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Unskilled, semi-skilled, skilled labor

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9 hours ago, HeighHo said:

You are citing above the table and full time.

I am citing above the table (anything else would be a guess) but using the BLS standard of employed = 1+ hours of paid work.

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My dad is 83 years old and still works 40 hrs/wk, despite severe chronic back pain, because if he didn't work, they'd go hungry and my stepmother would die because they couldn't afford her medications and doctor's bills. And before some asshat says "they should have managed their money better," they both worked their tails off their entire lives, and my dad often worked 2 or even 3 jobs, and every penny they earned went to providing basic necessities for their families. Even a so-called living wage of $15/hr does not include anything like retirement savings — and they never earned anywhere near that. They also had numerous financial setbacks — house repairs they couldn't really afford, medical bills that nearly bankrupted them, cheap cars that needed constant repairs. When my widowed stepsister died of cancer at 40, they sold their house and moved into her house to raise her two kids, and the little money they made on their house was spent supporting their grandkids.

My stepmother worked for Macy's for more than 20 years and was within a year of retiring with a pension and medical benefits when they "reorganized" and fired anyone who was close to retirement, so she got nothing. In her late 60s she was working the freaking 4:00 AM shift at 7-11 for minimum wage just to help put food on the table. She'd still be working now if it were physically possible, but she is medically fragile and can barely leave the house. She told me a few weeks ago that she feels guilty for being alive because my dad wouldn't have to work so many hours if she were dead. 

Anyone who thinks the tens of millions of working poor in this country just aren't working hard enough, or can't be bothered to "better themselves," either live very privileged lives that insulate them from the reality that millions of their fellow citizens deal with every day, or they are seriously lacking in empathy and compassion.

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15 minutes ago, Corraleno said:

My dad is 83 years old and still works 40 hrs/wk, despite severe chronic back pain, because if he didn't work, they'd go hungry and my stepmother would die because they couldn't afford her medications and doctor's bills. And before some asshat says "they should have managed their money better," they both worked their tails off their entire lives, and my dad often worked 2 or even 3 jobs, and every penny they earned went to providing basic necessities for their families. Even a so-called living wage of $15/hr does not include anything like retirement savings — and they never earned anywhere near that. They also had numerous financial setbacks — house repairs they couldn't really afford, medical bills that nearly bankrupted them, cheap cars that needed constant repairs. When my widowed stepsister died of cancer at 40, they sold their house and moved into her house to raise her two kids, and the little money they made on their house was spent supporting their grandkids.

My stepmother worked for Macy's for more than 20 years and was within a year of retiring with a pension and medical benefits when they "reorganized" and fired anyone who was close to retirement, so she got nothing. In her late 60s she was working the freaking 4:00 AM shift at 7-11 for minimum wage just to help put food on the table. She'd still be working now if it were physically possible, but she is medically fragile and can barely leave the house. She told me a few weeks ago that she feels guilty for being alive because my dad wouldn't have to work so many hours if she were dead. 

Anyone who thinks the tens of millions of working poor in this country just aren't working hard enough, or can't be bothered to "better themselves," either live very privileged lives that insulate them from the reality that millions of their fellow citizens deal with every day, or they are seriously lacking in empathy and compassion.

Just wanted to say that I didn't know whether to use the sad response or the THANK YOU! So you are being quoted. Thank you.

There are those of us who are have clawed our way up to middle class (on paper), who know that our pensions, etc. are likely to be a house of cards, and we are using all the rest for health care as we go. (And that's with the "best" insurance available to commoners-not-Congress). I don't even know what to say to people who don't understand that a single medical event can wipe out a family's wealth for a generation in this country, and how those with children with special needs will likely never retire. In other words, I have nothing to say to people who can't read the news, because these scenarios of lost pensions and medical poverty are daily topics now, in this country.

