Morning Ed: Labor {2017.05.31.W}

I get what O’Neill is saying here, but internships aren’t unfair to the interns as much as they are unfair to the people who can’t afford to do internships.

Meet the women who will play Overwatch with you and give you tips… for a price. Also, women who will be your bridesmaid for a while.

Google wants to help people find work. It’s unlikely, but I could see something like this solving a whole lot of problems.

Walter Vaninini wishes we’d stop saying coding is fun. It can be! But he’s right, that it’s not something that should really be sold as such.

The notion that managers’ overestimate how long these will take is simply astonishing to me. Naturally, it matters when they’re pondering hourly wage or salary.

Adam Ozimek is skeptical of everybody works programs. Some of them are just kinks to be worked out, but if you’re all hot-and-bothered about the government supplementing the minimum wage and the incentives that produces, this could be a nightmare for you.

I keep reading articles like this, and but also articles that gigging isn’t much more common than it used to it, if at all. Even so, tying so much to the employers’ doorstep may not be the way to go. st kilda hotels will be the place to visit if you’re looking a perfect hotel for your stay.

A floating hotel that’s giving long-term unemployed valuable employment experience.


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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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36 thoughts on “Morning Ed: Labor {2017.05.31.W}

  1. That Spectator article is grating in the way that it seems more occupied with signalling its disapproval of spoiled millennials and smug Labour-ites, but banning unpaid internships is dumb. This is what happens when you make a stubborn insistence on not understanding markets one of the hallmarks of your political identity. I want to say that it’s like treating a symptom, but it’s not even treating the symptom. It’s literally banning the symptom.

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    • The Adam Ozimek posts critiquing the “everybody works” idea links to what I presume is the original proposal, which is on the Center for American Progress web site. And that proposal essentially says that the government ought to take the very progressive step of guaranteeing high paying jobs for folks in economically depressed parts of the country so that those folks will stop voting against progressive candidates.

      And it’s filled with gems like this:

      We do not yet know the exact reasons for the drop in turnout among young people and black voters.

      Nope, can’t think of any reasons why black folks and young folks didn’t turn out for Hillary in the same numbers that they turned out for Obama. It’s a real mystery.

      When you try to hold onto your priors, even after your priors prove faulty, you end up backwards rationalizing yourself into all sorts of dumb ideas. Call me a cosmo-tarian, neoliberal gloabalist elitist – which I am – but I just don’t think that the best way to fight populism is with more populism.

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  2. Re the “managers” overestimating — note that these were not actual managers, they were random participants that were assigned to the role of “manager” (actually the original study calls them “judges”). Also, they didn’t have to have any particular experience with jigsaw puzzles to be put in that role. So basically this is saying that random people who have no previous experience with a certain task are bad at estimating how long it will take someone else to do. At most, this would suggest that there’s a baseline tendency to overestimate completion times in the absence of any experience — but to provide one datapoint against, that’s contrary to my experience in the software world, where people with no software background consistently underestimate LOE.

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  3. Interns: I rolled my eyes at the “slavery” quote, and I agree with the author on that point. That’s bogus. Now, if they’d couched that in libertarian/anarchist rationale, I’d have agree, but they are using their argument to get paid, not argue a political reality. I’ve had an intern, and I put him to work like any contractor or employee. I WORKED that kid…and he was outstanding. The only thing he lacked was confidence in speaking, but at 18, what do you expect?

    Ah, pocket healing. The memories. But that was a game a long time ago. I actually played a MMORPG with boys, and a few men, and girls. One of the girls was HAWT, and she was a good in game friend that I miss, but anyway… As long as this is a business relationship, I don’t see why anyone’s bitching. Many a time, I’ve logged into my old MMORPG and no one in the guild was on (they all being in euroland) so I was alone. Would have been nice to drop a fiver on a companion to do something rather than just run a daily and relog another too and wash and repeat. Maybe even a little bit of harmless flirting :)

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  4. I couldn’t do an internship in college because I was married with pets & we both had jobs we liked (that wouldn’t wait for us to come back). I knew others who were also unable to take internships unless something local became available. Being unable to take an internship was rarely about the lack of pay, but it did give a huge leg up for those who could, especially if they could do it more than once.

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  5. Google jobs: how has this not been a feature before now?

    Coding fun: I wouldn’t say it’s fun, but if you get good at it, it can be supremely satisfying.

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    • Oscar,
      Emergent behavior is always fun. We do have AIs with the ability to answer complex questions creatively, and to ask questions of us in novel and interesting ways. Also to write jokes (okay, so those are often incomprehensible), and engage in deceit.

