Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Here's To You, Table 1. From Dr. Amelia.

Occasionally, I am futzing with the technology - waiting for the projector to warm up, changing the screen resolution, etc. And, like Linda Richman, I give them a topic to discuss among themselves.

Tables 2-4? It's time to text your friends not in the class.

Table 5? "Professor? Will this be graded?"

Table 1? They are pulling out their course notes. Choosing sides to debate the issue. Raising their hands to ask clarifying questions.

Tables 2-4, you will serve food to Table 1 one day.

Table 5, you will never advance in Table 1's company.

Table 1, you kids are going to rule the freakin' world.


  1. It's a nice story, but the reality, however is different.

    Table 1 may go on to get their degrees, but there won't be any worthwhile jobs for them.

    Tables 2 - 4 will drop out and invent some sort of piffle that teenagers insist they need in order to remain "cool". Those who were sitting at those tables becomine gazillionaires overnight after forming companies which will eventually be listed on the stock exchange.

    Table 5 will sell what Tables 2 - 4 produce and live comfortably.

    Table 1 will end up working for the remaining tables because there's nothing else out there. The jobs they were qualified for will likely have been farmed out to Coleslawvania, where wages are rock-bottom. Equally as likely is that those companies will import workers from that country. Table 1 will then show the "temporary" Coleslawvanian employees how to do their jobs and, when they're done, they will be promptly fired because they're considered "too expensive". The Coleslawvanians will be happy to work for less than the local minimum wage because it's still more than they would have been paid had they remained at home.

    Table 1, if lucky, will end up teaching at craphole colleges in order to eat, pay their bills, and have some place to live.

    1. Damn, now you've just made me want to hit the bottle. Well, you, and all the other shit that went down today.

    2. I was having a great day till I read QWV's comment.
      The sad thing is, he may not be entirely wrong.

    3. No, he's not anywhere near entirely wrong. I want to say he is, but this world cannot rule out his proposal. Too many counterexamples.

      This just in: life is unfair. More news at eleven. (I cribbed that from somewhere; I just can't remember where. If only I were conected to some searchable database I could look it up it. {up in which I could look it?})

    4. Also, cork: not only functional, but also onomatopoeic. Discuss.

    5. Here's something that'll ruin one's day:


    6. OGP: I hadn't thought of it, but yes; you're right; cork is, indeed, onomatopoeic. Cool.

      QWV: I don't understand all the ins and outs of Canadian immigration patterns, but that does, indeed, sound like bad news.

    7. OGP & CC: For further consideration, cork may be oenomatopoeic as well.

    8. CC:

      The Temporary Foreign Worker program has been controversial here in Canada, much like the American H-1B. What I wrote earlier is no exaggeration and its effects are not limited to people with university degrees. There are frequent stories of qualified tradesmen who can't find jobs because positions they are qualified for are filled by TFWs.

    9. Sawyer, had you written that last night, you'd have owed me a refill and a tissue.

    10. From the article cited by QWV: "Universities now have to submit a transition plan with details of how they will reduce their reliance on temporary workers..."

      When I first read that, I became momentarily optimistic, but then I clued in that 'temporary workers' (minus the 'foreign') refers to immigration status, not the type of contract with the uni (cf. adjunct).

      Further proof that the road to hell is paved with good intentions (also from the article): “When the government introduced these changes, I think they had not intended to capture university faculty in the way it is being implemented right now,” Mr. Esselment said. “The government has supported universities in attracting the best and brightest through several programs, they know we are in a global competition for talent and this is the unintended consequence of implementing the temporary foreign workers program.”

      The pollyanna side of me wonders what's wrong with making it easier for unis to hire the best faculty? The cynical side suspects that 'best' does not mean 'best for the students', but more likely 'best for holding the line on payroll'. Thus do I see several sides to the TFW crackdown and attempts to circumvent it for hiring faculty. The Table 1 scenario presented by QWV above hasn't happened at my institution yet, but it may be just a matter of time.

  2. I'd like to think that Table 1's intellectual curiosity will serve them well wherever they land in life (at least in promoting life satisfaction if not high earnings), but I also have to admit that, if the current extreme income stratification in the U.S. persists, that will be much harder to achieve (yet another argument for a situation where the great majority of people make enough, and few if any make enormous amounts. There's really nothing wrong with those at tables 2-5 doing as well as those at table 1; in fact, there's something to be said for intelligent engagement with the world being its own reward. The problem comes when, as in the picture QWV draws, one group essentially parasitizes and discards another).

    1. I don't mind Tables 2-5 effectively winning the lottery, but the idea of Table 1 doing 'everything right' and then not being compensated enough to be at least somewhat comfortable naturally rankles. So I am consoled by two things:

      1) the hope that Table 1 will indeed land where they achieve life satisfaction if not high earnings;

      2) the "drop-out hits the big time" stories like those of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are so interesting because they are atypical, and for the majority, completing one's education likely remains the best way to stack the deck in one's favor.