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1 hour ago, Corraleno said:

My dad is 83 years old and still works 40 hrs/wk, despite severe chronic back pain, because if he didn't work, they'd go hungry and my stepmother would die because they couldn't afford her medications and doctor's bills. And before some asshat says "they should have managed their money better," they both worked their tails off their entire lives, and my dad often worked 2 or even 3 jobs, and every penny they earned went to providing basic necessities for their families. Even a so-called living wage of $15/hr does not include anything like retirement savings — and they never earned anywhere near that. They also had numerous financial setbacks — house repairs they couldn't really afford, medical bills that nearly bankrupted them, cheap cars that needed constant repairs. When my widowed stepsister died of cancer at 40, they sold their house and moved into her house to raise her two kids, and the little money they made on their house was spent supporting their grandkids.

My stepmother worked for Macy's for more than 20 years and was within a year of retiring with a pension and medical benefits when they "reorganized" and fired anyone who was close to retirement, so she got nothing. In her late 60s she was working the freaking 4:00 AM shift at 7-11 for minimum wage just to help put food on the table. She'd still be working now if it were physically possible, but she is medically fragile and can barely leave the house. She told me a few weeks ago that she feels guilty for being alive because my dad wouldn't have to work so many hours if she were dead. 

Anyone who thinks the tens of millions of working poor in this country just aren't working hard enough, or can't be bothered to "better themselves," either live very privileged lives that insulate them from the reality that millions of their fellow citizens deal with every day, or they are seriously lacking in empathy and compassion.

I did a crying emoji but I also want to say I am sorry.  It makes me ill knowing stories like this. And for someone, who shall go unnamed, to so glibly say, ‘they need to help themselves’. Ugh, it makes me want to scream.  

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12 hours ago, HeighHo said:

 

Yep. And so does my school district. There is no transportation for the students who have DE at the CC as the only option besides study hall..as sixteen year old new drivers, they get to learn to handle ice by driving in to the CC daily in winter.

Keep in mind high schoolers in NYC travel more than an hour to school; commutes are normal.  

Why do you think driving to the CC is the only way to earn a certificate or degree? Does your state not have online options?

I would suggest that your NYC experience has nothing to do with the realties of rural America.  My son is highly privileged in that he has a newer paid for Prius, with the insurance paid for by his dad, tuition paid for by his dad, and free room and board paid for by myself and my dh.  Plus he gets an allowance from his dad to buy gas and other expenses.  It isn’t the normal experience.

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I’ve never had a job where I didn’t learn or need to use some skill that was pretty specific to that type of job.  

Some jobs don’t have a lot of requirements for who can be hired but most have requirements for what it takes to not be fired.  

The work I do now pays me $45-65/hr depending on the contract (basically a couple of clients pay me $45/hr because I am doing them a favor, a couple pay $65/hr because I upcharge them for uh, reasons, and most pay $55/hr.) I’m not the cheapest option in my market but I’m reasonably certain based on the number of people who want to work with me that I am generally considered worth it. 

Frankly, in my entire life I never worked harder than when I was being paid $8.50 at a daycare in the 1990s or when I was being paid $10 plus tips to clean rooms at a small inn and large bed and breakfast.  I can’t say that the work I do now requires considerably more skill than the work I did then.  I just fired a client for being too big of a pain in my ass and working for them was still easier than what I did at the bed and breakfast.  What made this client so annoying?  They sent me too many emails.  

I’m really not sure why I am entitled to $55/hr now while people cleaning hotel rooms get minimum wage.  I’m not going to pretend like the work I do now has some vastly higher level of skill.  It’s just in a decent niche and seems more white collar.  

I’m guessing the house cleaner probably has more business expenses than me and our insurance rates for liability are likely similar.  

With the exception of a profession that takes a decade of education + on the job training, I’m guessing most people who advance their pay level, if they were being truly honest with themselves, would admit that it’s not because they trained harder or were smarter or worked harder than when they waited tables or cleaned up after gross people.  

Edited by LucyStoner
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On 5/15/2019 at 10:03 PM, TechWife said:

I came across this article this evening. Abigail Disney, the granddaughter of Walt Disney,  is concerned about wage disparity. She has recently criticized the $65 million annual salary of the Disney CEO & the disparity between it and what the company’s average workers make. She has challenged the company to redirect 1/2 of the executive bonus pay budget to the lowest paid 10% of its 200K workforce, giving them each $2K.  The company responding that their employees make more than the minimum wage. Keep reading if you want to know how much she pays her housekeeper...

