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Rant About the American Work Force

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posted on Aug, 14 2012 @ 11:44 PM
I am a construction project manager that has traveled this country fairly extensively working on large highway upgrade projects. I am currently working in Los Angeles on a multi-billion dollar expansion of a few freeways in Southern California.

Today, I was in a construction meeting with about 40 people in the room representing various utility and construction companies. The people at the meeting were your "go-getter" types that just wanted to get stuff done. I took a second to look around me and noticed about 30 of the people there were who I would consider an immigrant. You can tell that most of these "immigrants" have only been in the US for less than 15 years with their accents and were mostly from India and China. But, these guys are damn good at their professions and once you hear them analyze issues, you can see why they are sitting at the meeting table.

It dawned on me that this "diversity" was not specific to Los Angeles. Most places I visit across the nation are similar in that the "immigrants" were running the show for these projects. This leads to my rant.

If there was ever a real life example of how our work force and education system just are not adding up, this is it. Now, I must say that my company is very conservative. I do have to say this, most of my republican co-workers are a complete waste of paychecks. Most of them want to be a project manager not because they know what they are doing, it's more because they want to tell other people what to do and so that they can avoid having to actually work.

I think a part of this desire to want to be a project manager is a sense of entitlement. You can tell that most of these people never really put out an honest effort in school, but still feel that they have the leadership skills and know-how to take charge of large scale projects. Unfortunately, some of these people actually become project managers because they are getting promoted by others who care more for who they golf with than what is being produced in the work place.

The interesting thing is that once you are playing with the big boys, these project managers by name are weeded out very fast. In a matter of 1-2 months, it's pretty obvious who performs and who does not. The ones that do not, just get pushed aside while the real McCoys are relied on to get work done.

It's bitter sweet to see this happen because you don't want an incompetent blow-hard skunk projects and make your company look really bad, but at the same time, it's sad because this is the American work force today where technical knowledge of subjects are lacking and so to get by, people try to schmooze their way and BS their way to better positions. If this is more of a trend, I cannot fathom how our work force will be in 10-20 years.

This is just a small example illustrating the reason why other countries are eating our lunch in the global market place. We simply just have an incompetent work force that relies on BS to fake that we can actually do things.

edit on 14-8-2012 by SeekingAlpha because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 14 2012 @ 11:59 PM
Hell I work at a hotel where we offer a comfortable chair and a television in the lobby for our front desk employees (I am one of these employees)

We can't keep people here for more than a couple weeks. And the problem every time is that they can't show up for work. It's a college town and that's part of the problem but come on.

No-call/no-shows, being 3 hours late, etc. You just can't get people to come to work...even if they're doing here the same thing they'd be doing at home. It's ridiculous.

Unemployment rate my ass. In my experience you can't HAND someone a simple job and depend on them.

posted on Aug, 15 2012 @ 12:11 AM
reply to post by SeekingAlpha

I work on a construction site currently. I am part of the team that will operate the business when it is completed in the next few months We are currently purchasing case goods, etc, and hiring staff for training. A real boot strap project.

I currently share a construction trailer with the other 2 program executives and the construction management (project manager, GC, Construction Manager). Their time clock is on the other end of the trailer. Consequently, i get to hear all sorts of interesting things. The most humorous to me was the Construction Manager walking in looking resigned, telling the Project Manager, in the most defeated tone possible, "Someone on the crew went up and sh** on the roof. Im gonna have to get so and so to go clean it up before we do whatever today." The Project Manager was angered. Not disgusted or horrified, but mad.

Today, as I sat staring at a spreadsheet, one of their more stable grunts came in. He clocked out, looked at the GC (who had just drove in this morning) and said, "Well, see ya later. Today was my last day so I am gonna just go ahead and go rather than get worked twice as hard as so and so". I went down there to talk to the GC and he said, "You know what gets me? Yesterday afternoon I was sitting in Colorado eating at the table of a billionaire, going over some plans on another project. Less than 12 hours later I have a guy who, for at least 6 months refuses to bath more often than weekly, tell me why the project I work on sucks and how we all need to get a clue. I have gone into a portal, from pure elegance to an utterly lost, angst ridden soul. A whole team of them." Then he waved me off so he could finish pushing his pencil.

I have talked about it for years. I don't know what drives it, or if it is even something new. But we have a serious issue with work ethic and overall stability from my perspective.

posted on Aug, 15 2012 @ 12:15 AM
reply to post by SeekingAlpha

There is a saying within the military with regards to blowhards who don't really contribute much.

"Stay in your lane."

The military, just like the civilian workforce look for people who produce and can get things done. IE: A commanding presence.

At the moment, I work for a company part-time and make more than many full-time employees in the logistical sector on a weekly basis. I give them my all and make suggestions, some of which have been enacted, others not.

I have been offered full-time employment three times but have refused each time as the job would be entirely to stressful in my opinion, working 12 to 14 hours days. When things get stressful, I have a tendency to want to take charge...but I realize that it is not my lane. We have a individual who is a good boss overall, and that's his job.

