RE: Like long hours?

Subject: RE: Like long hours?
From: "Sean Brierley" <sbri -at- haestad -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 7 Aug 2002 16:24:06 -0400

Sean Brierley
Software Documentation Specialist
Haestad Methods
203-805-0572 (voice)
203-597-1488 (fax)

-----Original Message-----
From: Kevin McLauchlan [mailto:kmclauchlan -at- chrysalis-its -dot- com]

>There is not just a single "the Employer" in the world.
>There are many. The fact that any given employer has the
>right (lately infringed a great deal...) to decide which
>technical writer will get that employer's money

Clearly you have not tried getting a job lately. It is wishful thinking,
at best, to presume that a competent and capable technical writer can
quit a job today and have an equally well-paying job tomorrow.

>those are investments that were freely chosen, as were all the relative
trade-offs that
>got the writer/worker into that position and,

Please. So I chose a mortgage. Whether it's a mortgage or rent, I assume
you would not suggest that anyone who is not living on the street is
culpable for needing to make money and, therefore, should not complain
about being abused by an employer. Same with children and families.
Should people who want to be employed just undergo sterilization to
avoid the problems their families cause potential employers? Nonsense.

>the employer is similarly "trapped" in its current
>location (thereby being able to select among only a limited
>segment of the global labor pool), having chosen to make a
>bunch of investments and trade-offs that got the employer
>into its current predicament.

Again, have you tried getting a job lately? The employer has much more
freedom and many more resources than the employee. For example, H1B. My
company can, and does, bring in very qualified people from overseas. Is
my ability to get a job as easy? No. My employer has the resources and
will to go looking. I do not. My employer has the lawyers and
connections to get what they want. As an individual, is it as easy for
me? No, it is not.

> This sounds good, but it ignores the fact that people
> need a job. In good times, people can walk away from a
> bad situation - but, even in good times, many people
> don't have the courage to do so. In bad times, even those
> with courage may think twice.

> First, bad times don't last forever.

If bad times last 10 years, that's 1/8th of my life and 25% of my
working life.

>Second, bad times are generally not across the board.
>Usually, it doesn't even register on you unless it's your
>current employment sector that is enduring the bad times.

Have you tried getting a job lately?

>If you have budgeted so that you are not living from
>paycheck to paycheck, then you have a buffer and can
>stand the risk incurred by moving to another industry where

Maybe. If your investments were not in retirement, 401k, and future
college education for the kids. Maybe.

>If, instead, you have spent the greater part of your adult
>life keeping up with the Joneses (barely), then that was
a choice. You traded gratification for security or

>Who gave power to whom?

None of this makes it fair or right for an employer to mandate 10, 20,
40 hours of unpaid overtime. Just because I have obligations to my
family, community, and mortgage company/renter does not mean I am freely
available to be treated as a slave. Right?

>Remember, when you elected to buy a house, rather than rent,
>you knowingly made a trade-off. You decided to put down
>roots, rather than remain relatively unencumbered (you also
>decided how nice [expensive] a house you were willing to
>tie yourself to).

Rent or mortgage, you have to live somewhere. Should potential employees
not have families and not put down roots just so we can move 3000 miles
to work because employers would abuse us otherwise. I can only imagine
living out of a pop-up trailer, shunning the world and friends, just so
I can be a nomadic employee.

>Now, if the employer were to be dishonest, well that's
>another story entirely (Enron, WorldCom, Imclone, Arthur
>Anderson....). There, you'd have legitimate gripes about

Isn't it dishonest to change the working conditions, from a
40-hour-per-week arrangement to an 80-hour-per-week arrangement that
only pays for 40 hours of work? Maybe it's not illegal, but it is

In short, I vehemently reject the notion that we should all be
sterilized and forced to live alone in pop-up campers as a defense
against abusive employers.


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