That’s not working smart, that’s just not working hard. Working smart would be doing what was needed to get promoted or a better job.
I enjoy my job while you seem to be bitter about your work experiences, so which of us has done the most bending over? Based on that whose advice do you think younger folks should follow?
I have. My parents qualified for food stamps but they never took them. Instead my dad took a second job working nights. I was smarter than everyone in high school, but certainly not in college. But I did work harder than most and in doing so was able to find a career that I truly enjoy and find fulfilling. My brother went a different route but with similar results. He joined a major company at the entry level, answering phones in customer service. He is now in upper management responsible for a multi-million dollar budget and a hundred workers. That’s my definition of “working smart”. Gaming the system to get two lunch breaks is clever, but trivial.
I find the attitude of this board troubling. It seems the new American slogan should be:
> The American Worker: We do the minimum required.
I’ve noticed that you make lots of assumptions about people with whom you interact here on TMF.
In my ‘bitterness’ - no… DUE TO my ‘bitterness’ and my focus on making sure that my goals were also ‘met’… I’ve moved from the ‘sheep’ class (who believe the lie about ‘loyalty’ ‘hard work’ ‘dependable’ etc) and am now a stock owner with no debt and the ability to do what I want with my time. I don’t have to rely on any one else, especially a JC.
And, I try to help others up the ladder to FIRE, too.
The “we” in this case is the American working class who followed Reagan en masse and have been largely voting republican ever since. But there are larger factors than simple politics shifting the American job market. As nations gain wealth there is a shift from a manufacturing to a service economy. Not surprising when labor costs are lower in poorer countries, making imports cheaper.
But American pride in workmanship hasn’t fully disappeared, we still do a lot of things better than others
Frankly, your posts on this thread drip with bitterness. It wasn’t an assumption so much as an observation.
But we do agree on one thing about achieving a happy career. One can’t be passive about it. Hard work, dependability, and competence are essential for upward mobility, but are not sufficient. One also needs initiative, a willingness to seize opportunities and just as important a desire to self-improve.
In any case, if you want evidence that a work ethic matters for upward mobility in America, all we have to do is look at immigrants.
The first striking takeaway is that, as a group, children of immigrants achieve more upward mobility than the children of U.S.-born fathers. We focus on the children of white U.S.-born fathers because the children of Black fathers tend to have lower rates of upward mobility. So, the mobility advantage that we observe for the children of immigrants would be even larger if we compared this group to the full population.
The second notable takeaway is that even children of parents from very poor countries like Nigeria and Laos outperform the children of the U.S.-born raised in similar households. The children of immigrants from Central American countries—countries like Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua that are often demonized for contributing to the “crisis” at the southern border—move up faster than the children of the U.S.-born, landing in the middle of the pack (right next to children of immigrants from Canada). Why the Children of Immigrants Get Ahead | Time
Why are children of immigrants more successful than US-born Americans? One big reason is that they work harder.
I’ve brought up before the strong decline in geographical mobility in America, which I see as indicative of US-born Americans becoming less ambitious and risk adverse. People aren’t willing to move to improve their quaility of life. The ones who are tend to be recent immigrants. America’s pride and pioneer spirit is very much dependent on immigration.
Sounds good, but I have direct insider knowledge that is almost impossible in Amazon FCs. And that’s not because Amazon is evil. It is simply a numbers game. Amazon, and similar operations, need vast numbers of worker bees and a small number of supervisors. It is mathematically impossible for the vast majority of workers starting off at the FC to have any type of career path.
As Americans we’ve been sold a bill of good that if we work hard and follow out dreams we will be rewarded. And that strategy indeed worked out for a few people. Pro athletes for example. But that strategy simply isn’t replicable for most people. Bad career advice.
It all depends on how one “follow out dreams”. The Amazon warehouse is a dead end job so one shouldn’t consider it a career option. It should be a temporary stop to fund training to get an electrician’s license or to learn how to weld or get a teaching degree or even to save up enough money to buy crypto/NFTs to become a gazillionaire. It is like driving for Uber or delivering for Doordash. These are rest stops, not the final destination.
Working hard still works to achieve the American dream, but one has to have a plan. Having a good plan is what it means to “work smart”.
Immigrants have been sold those same bill of goods and they seem to make it work. Businesses call it the “immigrant mindset” and it includes: Embracing new environments/opportunities, work hard, and dump your ego. The latter means taking whatever job needed to get to your final goal.
And here I thought I’d wrote that I was naive.
And then I woke up.
And took more direct control of my future.
We DO agree!
I stopped being passive wrt the job benefits I accepted.
And, as a side hustle, I developed/improved my financial skill set.
And, now, I’m self reliant, with a skill set in the stock market that gives me self confidence that I can continue to be self reliant.
I don’t see how that implies “bitter”.
“Bitter” implies angst, resentment, unhappiness.
While navel gazing, I don’t believe I find those emotions amongst the lint.
Thanks for pointing out your interpretation, though. Being aware of how others interpret ones words, actions, writings can be useful.
Edit: I gpt’d “bitter person”. One description said bitter people do not trust others.
That’s true about me.
But, this has been true about me for as long as I can remember. I strongly identify with Reagan’s “Trust but Verify” quote.
10 years ago, I did one of those online “personality” tests, which revealed that I don’t trust easily. So, with me, distrust is a personality trait.