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    • Math is fun. Coding can be fun, when you can produce something as elegant as math. Often real-world prssures limit this.

      On the other hand, I ship. That’s what they pay me for.

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      • This. There are a lot of things that are fun to do from time to time but much less fun when you’re doing them for a living. In fact, that’s most things. It takes a different mindset to do a hobby than it does to do it 10 hours a day with consequences for screwing up.

        See also: doing your own car repair, growing vegetables, painting your house, cooking, gluing the eyes on dolls, and just about any other hobby that people also do for work.

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      • Math is fun for some. Many people would see writing appeals as boring but when I’m given a lot of juicy material in a bad decision, I really enjoy myself explaining to the Board of Immigration Appeals or the Administrative Appeals Office why the Immigration Judge or the ISO was wrong. Sometimes I can even put in some real big insults. Its even more joyous when you win.

        My take on the coding article is that there people who go into a given job because they are called for it. I kind of always knew I’d end up a lawyer, it just feels right for me as a job and those that end up in job because they needed a job. The latter isn’t going to feel any particular passion, at least not initially, and might find something tedious and boring that somebody called to the job finds fun.

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      • Coding is fun when I am writing something I find interesting. If I am developing to spec, but the the problem the tool is meant to solve doesn’t pique my interest, then it’s just work.

        Very satisfying work (a problem solved is still a problem solved), just not “fun” overall.

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    • “Google jobs: how has this not been a feature before now?”

      Google already had Google For Jobs, it was called “Google”.

      That Google search has gotten so bad at providing results Google needs to make a whole separate search engine for the sole purpose of finding specific forms of content is…interesting, as is the fact that they feel compelled to present this as a value-added service rather than an admission that their core business function is failing.

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  6. Professional bridesmaid: Let’s not miss the big picture here: who should play her in the rom-com? I don’t know who does such things currently. For my generation the question is between Meg Ryan, Julia Roberts, and Sandra Bullock. I am going to go with Sandra Bullock, as I think of her as the best of the three at physical comedy, and I see a scene where she is sewing a rip in the bride’s dress while the ceremony is in progress, while her boobs are duct-taped.

    Better yet, I’ll go with the young Audrey Hepburn, because I would pretty much always go with the young Audrey Hepburn.

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  7. Re: Brandon O’Neill’s article on interns:

    Nothing better sums up middle-class millennials’ sense of entitlement than their demand that they be paid for interning.

    Yup, nothing says “entitlement” like wanting to be paid for labor.

    They’re the ones who have to think creatively and deploy their management skills to the end of organising the intern’s work life and ensuring he or she picks up some knowledge

    Unlike supervising paid employees, which is trivially easy and doesn’t take any appreciable time or effort out of a manager’s day.

    Maybe there’s a good argument that unpaid internships are really great and important and fair, but after reading this garbage, I think we should ban them just to piss O’Neill off.

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    • Many internships also use their interns to do trivial tasks rather than teaching them what they promised. With the old apprenticeships, the Master was supposed to provide room and board and teach you the skills. The apprentice could sue if the terms were violated. Interns have no such Right.

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      • Like, how ‘old’ are you saying with apprenticeships? My understanding of medieval guilds is only high school history deep, but that understanding is that they were hella exploitative and rather pyramid schemey, because the whole system was one giant non-compete clause.

        (my understanding of more modern trade apprenticeships is that they do get paid, a reduced ‘training wage’ which may or may not be subject to usual labor wage laws. But I think you probably know more about that then me)

        (for the record, I’m very against unpaid internships. Heck, even in the military you get paid – almost always your regular salary – during every minute of school and training you go through)

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          • Ben Franklin learned to be a printer through an apprenticeship. Of course he ran away before his apprenticeship was over. Oh, and he was apprenticed to his brother. In other words: the Good Old Days.

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    • It seems to me like the fairness of unpaid internships all boils down to whether the training the intern receives (which must happen in order for an unpaid internship to be legal) is actually useful training rather than some bait-and-switch slave labor scam. If it’s useful training, that’s great. It’s basically the same set of problems we have with college: It’s a beneficial financial sacrifice and not everybody can afford it.

      But I’ve seen quite a few bait-and-switch slave labor scams. Getting coffee and cleaning up the office is not meaningful training for any job.

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  8. I keep reading articles like this, and but also articles that gigging isn’t much more common than it used to it, if at all.

