I had a weak moment.

Discussion in 'General Chit-Chat' started by bud16415, Feb 28, 2019.

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  1. Feb 28, 2019 #1

    bud16415

    bud16415

    bud16415

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    Sitting around a lot this winter second winter of retirement and getting a little bored. I get the idea to look for a part time job to get out of the house and make myself feel useful and have a few extra bucks to play around with. My pension is great and I don’t need to work but something is programmed in me to stay busy. I know I could get a job similar to what I did for 43 years but the idea of part time and doing something different appealed to me.


    OK no laughing here. I was looking on line and I see the Home Depot is looking for a kitchen/bath designer. I have CAD skills and my whole life was spent doing design work in industry and my hobby is home improvement so why not check it out.


    I go on line and I guess I have been out of the loop a long time but you apply on line and a robot system takes you thru the process. It clearly wont let you apply for a random job so I pick kitchen/bath design and it says immediate opening and shows it at the store close to me. Nowhere does it ask my qualification but several times it tells me not to apply if I don’t want a drug test. It then says I have to take a 15 minute test. The test didn’t ask me anything someone would have to know to design a kitchen, rather it asked kind of creepy questions like they were profiling me. Things like if you are in a clean parking lot are you more eager to pick up a candy wrapper than if you are in a dirty parking lot. Or do you think it is important to be friends with your coworkers or if you are asked a question and you don’t know the answer what should you do. Then they give you a test where they show you and 8 digit number and then below you have to match it to one of 6 other numbers. They will replace a 3 with an E or B and 8. Ok I did that. And finished in 10 minutes 13 seconds and it told me great job. Told me then to stay close to my phone and wait for a call. The next day guess what a Robot calls me from HD and says I have to pick a day and time for a personal interview 1 for Monday 2 for Tuesday etc and then a time. Then it reminds me again if I’m on drugs I will be tested and stay tuned for a confirmation email. What the hell they want to try out every method of communication there is I guess. Sure enough I get a robot generated email telling me back what I told them and no name of who I’m to talk to or how to find them and remember you may be drug tested.


    So against my better judgment I go down there and go to the service counter and tell the girl I’m here for an interview to be a kitchen/bath designer. She sends me to a room and on the wall is a big sign that says interview waiting area with two big chairs. I wait there and a kid comes in. says follow me and we go in a tiny little office with hard steel chairs. He tells me his first name and gets me to sign a few pieces of paper saying I am who I am. Then he says well that’s the boring part out of the way. and he produces a stack of papers with questions on them like, how important is teamwork to me? and if I don’t know an answer what would I do? When I said find out the answer, He said great answer. Then he asks me if I have any computer skills? and I say yes and he says that’s great.


    Then get ready for this he tells me I have the job, and I start in lawn and garden the next day. I say lawn and garden! Like loading bags of mulch into peoples trunks! He says yep pretty much and they will teach me how its done.


    I said but I applied for a kitchen/bath designer job. He looked at me funny and said well we have two of them now but maybe they could use three. So I asked do you need 3 or not and he said he didn’t know he would have to ask someone. I said well you must need one you have one listed on the Internet. He said well thanks for coming in we will be calling you if we need someone for that. I said ok thanks.


    Before I left I walked around the store and counted employees there were dozens of them mostly in groups of two and three talking my guess is 2-3 employees for every costumer. At least 6 were in the break room a really nice place I had to walk thru to get to the waiting chairs. I saw at least 5 people pondering an item looking like they could use some help and I witnessed one guy worker come up to a woman worker and tell her to go help someone and she answered I don’t know anything about that stuff down there. I did actually see one person that was working other than the checkout people and that was the lady designing a kitchen or something on a computer in the kitchen area.