 She states that corporations need to start understanding and doing capitalism differently. 

“Yes, managers have a fiduciary obligation to their shareholders. But they also have a legal and moral responsibility to deliver returns to shareholders without trampling on the dignity and rights of their employees and other stakeholders," she added. 
Disney argues that there is nothing inherently wrong with a big payday for executives as long as workers can support themselves. She urged lawmakers to consider examining the pay ratio between CEOs and their lowest-paid full-time workers, rather than that between the C-suite and median income-level employees -- which some Democrats have called for. 
"The median ratio is not a helpful ratio. It treats the lowest paid worker as if they were invisible," she said.

 

She seems like an interesting lady. She pays her housekeeper $75,000 per year (that works out to a little more than $36/hour for a 40 hour work week). . She disclosed that she earns between $5-6 million per year and donates $7-8 million annually. She does not use the family jet and started giving her money away when she was in her 20’s. I assume those numbers mean that she is selling investments and/or using dividends to donate to charity. 

 

Being the housekeeper for a very wealthy person is definitely a skilled job and they are very selective about who they hire.  

At one of my jobs, I was hired by someone who was temporarily running a non-profit as a favor for a friend.  She hired me to take over.  She was in her late 40s at the time and retired.  She’d started at a household name tech company as an admin out of college and later was hired to be the house manager for the (household name) CEO.  She was paid very well and hit the stock options lotto like a lot of early tech workers.  She was hiring their staff and housekeepers and they paid a premium over market for sure.  A large part of the premium pay was for discretion and not breeching family privacy.  

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Even the easiest job I ever had, had an attached skill set.  The job:  selling tickets at the opera.  

1. I had to know about opera.  While I liked Opera before I got hired, I will admit there was a learning curve in being able to discuss the performers, productions and other tidbits in an informed manner.  

2. YOU try explaining to someone who donated $(insert crap ton of money) that you can’t fulfill his seating change request because the people sitting in the seats he’s been eying donated $(insert 2 crap tons of money) without getting him to storm off and take his $(crap ton of money) somewhere else.  

3. I’ve used a lot of databases.  Ticketing systems are among the more finicky.  

I’m really digging deep here to think of a job that is totally unskilled and whenever I think of one, I can usually think of one or two skills that you would need and that not everyone, even if they are otherwise employable, has.  

 

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23 hours ago, ChocolateReignRemix said:

 

As of 2002 less than 5% of those age 75 or older were still working.  The number has been growing and and jumped after the 2008 economic debacle and is somewhere around 8-10% now.  I would call that relatively rare.

 

While I think Heigh Ho's characterization is off, I also think 2002/8 numbers are woefully out of date. My mom is 67, almost 68, and she works as a substitute teacher as often as she can. She NEEDS the money because she did not prepare for old age. She is not alone among her age cohort. I think the people who are mostly likely to still be working at these ages are those in 'knowledge' professions tho, people who have degrees and don't have to expend tons of physical energy. These are probably also the same people who were not working minimum wage jobs in their prime.

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On 5/17/2019 at 7:06 PM, Quill said:

I think one interesting part of the picture is that jobs with a low barrier to entry (and thus, typically low wages, at least at first) do attract people who are not proactive enough, disciplined enough, literate enough or some other important feature, to do a job requiring degrees. For instance, at one point, dh tried for literally years to employ a good plumber’s helper. No degree or certificate necessary; just show up, take direction, and don’t be messy. He hired young guys numerous times, but these employees failed. The people who are more on-the-ball typically get their certifications; they don’t look for plumber’s helpers jobs. 

I have a friend who keeps trying to hire employees for her cleaning company. No barrier to entry; no degree or certification needed. People do not show up for work. She says for every five she hires, only one actually comes to work. 

So. I think that is one reason why many jobs have been professionalized. It’s why many jobs which used to require nothing but a high school diploma now require at least a certification program. It is a way to weed out people who don’t make good employees. When a job is available to someone and they literally didn’t have to do a single thing but fill out an application, you’re going to see a high percentage of unsuitable applicants. 

