Multi-generational Corporate Servitude

24 11 2008

Look at this picture.  A man’s family served GM for generations (300 combined working years) and now the dream of being cared for by a massive corporation has backfired.  Who’s fault is it?  Someone has to say it so this cycle ends.  It is the fault of this man and his family.  Men, it is your job to take care of your family not some cooperation’s job.  picture-18You should be saving money, investing and building resources in your family for your family that your family controls for the ongoing provision of your family.  I don’t know where this crazy myth of abdecating your responsibility to provide for your family to a corporation began but it needs to end.  If you have a job then you are being paid for services rendered, not guaranteed multi-generational security.  Once you receive that paycheck you and the company are even.  They don’t owe you anything.  They owe a return to stock holders not you.  If you want financial security save and invest.  Welcome to capitalism.  Why in the world are we perpetuating this myth by training kids to be life-long indentured servants to a ever changing list of nameless stock holders and their families.  If you love your family and you want to live in a capitalistic economy become an investor and hold real estate, stocks and other investments.  If you want the government, a corporation, or your parents to take care of you then your putting your family’s security on a time bomb waiting for it to blow up.

***Update*** It appears my post has created more heat than light and for that I apologize.  Let me make explicit what I’m saying and what I’m NOT.

I’m making only 2 points –

1. It is a timeless principle that providing for your family is every man’s job and he should not shift that responsibility to anyone else be it a union, a corporation, a stock market or another member of the family (1 Timothy 5:8).

2. It is critical for men who happen to live in a capitalistic economy (like the United States) to understand that the economy gives a tremendous advantage to those with capital (liquid assets).  That is why it is called capitalism and not laborism or socialism.  I have VERY mixed feelings about the wisdom of building an economy on capital but that is where I live.  That is why the government will instantly bail out the capital markets but hesitate to bail out the auto industry.  If you lead and provide for a family AND you live in a capitalistic economy then save money and invest.  If this man’s family would have saved 5% of their income and invested they would all be multi-millionaires now.  Its ridiculous that it’s that simple but again, welcome to capitalism.

What I’m NOT saying –

1.  That it’s bad to work in the labor force your whole life.  If you can find a great job at a great wage in the labor force go for it BUT save 5-10% of your money and invest it because relying on labor in a capitalistic economy is dangerous.

2. That this man and his family are bad.  They’ve been taught a myth that my kids, even in 2008, are being taught in school.  We need to teach kids the nature of capitalism and show them that the majority of their life long income should come from investments.  Instead we train kids to be dependent for life on corporate jobs.  Every child who buys this myth will be less secure than their parents were.

On a side note, I LOVE multi-generational family teams.  I have a blog dedicated to multi-generational family teams.  It is precisely because I felt so badly for this man and his family that I wrote this post.  I can’t stand to see a family that worked hard together, stayed together and passed on great traditions be left with nothing.  It breaks my heart and angers me.  This did not have to happen.

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16 responses

24 11 2008
Mike

They need to get an education and get a better job. Most of us in high tech sector are happy if our jobs last for more than 3 years. We dont get government bailouts if our company falters or our business goes under. We have to retrain ourselves at our own expense

24 11 2008
Derek

Two Words..Easy Life.

Man, what’s it like for your entire family to be that overpaid for jobs that take high school diplomas? This family and many others have been spoon fed opportunity without effort through the UAW and the companies that put up with this BS.

Learn what its like to struggle a bit. Every person I know who works or worked for GM makes way above average money and has way above average pension. They sold the company’s soul to the devil, and the devil is here to collect. Tax payers are no savior. The only savior is to reduce your pay and require your executives do the same. How’s that for bargaining?

How about every employee shave your pay by 1/3rd. You will still be making above average pay to the other auto companies in America (like Honda) and save your company at the same time.