    So I left there and went for lunch at Burger King. I was the only costumer in the store and it was shortly after noon. The girl told me it was a 1 minute 30 second wait and I could sit down. I told her oh its ok I should be able to stand at least twice that long. She smiled and said oh good. As I was waiting I counted 10 people “working” to make me a fish sandwich and fries. I had to fill my own drink they must have cut back the 4 people that used to fill cups. Our governor wants to raise the min wage to $15 per hour. They are going to have to sell a heck of a lot of sandwiches or charge me a heck of a lot more for my one.


    Ok end of my rant. The good part was I didn’t get a job but I had an interesting afternoon. Better than watching The View and getting my blood pressure up.


    The world I live in is a different place than the one I knew. I remember my granddad saying stuff like that and I thought he was crazy. So I’m hoping I’m crazy and it’s not really this bad.
     
  2. Mar 1, 2019 #2

    oldognewtrick

    oldognewtrick

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    Bud, sorry to say this but...youre not crazy. This is the new norm. Thank God I was born when I was.
     
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  3. Mar 1, 2019 #3

    ShellbackBill

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    Employees all over the place at a Home Depot?

    Where is this Home Depot? I usually can't find anybody at mine. I need to start shopping at yours.
     
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  4. Mar 1, 2019 #4

    ShellbackBill

    ShellbackBill

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    And if you have computer skills, and enjoy woodworking, look into a CNC router.
    They are basically ran by CAD. It's a little more complicated than that but that's where it starts.

    You could probably make more money than at Home Despot and set your own hours.

    This video show pretty much an entire project from CAD to finished product.
     
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  5. Mar 1, 2019 #5

    Truth avenger

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    My usual experience at HD is that when I go in and I know exactly what I want and where to find it, I will be asked by 3 employees if I need help.

    But if I go in and don't know where to find something, then I can't find an employee to ask.
     
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  6. Mar 1, 2019 #6

    havasu

    havasu

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    I'm helping a neighbor repair some rotten fascia boards. On Wednesday, we went to Lowe's to get two pieces....one 12' long and one 10' long. I find out they only carry 16 footers, which is unneeded but that is ok, we will get two boards and have them cut two boards. I push the button to automatically call for a "board cutter" and after pushing it for 10 minutes, a pimple face kid comes over and asks what we want. I told him I needed two boards cut. I needed one board cut 12 foot and the second board cut to 10 foot. He puts one board on the vertical saw and measures a 10 foot mark and rolls out the tape and measures a 12 foot mark. He then proceeds to cut at the 10 foot mark and then moves the saw to the 12 foot mark. I shouted for him to stop and he shuts off the saw (company policy I guess) and turns around to ask me what the problem was. I replied that it would be nice to squeeze out 22 feet of board out of a 16 foot long board, but physics prohibited that action. That poor kid was so confused.
     
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  7. Mar 1, 2019 #7

    Flyover

    Flyover

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    A lot of big companies (Home Depot definitely included) have been sold on automated systems for recruiting and hiring and much else. "Computers can one small aspect of the job better than humans, therefore computers can do the whole job better than humans" is the mentality. Someone waves a bunch of numbers at them and claims the automated system will save X amount of time, Y amount of labor, Z amount of money, and so on and so on. So they plop down millions of dollars and get to say "We use all the latest high-tech systems." Meanwhile they gradually hear about how terrible those systems are to use, but the incentive to make them better doesn't hardly exist. And on top of that, there's always low-skilled people who need a job badly (and we're importing a lot more in case we didn't have enough already) and they will put up with it. I know because I've worked on these systems and I'm very familiar with the research that goes into their design. I've watched them get sold and built. (And I've also definitely been on the "applying for a job" end of them too, plenty of times.)

    The dystopian future doesn't happen because of evil people. It happens because of good people who forget how to say No.
     
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  8. Mar 1, 2019 #8

    bud16415

    bud16415

    bud16415

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    For years that has been my experience as well. :)
     
  9. Mar 1, 2019 #9

    bud16415

    bud16415

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    I was hoping to be crazy as the truth is much more scary. I guess we were born at the right time.
     