I absolutely can concur with highlighted

But I have to disagree with your last paragraph.  In my previous life, working in corporate finance I saw soooooo many young people who had all the degrees and certs and even licenses such as CPA and made very poor employees.  My husband, who works for a huge international company as a software engineer says that he sees the same thing.  He had an employee who he had to have "talks" with about - get this - answering emails and phone bc no  one could reach him, find him during core, 9-3 hours.  It went on for about 6 months.   Then the guy quit bc he said the "job was too demanding".

Also, last year we tried to hire a professional to some work on our house.  I can not even count the number of people who didn't show up.  Or showed up but didn't give us estimate.

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On 5/17/2019 at 9:39 AM, Murphy101 said:

 

Not to mention the “adults should get training if they want better wages” is bogus. The nature of employment is the more flooded the market with availability the less the pay. And because of that, there’s literally a limit to how many people can take the training. For example, there could be 300 people with the desire and no how and ability to be wonderful nurses here but the local colleges offering those programs only take about 80 students a year. Much of the medical shortage is partly because the professions want to make sure they have just enough to be paid well and not enough to dilute the demand that allows them to be paid well.  This is true of a great many professions that pay well. There’s quite a few barriers to attaining that great pay and or other setups keeping the demand high.

 

Law is an EXCELLENT example. Bar associations are a HUGE barrier to creating a robust cadre of legal professionals who can assist people who cannot afford a lawyer but need legal advice...something like a PA program for the law. They simply won't allow it.

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27 minutes ago, Sneezyone said:

 

While I think Heigh Ho's characterization is off, I also think 2002/8 numbers are woefully out of date. My mom is 67, almost 68, and she works as a substitute teacher as often as she can. She NEEDS the money because she did not prepare for old age. She is not alone among her age cohort. I think the people who are mostly likely to still be working at these ages are those in 'knowledge' professions tho, people who have degrees and don't have to expend tons of physical energy. These are probably also the same people who were not working minimum wage jobs in their prime.

The uptick began in 2008.  The increase in the 65-70 group was much higher than in the 70+.  The 75+ had an increase but smaller than the others.  Those working over 75 are still a distinct minority for many reasons.

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5 minutes ago, ChocolateReignRemix said:

The uptick began in 2008.  The increase in the 65-70 group was much higher than in the 70+.  The 75+ had an increase but smaller than the others.  Those working over 75 are still a distinct minority for many reasons.

 

Perhaps, but I also think those numbers are too out of date to capture the increasing numbers of aging boomers who need to (and do) work. Every year, millions more age up. I think it is highly likely that, in two and a half years, my mom will still be working in some capacity.

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31 minutes ago, Sneezyone said:

 

Law is an EXCELLENT example. Bar associations are a HUGE barrier to creating a robust cadre of legal professionals who can assist people who cannot afford a lawyer but need legal advice...something like a PA program for the law. They simply won't allow it.

 

I was excited to see that WA state was offering a legal technician/associate type licensing level in certain practice areas- including family law where abuse survivors often end up going pro se over something as important as maintaining custody of their kids.  Then I realized that the practice level still precludes them from representing a client in ANY hearing. In the past 5 years, I have had several family law attorneys ask me or a family member point blank why I wasn’t a lawyer.  Most recently, this happened a few months ago when my brother’s pro bono lawyer was passing his divorce case onto another pro bono lawyer when she was promoted at the non-profit that provided the pro bono service.  The new lawyer remarked that the writing in all of my brother’s statements and paperwork was very well written.  His old lawyer and my brother commented that it was largely because I was a strong writer and editor and understood how to present things in a compelling way, as I have been doing almost all of the writing.  The old lawyer turned to my brother and asked “is there a reason why your sister isn’t a lawyer?” 

The lawyer that my exBIL is paying to the tune of $40k and counting?  Is a total nitwit and can not either write well or hire someone who does.  More than one judge has barely contained their displeasure with the lawyer.  It works out for us that his lawyer is an idiot but that’s beside the point.  

