Okay, I’m almost back… I think the winding down process isn’t all the
way done for me yet though…  I’ve spent most of the past few
days off lazing about when I intended to jump in a do a lot more…
maybe I should try to practice  in moderation instead of forcing
myself to do things…

Thanks for your comments.

Londo:  Yeah, it’s a bit depressing when I take a trip and I can’t
buy anything for myself, but…  I guess this is a depressing
thought too…  It’s more relaxing when I keep my expectations low
instead of stressing about trying to get this and that done…  It
occured to me I had neither Chick Fil A nor Larry’s Subs while I was
down there, and I’ve usually made a point to have one or the other…

Lazarusrat:  I didn’t intend that there was anything wrong with living that way, in a certain sense, it shows focus.

Perhaps it’s dangerous to like too many different things…

vertigo_josh:  Well, sounds like you’re getting a slight break from tech, but not really a vacation…

boo_2:  I think you got the right idea…  I’ve been home a
little more than a week now, by the way…  I wrote the entries
during quiet time while I was away and posted them almost as soon as I
got back.

El_Presidente:  A comment on a comment…

I’d be lying if I didn’t say I occasionally put a face on for people,
and I don’t just mean work…  I do try my damnedest to avoid it
when I can though.

The hard thing about relationships is that while there’s an attatchment
there, I find there has to be a detatchment as well; you really have no
say over what the other party thinks and feels, so if the other
person’s attatchment to you goes away, you have to come to terms that
there’s not much you can do about it.

I’m sorry I can’t say much more to that effect without either talking out my ass or lying.

DEATH OF APPRENTICESHIP

The dream of becoming independently wealthy is a very important part of
life in the USA, the American Dream, if you will, yet it seems very few
people can acheive a state in which they owe no-one any money. 
This places a reliance on a constant flow of money that drives the
neuroses that fluctuates the world’s markets.

While sitting in the beauty school waiting where my dad gets his hair
cut, I was thumbing through a landscaping magazine, only slightly
surprised and mostly ashamed of what I was reading, that the list of
‘what is ailing our business’ of landscaping was much the same of what
I think is wrong with retail.

The two big ones that got my attention in this way- 1) Budgets cut,
forcing my company to do more with less and 2) An insufficient job
market, not short of workers, but short of workers skilled or
interested in the field.  The first is old news, but the second
got me thinking.

I only ever knew one person that was interested in making
non-contrabanned things grow, and he since has gone into
landscaping.  Nobody ever says they want to work retail. 
It’s a job you get when there’s nothing else available to you, and by
nature, this is bad.

There is a constant struggle percieved between the retail clerk and the
customer, which is completely ill-founded and wrong, and has often been
expressed in the very page you’re reading now.  There are times
when “the customer is not always right” or instances where the clerk is
a complete prick, and the reason this happens is quite simple- the
WalMart is filled with teenagers and adults who could not or did not
find work they would otherwise enjoy doing.  None of the folks in
smocks like what they are doing, and many of them don’t really know how
to do their jobs, and only learn them by necessity.

Problem number one said that we have to do more with less.  Paying
retailers more would make the job seem more attractive, but even after
massive restructuring and even if the Presidents and CEOs of retail
companies were slashed to bits, I don’t think that high-paid sales
staff are an economically plausible solution.

The real problem is that so many people need the money so badly.

I’ve already stated that no amount of free education will help some
people, because some people are simply unwiling to learn at all.

I read in the memoirs of Ian Copeland (of Frontier Booking
International, he’s the agent that gave us REM and his brother
Stewart’s band, The Police) that he found it curious that the music
industry of England was all about ‘What would be fun to do?’ and then
after something fun established itself, the question became, ‘How do we
make money off of it?’  When he came to the USA, the industry
folks were more interested in making money first, then having fun after
the money is hoarded up.

It seems like the obvious progression if you like landscaping, is that
you should apply for a simple job in landscaping, like helping to lay
sod or keeping the football fields at a schoolyard or something like
that, and you should learn from the lead groundskeepers all about how
to be a better landscaper, and so on.  This is called
apprenticeship.