    The media like to feel like what they do actually matters, so they’re constantly creating crises they can crusade against. As for the specific bill being proposed, some of it seems like a problem that’s already solved. We already have portable health insurance. I’m pretty sure there’s also individual disability insurance. If there’s a problem here, it’s a problem government created by privileging employer-provided plans with tax deductibility. I’d prefer that that be eliminated, but because Murphy’s Law applies to policy as well, the more likely way this will be resolved is to make individual insurance tax-deductible.

    You can also save for retirement independently as well, although the limits of what can be tax-deferred are much higher with a 401(k) than with an IRA. In this case, I’d prefer that tax deferral be extended to all savings. The government’s current war on savings and investment is insane.

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    • Hell, I paused at the whole “let’s create a fund for these things that people pay into”. We have a fund like that, called social security, and that’s a whole lot of mess.

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    • Brandon,
      I like earning money and having the government not tax it at all! 0% tax rate!
      Who wouldn’t like that???
      But, seriously, we REALLY REALLY should be asking guvmint to tax investment at the same or higher rate than “actual real work.”

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      • Investment income should be taxed at the same rate as any other income, when it’s consumed. The problem with the way income is taxed now is that it’s taxed first when you earn it as wage income, and then again every time you receive a dividend or sell an asset for a profit. This compounds in a way that privileges immediate consumption over future consumption.

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        • Brandon,
          I don’t think that’s a PROBLEM. I think that’s a solution.
          We want growth, but you don’t get growth without people spending money. If all they do is invest, the money just sits around.

          And this privileges “keeping your money in something for a while” rather than daytrading (I’m not arguing for nixing that distinction).

          I’m against sales taxes as they’re really, really regressive and hurt the poor a LOT.

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    • You can also save for retirement independently as well, although the limits of what can be tax-deferred are much higher with a 401(k) than with an IRA.

      The sheer number of different savings options that perform basically the same function but differ wildly in the details has never made sense to me. It’s one of many crazy things about our retirement savings incentives, but it’s particularly crazy. The only reason I can think of for it is to create as many different types of tax loopholes as humanly possible.

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  9. Internships: Again, there is a bit of counter-intuitive issues in internships. From what I’ve read unpaid internships are more likely to be filled by people on the lower-end of socio-economic status. The well off can get paid internships/entry level jobs because of their family connections. I was very lucky during law school that I was able to get summer gigs that paid both years (though the second year limited me to two days a week because of a slump in demand). Other people not as much and I got my gigs via connections.

    Managers and Time: My experience is that people in general are not very good at judging how long something will take. Part of this is personality because I’ve noticed that some people are just very blase about deadlines and if it gets in at the last minute, it is still in on time. Or they are willing to blow a deadline to get things right and perfected. My psychology is more about being paranoid about deadlines and perhaps sacrificing some perfection for it.

    Gigging: I think gigging is a very real generational issue though and it can also be an issue where a passionate minority (those suffering from gigging and not liking it) are likely to raise hell and be activists. Government generally responds to passionate minorities in the United States more than an apathetic majority on certain issues. Yesterday LGM had a post about a Columbia Law Professor who was suing for age discrimination. The profession makes over 400,000 dollars a year in total compensation for teaching in the Fall semester (he likes to spend spring semester abroad). The New Dean tried to get him to teach an upper-level elective instead of some light-work thing he is used to doing. A lot of the commentators on LGM found this rich because they are adjuncts just cruising by without benefits.

    You also have the problem that Silent Generation types and Boomers are not retiring like their parents did and this causes less room for advancement for many in Generation X or younger. LeeEsq theorizes that
    retirement is less attractive to these generations. Plus the younger generations tend to have more student debt, less housing purchase availability in all areas (not just the expensive ones), etc.

    So all of this is going to create an angry, vocal, and very literate cohort pushing for “what about us?” Plus young people generally are willing to say Fuck You to moralizing about thrift especially if someone is an old Economy Steve.

    Government Full Employment: I am more on the Think Progress side. There are a lot of economically depressed areas where government can provide good paying and valuable work as opposed to what has gone there before. I’d rather West Virginians be paid to clean up the environment than to just reopen all the coal mines.

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  10. Hire women to play Overwatch:

    1977: “yeah baby I love anal, let’s do it! Oh wow, you’re big.”
    2017: “yeah baby I love playing a healer, let’s do it! Oh wow, nice shot!”

    that being said I wouldn’t have a problem paying five bucks to get someone who A: actually knows how to play the game and B: is willing to stay on the payload instead of running around like a dope.

    I also wonder how many of them are actually women. Like, I am routinely confused for a woman over the phone; I’m pretty sure that if I said my name was “Xiaolii” and nicked some random cute headshot off the internet I could pull it off.

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