I could go to law school now and specialize in family law.  Is it worth three years of forgone wages and debt at my age *when I can already make six figures without going through all that?*  I’d be happy to work for a non-profit as a lawyer representing people in family law cases.  Do I need some additional training to capably do so?  Sure.  Do I need 3 years of law school and $100k+ in debt to capably do so?  Probably not.  Do I have the option of going to school just for family law to save time and/or money?  No, no I do not.   Do most people facing family law disputes have $250+ an hour to pay for the services?  No, no they do not.  

It’s a pretty awful situation for the people who go without legal help through some of the worst times of their lives AND for people who could, given some affordable path to do so, fill a big need while making an ok if not super high salary.  If I did go to law school now, my expected starting wage at a non-profit would be about $65k a year.   I make more per hour now and my job is easier.  All of my lawyer friends tell me they learned most of what they use to practice law once they were working.  

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8 minutes ago, LucyStoner said:

 

I was excited to see that WA state was offering a legal technician/associate type licensing level in certain practice areas- including family law where abuse survivors often end up going pro se over something as important as maintaining custody of their kids.  Then I realized that the practice level still precludes them from representing a client in ANY hearing. In the past 5 years, I have had several family law attorneys ask me or a family member point blank why I wasn’t a lawyer.  Most recently, this happened a few months ago when my brother’s pro bono lawyer was passing his divorce case onto another pro bono lawyer when she was promoted at the non-profit that provided the pro bono service.  The new lawyer remarked that the writing in all of my brother’s statements and paperwork was very well written.  His old lawyer and my brother commented that it was largely because I was an strong writer and editor and understood how to present things in a compelling way, as I have been doing almost all of the writing.  The old lawyer turned to my brother and asked “is there a reason why your sister isn’t a lawyer?” 

The lawyer that my exBIL is paying to the tune of $40k and counting?  Is a total nitwit and can not either write well or hire someone who does.  More than one judge has barely contained their displeasure with the lawyer.  It works out for us that his lawyer is an idiot but that’s beside the point.  

I could go to law school now and specialize in family law.  Is it worth three years of forgone wages and debt at my age *when I can already make six figures without going through all that?*  I’d be happy to work for a non-profit as a lawyer representing people in family law cases.  Do I need some additional training to capably do so?  Sure.  Do I need 3 years of law school and $100k+ in debt to capably do so?  Probably not.  Do I have the option of going to school just for family law to save time and/or money?  No, no I do not.   Do most people facing family law disputes have $250+ an hour to pay for the services?  No, no they do not.  

It’s a pretty awful situation for the people who go without legal help through some of the worst times of their lives AND for people who could, given some affordable path to do so, fill a big need while making an ok if not super high salary.  If I did go to law school now, my expected starting wage at a non-profit would be about $65k a year.   I make more per hour now and my job is easier.  All of my lawyer friends tell me they learned most of what they use to practice law once they were working.  

 

This is/was precisely my experience with legal education/practice. My mom became a lawyer before the tuition arms race and I had the misfortune of attending law school after. The public is not well-served by the monopoly that state and federal bar associations have over the profession and neither are students. Most of what you do as a lawyer is research and writing, not courtroom appearances, and most of that is learned prior to law school or on the job. Law school didn't teach me a damn thing about how to think. It only gave me a background in how the law has approached issues in the past. It's kind of a racket.

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2 minutes ago, Sneezyone said:

 

This is/was precisely my experience with legal education/practice. My mom became a lawyer before the tuition arms race and I had the misfortune of attending law school after. The public is not well-served by the monopoly that state and federal bar associations have over the profession and neither are students.

 

Probably more irritating is that law school and the bar exam don’t even weed out the nitwits.  My exBILs attorney has literally whined to the judge about the court rules and once, on arriving and finding there was no hearing because they’d missed a deadline to confirm the hearing, apparently threw a tantrum in the clerk’s office, which we found out because the clerks are friendly with the lawyers at the organization representing my brother.  I literally HATE my exBIL and could think of any number of ways to better present his case than it has been presented.  I’ve never been to law school but I could definitely tell you that whining is a bad idea and pissing off the clerk seems like a punk move.  🤣

My exBILs attorney has lost every single motion.  

