The Douchebag

Posted in Made in China, Stumble and Fail at 9:07 am by George Smith

Tom Friedman, today, filling the job he does so well. Being a public enemy, telling everyone else to eat their peas, consulting with his fancy and fine pals on what the unlucky proles are going to have to morph into so as not to always be in the poor house.

You’ll have to be an “artisan.” In other words, the concept I’ve relentlessly dumped on over the last few months.

If you can’t write iGadget apps, you’ll can be a bedpan technician who gives value added, or be a maker of $180 dollar harmonicas for rich lawyers.

Or work in the Fender Musical Instruments custom shop, making $25,000 Eddie Van Halen relics.


Fifteen years ago, there were no industries around Google “search” or “iPhone applications.” Today, both are a source of good jobs. More will be invented next year. There is no fixed number of jobs. We just have to make sure there is no fixed number of Americans to fill them — aided by good U.S. infrastructure and smart government incentives to attract these new industries to our shores.

But not everyone can write iPhone apps. What about your nurse, barber or waiter? Here I think Lawrence Katz, the Harvard University labor economist, has it right. Everyone today, he says, needs to think of himself as an “artisan” — the term used before mass manufacturing to apply to people who made things or provided services with a distinctive touch in which they took personal pride. Everyone today has to be an artisan and bring something extra to their jobs.

Yes, it’s pretty obvious not everyone can write Harmonica or be enough of a programmer to spend their spare time putting stubbornly antagonizing thirty second videos of their iPhones to their lips on YouTube.

You must bring something “extra” to your work of cleaning toilets, of delivering pizza, of greeting everyone as a potential shoplifter at the door of the big box stores, of being a whore.

Yes, even the days of doing a simple blow and go are over! That’s so average.

When you get a part-time job at the giant consumer electronics store selling everything made in China, you will have to have a deep knowledge of the crap you’re peddling to earn that barely about minimum wage.

Only the application or rocket scientist expertise and exquisite public relations with the customer in all things will get us where we need to be.

Friedman instructs, employing the wisdom of some Harvard vizier:

For instance, says Katz, the baby boomers are aging, which will spawn many health care jobs. Those jobs can be done in a low-skilled way by cheap foreign workers and less-educated Americans or they can be done by skilled labor that is trained to give the elderly a better physical and psychological quality of life. The first will earn McWages. The second will be in high demand. The same is true for the salesperson who combines passion with a deep knowledge of fashion trends, the photo-store clerk who can teach you new tricks with your digital camera while the machine prints your film, and the pharmacist who doesn’t just sell pills but learns to relate to customer health needs in more compassionate and informative ways. They will all do fine.

But just doing your job in an average way — in this integrated and automated global economy — will lead to below-average wages. Sadly, average is over. We’re in the age of “extra,” and everyone has to figure out what extra they can add to their work to justify being paid more than a computer, a Chinese worker or a day laborer.

Think of all the people you pass on the sidewalk. Or those you jostle with in line at the supermarket.

Boy, that’s a crowd where everyone can easily figure out how to be “extra,” how to earn more than a computer or a Chinese factory worker.

All the young men in droopy shorts, the middle-aged guys with stomachs hanging over their belts, etc. Yeah, that’s doable.

In related news, a reader comment from Friday begs republishing:

DD, let’s help fund your fine blog and future tomes by releasing a China Toilet Blooz ringtone, made right here in the USA with homegrown talent for use on crap China phones.

That is a fine idea. I mean it, too!

The trick is getting it sold by iJobsland.

So lead me in the right direction.

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