Leftist commentary from a mouthy bitch

Why Do I Ever Watch CNN?

Because the TVs at the gym don’t have MSNBC as an option when you’re on the exercise bikes.

So, yeah, I’ve been going back to the gym, which is a good thing.  However, if you aren’t willing (or able) to use the ellipticals* which have their own private video screens with a full range of cable channels, you’re stuck with five options:  CNN, ESPN, Fox Sports NW, MTV, King 5 or KOMO one of the local channels. Yes, I know, First World Problems.

Unemployed workers in California

Today, I was at the gym and decided I needed to keep up with the latest news on  several cases, so I plugged my headphones into the transponder doo-hickey, and started pedaling, watching CNN.  Now, plus side, if you stop pedaling,  you lose all sound, so extra motivation.  Down side, I’m stuck with CNN.

After the news bit I was most interested in, they started to talk about jobs, and the fact that the economy is still pretty much sucking like a big ol’ Hoover vacuum.  Ok, this is mildly interesting.  Fareed Zakaria is on discussing why the job market sucks, the fact that you can’t just count the people ON unemployment in the unemployment numbers, but that you also have to count those folks who’ve fallen off the rolls, and the people who are under-employed and making less than half the median salary, which amounts to about 24 million people all told.

Ok, still on board.

Then he starts to talk about how people who are unemployed for a long time start to lose work skills.

Ok, I’m with you.  You don’t use certain skills, they can atrophy or get rusty.  All right.

Then he says, that being unemployed is what wrecks people’s work ethic.

Now, I kind of agree, but not the way he’s thinking it.  He seems to be thinking, from other things he said, that once you get used to just lazing around the house, that’s all you want to do.

I look at it as, you worked your ass off for a company or corporation and got laid off so some executive could buy a new yacht.  Yes, that’s probably going to affect your work ethic.

Modern corporate culture does not reward the good work ethic.  Best case scenario, at least your co-workers appreciate you.  Worst case scenario, middle management sees you as a threat, or you’re torpedoed by co-workers who think you make them look bad.

I have generally been involved in scenario one, rather than scenario two, but I’ve known victims of scenario two. Right now my work ethic is doing as well as it can in an environment where we’re understaffed, and I’m being asked to do more, not only with no raise on the horizon, but now they’re talking about cutting my pay when we’re just hanging on as it is.

Yeah, that’s not so good for my work ethic.

Also, much of modern work is not something you finish, sit back, take a long look at and feel accomplished, like if  you built something, or plowed a field, or had something  you can hold onto.  I have spent hours and days working on spreadsheets and databases, which you can’t really sit back and look at with a feeling of accomplishment.  Ok, I lie.  I had one database I created for a former job that was a MASTERPIECE, I tell you.  It had everything you could ever need, the interface for data entry was elegant and simple and easy for anyone to follow.  I loved that database.

But I’m also kind of a weirdo.

So, let’s all take a step back and think about what really kills people’s work ethics.  Is it merely the state of being unemployed?  Or rather, is it the catalytic event, being let go for no reason other than the bottom line, regardless of how well or poorly you did your job?  Is it being let go so the company can hire some kid just out of school for half your salary and benefits while you’re still shy of retirement?

Honestly, I see it as part and parcel of the class divide in this country.  If you feel appreciated and valued, your work ethic increases.  If you feel disposable, it tanks.  Right now the very rich who control most of the corporations in this country seem to view us all as exceptionally expendable.


*Ok, if Criminal Minds were on when I was at the gym, knees be damned, I’d be on that stupid elliptical.

One comment on “Why Do I Ever Watch CNN?

  1. Ash
    May 21, 2011

    Oh maaaan, SO much truth in this! Esp, the bit about CM *is an addict*.

    I’ve worked about a dozen jobs since I was 16 and of them the most rewarding were also those that resulted in a clear achievement at the end of the day and/or had fantastic management. One of my favorite jobs *ever* was as a temp for an REI warehouse in Sumner,WA. The culture was amazing, the management fantastic, even the permanent REI employees were great to work with and I was a TEMP. But I was also working packing shipments for online and store-to-store fulfillment. Great job, responsible corporation (comparatively) and wonderful management. Wins all around.


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This entry was posted on May 20, 2011 by in Class, Featured Articles, Media, Politics.

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