Clarification about the unions

To clear up some things that seem contradictory between my “public employee apology” and my recent “OUS is ripping us off” posts, I offer a few bullet points.

But first, check out what software engineers get paid to understand why I feel OUS underpays us. The general IT positions are even lower, of course, but I don’t have as much of a frame of reference for those pay scales vs. the private sector. Continue reading “Clarification about the unions”

Laid off? The one thing you absolutely need to do if you’re rich or stupid

I like people who have no understanding of the average Joe, but preach to him anyway. They’re cute and their naivety is endearing in a certain way. I’m talking about you, Jason Kester.

Get laid off from your job, go take a six- to nine-month vacation. It’s the best time in the world to do so!

You have a pile of saving [sic] and a severance package.

Savings, maybe, though that’s not a given. Severance package, though? How many jobs even offer those anymore? Mine sure doesn’t (at least not below the Director level, which is where the majority of IT folks are), and I don’t work in a small place. Don’t preach to a group if you don’t even know anything about them.

I’m not going to bash the rationale behind this thought – I can really understand the suggestion for people who have the means to take this advice. What I just don’t get is Jason’s blanket advice that says basically nobody has an excuse of any kind not to do this:

But I don’t have any money saved…

You can’t possibly be serious. Are you saying that you’ve been working in IT for all these years and haven’t put away a lousy ten grand??? Shame on you. Get a book on life skills and open a bank account fer cryin’ out loud.

Wha…? Since when have all IT people been paid so well that $10k is (a) pocket change, and (b) something to throw away when times are hard? Hell, the most I’ve ever saved is $8k and that was to buy a house. And my salary isn’t even on the low end of the spectrum! Some people just live paycheck-to-paycheck by necessity, and condemning them for it is not only extremely snobby, but just proof you live in a bubble far from the real world. In San Fransisco, for instance, the average pay for a software engineer means barely scraping by or living an hour’s drive away. Sometimes both.

At both of my professional jobs, there have been software engineers paid low enough that two salaries are required if the people want to even own a shitty home, much less living nicely. Jason, you’re an ass.

But I’m married with a family and a house…

Ok, you win. You’re screwed, but that’s the life you chose for yourself so you’re going to have to live it. It’s worth noting, however, that most Europeans wouldn’t consider that a reason not to travel. Right this second, there is a German couple pushing a stroller down a remote beach in Thailand, and they’re not going home for another month. What’s your excuse again?

Wait, so we’re screwed if we chose to have a family? A house? What if we’re happy with this choice? Are we just too ignorant to see the error of our ways or something? I honestly don’t get what you are saying here. But again this speaks to ignorance on Jason’s part – he has no concept of giving up something you want to have something else you want (the house – I’m assuming if I say I’m happy to be married and have kids he’ll just say I’m lying to myself, but having a house is a tangible asset – even idiot snobs can understand that). He also has no concept of how expensive it is to take the whole family to Thailand for us IT people paid a “normal” salary. He also doesn’t understand that sometimes kids are in school or that the spouse of the laid-off IT person has their own job.

But the most amazing piece: he doesn’t understand that some of us who actually do have the severance, the extra $10k, and everything else may not want to take the time off. Maybe it took me years to save $10k, and I don’t want to blow it on a trip when I could increase that savings instead. Maybe I am hoping to get a million in the bank before I retire, and every year I work hard gets me 5% closer to that goal, whereas just disappearing drops me by 5% instead. Maybe I want to really enjoy my 40s or 50s instead of waste my disposable income on a one-time trip that will screw up other goals in my life.

Then again, maybe Jason is just a stuck-up, ignorant white guy who simply hasn’t got a clue.