That’s another assumption that @btresist makes.
That isn’t true.
We, this board, are a diverse group, and we can’t all be forced into bt’s square peg round hole POV.
I retired cause I could. And that was a major goal for me.
I worked smart, which wasn’t hard. My bosses were happy enough that they kept me.
Like @mschmit I enjoyed my job, and my coworkers . I felt BLESSED! A lot.
But it didn’t define me.
I’m better defined by “retired”.
I think bt is arguing a different topic than I’m arguing. Ie, we are talking past each other.
bt seems to be arguing from a societal POV, that having lots of sheeple placidly accepting the crumbs of the JCs, is a societal benefit.
Ex communism ala Russia, China.
I’m arguing from a personal POV, ie capitalism, demanding fair pay and enough of the pie to be self sufficient, is a personal benefit.
Because I’m self sufficient, I’m not sucking up welfare, SNAP, rent assistance, etc services.
And, I pay more for Medicare (irmaa) cause my income exceeds the thresholds. 85% of my SS will be taxed cause my income exceeds the thresholds.
Is my way also a societal “benefit”?
My first job near DC was working for a beltway bandit. If you were hired for a specific contract, you weren’t allowed to work for another contract. Them’s the rules.
Most of the time we had enough work to stay busy, but occasionally we hit a dry period where we had to come to work and pretend to be busy. That was so boring! I tried “practicing typing” by writing outlandishly poor fiction for a week or so.
Anyhow, I don’t think I could stand a job where I literally don’t have enough to do. (At a company I worked at in New York a “receptionist” walked out after a day and a half because she didn’t have enough to do.) The hardest thing about retiring was figuring out what seemed worth doing each day. Of course, now I’m completely over that and I’m capable of doing all sorts of entertaining but useless thing.
I think you are misrepresenting my POV. I believe in the American Dream. I believe that most American workers work hard and these are not “sheeple”. I believe that working hard and being dependable are important character traits that facilitate economic success, and I used the relative success of immigrants as proof of this.
You and others applaud the Amazon worker in the OP who gamed the system to get a lot more breaks. I don’t. I see him as analogous to the smart student who does the minimum to pass a class with a C. There is nothing unethical or immoral about this and I don’t condemn these folks. I just don’t admire that behavior and wouldn’t hire them if I ran a company.
You go further to say stuff like my POV is equivalent to telling young folks “that they should lube up and willingly BOHIC” while suggesting that workers who are loyal, hard working, and dependable are like a farm animal ("…I’ve moved from the ‘sheep’ class (who believe the lie about ‘loyalty’ ‘hard work’ ‘dependable’ etc)…"). Yet you claim you aren’t bitter about your experiences working for JCs. Whatever.
Interesting perspective, but not mine. I am simply arguing that a good work ethic is important for economic success with once again the performance of immigrants the proof of concept. You are the only one talking about “sheeple”, “JCs”, and “societal benefit”.
Which is admirable. But if your self sufficiency comes from investing in JCs who you believe are exploiting workers then there may be a bit of cognitive dissonance going on here.
Since retiring, I have found my capacity for reading, learning, and discussing, is nearly infinite, and much more rewarding that being in an office all day, every day, peeing away my life doing what the “JCs” deem important to them.
Yes, a good work ethic will generally keep you from being poor. But I don’t equate “not poor” with “economic success”.
True economic success (i.e. being somewhere above, say, the 70th percentile on income), involves more than hard work. Frankly, it usually involves some combination of luck and knowing the right people. It definitely takes a willingness to constantly look for better opportunities, and an insistence on getting adequate compensation for the work done.
There are an awful lot of people who work hard at jobs that simply don’t reward them appropriately for the work done. But getting out of that kind of situation means taking risks. You might have to risk quitting before knowing exactly where you are going to find a new job. You might have to risk starting your own business.
In short, I’m very leery of any argument that attributes success to a single trait, especially when its pretty obvious that there are additional things at work.
People are incentivized by many things. People are also given jobs with very few incentives. To think those folks owe us a day’s work is odd. Then we owe them a day’s pay. But that is where it gets odder. The decision-makers shafted the American means of production. There is not the wealth in this country to do what needs to be done. That now is changing but the same sociopaths want to stop that change. The lying users. Some will dress that up as a work ethic. Ask them to do the same jobs and they will decline.
The drunks at the bar where I live like to criticize the waitress. The drunks can not get off their barstools in a steady way. The stockbroker is the worst offender coming in at over 300 pounds. He wants to see an old-fashioned work ethic come back. He frequents five bars per week several per day in an effort to find new clients.
If someone has to say others need a work ethic…I highly question the person saying it has a work ethic. This is the internet where all the guys have ten million dollars in the bank.
It is a long thread but if you take the time to read it you will see that there is no suggestion that hard work is sufficient for economic success. But it is also not irrelevant. Common attributes of successful people are that they work hard, seek and seize opportunities, take risks, plan ahead, and delay gratification. These are things you stated but have also been mentioned upthread, often multiple times.
Good advice and I certainly hope so. I also hope that one day you will be less bitter about your work experiences and can look at the issue with a bit less emotion.
Yup. There was a time when Americans were more willing than most to move long distances to find the right opportunities. That isn’t the case anymore and the decline is pretty consistent over the last 40 years.