Friday, June 20, 2014

The Panda Bear on Friday Afternoons and Out of Touch Economists

It is a Friday afternoon.   The Panda Bear feels the work week increases in sneaky ways.   The Panda Bear remembers a time when employers on a regular basis let employees out early on Fridays and the long weekends.   Now the Panda Bear's employers never let their employers out early.   The Panda Bear feels this "bonus" free time could add up to two or three weeks of extra vacation days a year.    The Panda Bear also feels she was a much more enthusiastic worker when employers gave their workers additional time off and seemed to want them to have a life outside of work.    It's karma.  What comes around goes around.   Even the Panda Bear's boss admits that the office nickels and dimes its employees in terms of time.  The Panda Bear feels the heads of the organization set the tone.  If they don't give her anything extra, she won't give them anything extra.   The Panda Bear advises her readers to be careful about give extras to employers; some employers are just takers.   Your above and beyond effort may be a volunteer effort for them.  The Panda Bear has nothing against volunteering; this blog is a volunteer effort.   She just thinks that when one volunteers it should be clear that it is a volunteer effort.

 However, the Panda Bear wanted to draw to her readers attention to an article she found on about how off economists were about the job market.   Indeed the Panda Bear since the Great Recession has started in 2008 the Panda Bear has a hard time believing what was being said in the news about the economy.

 Just this week, the Panda Bear heard on the Wall Street Journal's radio show, one reporter say almost in despair that Americans were still unhappy about the economy despite the stock market doing well, the low inflation rate and the low rate of interest.

The Panda Bear wishes to defend the American people to this reporter.   First of all, many Americans who aren't wealthy are not directly effected by the stock market.   Their major source of money is their paycheck.  Some workers (including the Panda Bear) who work for nonprofits that have endowments that are in the stock market probably are indirectly benefiting from the good stock market.   However, for the majority of Americans who need their pay check to survive the stock market is not a major concern.

 Also the low interest rates are not benefiting everyone.   Many people are being hurt in that banks are not paying much in the way of interest on bank accounts.   Not everyone wants to put their money in an investment where there is risk of losing the principle.   A lot of people have lost a source of income because the banks are not paying much in the way of interests on their deposits.

In regards to low inflation, if you are unemployed you would rather have a higher inflation and higher employment rate.   Also many employed workers have not gotten cost living raise in many years so salaries are not keeping up with inflation-even if the inflation rate is low.  Low salaries and high unemployment keep the inflation rate low because of the reduced demand for goods and surfaces and labor costs are not increasing.  

 During 2008, the Panda Bear was hearing economists stating things that sounded straight out of Orwell's 1984.   She would hear on the news the economy was improving because it was the rate was slowing in which the economy declined.   Then the economists stated the recession was over when large numbers of people were acutely suffering.   When the Panda Bear heard that statement she thought there were probably a lot of unemployed economists looking for jobs in the Obama administration.

 The Panda Bear wishes to enjoy the rest of her Friday by reading a good book.  She hopes to resume posting on her regular bi-weekly schedule. 





Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Panda Bear on Unengaged Workers, Capitalistic Socialism, and Job Interviews

The Panda Bear has found an article from a learned professor and former CEO called Fixing the 'I Hate Work Blues' on the Harvard Business School website.   It describes how most first level workers feel overworked and underappreciated.     They feel micromanaged and are disengaged from their jobs.    The article says poor worker morale hurts the organization.   Managers need to learn how to lead rather than nitpick at their workers.

The Panda Bear Blog is a blog by a humble first level employee who agrees with the article as she experiences these problems in her work day first hand.   She feels that all her energies are going to a job that is stressful and has gotten stale.   She feels more workers need to come out and express their dissatisfaction for there to be a change for the better in the nature of employment.

 Many social critics have complained that the US has gotten somewhat socialistic in that there is an alliance between business and the government.   The Panda Bear thinks the US has gone socialist with a certain lower level segment of the workforce.   We aren't supposed to be working for our own advancement and welfare but for the "good of society".   Growing up the Panda Bear always heard the idea of working for the social good while sounded nice in theory did not work in practice; workers did their best when they felt they profited from own efforts.

 However many workers the Panda Bear talks to nowadays feel that projects that may improve things for the organization are nothing but more work for and pressure for them.   The Panda Bear might accept some idea of working for the good of the society.   However, the Panda Bear feels that the rewards that she is not getting in terms of money and respect are not going to the disadvantaged but to higher ups who make a lot of money and coworkers who don't treat her very well.

The Panda Bear got this joke on Facebook from the Occupy movement.    The question is how many capitalists (the joke also works if you use the term manager) does it take to change a light bulb.   The answer is none-it takes workers.    (Another statement she got from Facebook from the AFL-CIO she liked was "If you can read a book thank a teacher, if you can read a book at night thank an electrician."). 