Instead, it seems that you work in a WalMart out of desperation to make
sure you don’t starve to death while you attend a trade school learning
all about landscaping, hoping you can afford to incorporate when you
leave school since your application to keep the grounds at same school
was lost in a shuffle of aging drunks who need to support their habit.

People in retail ought to be people that like showing other people
wonderful things.  Instead, it’s a teenager’s first job, or an
adult’s last resort before homelessness and suicide.

“THE DIVIDING LINE”

This is paraphrased from my recent comment left to Mister_Green, but is worth repeating here.

Come springtime, in my neighborhood, my street will be filled with kids
playing soccer, my neighborhood will have teens and adults wandering
the streets, dangerously walking and running through traffic, headed to
the stores, buying and selling beer, abusing canabis and
crack-cocaine.  My neighborhood is called bad.

Not too far away, on the same spring day, a subdivision will have
almost nobody in the streets, except perhaps some ladies powerwalking
with their dogs, and the occasional brave child on a bicycle.  The
children are inside the houses playing video games, the adults drive to
the store, buying whiskey, picking up the Vicatin and Darvocet they
abuse from the pharmacy.  This neighborhood is called nice.

Just a thought.

See you next time.

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5 thoughts on “

  1. Welcome back! Indeed, I have a tech break for a few days here… I finished my mid-terms and am relaxing all weekend. Seeing as Valentine’s Day is Saturday, I figured I’d just sit home with my lovely fiancĂ© and watch a few chick flicks.I’m glad my new profession is less techy and more physical. I was getting out of shape for a while there, and now I have a bunch of students to kick me back into tournament mode. Thanks for keeping such an A grade blog!~Josh

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  2. Aye, tis a problem you missed out on Chik-fil-a and Subway, I find them to be very good restaurants even though I’ve only been to Chick-fil-a once. As far as apprenticeship and the state of affairs involving Walmart, all I can say is that I was raised to loathe work, learned to loathe authority, and by instinct hate doing what I don’t enjoy. Guess what that leaves me as far as employment? Something such as Walmart as a last resort before homelessness or suicide.

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  3. The problem is not with budget cuts nor with an insufficient number of workers, but with a lack of work ethics, integrity and true grit.  It is shameful.  Each job in society whether it is the lowest, most pitifully paid and thought of job or the most prestigious, has its place and is important.  If workers were ever taught just how important their jobs were, came to believe it, developed a work ethic and pride in themselves, then and only then would change happen.  Infinite Blessings

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  4. Well, for what it’s worth, I appreciate your writing on retail workers. In the same way that waitressing or bussing is not anyone’s favourite job, people sometimes forget this basic truth:- these people are working to live and most of the time, it’s not fun. If the general public could manage to keep that perspective in mind, there would less terrible customers and less stressed retail workers. I applaud what you wrote.
    On neighbourhoods, I agree with you mostly. One other thought on that – bad neighbourhoods feature crime in plain sight; good neighbourhoods feature crime behind closed doors. Scary but often true.
    Great post as usual And welcome home.

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  5. I didn’t think you were saying it was bad. I like being a geek. :)On one hand, I see where you’re coming from. On the other hand, I’ve known people who were absolutely made for retail or fast food, and they knew it. There were people at Wendy’s that I knew would always be working fast food, because they really did enjoy it.And I kind of agree with compassion on this, too. You don’t need to be doing the one thing that brings you joy in life to be a good worker and have a good time at it. All you really need are perspective and work ethic. A big part of the problem to me is that a lot of the people working retail, fast food, etc. really don’t need the job. There’s always another chain to go to, even for the ones that do need the money. Or at least that’s the perception. And on the perspective, yeah retail sucks, but at least it won’t give you some disease that cripples you at forty and kills you at sixty. There are much worse jobs out there, which not enough people realize. In a sense, that’s a copout, and also a surprisingly conservative perspective for me.

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