's pockets, coming home so exhausted that we're barely able to tend to the children's needs and much less to each other's, so we compensate ourselves by the accumulation of possessions? Some world we've been offered. I'm not sure that it will be worse off if we're a bunch of WOW playing crybaby slackers.

I'm frustrated that despite all of human innovation and technological advancements, I have to kowtow to an alarm clock that rings at 6:30 AM. Where are the promises that technology was supposed to reduce working hours and make our lives more pleasant? No, we're forced to work harder to compete with other organizations who also suffer the same fate as our own. I think many of us have realized just how much society *has* lied to us, about college, technology, etc. and we've grown apathetic and tired of the empty promises. I'd rather be a relatively poor slacker with time to myself to do what I want and to enjoy my family than a successful developer whose time is consumed with largely meaningless pursuits and whose life is filled with possessions.

"We don't feel that we should be expected to "earn" the right to be part of the important goings on in our culture."

It should be handed to you? Some sort of divine right?

"We feel that, even if we do "earn" what rights are available, we will still be pawns in someone elses game, and we have no more love or respect for their game than they have for us, so we don't bother."

We older people feel like that too. Very few people throughout history have been able to evade that feeling.

"We consume these "opiates" because we hate the real world we live in, we see no hope of changing it, and we have given up and fled to imaginary land. In our zoned out state, we do only what we must to exist, because we are not really here."

And the inevitable result of your pathological lethargy will be the fading of America as a country of importance. Let us hope you are not all like that.

"Now, some of us haven't given up. But we still don't take jobs for employers, we become self-employeed."
This isn't different than any generation that came before you.

"None of us are interested in taking these "entry level jobs" in the hopes that we might be blessed with something better some day. We know that someday will not come."

Well, most people recognize that gaining experience makes you more valuable and more capable of starting your own business. There is no shortcut when it comes to experience. By definition, you must experience something to become experienced at it. GTA won't help you. There are no video games to put real-world business experience, real world technology experience or, ..., well, ..., real world experience into your brain.

"If young people were going to develop responsibility, they would need to have a connection to what they're responsible for, which means giving them real power in the world, which isn't happening.

If young people do develop a sense of responsibility, they are still not going to take jobs. They are going to take over."

It is every young generation's manifest destiny to take over from the older generations, eventually. But there are rites of passage. Those older guys know more than you do. They are tougher, meaner, smarter, more experienced, better talkers, better programmers, better negotiators, better strategists, etc.., than their younger colleagues. They are like this because they have been at it a lot longer. You will take over as they retire off and/or as you become experienced enough to outsmart and outcompete them. Again, there are no shortcuts.

So stop being a spoiled brat and go do the grunt work. You aren't yet up to the task of the higher profile stuff. You will know when you are up to the task, because you will take over. Until then, you are just flapping your lips. And no, you aren't worth the same amount of money as someone that has been doing the job for 20 years. In all likelihood, if you disappeared, they would hardly notice - as a green kid, the company is investing in you - you likely add very little value, so you are being payed more than they are able to extract in value from your labor. You are likely being trained, groomed and given experience in the hopes that your value will eventually increase past the point where their investment is, making you a profitable employee to have on board. If the 20 year veteran disappeared, the lights wouldn't turn on, the database would stop working, nobody would be able to get a new release out, it would start raining blood, cats and dogs would be living together and the company would go into crisis mood. But you wouldn't know about that, because you haven't experienced it...
posted by MC Froehlich at with 4 Comments
Dominate, pt. 1
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A few years prior to the release of Half-Life 2, there was an infamous source leak that lead to a long series of delays for the final release. Shortly after the leak, however, one physics professor, while looking through the code, remarked that the programmers had stumbled upon another approach to the Grand Unification Theory. The basic idea behind the GUT is that all of the forces of physics can actually be merged into one force - that ultimately every physical interaction in the world can be defined by one formula. A theory of everything. There is currently no evidence that this formula actually exists, but that's irrelevant for the topic at hand!

I am a universalist. I believe that humans are a part of a whole. I believe we've all got a lot in common, the foremost of which is that we're all human beings. I believe that as such, there are universal facts and laws that are true for every last one of us, that cannot be escaped. I believe a single model can fit every human being. A theory of everything.

