U.S. Job Availability
Mike Rowe, of Dirty Jobs fame, claims that thousands of jobs are available in the US but nobody will take them. In our capitalistic country, doesn’t this demonstrate that the rate of pay needs to be increased for these same jobs?
Three responses –
1) Rainer Johnk, Degree in Political Science and an Education in life
I always laugh when people talk about immigrants taking away jobs. I own a painting company and have watched the building industry change over the last 25 years. Bottom line. There are a lot of jobs Americans will not do and there is a large percentage of Americans who are unemployable.
Where I live in the Bay Area several areas of work are almost 100% immigrants, like roofing, drywall, and to a lesser degree painting. I am down to 2 employees who have been with me for over 20 years and who earn $40 plus and it has become simply impossible to find legal residents willing to do this work. If work is dirty or physically demanding, Americans are simply not interested.
That brings me to my second point. A lot of people are unemployable. The work we do can be very dangerous. I will not employ anyone who smokes pot. I simply do not want someone on a 30 foot ladder or roof who is high. Vaping has become so prevalent among young people that it is almost impossible to find workers who are not vaping. It used to be that workers went off during lunch hour and smoked a joint. Now the number of workers with vaping pens on a job site is incredible.
Besides the drug usage, a large number of people are just not smart enough to do even the most remedial work. My friend had one of his employees scratch up every single window in a house sanding the frames. The windows were brand new and the damage wasapproaching $ 100,000 before someone noticed. If I charge $ 2000 to paint in your house and my idiot worker just spilled 5 gallons of paint on your carpet because he was too lazy to put tarps down or didn’t feel like covering your grand piano and on and on, I will not employ you.
Finally, criminal record. If I can’t trust you, I won’t hire you. People go on vacation and have me paint their house. I don’t want to have to worry that one of my employees is coming back at night and robbing my client. (I have seen it and heard about it with other contractors) I know the hide away key location for 25 or so houses in my area. I require the same amount of trust from my employees that my customers put into me.
So in conclusion.
$40 plus is not enough money for most people to do hard work. I used to have people call me for work or walk onto my job site asking for work. That has not happened in about 5 years. Yeah, so Mike Rowe is right to some degree. I wonder if his kids would ever consider picking strawberries for a summer job.
Jae Alexis Lee, Trans Woman, Technology Enthusiast, Martial Arts Instructor, long time manager
Upvoted by Ellen Wick, lives in The United States of America (2001-present)
I can’t help but be reminded of an old friend when I think about these things.
My buddy (let’s call him Rick) is the son of a welder. Rick used to tell me how much his dad wanted to make sure that his son didn’t follow in his footsteps. Rick’s dad had arrived in his 50s with joint damage and a collection of other sources of constant low grade pain that came from years spent with a torch in hand and hard physical work to be done. Oh, he made good money, but he earned that money with damage that money can’t fix.
So, here come Rick and I… He makes it through a term or two of community college, I spend 4 years to get a pile of credits that would have been a degree had the degree not failed accreditation. Both of us start making money as martial artists, fighters, bouncers… we start to accumulate our own share of damage.
Time passes, at 28, I retire. I can already feel the damage adding up. Rick had already left the ring for the factory floor.
It’s been almost 12 years since I stopped doing physical labor… as I get ready for 40, I’m in pretty good shape. I go to sleep at night pain free.
Rick… Rick is working a ‘dirty job’ in a slaughter house. He’s got back problems and knee problems and it affects how he plays with his daughter.
Rick wants to make sure that his daughter doesn’t follow in her father’s footsteps.
With all due respect to the esteemed opera singer Mike Rowe, there’s something that gets lost in conversations about salaries and the relative benefits of an education.
Part of the reason previous generations worked so hard to get their
I’m not saying that you need a degree to be successful or that I’m better off because I have a glamorous career (go spend a day with me on a call center floor sometime, what I do isn’t glamorous.)
I just want people to remember that life and career decisions, aren’t just dollars and cents equations.
I also can’t help but wonder if Mike Rowe would have the same opinion of these jobs if he’d spent the past 20 years doing blue collar labor instead of working in front of TV cameras. If he’d racked up the damage himself, or if he’d watched it pile up on friends and co-workers.
Food for thought. How much is being able to pick up your eight
Don Chapin, website originator, site-specific comment:
Having lived in California and Oregon for a number of years, I have heard a number of stories concerning labor shortages for produce and grape harvesting and they are all similar: Native-born American youth simply don’t apply for labor-intensive jobs—primarily because of the low pay scales—and when they do, they typically don’t last very long, quitting as soon as they begin to feel the resulting body aches and pains. THAT is where south-of-the-border laborers currently are so necessary for U.S. agricultural jobs… they work harder for less pay and are typically quite dependable. Therefore, tRump did our agricultural industry quite a bit of harm with his drastic immigration processes, as with anything else he directed his short attention span to.
When Central and S. America become politically and economically stable, our agricultural industries may be in trouble.
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