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Subject:Re: Like long hours? From:Kevin McLauchlan <kmclauchlan -at- chrysalis-its -dot- com> To:"TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com> Date:Wed, 7 Aug 2002 16:44:17 -0400
On Wednesday 07 August 2002 15:53,
eric -dot- dunn -at- ca -dot- transport -dot- bombardier -dot- com wrote:
> >>b) 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.
> Is this really true? Corporations can open up a branch in
> many parts of the world and then engage the labour there
> with little extra cost. If the company decides to move,
> many countries, states, and provinces will fight to see
> who can offer the most attractive package to the company
> to incite them to move.
Yes, it is really true. :-) Traps are relative.
If it were not true, then companies would be hopping around
like fleas. Just think about it for a minute. If a company
has a significant presence at a location, then it has a
significant investment in trained workers, including
managers and above, who may not be willing to move to the
new location. If they've got technical writers who can not
only understand the product, but write good, timely
manuals, isn't that an investment?
They have built-up goodwill that is a valued commodity.
They have trust relationships with bankers, cleaning
companies, property-care companies, contractors and
instructors (for all those "management" and "people-skills"
seminars... they've got some pesky officials bribed into
relative quiet.... whoops! did I say that out loud?
There's either some owned real-estate, or some leased
The company is probably located near some suppliers or some
key customers or some other advantage that attracted them
there in the first place.
There may, indeed, be governmental entanglements such as
loans and grants that become payable in full if they move.
There may be tech schools and university research labs
nearby, or the synergy of several related companies
helping/pushing each other to improve their technology.
The infrastructure (internet backbones, raw materials,
reliable electricity or gas, transportation system, etc.,
etc.) may be much more to their liking where they now
There may be some damn fine golf clubs and courses... <g>
In short, there's *inertia* ... a much more potent factor
than many of us realize.
> Labour on the other hand is saddled with many hurdles
> when searching for new employment. Besides the cost of
> relocation it's not only countries that limit access by
> requiring visas or other immigration and work laws. It is
> difficult to move between provinces in Canada because
> provinces limit access to schools, health care, and
> unemployment based on residency requirements.
Well, I'm nearly 50 and married for twenty years, and I
don't consider that even a tiny hindrance. Of course,
I lived in Quebec for 18 years (before moving to Ontario)
and my wife and I chose to not have children...
For a suitable compensation, I can work in any part of
Canada -- that's five thousand miles by three thousand.
I can receive medical treatment anywhere that has the
facilities, and it would be my choice whether to move to a
place that perhaps lacked facilities (i.e., the backwoods),
and I'd make such a choice knowingly... much as people
choose to work in the city but to live in the country,
where they not only incur longer commutes and septic tanks,
they also move further from the ambulance and the
fire-trucks. Trade-offs. Deliberate choices.
In other words, you seem to be making my point, and
countering your own.
> Even when free trade law ostensibly makes working cross
> border easy for certain professionals, it's often smoke
> and mirrors. The hoops that can be required of a Canadian
> trainer wishing to fulfill a contract with an American
> company can be daunting even if the Free-Trade accord
> says it's a simple matter requiring a single visa.
So? That's like saying "god has unfairly put this mountain
range between me and the place where I want to be."
That's government. It's not a function of employers.
More to the point... it's function of EMPLOYEES!!
Those stupid protectionist labor policies are not imposed at
the behest of companies. It's *worker* voters who reward
the politicians for creating such barriers. "Those
goldurned wetback Canucks are a-comin' down here an'
a-stealin' our jobs! Protect our cushy behinds and we'll
reward you with our votes!"
Many potential employers are also restrained from setting up
shop in places they might otherwise prefer. In addition to
geographical and infrastructure difficulty, there are
local, regional and national government restrictions.
(NIMBY, for example)
If there were no restrictions, of one sort or another, don't
you think almost every employer would want to set up in
Bali. Actually, a lot of employees wish that they would...
but then the others would moan about "But my kids are in
school here! My church is here and I've worked my way up to
Supreme Poohbah in my local Muskrat lodge! I can't just
LEAVE and start over!" Well, yes you can... if you
choose to do so. If you make the trade-offs. If it's worth
it to you to do so.
Very few people choose to keep themselves totally portable
and unrooted. Most of us build up an investment in the
places where we linger and take root. Well, there's a cost
in that. There are also rewards. You get to decide which
ones will rule your life. The employer is almost incidental
to those kinds of decisions (especially in an economy where
we can expect to hold eight or ten career positions in a
BUT... if you give in to your baser nature and demand that
the nanny-state create more rules to keep you safe and cozy
in your job, there are costs to that as well.
Now, sit down... shut up.... write manual!*
*Famous words of a highly-regarded former boss.
** DIR-ty DEEDS, and they're DONE dirt cheap. (Sing it,
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