"Nobody knows the age of the human race, but it is certainly old enough to know better."

#1: Humanity's flaws are timeless. The Western world may taut stories of a society with less racism, less sexism, and greater equality, but the reality is that half the world lives in utter poverty, that the wealthiest 1% own more than the poorest 50%, and that this situation is not changing for the better any time soon. We are as hurtful and hateful and selfish as we have always been - just perhaps more ignorant to reality than before.

#2: Humanity has never been happier, nor more depressed. While the Industrial Age is hailed as the saviour for much of the (Western) world's working class, I see no evidence that the Western world is, as a whole, any happier than before the divide was simply between rich and poor. The trick here is that it is impossible to gauge how happy any person is at any time. Yet, what did the poets and playwrights focus on in the Middle Ages? Love and war, politics and religion, friendship and hatred. What do our musicians sing about now? What kind of movies do we watch? Nothing has changed - we are much the same humans that we were back then. Our form of expression has changed, but that which we wish to express is in every way the same as it has always been.

#3: Humanity is in the constant pursuit of happiness, but most people will never find what they seek. I believe every person is ultimately looking for happiness, whether by money, power, love, family, enlightenment, or any combination thereof. If we could be happy shoveling sand all day and stopping occasionally to eat and reproduce, that's what we'd do. But for some reason, we can't. We always want more, no matter how unnecessary the extraneous portions are. I believe the process of seeking more simply makes us want more.

#4: No race, nation, culture, gender, or age is exempt from any of this. I believe every person is equally unhappy, and equally unsuccessful at making themselves permanently happier. This is especially important when examining culture. Many people praise other cultures for their difference in values. Consider the classic battle between independence/self-actualization versus selflessness/being part of a whole. The former is a highly Western concept, stating that you are responsible for your own happiness, that you are what you make of yourself and you are no one's bitch. If you're unhappy, it's your fault and you're simply not skilled enough to satisfy your own demands. The latter, a highly Eastern school of thought, states that fulfillment comes from serving the greater whole, that there is no greater honor than being a cog in the wheel, and that propelling others to greatness is what is truly worthwhile. I believe both result in equally unhappy populaces.

Once upon a time, a strong battle of cultures existed. Eastern cultures, especially, were highly ethnocentric, believing most (if not all) other races and cultures to be inferior, and therefore mandating domination and elimination. Globalization has toned down some of these conflicts (if only for the sake of doing good business), and in its place is the school of Relativism, that states it is not worthwhile to compare and contrast; every man knows what he needs, and if he is pursuing it, obviously that is what he needs. It states that we cannot know who is happy or unhappy, and as such, we can't say who is happier. Under Relativism, we must assume every person is perfectly happy. That is not what I am suggesting.

In my mind, nothing productive comes of the observations of Relativism, and it forgets the nature of what it is to know. Most of what we "know", we do not actually "know" - we heard it on the radio, we read it on Wikipedia, we saw it on TV. That is not knowledge, but a collection of factoids that, in the end, hold no relevance to what it means to be a human being. True knowledge comes from connecting the dots, putting the pieces together, seeing the whole picture. That is not anything that can be observed or proven. If I'm going to limit my powers of observation to everything that I can directly prove, then I may as well sit down, shut up, and accept that this world has nothing for me. No - we make thousands of choices, think thousands of thoughts every day based on what it is that we truly know, everything that we truly believe. I believe true knowledge is a matter of belief, and beliefs cannot be proven, nor disproven. What we truly know is going to trump what the reality is - if you truly believe it, it becomes a fact to us, a fact that can only be changed by altering our perception of reality.

Unfortunately, a handful of words and numbers are not what it takes to alter someone else's reality. That's why listing off a statistic like "half of the world lives on three dollars a day" does not evoke an emotional response. To allow our reality to be altered, we have to be presented with a compelling reason to change our perspective, and a viable means to change our reality accordingly. Relativism, I believe, can offer neither of those. It's a belief designed to conform. It rests on the hope that everything might be okay, but it's not willing to say one way or the other. When faced with conflict, it cannot offer a solution, because it is designed to work for anything and everything. It's like a blanket. It's comforting in times of peace and quiet, but is wholly useless when real conflict arises.

Hopefully to be continued.
posted by MC Froehlich at with 0 Comments