I must add that I am also retired and am content with my life for the most part. To be truthful, I don't even need this job, but it gets me out of the house and provides a good work out as well. Why pay a gym to get in shape when there are those who will pay you?

BTW, this company I work for will not let you just punch the clock. You'd best perform, or your outta there most tick.
edit on 15-8-2012 by TDawgRex because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 15 2012 @ 12:15 AM
I was born in America in 1990. I think anyone who experienced childhood in the late 90's/2000's is faced with the psychological hurdle of getting off their butt and doing something while surrounded by an environment of increasing ease and the expectation of continuing progress.

How many times do you hear someone say "Wow, it's amazing what they can do these days."

Yeah, it's also amazing what you could do if you put your foot forward.

The dilemma is motivating people in the absence of extreme crisis. Most seem content to do just enough.

You see advertising on TV encouraging children to develop math and science skill, but these ads all carry the gentle tone of a parent who just wants the kids to be happy.

Where's the hard truth? America, you have significant advantages if you choose to utilize them. Great schools, technology, food, markets.If you don't, well, you're going to fall apart miserably.

posted on Aug, 15 2012 @ 12:19 AM
I manage many staff here at a company in Australia and now when I recruit I am very certain that I will get zero Australian ‘born and bred’ applicants.

This does not bother me as we continue to become a more multicultural society.

I have amongst my staff the most diverse range of people from all over the globe from Syria to Columbia, the Philippines to Ireland and they all work well together, they do work hard & I can see that multiculturalism can and does work.

As for people ‘bludging’, well, let them be unemployed for a while and then see how hard they work to keep the next job.


posted on Aug, 15 2012 @ 01:08 AM
Its called the Peter Principle.

People get promoted to the highest level of incompetence.

I won't even mention any names but a certain someone will be a very powerful man, and he was voted "Biggest Brown Noser" in high school. It's the way things run [to the ground] in this country.

I must hope that their are exceptions.

posted on Aug, 15 2012 @ 01:29 AM
OP I'm in a similar profession and deal with large construction firms (like Bechtel, Turner, etc.). When we have a major project, I'm sometimes surprised to see a foreign project leader in some part of the job. I think if you talk to them you may learn that in some cases they're not immigrants, they're here because these companies are HUGE and have an international presence, they draw on their overseas engineers, project leaders, construction managers, etc., to handle stateside projects (could also have to do with giving them an opportunity to learn the American system so that when they go back to their home country they can coordinate better with the firm). It's hard for a company like Bechtel or Turner to hire an Indian or Saudi engineer or manager for an overseas project and then expect them to meet American standards and our way of doing things, so they bring them over here for a period, let them get first-hand experience with our system, then send them back home. When I had gone overseas to work on a project for Turner, ALL the native engineers spoke English and had been to the States to work for the company for a period.

On the other hand, if your rant was aimed at the general mass of American workers, I'll only say, you get what you pay for. A wise man told me when you run your own company, you have to hire and fire workers until you get the right people in place. But then again, if the job is minimum wage with no benefits, you shouldn't expect much in the way of commitment. Minimum wage is half of what it was in the 70's, taking into consideration inflation.

posted on Aug, 15 2012 @ 01:36 AM
I would like to offer a few words on behalf of the defence.

Since the 1950s, a revolution in automation and information technology has been transforming the world. It has made life more prosperous and comfortable for just about everybody on earth through an enormous increase in economic production.

This revolution began in America, then spread to the rest of the world. It was accomplished by replacing manual labour with machines wherever possible, and with cheap immigrant or overseas labour when the job couldn't be done by a machine.

In the first phase, a lot of unskilled labourers in the West found themselves out of a job. Some learned new skills and found new employment. But then the next phase of automation and rationalization made the new jobs obsolete too.

Some moved from labour into service industries... only to find that, in a few short years, everything from bank teller work to telesales to accounting was being subjected to the same processes of automation and outsourcing.

By the 1990s it was happening in the developing world too.

Here is the truth. As automation, IT and other technologies bring new processes to market, any job that does not involve creativity or direct human interaction as an essential part of its description will be rendered obsolete. The overwhelming majority of the human race will be out of work. For life.

Upgrading to new skills will not help. Most people are only fitted, in truth, for manual labour and following orders. They are already adrift in a modern world that perversely insists on them thinking for themselves. These economic castaways are now being joined by the semi-skilled, the minor clerical workers, the junior managers and by all those with IQs of 100 or less. In a short while, I expect to start seeing minor technocrats in employment queues, too. Apparently, even the stockbrokers and bankers you love to hate will soon be unemployed:

As far as we are concerned, trading floors are full of mainly men wearing coloured jackets shouting at each other. They've eaten nothing but water-soluble vitamin C tablets since dawn. Some may have actually used "work hard but play hard" in conversation.

