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

DPH kgclg15 at kg.hsanet.net
Sun Jan 14 23:05:08 EST 2001

Arthur Sowers wrote:

> On Sat, 13 Jan 2001, DPH wrote:
> > This is supposed to be competitive with sci-tech jobs?
> Read on...
> > That's $40 / hour before they start with the problems of providing for their
> > own medical coverage.
> Even with a high end health plan (say $1000 month) they would be able to
> pay for that with 3-4 days of work.

Lessee...  $40 / hr X 8 hr / day X 22 weekdays / mo = $7040 / mo.

Subtract $1000 and get $6040 a month.

Divide back by 172 hrs / mo and get $35.11 / hr.  Still better than McDonalds, for

But hey, I get 5 weeks per year vacation now that I'm ancient.  Also, I have >
1000 hrs of sick leave saved up ('cuz I neither get sick very often nor abuse it
by just "taking off sick" when I want to do something fun).  Disregarding the sick
time, take these 5 weeks out of these guy's year for a "good lifestyle" vacation
situation and they are down to, lessee...

$35.11 / hr * 47 weeks of work / yr / 52 weeks of billpaying / year = $31.73.

> Thats not bad considering what I see
> as health plan benefits (and I do medical insurance billing now for a
> livlihood, so I know what people have).

It is bad.  They're down to $31.73 before we take out for the phone answerer,
truck maintenance and maybe its installment loan payments.

>  That eats up a lot of money.  Then, people in this line
> > of work get injured a lot.  Back problems, hernias, crushing injuries, etc.
> Some people get these problems even with desk work.

Nobody around any office I'm familiar with has got a crushing injury since I've
been working in them which is over 20 years.  The only back problem I'm aware of
with people around me was this one fool back in Indianapolis that attempted to
pick up a bolder in his front yard.  Work-related hernias are unheard of.

Carpel tunnel is a whole lot easier to deal with than a bad back.  I type all day
at work and then come home and discuss everything under the sun on e-mail and
usenet and don't have the remotest symptom of a carpal tunnel problem...  But I
get a sore back when I so much as look at a hand truck... almost...

> There are hazards with
> most jobs. Carpel Tunnel for people on keyboards all the time, for
> example.
> > Age discrimination?  No, but do you want to be 60 years old and humping
> > refrigerators up and down stairs?
> The facts and statistics are out there that as people move into their 40s,
> they start facing worse and worse age discrimination and then they have no
> choice but to look at "alternative" work. Its just that they will be
> better off with this kind than tons of $7-8-9 /hr jobs.

One could always do better than humping heavy loads around.  Hell, I could go back
to repairing 2-way radios - I still got an FCC FIrst Class license.  A 40 lb.
repeater station, or police base station isn't going to give me much of a problem
to load up and take back to the shop and fix it...  Of course I'd be making a
_lot_ less money than I do now...  But I'd likely have a lot more of my health
than the particular hobby U picked... <GGG>  And, BTW, fixin't 2-way radios is an
intellectual employment.

>   Take vacation down-time out of that, and
> > sick/injured time too.  They're not going to make any money while sick or
> > recovering from injuries.
> The guys I talked to haven't had any down time. If you're going to have a
> lot of down time, you're going to be in trouble anyway. I can't help you.

Well, I believe that everyone wants a good vacation every now and then.  I want it
more often than that, and the Gov. is the place to get such a thing, so that's one
of the big reasons that I've always passed up the private industry  employment
even tho it might be 20% more money.  Money isn't everything if you don't have
time to spend it.  I've had enough time off that I can travel to SCCA Road Rallys
(see the "reply-to" field) and become the 5th highest scoring lifetime points
holder in the Sports Car Club of America's Road Rally Championship.  Stuff like
that is where the "living" takes place.  Everything else is just existing.

> > I don't see this as any sort of "good life" or financial situation that is
> > even competitive with my admittedly much-less-than-average government
> > engineering pay.
> If you have a decent govt job with job security, then stay with it.

U betcha.

> If
> your program gets terminated, then what you do will depend on what jobs
> you apply to and what the competition is.

If the program gets terminated, I'll likely go from actual computer code
generation to, maybe, testing someone else's software.  Thanks to some fairly
expensive federal laws, most of the programming work is "contracted out".  While
goverment programmers cost the project about $80 an hour, we get to pay
contractors $120 or so an hour.  Of course, the difference is the contracting
company's "profit".

>  These guys are not "doing well" when compared to  most
> > intellectual employment.
> The fact is (see my website), intellectual employment for PhDs, for
> example, a good half are _out_ of their "intellectual employment" after
> 10-20 years anyway.

OK.  Then its time for them to search for a job without mentioning the PHD.  Just
say they're good at C++ or whatever.  Still make more than the movers you

> Some may be in "desk jobs" pushing paper, etc. But not
> intellectual. There are references on my website under the "career
> halflife" essays. I hear that there is career halflife for computer
> programmers and engineers, too.

Oh, yeah, in private industry, for sure.

>  They have further problems of remaining employed for
> > 40 hours every week - it'd be a miracle if they have the jobs lined up such
> > that they can get done on one Wednesday night, then go to work for the next
> > Thursday morning with no gap in the schedule.
> They tell me they are continuously busy.

Well,  everyone wants to appear successful.  Whether its that good for them or
not, we won't likely really know without a close inspection.

> Most that we called could not
> handle us for a month at least. Certainly, if the economy tanks, a
> lot of their workload evaporates.

Same in most any private industry.

> However, if you have been reading the
> papers, there have been tons of dot-coms tanking over the last many months
> and a lot of those "intellectual jobs" are dumping people out on the
> street too (see www.fuckedcompany.com for details on high tech layoffs).

Don't need to - I believe about this.  Have been hearing it on CNN, other places.


More information about the Bioforum mailing list