Cautionary Tale

A week or so ago, I talked about the Great Resignation.  Now the excellent City Journal  has this to say about that:

Younger workers opting to work less or to put in only the minimum effort may pay a future price in terms of stagnation or downward mobility. Workers receive the most pay raises in their twenties and thirties. This is also when people acquire the skills and contacts that pay off for the rest of their careers. One’s early years are not an ideal time to stay away from work, even considering the challenges that today’s younger workers face. Some jobs are certainly harder than others—especially when you’re learning skills and occupy a low rung in the workplace hierarchy. But opting out early only makes it more likely that work won’t get better later on.

All true.


  1. Also makes me wonder about their long term planning. I’m hoping to retire early because I worked my ass off when I was younger. These slackers are going to be working into their 80s if they’re not careful. And they won’t be able to leech off of me because I’ll be long gone.

  2. That age is where a guy ‘makes his bones’, so to speak.

    Totally nuts. I went through 3-4 jobs at that age until I found something that resonated.

    Total ant-and-grasshopper story in real life. Only these days some of the ants want instant gratification otherwise they screw off.

  3. It won’t change anything. If there’s enough of them they’ll just vote to have the .gov steal what they need from the ants. The fact that will cause the ants to say fuck it, is tomorrow’s problem. Better everyone starves than someone gets steak while I have to settle for rice. We are a nation of crabs in the bucket.

    The best part is the next generation (assuming this one breeds, which they will likely do, if only accidentally). Most of us learned our work ethic from our folks.

    “God’s of the copybook headings will in terror and slaughter return.”

  4. I came out of retirement in September 2020 to buy and run a commercial bakery and kitchen that went bankrupt due to COVID. I get (or got) 12-15 culinary students from the local community college each semester as apprentice bakers (not really, in the apprentice sense, but they insist upon calling them that to qualify for some federal grant money). This past semester I got 9, only one of whom showed up more than 60% of the time, yet all still expected to be paid for full term ($15/hour (of which I pay $11/hour), 20 hours/week, 14 weeks). I notified the school that if they insisted on full-payment, I would insist upon fulfillment of their work obligation. Got a notice from the school on Monday that (due to COVID of course), the students would on be allowed to perform up to 100% of their work through “distance learning” and that I should submit my “accommodation strategy” to them for approval before they schedule next semester’s students.

    My accommodation strategy is straight out of my Navy training–“Fuck that noise.” Until the internet of things figures out how to cut and pack 1lb units of pizza dough 24 to a bucket, I’ll go back to hiring work release and house arrestees. They show up on time, don’t steal anything, and don’t smoke weed on the loading dock.

  5. Grade school teachers have been counseling their students for close on the past 50 years, “The Government owes you.” I know this ’cause my son when a teenager (now nearing on 50) would ask me why I worked such long hours. I could go on for hours/days with my responses to him and his sisters.
    Let it suffice that they understood that there was a huge gulf between the way they had to answer the questions on their tests in school and the way they would live their lives. They too understand how “public education” has deliberately damaged the mores of our country as they look around at what their childhood friends have become.

  6. “Some jobs are certainly harder than others—especially when you’re learning skills and occupy a low rung in the workplace hierarchy”. I figured that out when I was working for Uncle Sam and crawling through the bilges of an engine room. It wasn’t close to being fun but I learned about responsibility, leadership, and how to get along with people. I also learned that there are things that absolutely have to be done, even when you don’t “feel” like it.

    Over the years I made a darn good living. We always had “beans, blue jeans, bullets and beer” and over the past years I’ve enjoyed a very comfortable retirement because I learned that the secret to life was ambition and hard work. Don’t despair, there are still plenty of kids out there who have discovered those same secrets. The layabouts get the publicity. The workers just work.

  7. If this generation doesn’t get paid as much, what do the businesses do with the extra money? Where do the businesses get the employees that have the applicable skills and contacts that are needed?
    Back in the 80-90s many mid-level managers lost their jobs to younger, less experienced and lower paid, employees. Many years of institutional knowledge was lost. This might be a repeat, but from a different angle.

  8. It’s the same principle as with college. You want the big bucks? Take the hard majors. For the last 50+ years, teenagers have been taught that their teens and 20s were party-time…instead of time to work their backsides off so that they DON’T have to work their backsides off in later life. Compound interest works on careers, as well as cash.

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