ENDNOTE: The tale of two janitors


EV#139 Pitchforks, globalization, labor and AI
Exponential View —  Tim O’Reilly  

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And to understand the rise of income inequality over time, thanks to the erosion of business values and corporate beneficence, there’s no more instructive story than this tale of two janitors:

Ms. Evans was a full-time employee of Kodak. She received more than four weeks of paid vacation per year, reimbursement of some tuition costs to go to college part time, and a bonus payment every March. When the facility she cleaned was shut down, the company found another job for her: cutting film.

Ms. Ramos is an employee of a contractor that Apple uses to keep its facilities clean. She hasn’t taken a vacation in years, because she can’t afford the lost wages. Going back to school is similarly out of reach. There are certainly no bonuses, nor even a remote possibility of being transferred to some other role at Apple.

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As I was often saying in my role as the the big fat old turkey hisself coaching job search to the middle-aged fat old white guys who were RIFed, “downsized”, or just tossed out like the trash — like I was, there is no flashing “Kmart blue light special” light to tell you that the world changes and it’s adapt or die.

I often told those sad old souls, as well as any youngster who would listen, that 

“Success for your generation is: (1) ruthless financial discipline — no bad debt; (2) a life long interest in learning — education — a degree — they can’t take it away from you; (3) a NON-OFFSHORABLE white collar job in order to save big bux; (4) a blue collar skill for hard times — never saw a poor plumber; (5) one or more internet based businesses — your store is always open; (6) a free time hobby that generates income; and (7) a large will-maintained network of people who can “help” you.”

This “tale” of two janitors is an example of the silent change that captures so many “victims”.

While I am sad that Ms. Ramos is in the described state, as are so many others, it’s all their own fault.

I’m not heartless or hard-hearted but USA native’s need some “tough love”.

This current generation has become complacent and lulled to sleep by the propaganda that they are special and success is their birthright. 

IRL, in nature, it’s adapt or die. So too for humanity. We only get to stay on the top of the food chain by our unique God-given ability to adapt and survive.

Look at what our forefathers did and endured to get us to this place. Do we do or endure even half of what they did? 

Ms. Ramos, and all like her, are de-humanized as an actor who has free will and free choice. Does Ms. Ramos save? Does she work hard? Probably, but does she work smart? Probably not. Does she have a side hustle? Or does she lay back and let the world pick her course.

Is it hard to break out? Sure. But most times, it’s our “map” (i.e., memes and paradigms) that keep us in chains. Trained to be weak like the baby elephant, who can’t escape the leg chain, learns to be helpless and, as an adult elephant, doesn’t even think about breaking the relatively flimsy rope on its leg. 


To all the Ms. Ramos’ out there: Wake up! Seize and use your power.

Too bad we can’t take a deep dive on the Ms. Ramos story and see if it’s as portrayed?

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