|> If you offered prevailing wages and other perks, you would have had people
|> coming to you, and staying.
| The state I live in has slim pickins for technical jobs, the company I
| worked for was no jewel either. Many of the engineers in my department left
| to go to a start-up. They were in fact sued for doing so. We recruited as
| far away as Texas (we are in Southern New England). In the mean time some
| "hot" 16 month projects turned in to 24 and 36 month projects. As I said
| before, we made good offers. Qualified people were at start-ups, some
| getting rich or contracting.
What was the basis of this lawsuit?
What methods of recruiting were done? Don't tell me you did it exclusively
through a headhunter. I was in Texas back then, and people were looking for
work down there in the Telecom corridor. Of course today, there are many
thousands of them looking for work.
|> See, it is about money. It is NOT about a shortage. And corporate CEOs
|> lied to Congress when they said it was not about money.
| Well I think we did and the situation was something you needed to witness.
| Most of my whole department of about 50 guys basically evacuated in 8-12
| months. Our product was edge switches for the telecomm market, in the days
| when quad OC3 line cards were a big deal. If you were predicting the future
| now, you'd probably say that we don't need as much talent being imported. If
| you were predicting it back then you might say it the shortage was a
| national emergency.
Definitely sounds like the company you worked for was underpaying. Yeah,
I would have had to be there to specifically point out exactly what things
management was doing wrong.
|> Add to that the growth of the internet is so extreme, that it is still
|> going on even now. Businesses typically don't get profitable until the
|> growth levels off. Venture capitalists expect a return in typically
|> 3 years. The internet could not do that because in the first 3 years,
|> it sill looekd like many more years of growth, but VCs were getting
|> tired of pouring money in without getting a return yet. Many of them
|> did understand that returns were 10 to 15 years away, but with their
|> investors clamoring for "quick bucks", they were turning away from
|> the huge internet market, which had so many players by then and became
|> quite cutthroat.
| Your right! There was lots of big talk and big money flying around. The
| start-up I worked was valued at "$100 million dollars!" - according to the
| principle in one of his Rah-Rah sessions, even though the company burned
| over $500K a month. Then their was the big talk of IPO (no date set for that
| of course) The amount of propaganda and b*llshit was stifling as well as the
| 60-70 hour weeks. It was clear at the time (late 2000) they were NOT going
| to IPO or clear a profitable quarter. In fact the last press release I read
| had them blowing their horn about series "D" funding - I imagine those stock
| options are not worth a whole hell of a lot now. I left and got other work
| at a large company.
So you contributed to their private little shortage by leaving?
|> When the cost of living in places like China and India is 1/10 of what
|> it is in the US, the business certainly cannot compete in the worldwide
|> market with just US workers. Cutting off H-1B and prohibiting hiring
|> offshore certainly isn't the answer. The correct answer is to change
|> the economic system so that exchange rates match costs of living, and
|> trade deficits are eliminated. The US still imports far more that it
|> exports, and this is bad. And it won't get better as long as the cost
|> of living is so out of whack. I know a girl in India who is living
|> very well off in Mumbai, nice job, nice apartment, great social life.
|> But she's making, and spending, 1/5th as much as she would in the US to
|> do the same things, based on the current exchange rate. If the dollar
|> were devalued to 1/5th what it is today, then it would simply be equal.
| It is cheaper based on US wages, I agree. Again the end cost of many
| products is tied up in the prices of cheap imports and labor. In doing
| engineering product descriptions with marketing people the target cost set
| was never on "soaking" customers. We had a mfg. plant cost and a mark-up.
| Sales people were hoping an introduction would turn a priofit in 8-12
| months. If, in some cases, we were forced to build in the US, then according
| to the marketing people the product wouldn't be worth selling. In fact we
| FOB'd assembly, sub assembly and final assembly + packaging right out of
| Regarding devaling the dollar, that has a big down side in the currency
| markets. If the US Goverment went out and announced this as policy prices of
| goods in this country would sky-rocket and sales would slump causing
| economic chaos. The infastructure does not exist to replace China here in
| the US and it would take years to pick up the slack. I predict doing
| something like that would be extremely painful and politically impossible.
| It would get back your manufacturing jobs and also the standard of living we
| had in the 1920's. I'm not trying to be flip here, this argument was made in
| an issue of Forbes a few years ago.
It can't be done all at once suddenly. It has to be a general course policy.
There is a huge trade deficit and that has to get corrected or the US will
collapse as world trade becomes ubiquitous.
|> Well, "protected" is better than "gone". But the best job, and the best
|> work, is for the worker to know that as long as he does his job well, it's
|> going to stay. The only reason for him to lose that job is for him to
|> screw up and just not perform.
| Most would agree with you. I just see protection as adding cost and everyone
| carrying it on their backs. Unions protected jobs too. They account for
| about 11% of the workforce now and were about 1/3 in the 1950's. You can't
| make this argument with someone who lost their job and is the sole bread
| winner in a home, just like you can't make the argument that if people lived
| forever the world would be too crowded to someone who just lost their wife
| or husband. It's a fact of life that jobs become obsolete, people die and
| the business cycles are not kind to everyone all the time. I've lost my job
| three times, I have two kids and a house. It's part of life and I believe
| anyone who is sheltered from it typically does so at someone elses expense.