  10. Mar 1, 2019 #10

    bud16415

    bud16415

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    I graduated high school at 17 and the very next day applied for a job with General Electric. I was employed the very next week with a 40 hour per week job, great health care, a retirment saving account, and a pension plan. My dad was a machinist his whole life and I started making close to what he was making and about 4 times what I was making doing my summer high school job working cutting grass at a country club. I didn’t work 6 months and I was encouraged to apply for a tool and die apprenticeship with the company. Instead of using computers that weren’t around to any extent then they used commonsense and grew employees from the ground up. I passed the test took a cut in pay and started a 8 hour per day shop training and 4 hours night school 5 days a week for 4 years. I ended up with an education second to none and a great start in life.


    It wasn’t an indoctrination it was more of a mutual benefit for me and the company. These guys running these big organizations were from the greatest generation and they really knew how to get things done. They didn’t wait around for someone to show up and apply for a job and hoping they cared and knew anything. They were grooming us all finding out what we were good at and channeling everybody down the right path for them. It was fun and there were no strings holding us to the company when it was done. They expected some percentage to leave. They were training half the people in the city and wanted the ones like myself to stay because we didn’t want to go anyplace else. These companies are always portrayed as greedy sweat shops making some few guys at the top rich. But it wasn’t that at all in my mind it was capitalism at its best and the rising tide lifted every one. When I made it thru that program I was offered a job in the office designing tooling and there were 14 guys doing the same thing. The plant employed over 15,000 people and the parking lot was full of nice new cars. The employees all had nice homes and supported the rest of the towns businesses. The company made a lot of money and so did the people working there from the floor sweeper to the VP. The products we made (locomotives, mining equipment, huge motors) fed the rest of the countries demand for growth also.


    The first 20 years of my 43 spent there followed this model. Things slowly eroded and what seemed so logical when I started now became short term goal and illogical. Little by little the greatest generation moved on and were replaced by bean counters that never looked beyond the next quarter. We used to build and buy equipment and required a 5 or 10 year payback. By the time I retired if you couldn’t justify a project to be paid back in 6 months it wasn’t worth it. To buy a $10 hand tool took a GMs signature. We got rid of 13,500 of the 15,000 employees and outsourced everything you could think of to some countries on the other side of the world. Half the time the cost to ship something was more than the total labor here to make it. On paper it was all making money somehow they said.


    I retired early by a couple years because I saw what I thought was the writing on the wall. Last week the plant along with the whole world wide division was sold. The very next day the remaining workers were asked to sign a new contract with the new owner cutting everything. So the company has owned the plant for 5 days and they have been on strike for 5 days.


    I’m so glad I’m out and if you would have asked me 40 years ago I would have thought the idea of retiring would be awful.
     
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  11. Mar 2, 2019 #11

    68bucks

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    That's one of the big problems now, there is no loyalty on the part of the company to the employees so there is no loyalty by the employees to the company. That's why younger workers change jobs all the time. That and nobody hardly offers a pension any more so there is a lot less incentive to stay at a single employer for a whole career. They haven't kept the level of pay increasing at anywhere near that of management so the difference in pay from the VP to the floor sweeper is way out of wack. Since they can pay a kid overseas penny's on the dollar to do a job they feel like they can do the same here. Welcome to the global economy, pretty sad really.
     
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  12. Mar 2, 2019 #12

    Gary

    Gary

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    I'm about 3 weeks into retirement at this point. I started work at 15, working summers and then full time out of high school. I've been unemployed a total of 3 weeks during that time (all in one shot in the mid 80's).
    I've been self employed the last 30+ years, so the retirement thing is sort of ambiguous. My sign business is run out of our home, all the equipment is paid for and in good working order. My philosophy is.. Got to have something to do, and I like what I do, so why quit? The plan is to work when I want to, not when I have to going forward. If a job looks fun, I'll do it. If a job looks like it may not be fun "I'm retired".

