Generation X-Employed

When Generation Xers were young, Baby Boomers refused to hire them. Now that Baby Boomers’ children are in charge of hiring at tech companies, they won’t hire Gen Xers because they’re too old. No matter what they do, Gen Xers are doomed.

9 thoughts on “Generation X-Employed

  1. Ted,

    Some baby boomers were, as Douglas Coupland pointed out, some of the greediest bastards ever. “Do you think we enjoy hearing about your brand-new million-dollar home when we can barely afford to eat Kraft Dinner sandwiches in our own grimy little shoe boxes and we’re pushing thirty? A home you won in a genetic lottery, I might add, sheerly by dint of your having been born at the right time in history? You’d last about ten minutes if you were my age these days. And I have to endure pinheads like you rusting above me for the rest of my life, always grabbing the best piece of cake first and then putting a barbed-wire fence around the rest. You really make me sick.”

    Do you, seriously, think the spawn they half-heartedly raised are going to be better? They’re turning out to be even worse (which I couldn’t believe possible). Everything is being outsourced. Why? Because six kids at Harvard figured out a way to do it.

    “But wait, that’ll ruin millions of people’s lives!”
    “Well, duh, who cares? We can do it!”

    Object lesson: Don’t blow up the power plant if you want to watch television. The system’s running on steam right now, and i will probably peter out right as these bright young things arrive at the edge of 40. And it’s going to be a very hard 40 for them.

  2. Technical skills and hard work do not provide businesses with a profit anymore, so they have little value, as I found out when I graduated in ’79 from the middle of the Boomers. Those who graduated before ’74 found lots of great jobs. Then the price of oil went up by about 900%, the OPEC royals made out like bandits, and after extensive searching, the only jobs I could find were in sales, with a small draw and a big quota.

    The draw was only because I have a STEM degree, and the US government paid government contractors $20,000 to hire STEM degree holders, with the proviso that the $20,000 had to be paid back if the STEM degree holder didn’t do US government work for at least one year. The companies that hired me did ‘research’. They paid minimum wage plus $1 to people who knew nothing about algorithms or programming, but who sat typing all day long. The junk they wrote would not compile, let alone run. My job was to convince the US government to give the company at least $250,000 for such ‘programming’ and ‘research’, and I couldn’t. So, after a year and a day, I was always laid off (usually, they said I’d been RIFfed, and we all knew it was because I hadn’t met my quota).

    ‘How can I sell this junk that doesn’t even compile, let alone run?’ I asked.

    ‘It compiles and runs perfectly, and if you’ll do your job, you’ll sell it.’

    ‘Why does the output say “ERROR”?’

    ‘It doesn’t say “ERROR”, it says “Exceptional”. It says, “Exactly what you wanted, Captain”.

    Those who (often without STEM degrees, so they had no idea that what they were promising was impossible) promised designs for incredible Star Trek weapons systems that couldn’t possibly ever be built. But their proposals got gigantic government contracts, and their commission was 30%, so they ended up with multiple mansions driving Mercedes (or better).

    When Mr Rall (and the rest of the Gen-Xers) graduated, they were the ones who didn’t give him the job he deserved. And, when he couldn’t keep King Features Syndicate sales at the level they wanted (as newspapers were collapsing), they or their progeny fired him.

    I’m a Boomer, but I ain’t one of THOSE Boomers.

    Meanwhile, Mr Rall’s books are selling at the 96th percentile on Amazon. Which probably buys him a cup of latte if he’s careful with his other expenses (to make enough to live on, one must sell at least at the 99.9th percentile).

    I’m reasonably certain Mr Rall could sell out and become rich, but he refused. For which I laud him. If he’d been a tame ‘leftist’, he’d still have a fat pay cheque from the New York Times, but he wasn’t and he doesn’t. I applaud such integrity. Mr Rall says that such integrity ain’t paying the bills. But still he refuses to sell out. I wish I had his convictions. (The only reason I never sold out was than no one ever offered me any money to sell out.)

    (There is no way I could sell out. No one will pay even minimum wage for my technical skills, and I am hopeless as a salesman.)

  3. I’m technically a boomer, graduated in 1981 to 12% unemployment. My degree landed me one job lasting 3 1/2 months, another for 1 month. After that I went into sales for some of the biggest companies in the country (and some of the smallest too!). No degree needed for sales at the time. After getting fired from a number of different jobs I finally figured out that I would only be able to make it with my own business, so I did that for a number of years.
    My experience was that in general terms companies are only looking for people to follow orders, creativity is just a buzz word. If people (co-workers, superiors) sense that you are smarter than them, this will often lead to resentment and subtle hazing, or perhaps even dismissal. Many companies use various useless tests to ferret out anybody with a streak of independence, and will also typically screen out applicants with more than the minimum intelligence to do the actual work.
    I had an interview, out of boredom as much as anything (thank goodness I didn’t need the job). This was a sales job, work that I hate but am quite good at. Typical in the insurance sales business: no salary, no benefits, and have to pay $400-$600 a month out of pocket in various “fees”. Also had to pay around $800 for the fees to take various tests to get the required licenses.
    I thought work conditions were bad enough in the 1980s, but in the 2010s they seemed much worse. Long post, but my theory is that when the USSR fell apart, they started to take the gloves off and slap everybody around (no competing economic system anymore to be compared to).

    • «… but my theory is that when the USSR fell apart, they started to take the gloves off and slap everybody around (no competing economic system anymore to be compared to).» Spot on, bobster101 ; this is precisely what the ineffable Ms Thatcher meant by TINA – There Is No Alternative. But unless we come up with an alternative, our goose – and the planet’s – is cooked….


  4. This is not accurate at all. Then again, it’s Ted Rall who famously said: “Tens of millions of Americans are literally starving to death.”

    Accuracy and Rall. Not the best of friends.

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