24 11 2008
Stan

I remember my friend’s BRAND NEW Trans Am back in the 80’s – what a pile of junk! Hair painted into the door, T-tops didn’t fit, stickers with air bubbles, everything rattled and squeeked. The new GMs are better quality-wise, but they are lightyears behind the cars in my garage (from Germany and Japan). My vote is to let Detroit handle this on their own. A bail out would simply justify their position in 12 mos to do this again. Oh, and the Volt?? C’mon, $40K and 2010??? I have as much faith in the Volt as in how GM handled the EV1 and HyWire…

24 11 2008
john

ALL goverment FAULT they let foreight cars flood to this country when 3 big collapse all this foreigh cars will be sky rocket their price, and goverment let all americans broke just like steel industry and eletrocnic industry and let china take over , HOW MANY JAPANES PEOPLE BUY US AUTO ?? I SAID ZERO ‘US govt no standar they can cheat lie , earmark theft for nothing and corrupt and we cant do anything,they are ALL SUCK !

24 11 2008
lin

HOW ABOUT LET GM AND FORD HAVE gas station oil bussines or work with oil company and everybody buy their cars product get 85 cent a gallon as long they buy US auto and they get special card to access to gas.

US Politicans let all the world to screwing americans worker ,they just care only for their pocket lobbies and corrupt just getting worse, they are NO STANDAR ,NO honor No integrity thanks to clinton bush with UNFAIR TRADE

24 11 2008
Carl

You elitist pigs. These people you make fun of who work in manufacturing jobs actually work. They contribute more to our federal bottom line than the degreed pretentious bottom feeders. They produce a tangible product that is traded globally and used more widely than companies you are accustomed to work for. Steel, automobiles, mining, producing multiple components for a multitude of products worldwide. These tangible products and the hard working Americans who made them built this country into the economic superpower it once was. Does it take a precious college degree to make a person more productive? No, but the advanced degrees held by many of the managers of the companies these people work for are not impressive either. These “educated” people invented the corporate welfare revolving door and preverbal golden parachute so they can give themselves a gratuity for running companies into the ground. Your philosophy is have a degree will travel no matter what. What about the quality of the employees who hold the degrees? You pretentious jerks with your soft hands who sit huddled in your cubicles at your disposable jobs making meaningless products, playing hide the monkey with the new female trainee, managing businesses in the ground, sipping your designer coffee winking at secretaries who wears her clothes a few sizes too tight, corporate welfare thieves and office holders on every level, paper traders on Wall Street, bankers, all the called educated people put this country and economy at risk. Those directly responsible for our economic blight need to go to federal prison to befriend bubba. Go ahead, flash your degrees in other’s faces while non-degreed employees unclog the thousands of used condoms from your waste pipes in your climate controlled office buildings. When the bottom falls out and we are beat back to a third world economy, you will discover something you never experienced before. Dirt, sweat, calluses on your hands real work and real worries. You will either do what you have to do to survive our new world order however it plays out or you will not. Revert back to the strongest will survive. These companies did not give their employees handouts, the employees worked all three shifts, weekends, worked during holidays and special events to EARN a real days work for their families.

24 11 2008
You betcha

This is such blatant UAW propoganda, it is a joke. Who wrote this? A reporter? No…some “journalist” was spoon fed this garbage from a UAW speech writer or lobbyist.

I respect those who work hard for a living, including members of the UAW. But I also work hard for a living…without the benefit of a union-negotiated wage deal, fat pension fund, etc.

Welcome to the real world, UAW!

24 11 2008
lin

Goverment so corrupt SOLD OUT this country to china and slave lawages to destroying american way of life…I blame US goverment not union, they let craps from other country flood to kill american worker,

country make nothing mean will be collapse only crook politicans and their ccopration whore whos survive,they take more power from the peoples , pelosi the most Bit ch arrogant acting smart even she is brain dead

24 11 2008
Joe

WHY CONGRESS GIVING AWAY BAILOUT FOR WLS WITHOUT QUESTION SO FAST LIKE LIGHTNING…WE NEED INVESTIGATION WHY THEY GIVE AIG TO PARTY MONEY NOT AUTO? IF U LET BIG 3 COLAPSE MEAN THIS COUNTRY JUST HISTORY , GOVERMENT GIVING AWAY OUR PRIDE TO SLAVE LABOR LET 100 MILL ILLEGAL RUNNING WILD AS LONG THEY ARE VOTING FRAUD

25 11 2008
Jonathan Brink

Jeremy, I would do a little research before making statements like you’ve made.