    I have one of those CNC deals, ShellbackBill mentioned. It can be fun, profitable and time flies when I'm running it. Couple years ago I bought a laser engraver with the idea I can run that in retirement, as it's a no heavy lifting type job.

    And I agree, there's a completely different work ethic out there these days. Opportunity is being replaced by entitlement.
     
  13. Mar 3, 2019 #13

    Flyover

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    These days I think it depends on the company and on the employee. Where I work (a Fortune 200 company in the utility industry, with 17K+ employees) they still have pensions and the loyalty is very strong in both directions. That doesn't mean there's no turnover, but I do recognize it's a lot better there than a lot of other places. I feel lucky and I have resisted looking for work elsewhere even when I had some practical reasons to.

    Meanwhile, yes, I've met some entitled young people, and maybe it's just where I live but it seems like there's an awful lot more who work really hard for not a lot of money. I think about that every time I'm at the grocery store on a Saturday morning and it's super busy and there's a 20-something behind the checkout counter looking stressed out. I've been in their shoes both as a teenager and in my 20s, but now I get to check out and go home and enjoy the rest of my weekend with my family, while they will spend their Saturday on their feet, trying to keep long lines of impatient customers happy. My job is way easier than that, it's a regular 6-3 M-F, and pays a lot better. Once again, I feel lucky.

    Yes, globalization has made competition fiercer, and it means that in many cases executives and managers have to be more cynical. But hey, globalization is what you need (the general "you", not anyone here in particular) if you want a smartphone, Google, GPS navigation, an F-150, Marvel comicbook movies, healthcare that's basically sorcery, oranges and pineapples and bananas available in every grocery store, dirt cheap, all year long, and so on. Those things only exist because the cost of bringing them to market finally got low enough so everyday people could afford to buy them (or put them on credit).

    Standard of living is all the things in your life, not just the things you like. There's no such thing as an innovation that doesn't destroy something else, and most of the time you didn't realize you had the thing that got destroyed until it's gone, and even then most people still don't realize it. That's the reality of what they call "progress".

    Half the population doesn't realize what they're destroying with their lust for progress. Meanwhile the other half says they'd rather do without progress but if you look at how they live and what they buy, they don't seem willing to actually walk the walk.

    OK, rant over, apologies for that.
     
  14. Mar 4, 2019 #14

    bud16415

    bud16415

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    A few years before I retired I was tasked with the job of implementing a large production facility in Mexico to build motor coils for our competitors motors as part of an even larger rebuild program they wanted to get into.


    I went to the first meeting with upper management and asked why Mexico when we had empty floor space and people in our plant trained to maintain such equipment? I was told the reason was to exploit the cheep labor south of the boarder something like 50 cents per hour. I pointed out that the way we build motor coils these days uses very little labor as the processes are highly automated. Less than 1% of the product cost is labor. I was then told no million dollar machines and robots they can’t keep that stuff running down there the process needs to be simple and basic and highly labor intensive. I said ok that’s how we did things in 1950 here and we could do that, but there would only be one problem and that being we automated because that was the only way w could get the repeatable high quality we needed and putting the human factor in there adds lots of chance for variability and QC issues. I was then basically do it because it was not being done anyplace but Mexico. So I said ok lets do it.


    I laid out the line with many workers and simple hand tooling and lots of labor. The line got shot down by the quality team saying it would be a nightmare. So I did it again with automation and included a lot of labor that hardly did anything ran the cost of equipment back up and somehow sold it to upper management. We installed it in Mexico and got it running and producing good product. All the people with little to do started fiddling around with things and the line was going down non stop. When it did there wasn’t anybody there to straighten it out so we ended up flying people down there every week to fix things. Every time something breaks they cant make parts for it or if they do try they don’t have the skills or process to make them correctly so we supply them machine parts non stop.


    I worked my whole life with factory automation and in some ways you remove jobs but you always add in new higher skilled jobs of roughly the same numbers but in doing so you drive quantity up quality up and cost down.
     

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