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1 minute ago, LucyStoner said:

 

Probably more irritating is that law school and the bar exam don’t even weed out the nitwits.  My exBILs attorney has literally whined to the judge about the court rules and once, on arriving and finding there was no hearing because they’d missed a deadline to confirm the hearing, apparently threw a tantrum in the clerk’s office, which we found out because the clerks are friendly with the lawyers at the organization representing my brother.  I literally HATE my exBIL and could think of any number of ways to better present his case than it has been presented.  I’ve never been to law school but I could definitely tell you that whining is a bad idea and pissing off the clerk seems like a punk move.  🤣

My exBILs attorney has lost every single motion.  

 

Nope. That's because legal education is designed to be a war of attrition. Who's willing to stick it out through the BS to grab the brass ring? The Bar Exam is the same way. It's a gatekeeper, not a guarantee. Take it as many times as you want until you pass.

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On 5/18/2019 at 2:19 PM, Murphy101 said:

 

Yes.  I mentioned that previous too.  I don't care how qualified and great someone would be at being a doctor or an engineer, the system is set up to limit the number of people accepted into such programs specifically to assure a demand that will give higher incomes.  This is true of nearly all well paid professions and in those it didn't used to be, programs sprung up to prevent a glut of professionals and protect higher wages. For example, nursing didn't used to be so difficult to get into.  Now it is.  And jobs that don't require a degree are not necessarily free to learn either.  Having a trade often requires expensive training, tools, licensing, insurances, overhead and more.  It might be less than an MD, but that doesn't mean it's necessarily affordable or more attainable either.

So true. State nursing programs here are ridiculously competitive. You have to have pretty close to a 4.0 in prerequisites to be accepted. For RN programs at community colleges, it’s basically a waiting game until your name moves to the top of the list. For BSN programs, it’s just an objective numeric formula now due to the very high number of qualified applicants. The only way around this is having the $ for one of the very few private schools with nursing programs or doing as several young people I know did and going to an out of state private for an accelerated post-bac BSN. 

The number of doctors in the US is limited by the number of residency slots, but even then, we don’t remotely have enough medical school slots to fill them. The remainder are taken by US grads of foreign medical schools (a somewhat risky proposition for many) and foreign grads of foreign medical schools. Yet thousands of qualified applicants are turned away every year, and the US ranks quite low in the number of medical school graduates relative to our population. https://data.oecd.org/chart/4JWk

Other medical professions, like pharmacy and physical therapy, now require a doctorate for new grads, meaning more years and more debt. And pharmacists who want to work in hospitals often complete one or two years of residency after the doctorate. While certainly things have gotten more complicated over the years, part of the push for higher degree requirements by the respective professional organizations is definitely tied to maintaining relatively high incomes. Not just to keep the number of grads low, but also to justify the pay.

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1 hour ago, Sneezyone said:

 

Perhaps, but I also think those numbers are too out of date to capture the increasing numbers of aging boomers who need to (and do) work. Every year, millions more age up. I think it is highly likely that, in two and a half years, my mom will still be working in some capacity.

 

The last number wasn't from 2008.  The uptick began at that time.  Currently 75+ in the workforce is around 10%.  There is an expectation the % will grow as life expectancy increases, but it will always be the lowest.

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7 hours ago, Scarlett said:

I would suggest that your NYC experience has nothing to do with the realties of rural America.  My son is highly privileged in that he has a newer paid for Prius, with the insurance paid for by his dad, tuition paid for by his dad, and free room and board paid for by myself and my dh.  Plus he gets an allowance from his dad to buy gas and other expenses.  It isn’t the normal experience.

 

The USA is a heavily urbanized nation. 80% of us live in cities or suburbs close to cities. I get that cars are more necessary in the rural parts of the country, but....

With that said, some NYC students travel an hour to get to school, but the DOE considers it a legitimate hardship if you travel more than 75 minutes, and will issue a transfer to another, closer school in that situation. The average NYC 9th grader lives 31 minutes away from their school, and commute times of 60 minutes or more are rare - even more rare for students who are not attending a highly in-demand school such as Stuyvesant, LaGuardia, or ICE. Only about 10% of high school students in NYC have commutes of an hour or more. If my kids hadn't been so bound and determined to go to school off the Island, they'd attend a high school 20 minutes away.