 Of course the problems of the employed are made worse by the high unemployment rate.   Employers feel little incentive to change because turnover is low.  Employees are supposed to be happily (happy that they have jobs) unhappy (they don't like their job and don't want to be there).   In a previous post, the Panda Bear stated that a high unemployment rate benefited the military in that military gets a steady supply of recruits because they can't find other employers.   A high unemployment rate also benefits employers.  Labor costs are kept low.   Managers don't have to constantly be recruiting and replacing employees.   Salaries are kept down.   In the Panda Bear's experience, employers are much nicer to employees when there is a high turnover.

As readers of the Panda Bear Blog know, the Panda Bear herself embarked on a job search when the office forbade the workers to have plants (micromanagement).   The Panda Bear has not yet found a job but she has been getting interviews which she has heard some people cannot get.  The Panda Bear has been in her job for nine years.   In a good economy she thinks the shelf life of her job would be four to six years. 

 The Panda Bear has found some elements of the interviewing process have change in the past nine years.   It has improved in that there is an initial phone interview where in the past first interviews were always done in person which required the Panda Bear to take time off from work. 

 In the beginning of the post, the Panda Bear said employees felt unappreciated for the hard work they do.  When going for interviews, the Panda Bear has heard from managers of other organizations that the Panda Bear has a heavier than average workload for the industry.   However, the Panda Bear hears no praise for this when she is at work.   The managers somehow make one feel stupid for working so hard.   Instead of thanking the employees for their hard work, the managers say they will automate the process to make it easier making the Panda Bear feel like she is stupid for doing so much.

 Since it a tight job market, the Panda Bear is trying to interview with as many organizations as possible to get practice interviewing so she would seem more smooth(in the past when the Panda Bear had a job she could be somewhat selective about interviews).   This strategy appears to be working as last week the Panda Bear went on an interview where the manager said she seemed very relaxed for the interview.  

 The Panda Bear has heard that it is a terrible mistake to seem nervous at an interview.   In general the Panda Bear has heard that at work one is supposed to exude confidence.   However, the Panda Bear thinks she has discovered a major problem in US industry.   It is overly concerned with "approach" not with results.   The Panda Bear has seem extremely incompetent people say they know everything; they get jobs and fail.   Some highly qualified people appreciate the risks and know their limits but don't get jobs because they seem apprehensive.   To paraphrase Alexander Pope-fools can rush in where wise people fear to tread.









Friday, June 6, 2014

The Panda Bear on Afghanistan, Freedom and Unions

The world today makes no sense today for the Panda Bear.   Like why is the US in Afghanistan why Kharzi does not even want the US there?   What is the US defending? It is not clear whether large groups of Afghanis even wants the US there or want Western type democracy.   And are we in the USA really free when people are afraid to speak freely against their employers?

In one previous post the Panda Bear said she wanted to stand on her desk and shout "Liberty, Equality and Fraternity," until she remembered they were from the French revolution not the American.  However, she found on some US stamps the motto "Liberty forever, Justice forever, Equality forever, Freedom forever" with the American flag.  She posts this on her desktop.   She hides the revolutionary nature of these American sentiments (she works for a very hierarchal organization) by putting it near some materials from the organization.  

Today is the day after the second anniversary Father's Panda death.   Father Panda felt the heads of US industry were both corrupt and incompetent.  His father helped organize some car worker Unions in Michigan (However, it should be noted that Father Panda and his father appeared not to have gotten along).   Perhaps, the anniversary of Father Panda's death is making the Panda Bear more upset about things than she normally would be but she feels the rebel’s blood flow through her veins and now she feels so proud.

The Panda Bear recently got a card recognizing her as an affiliate member of the AFL-CIO. The AFL-CIO has now realized that most American workers don't work for unionized places anymore and has opened an affiliate membership for all workers.   The Panda Bear works for a large publically funded institution and she is tired of hearing whenever she asks about a company policy regarding something as basic as attendance rule both HR and the managers say they don't know and to the Panda Bear this is pretty basic stuff.

The Panda Bear got a written up for speaking too loudly and being denied some bonus days at work.  If she had union there would there would be an advocate for her.   The Panda Bear has made a counter claim that she has a medical condition that is covered under American for Disabilities (which she really has this condition and her providers have supplied to the institution her medical information).  It has been two months she has declared her disability but the process for setting up accommodation has not yet happened. 

However, the Panda Bear still very hurts about those two bonus days.   She is trying not to let it ruin her weekend.  It is going to be hard to handle her angry feelings at work. 

The Panda Bear had a friend who thinks the Panda Bear's employers should be so glad to have her because she is a straight arrow and works very hard.  The Panda Bear had a hard time not laughing when she heard that-many employers badly treat their good works.

The Panda Bear knows of many good workers who are don’t feel treated well by their employer.