ONE WORD…PLASTICS.

For some reason CNN has seen fit to provide an upbeat take on the economy by front-paging this video (via their iReport feature) by a recent graduate of Syracuse University who has had little trouble getting a job. Why? Because he has skills. More likely skillz. Mad skillz.

What Broseph McFratdog has to say, in case you're at work and can't partake of the video, is that he has several job offers because he, unlike you, was smart enough to get the Right Skills to succeed in the job market. That is how the free market works, after all. People who succeed do so because they are better than people who don't. They are smart enough to get the Right Skills whereas your unemployed ass was not.

The best part, if you made it all the way to the end of the Marquis de Frat's monologue, is that the skills in question are only vaguely described – something dealing with "web design" or "system administration." A commenter on the CNN site helpfully notes "Type in 'Design Engineer' on Indeed (ed: a Monster-like job site) and you'll get more IT and Systems Engineer positions than you'll be able to read. You can pretty much write your own ticket in those occupations at this point."

"At this point." And what about a few years from now when an Indonesian is doing the job for six bucks an hour? Fratilla the Hun hasn't thought that far ahead.

Some people simply lack the will and psychological ability to fight the forces that work against them; they know only how to appease. They approach everything with the attitude of Neville Chamberlain and the Vichy French. This person thinks that if he kisses the market's ass enough and bends to its whims he will be treated well and rewarded. And thus he propagates the great myth that the key to succeeding in our current system is to gain "skills" – skills which the market will soon declare irrelevant, at which point one's experience and intellectual capital become worthless and working people are expected to uncomplainingly start over from scratch. This recent graduate's strategy is as smart (and likely to be as effective) as trying to appease a mosquito. Say or promise whatever you want; it's still going to bite you.

The myth that one succeeds by chasing the Next Big Thing, the latest hot field or must-have skill that the market values highly, is nothing but a game of whack-a-mole as people like this student (and those who came before him) chase one economic fad after another. All they have as job security is the assumption, rooted heavily in either explicit or subconscious racism, that "My job is too important / too complex / etc" for some uneducated savage in the Third World to do. The past thirty years of economic history are littered with the empty shells of people who relied on such a strategy.

So congratulations on appeasing the market, Broseph. It's still going to devour you.

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14 Responses to “ONE WORD…PLASTICS.”

  1. doug Says:

    Sounds kinda like a bitter librul arts dude writing……

  2. dbsmall Says:

    More proof that we all have different perspectives. Two things went through my mind as I watched this:

    1) Dude's got job offers, despite lacking the sense to shave and prep himself before turning the camera on.

    2) The extent to which he's lauding his extracurricular training makes me wonder—could he have saved his money and learned it *all* on the job, instead of, you know, going to grad school?

  3. mike Says:

    Two observations:

    1) IT is a skilled trade, sort of like being a plumber or an electrician (that is, if the plumbing industry completely changed their standards and toolsets every four years or so). I've been doing it 10 years, and it pays well, but it's BORING. So, enjoy that, dude.

    2) Have you heard of the "cloud"? It's the new tech trend that will allow small to mid-size companies to lose their annoying IT staff, and companies are chomping at the bit to implement it. Up until now, it's been a lot easier to outsource software development jobs than IT jobs (honestly, your servers can't really live in Indonesia and your IT staff needs physical access to them). "The cloud" (which is services like Amazon EC2) is changing that equation rapidly. So if you're a Systems Engineer now, get ready to be a desktop support person in a couple years. Hey tech-literate people, do you enjoy how your mom/dad/spouse gets personally angry at you when their computer breaks? Multiply that by however many people work at your company and you have desktop support. Fun.

    I too felt cocky when I stumbled headfirst into the IT trade. In the late 90's it was easy to break into the field by showing a bit of aptitude, and I've been continuously employed since then. But the writing is on the wall. We've been an expensive thorn in the side of our corporate overlords for far too long.

  4. JohnR Says:

    There's always a position open for people willing to do dangerous or disgusting jobs for less than anyone else; that's where you should direct your training! roofing; animal butchery; pesticide spraying – if you're willing to do these things for less than a brand-new immigrant, you'll never be out of work!

  5. A Cat Says:

    "And what about a few years from now when an Indonesian is doing the job for six bucks an hour?"

    lulz, If someone in Indonesian is doing it for 6 bucks an hour they'd be out sourcing it to somewhere else.

  6. Bugboy Says:

    I went to the SUNY College of Env. Sci. and Forestry, which shares a campus with SU. This schmuck is typical of the silver-spoon lodged firmly in the mouth student body at SU, being a private university with sky-high tuition. But the one thing just comes to mind when I hear the guy mumble through whatever the hell he has a Master's in: what the hell does he know about actually holding onto a job? He's likely never wanted for anything in his life.

    Every morning, after working all night delivering the pizzas that paid my way through college, I walked past Frat Row and had to swallow my bile at the stench entitlement issuing from there. That was if I wasn't dodging the other students driving their Beemers and Jags to school. Am I bitter? Hell yeah, but I wouldn't have wanted to have had it any other way than to learn the hard way what life was about. I'd love to see where this guy is in 10 years. What's that saying about the best laid plans?

  7. Pat Says:

    One aspect that Ed didn't mention is that layoffs happen in every industry, not just "unskilled" labor. The 200 people in my IT department who were laid off (many of whom had 20+ years experience in IT) got tossed out like old garbage because the company had one or two bad months. They were kicked to the curb, with no apology, and it sent a signal to the rest of us — "you're disposable whenever, for whatever reason, regardless of your skills". As mike said, the corporate overlords look at IT as an expensive scam, and would like to dispose of every last one of us.

  8. OliverWendelHolmslice Says:

    Alternate names for Fratboy McGee pictured above:
    1) Ghengis BeerPong
    2) Alexander the Perpetually Late
    3) General Ambrose Burnout
    4) President John F Kegedy
    5) Mao Tse Funions
    6) Mid-day Nap-olean Bonapart
    7) Broseph Stalin
    8) Douchebag

  9. Sour Kraut Says:

    Shaggy2DopeSmoker might want to ditch the just-got-up, glassy-eyed look and take the liquor ad off the wall behind him before making a rambling, incoherent video which could very easily be seen by prospective employers. He's not interviewing for Atari's programming division in the late 70s.

  10. Daniel Says:

    Do massive layoffs even save these companies money? Cummins, Inc. recently laid off people a few months ago and Cummins recently said they actually lost money because of their layoff "plan," and that they would have been financially secure without the downsizing. Good fucking job.

  11. jazzbumpa Says:

    Ed –
    Now that is a damned fine rant. And everyone except doug, who appears to be a bit of a boner, had something to add. Good posting, guys!

  12. Sour Kraut Says:

    Daniel, one of the dirty secrets of downsizing is that it usually harms companies more than it helps them. Whatever savings they get are offset by the costs of planning, restructuring and declines in customer service and employee morale. But hey, the stock price went (temporarily) up, so what's the problem?

  13. Jadyn Durham Says:

    worthy blogging!

  14. David Recine Says:

    Since no one has pointed this out…

    His definition of "job lined up" seems to be that he was "offered" a job. Many employers "offer a job" only to pull the rug out from under you sometimes literally at the last minute. I've had multiple job "offers" before and not been offered the job. As far as I'm concerned you don't actually have a job until you've worked your first shift. Even then, not necessarily. I've had one employer call me in for my firt shift, then tell me after the fact it was just a "training shift" to decide whether they;'d hire me, and they'd decided not to.