Posted in Life, Uncategorized

Automatons and Service Industry Workers, or Machines vs. the Minimum Wage Worker

Just an idea I had, as my online school had a passage on the Luddite movement. Kind of an interesting phenomenon that occurred in the early 1800s and had to do with a backlash of the industrial revolution. These Luddites as they were called were english textile workers who felt they were being replaced by less skilled workers because of new technology. No longer did business  need their skills, when they just needed someone to help run the machine.

This got me thinking to my old job at Blockbuster. As I am sure most of you are aware, finding brick and mortar video stores is getting more and more difficult. I look at the “Redbox” that is by most drugstores, and at services like Netflix as being primarily responsible. Luckily for me, I left that job before it disappeared, but still, I have a feeling of deja vu in my current employment when I completed a shift at another branch of my bank that has a younger clientele. I spent a good portion of the day watching customers go to the ATM machine. At one point theye waited in line, despite the lobby in the bank being empty. The older people would go into the bank, and deal with actual live people. But most of the younger people preferred the machine.

Another example I have seen is the self check out lines. Sure, they are quirky and you need an employee to stand there, and oversee them, and train the customer how to use them, and get them unstuck. But what happens when people are trained to use them, and it becomes a no brainer? Like using an ATM, or a Redbox? What if the glitches are all but eliminated? Where does that retail worker go?

Sure, there are workers somewhere that are employed to help build these machines. Although machine building itself is becoming increasingly automated, still someone has to make the molds to make the parts, assembly line workers need to put them together right?

Back to the Luddites then. These assembly line workers, what kind of skill do they really need? What kind of wages can a corporation get away with paying them? Are people with this skill set hard to find, or replace? I would argue no, they aren’t. Which is why companies outsource this type of work to countries where there is either no minimum wage, or the wage is much lower than the U.S. These jobs do disappear from here, and the service jobs, do become rarer.

Someday everyone will be comfortable with the ATM, which is now envelope free and can do everything from print statements, to email your balance to you. The next generation will have to figure out another way to make a living as a lot of these jobs will be gone, and the basic factory jobs will be elsewhere.

This all reminds me of one thing, which does give me some hope. There is a scene in the Fifth Element, where the main villain breaks something, and all these little robots come out to clean up the mess. he is making the argument that he is creating life out of destruction, and that he is creating more jobs by using these machines in the end. But, when he chokes on a piece of fruit, the priest points out, “Where is the robot to pat you on the back?”  As long as we still need people, all hope is not lost.

Posted in Uncategorized

We’ll Get There When We Get There…or Why Patience is Everything

Because I love using cliches as examples because most of them many of us have heard some time or another, here goes another one: Patience is a Virtue. I have heard that one as a kid, and have used it on my kid numerous times. Not sure I ever fully learn the lesson, but saying it seems to help.

None of us likes to wait for anything. Waiting in the grocery store, the bank, drugstore, post office, in traffic. We all end up in the “waiting place.” Like the waiting place in the Dr. Seuss book of wisdom, “Oh the Places You’ll Go,” we all end up sometimes waiting to get unstuck. Like the book says, waiting for the phone to ring, waiting for our time to come, moment to shine, just waiting for something to happen.

Patience is more than waiting. Patience is being able to bide your time constructively. It isn’t waiting. It is being content with things as they are right now. It is taking the moment to breathe and think to yourself, “Man, I hate waiting to pick up my prescription, but the sun is shining outside, and I don’t have a terminal illness. I will eventually reach the front of the line and pay the money and get my pills and be on my way.”

Patience is acceptance. Patience is realizing that right now things are out of your control. That getting emotional will not solve anything, and will not make you reach your objective faster. Look for opportunities instead of problems. Waiting in line at the grocery store? Maybe the person in front of you is also bored and would welcome a conversation. Take the time to look at the tabloids and realize how silly they are. Think about all the things you are grateful for in your life, and what your life would be like if you couldn’t afford groceries.

The moral of the story is don’t waste your time, use your time wisely, but accept when you are temporarily out of control and use that mental energy to look within instead of lashing out. Remember, there is no fire. Sometimes good things do come for those who are willing to wait, as long as they are also being constructive and positive.

Happy Easter everyone, by the way, and don’t eat too much chocolate! 🙂

Posted in Uncategorized

To Self Publish or Not to Self Publish?

Not sure what the pros and cons are in either, although once initial rights have been sold I would imagine it would be difficult to resell them for much. I had to learn the hard way that putting work on the internet is the same as self publishing for free, so I have had to make a lot of writing private or restricted just to protect the rights in case I wanted to sell them.

However, as far as my novel is concerned, it is currently unpublishable, but if I were to fix it up, which path should I take? These days if you want someone like Tor to publish your work you need an agent, which I don’t currently have. But, putting all that aside, which would you do, and why? Just curious what other more knowledgeable people might think. I have published a couple short stories in college lit journals, but the rewards were getting in print, and in one case, getting a flower. Don’t know what happened to that flower…poor thing, that doesn’t bode well. Thoughts? Which direction should I focus on? 🙂