"another" and "better" career alternative?.....

John Jacobson johnjac at nospam.xnet.com
Tue Jan 9 22:51:09 EST 2001

I don't get your point. Of course there are plenty of good-paying business
opportunities and jobs for people who don't have PhD's. Why *shouldn't* that
be the case? Wages and compensation are not simple linear functions of

"Arthur Sowers" <arthures at magpage.com> wrote in message
news:93e884$mka$0 at
> On mainly sci.research.careers I have, over the last couple of years
> occassionally posted information about jobs/careers that are: i) low
> tech,, ii) blue collar, iii) etc., that pay as well, and sometimes more,
> and require less formal education and credentials than sci-engineering
> jobs and have more long term job security and more immunity to
> age-discrimination.
> For those who don't know me, I am a 57 year-old, formerly grant funded
> ex-research professor who lost his career in 1995-6 throught the "grant
> lottery" where funding is dependent more on what is trendy than what is
> competant reserch.
> Here is another one: small company movers. Yes, as in moving furniture,
> belongings, etc., from one house to another. We just had a load of
> belongings moved from our old house to our new house and I asked a lot of
> questions about the business. Here is the lowdown:
> The company is made up of essentially two guys (the owner/manager and his
> "sidekick"). There is a wife or sister who answers the phone on weekdays
> and sets up some scheduling. They own a truck with a 22 foot box, and the
> truck is a six wheel job that can carry about  8,000 lbs. The
> owner/manager has been in this business for 19 years and in response to my
> question, not complaining about anything. The sidekick has been doing this
> for 9 years and in response to my question is not looking for anything
> better in the line of work.
> Our "move" took them just under 2 hours to load, about 2 hours road time
> from old house to new house, about 2-3 hourse to unload. Total bill: $750.
> The main overhead is the truck. The guy uses about $7,000 in diesel fuel
> per year, and puts in about $8,000 in maintenance on the truck. They are
> working continuously 6 days per week. The owner/manager, a quite
> intelligent and articulate guy (I did not ask if he had a PhD in
> anything), bids low on jobs and gets most of the jobs he bids on. Assuming
> the truck is working 265 days per year, then his primary overhead is about
> $50 per day for the truck (cf. Uhaul rates for a medium sized truck which
> would be a daily fee plus per mile fees that might run up to maybe $100+
> but surely not over $200 for a run such as ours). This leaves, basically,
> $750 minus $100, or 650 per two guys, or basically $325 each for a basic
> day of sweatwork that is roughly eight hours in length. I think most of
> the guys on this NG should be able to do a rough back-of-the-envelope per
> hour estimate of what these guys might be getting on an hourly basis. They
> surely make a little less because they are paying the girl back in the
> office (at someone's home) something to answer the phone, pay for adverts
> in the local yellow pages (a few hundred per year), and pay for business
> cards, and maybe payments on the truck (such trucks, if you buy one
> outright can be from $50K, used, to $100K new, but you could rent/lease
> one for roughly $100 per day, too).
> A United Van Lines rep came out to bid on the same exact job and gave us
> an estimate for, believe it or not, $1700, and gave us the exact same
> "time and effort" estimate for doing the job. UVL surely has more overhead
> costs to pay for national advertizing, pay for some overpaid and
> underperforming CEO/executives and their entourage, and high rent district
> office building wherever they have their national headquarters.
> One last item: we packed all boxes ourselves. They just loaded &
> unloaded. The bulky heavy furniture, including washer, dryer,
> refrigerators, etc., they carried onto truck and wrapped in mover's
> quilts. The local guys were very good, very professional. I did a lot of
> schmoozing with the owner/operator and when I asked where he lived, he
> gave a community of mid range housing where I know the houses are in the
> 300K-400K price range and this is not a high rent district area of the
> country like Silicon Valley. So, I'd say the guy is doing fairly well and
> certainly better than many PhDs (and laid-off programmers, engineers, and
> others that, when they reach an age of 40 or so, start having trouble
> finding new work AND are exposed to company/economy induced layoffs).
> The owner/manager also told me that he previoulsly worked as the
> "sidekick" in another small company situated about 20-30 miles away and
> then split off on his own many years ago and he sees, and has seen in the
> past, nothing but growth ahead in this business. He never gave any
> indications of worrys or concerns about crap, politics, concerns, etc., in
> his line of business.
>   Arthur E. Sowers, PhD
>   -----------------------------------------
>   | Science career information website:   |
>   | http://www.magpage.com/~arthures      |
>   -----------------------------------------

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