The fundamental practices of early capitalism and corporate development going back to the 1800’s was the idea of creating a new family at the workplace. They had to because the industrialization tore the agricultural family apart. The loss of the father at the home took away apprenticeships for children to learn from their parents. The industrialization of women during the 50’s to the 70’s did the same to woman.

But the underlying promise of the corporation was to create a family at the workplace. I’m not saying it was a correct thing to do, but the embedded idea remains in many of the larger corporations that hold onto old world ideas of manufacturing. These are good people who have followed their parents and were sold a bill, but are now watching it being taken away.

Even corporations in the tech world had the same promise. My dad worked at IBM for 29 years before dying. My uncle worked at HP for 35 years before retiring. Those types of people don’t exist anymore, or are fading fast. We now live in a culture that is born into the disposable job. But the people in the article aren’t.

I would just suggest a little more empathy and compassion in the way you say it.

25 11 2008
Dreaggo

UAW lackeys with their hand out for more taxpayer money. Hard working, non-union people really do make up the backbone of this country and the economy. There was a time and place for unions but that is all long gone. Time to rebel against the uneducated union worker that doesn’t understand how small a cog they really are. Time to overthrow the true elistist… the union bosses that play their members against the rest of America.

Watching GM and Ford burn won’t be fun… and while I wish no misery on the union masses… they willingly let themselves get into this mess so let them bail themselves out. Just say NO to giving away more of your hard earned income.

25 11 2008
rb

Is everyone missing the point? It seems like it is becoming an argument between whether it’s better to be in the labor field or the tech field . . . where did that come from? Didn’t Jeremy’s post simply present the concept that instead of relying on any business for your future stability and family security we should be seeking ways to provide for our families generationally. All businesses, tech or not, simply pay their employees their wage and call it a day. At best (and we know how little this is happening anymore) employees get a pension, but again one is still relying on “the man” to provide for their family and that’s only until they’re dead. What about your children’s children? What about your family 5 generations from now? Do we not care? Do we want them to simply work a job and get paid, or would we rather build something they can pour their lives into and have the opportunity to reap the benefits of for generations to come?

25 11 2008
eden2zion

Hey Jonathan,

I appreciate your comment about communicating this in an empathetic way. I wrote about that in my update to this post. I deeply empathized with this story and that was why I reacted so strongly. My way of reacting to people getting hurt is to attack the root cause – the system or belief that I feel caused it.

On your first point I know the initial causes of industrialization in the 1800 were not the fault of those families but we’re in a VERY different day. Both of my Grandfathers worked their whole lives at Ford BUT one of them invested money while working there and his decision is blessing our family for 4 generations. I’m giving two very simple pieces of advise that I think are quite sound. Own the income stream you’re relying on for the long-term (investments) and don’t shift the long-term stability of your family to any other entity.

25 11 2008
Dave

To Carl:

Welcome to globalization and the true worth of labor in the world. Isolationism will destroy the country in the long run, but there’s a price to pay for our long term strategy to participate in globalization. People need to realize that hard work may be good work…but you are a cog in the wheel if you choose it. I can throw a rock and hit 20 people who are capable of being trained in minimal time to do a job demanding physical labor. It’s not that hard. Just snatch them straight out of high school or out-source it to another country to exploit either lower wagers and/or an advantageous monetary exchange rate.

Your disdain for knowledge workers is only matched by your ignorance. Who’s going to run companies, deal with regulatory and compliance issues, negotiate parts and material sourcing, create giant electronic exchanges between manufacturers and suppliers? The line workers? Really?

Are the line workers going to work 12 hour days to make sure they meet client deadlines? Are they going to live out of a suitcase for weeks at a time to manage far-flung projects impacting thousands of people’s lives? Laborers don’t have a monopoly on hard work.

I

25 11 2008
Jonathan Brink

No worries brother. I know your heart.

25 11 2008
Ben

good updates.

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