Things do change and some jobs just go away to nowhere. But it needs to be
done gradually so people can adjust. By gradually I mean like over 20 years
and with it being clearly the direction.
|> Such a program should only be needed for the short term to get past the
|> downturn in the economy. Ultimately, government contracts should be let
|> on the basis of not just the costs saved, but also the tax recovered, and
|> economy boosted. These things can be quantified. As long as we do have
|> low unemployment here, then such requirements to hire locals would not be
|> needed, and costs/benefits can be worked out to find the best deals, which
|> would favor locals to a certain degree, but everyone has a chance at it.
| If they could start and stop goverment programs like that I'd be very happy.
| And then measure the success and failure of the program and change it based
| on the needs of whom it serves. We'd be living in a whole new world. The
| problem I see is that the types of unemployment, types of work, areas of
| need, wages and issues with work (migrant, immigrant, native, contract etc)
| require real-time micro-management by goverment - if you really want to try
| to be fair. Goverment people are not business people and vice versa.
| Goverment is burdened with popularity and business with profit. Very
And people get screwed in between. People are going to look out for people.
They will vote in who will benefit them. But the worse it is allowed to get
before some action is taken, the worse that action that will be taken will
be for all involved. Doing gradual things sooner is better. Maybe government
is bad at this, but business won't because that's not its purpose for being.
|> BTW, the economy suffered to some degree due to these $80k-$100k people
|> taking their money out of the stock market ... to live on. One single
|> person losing a $100k job has the impact of 4 people losing $25k jobs.
| Do you know how many programmers there are with degrees that are NOT in
| computer science??? One of the sharpest guys I met has a degree in Forestry
| and Forest Management. I have an MSEE from Rensselaer Polytech and it was
| not a forgone conclusion the I was going to do design work which I wanted to
| do. I also couldn't see getting into sales or whatever since I have a great
| deal of experience in what I do. The investment is sort of the trap. The
| training programs I was talking about before were really for unskilled
| people. Us "smart" guys lhave to go it alone.
I've known many brilliant programmers who had degrees in strange things or
no degrees at all. The degree doesn't even matter; it's the person that
And the brilliant programmers and engineers could never do sales; it's just
not in their nature to do that.
The US cannot become an economy of sales. If we produce nothing for the
world market, then we are a cash outflow economy, and that cash becomes
worthless. We are getting that way today, anyway.
We have to find a way to structure things so we do export, and in balance
with our imports. And we have to do it while maintaining a standard of
living people expect, or the politicians will be voted out, and new ones
will come in, and they will screw things up even more.
It needs to be made right, and right has to include jobs.
| The loss of many $80-$100K jobs has also raised hell with tax revenues also.
| Remember , four guys making under $30K (ie flipping burgers) a year pay
| almost no taxes. One guy making $80,000 a year does.
Right. People need jobs that allow them to pay taxes, buy houses and cars,
put kids through college so we don't have a shortage of whatever the next
big thing is, and invest in the stock market.
| It is sad that happened. I personally know people who had to leave because
| they had no sponsers. It screwed up careers and lives. I agree with what you
| said about H-1B. Having immigrants with advanced technical degrees sure
| doesn't hurt the US. In fact I kind of wish thet was a prerequisite.
Either degrees or experience. Both are good. For programmers, two years
experience is as good as having a degree. There are exceptions; people that
will never be good no matter how much paper or time they have.
| If you look at the Wall Street Journals index of economic freedom
you'll see that
| it may be improving to do business in India but it's far from "great". There
| are still lots of problems doing business there. Also, a great deal of
| outsourcing is soon to come in former Soviet bloc countries as well. They
| have a tremendous talent pool of engineers and scientists willing to work
So let them come to America, if they want ... but not on an H-1B.
| A Barron's survey of Telecomm equipment customers reported "more computing
| power than we need". I don't have a link to that report but that was the
| jist of it. Plenty of bandwidth and plenty of processing power for current
| business needs and into the forseeable future. This is not good news for the
| whole telecomm food-chain. Their are no "killer-apps" out there or anything
| that would drive even modest single digit growth. As a technologist I see
| multi-gigahertz bandwidth capabilities being greeted with yawns and "How
| much cheaper is it than what I got now?".
In the 1960's President Kennedy committed the US to land on the moon in 10
years. It succeeded, and helped the economy and technology as well. Bush
is trying to do some of that with his Mars program idea. But that's not
enough right now. Another thing we need to do is ramp up to 100 mbps all
the way to each home (50% by 2010, 95% by 2015). Too bad that Bush is not
giveing pep talks to businesses to get them to do things they otherwise
would not do. If business won't do it, government should step in and do
it for them; that will at least generate some telecom business.
|> I suspect Bush will lose this year just because the problem is so big and
|> so many people are affected. And I think that is sad because those who
|> would replace him, while recognizing the problem, will do all the wrong
|> things to correct it. If Bush wants to win, he should call in all his
|> favors with corporate CEOs and insist they voluntarily do more hiring or
|> face having the other party take control.
| It's February - Bush hasn't started to campaign yet and thats all the
| Democrats have been doing so far. Both Democrats and Republicans get money
| and support from big business and special interest groups. Saying otherwise
| is just for public consumption.
Republicans do get a lot more from business.
| Bush is not going to get the academic vote, high tech workers vote Democrat
| ~2-1 and they are a small minority, I know this from post-election surveys I
| read for the 2000 and 2002 elections (Zogby and Pew Research did great
| post-election analysis). Political strategerist know this as well. Bush is
| going to run on tax cuts, defense and social issues. Kerry is going to run
| on partisan Democrat hatred for Bush. In the end, this issue of high-tech
| jobs being out-sourced will fall on deaf ears either way. Democrats take
| that vote for granted and Republicans couldn't care less about it.
Sadly, you may be right on that. But high-tech isn't the only place where
jobs are a problem.