An hour long commute is not a joke, especially not when you have multiple obligations. Somebody who ONLY needs to attend school or work can hack it, but I wouldn't ask somebody to commute an hour to school, while also juggling a full time job, running a household, and raising children. Lots of people will experience burnout if they try that, and then they won't get good grades or make a good income, and their house will be a mess.

Quote

Also, last year we tried to hire a professional to some work on our house.  I can not even count the number of people who didn't show up.  Or showed up but didn't give us estimate.

 

You know, I really don't understand this about contractors. WHY DO THEY MAKE IT SO HARD FOR US TO GIVE THEM OUR MONEY? The advice is always "shop around, take the middle estimate" and my reality is "call everybody, throw all your cash at the one who shows up".

All our kids ought to become plumbers. That must be where the money is, because all these folks who never show up are still solvent.

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5 hours ago, ChocolateReignRemix said:

The uptick began in 2008.  The increase in the 65-70 group was much higher than in the 70+.  The 75+ had an increase but smaller than the others.  Those working over 75 are still a distinct minority for many reasons.

I’m sure. 2008 is about when retirement accounts and home values were tanking. How many had the guts to retire on so much less?

I was going to say “I can’t imagine...” but the reality is that I worry about it all the time. What if my family’s investments don’t do well? What if Social Security is even worse than we think it’s going to be (which is already worse than what we’re being told to expect)? What if Medicare gets even crummier? What if we face unexpected health issues that shorten our time to meet goals? What if our kids go through things that need our help?

If I have these fears in my statistically “comfortable” place, I don’t know how a large chunk of the population deals other than not to think about it as they try to get through each day.

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Re lawyers, I agree it is somewhat of a racket, or at least it was when I was getting licensed.  The year I took the bar exam in my state, only like half of the candidates passed.  Besides that, the fancy lawyer jobs were pretty much reserved for the top 10 or 20% of law graduates.  I was content working in industry (in-house lawyer), but it was very hard to pay off my large student loans, because law school tuition is the same whether you're at the top or bottom of your class.  😛  (It did teach me how to live frugally though.)  So for a while I wondered if I should regret my education.  But in the long run, it was a good investment, when coupled with business experience.  Like anything else we do, success is mostly sticking it out through the tough times.

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As for contractors ... I don't recall ever having someone not show up for a job, unless you count the wildlife lady (raccoons in our basement) who "usually" showed up but sometimes forgot ....

But I agree, many of those jobs pay quite well.  I do think that the well-paying ones have barriers to entry.  Like if you know someone, you probably have a better chance.  You can also probably get your training at a lower cost.

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House cleaning companies have training and performance metrics you have to meet to become a permanent employee.  I know several people who were let go from Student Cleaning after their probationary periods for missing surfaces or not making the time limits. Not for absenteeism or misconduct.  Just couldn’t meet their standards.    

Most everyone can clean.  Not everyone can be a paid professional cleaner.  

There’s also jobs that are skilled that require education and training that still pay terribly.   Depending on where you live and the level you teach, teaching can be like that.  Librarians.  Journalism.  Opera singers and ballet dancers.  I know people in each of these professions who are out earned by housekeepers and grocery store clerks.  If one thinks grocery clerks are unskilled, one has clearly never noticed the difference between properly and improperly bagged groceries or how much longer it takes to get out of the store when the checker doesn’t know what they are doing or do it well.  

Edited by LucyStoner
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I just wish overall that the value of people wasn't determined by their occupation.  Not everyone gets their fulfillment from their job either.  Some people choose low stress jobs (which often pay very little) in order to maintain mental and emotional health or for a flexible schedule that allows them to care for children or parents or even a spouse.  

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14 minutes ago, Scarlett said:

I just wish overall that the value of people wasn't determined by their occupation.  Not everyone gets their fulfillment from their job either.  Some people choose low stress jobs (which often pay very little) in order to maintain mental and emotional health or for a flexible schedule that allows them to care for children or parents or even a spouse.  

 

This would be me. All my education and aptitude assessments suggest I have the knowledge and aptitude to do well in several areas that could pay 6 figures if I pursued them aggressively. But I don’t have any desire to do those things and I’d be very unhappy doing them. 

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