Yet we will one day look back on this archetype with something approaching nostalgia as if it were a weather-beaten ploughman slowly but steadily walking in the shadow of two placid shire-horses, whistling (the ploughman, not the horses) a tune about a love-lorn swain and a maid with the pox.

Large cuff-linky firms like Morgan Stanley intend to change the trading floor from one filled with angry waving people to much quieter ones where a few traders will be surrounded by the vzzzzmmm of large computers that trade with each other millions of times a second.

The fact is that work – an invention of the agricultural revolution – is at last becoming obsolete. Unfortunately, we modern humans largely define ourselves by our work. With that vital source of self-definition and self-respect gone from us, we are bound for a long-drawn-out, traumatic and probably deadly period of social adjustment. In fact, it has already begun – we're calling it the world economic crisis – and the OP's complaint is a symptom of it.

If much of the American workforce is now useless to its employers, it may not be the workers' fault; it may simply be because the world has changed. Have a little charity – it will be your turn next.

edit on 15/8/12 by Astyanax because: the Devil finds work for idle hands.

posted on Aug, 15 2012 @ 01:46 AM
reply to post by SeekingAlpha

I feel like you are drawing a lot of conclusions from that meeting and your co-workers. You said the other people who you felt were immigrants were from other companies, were these American companies? Is it possible that they were representing a company based in another country? If so, that company would probably send someone to America they trained, which would explain why they might have been immigrants.

As for your co-workers, we all have lazy people at our jobs. They can be found at all levels in every profession, its nothing new.

posted on Aug, 15 2012 @ 02:57 AM
reply to post by SeekingAlpha

Is it because they are "smarter" ... no
Is it because they are more "go getting" ... no
Is it because they have a better education? .... no
Is it because they are simply better than their American counterparts? .... no
Surely they it is because there are no Americans capable of doing that job? ... Hell no.

WHY then is it that companies "have to" hire immigrants? Is there something wrong with the American workforce? NO.

It's because of ONE simple reason:

Lower long term financial obligations.

Immigrants more often than not get paid less. They expect less. They don't demand benefits. They don't demand retirements. Most will work on visa's that a company can stop sponsoring resulting in them losing their job and thus the companies financial obligation. Some companies will even receive tax credits for hiring minority professionals. And because of the massive population diferences you can pick the cream of the crop from Asian countries and pay them as you would the low performing Americans.

posted on Aug, 15 2012 @ 03:14 AM
The entitlement mentality has spread through America like a common cold through a daycare.

"Work ethic" is as taboo as SAT scores at the Kardashian household.

It's embarrassing anymore to even be assocated with the likes of people who wouldn't know an honest days work if it came up and slapped them in the face.

I say let the lazy snots go hungry for a while, then they might learn a bit about humility and honest work!

edit on 15-8-2012 by beezzer because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 15 2012 @ 06:50 AM
reply to post by SeekingAlpha

The problem isn't American workers, it is Unions. Union workers are the laziest people on earth, I work and live in Indiana, every Union worker I know makes 25 plus dollars an hour, and they are worthless. Get a non union crew, and every man will be making around 15 yet their productivity is far higher.

The reason being, once your "in" it is next to impossible to get fired, and they know it. The only way to get "in" is to have buddies hook you up. Don't have family or friends in the union you are not getting a union job. This makes for lazzy people raising lazy kids that then get a union job not on skill, but because of who their daddy is. Which leads to where we are today.

I have no family or friends in the unions so I can't get in the door, so I get work based on skill not who I know. Even though I am more skilled I make less and get no benefits. My boss gets to make money by the truck load though, by paying nothing, because we have no representation, if you complain about your pay, you will be replaced by an illegal immigrant for minimum wage.

I worked drywall for about 8 years, than all the subcontracting jobs went to illegals, so I went to framing, than roofing, than siding, than masonry. My company was the largest non union masonry company in my state, with good pay. Then the owner died unexpectedly, and we were all on the bread line overnight. So I went to concrete, where as is par for the course in this state illegals eventually pushed out any high paying jobs. So now I and many others I know( some of the block masons were making 28 an hour before dan died) make nothing doing temp work, and trying to find side work.

I mostly like to subcontract, as working for someone else only gets you worked to death for crap wages, while the millionaire owner acts like he deserves to make a million a month from a 20,000 a month payroll. Lol that is just rediculous. Now either I must work for less than half to compete with illegals, or I must temp/ subcontract work, but nobody has money at the moment so subcontacting is going slow.

Which brings me to the point where I am ready to just give it up and start slanging rocks in the hood, at least it pays a livable wage. It is impossible to raise 3 American children in modern times off crap pay, it should be illegal. But they never make a law to help out a regular joe, they only make them so the millionaire can make millions more. I am not greedy, I don't want millions, I just want enough to live. I will work HARD for it also, that has never been a problem. It is the fact that employers act like I should be willing to do the same job that payed me 16 an hour when I was unskilled in highschool years of experience later for 8 dollars an hour, because an illegal immigrant will do it for 8.

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