Clock Cycles(Sep 1st, 2015 at 10:16:27 PM)
As a child I toiled over crude oil icons of pencils and trash bins, buttons and menus. I tripped over the new tools of the trade, the fonts and mice and trackpads, when my time was expendable. I had time to waste as a child. Time to spend on games and gifs and girls I'd never meet or ever see. I had a calculator that did calculus, and I taught it to do more. my first lessons in programming were BASIC. I didn't drink coffee until after learning Java and it has bought me the time to wake up at my own pace. I'm paid an engineer's wage to whittle away work. Automation is the name of game when the workforce is expendable. People taught tasks performed mechanically can't carry their weight— it's hard to stay up-to-date when you're competing with software. And where do they go when they can't pay for their homes? Are they really so expendable? They're over-educated and under-prepared; most college degrees are participation awards. I hope you had a good time— I learned a lot during mine. I learned that flip flops aren't just on feet, And the ambiguity of words like "free." I logged into a terminal with more directories than I could imagine and I explored them, one by one. I had that time to spare. "You can do whatever you want." I recall that mantra preached by parents and teachers preached like infomercial features. The American dream is spending years crafting the perfect tale building characters with brilliant minds and the worst of drinking problems. It's creating a world of ace mechanics working with steam power and hydrogen balloons because Edison killed an extra elephant and seeing a paycheck in the mailbox each week. If only the world were in need of more authors, more drawings of anthropomorphic chimeras, more young psychologists without a research background. Then we could all just "get a degree." Thousands have been told they can have a seat at a table that can fit only so many chairs. Doing what you love is great if you don't need to make a living. But are our dreams expendable? are we destined to divert energy into another's tasks, like power transformers forcing electricity through the empty air? Are some of us destined to expend years of our lives serving sandwiches and chips to well-offs who put the receipts in expense sheets? It's expensive, this life. This pain. Working in the afternoons while your children learn life lessons from drugged out neighbors because real day-care costs too much. How much does a dollar cost? How long can a dream be deferred? How little does one have to have before Doing whatever you want isn't worth it? Maybe keyboards and servers are the machinery of today and we're all still factory workers hoping the union will work us out a better deal. Maybe we're miners, with black lungs and dirt on our faces and hands, weary of the imminent collapse. Let's hope our 401k's beat inflation. Mine will, I'm sure. Plus I've got a full match and an IRA I'm filling with some extra cash. What's the catch? All I did was love something that's profitable. What I need to know is: How much is forty hours of someone's time really worth? I hope it's at least a week's rent, a week's food, and a utility bill. Maybe a little extra for an ice cream and a savings installment for car maintenance. Maybe enough to afford a day off once in a while. When I do my job well, someone's salary might end up in company savings Or an executive's bonus. My pat on the back could mean a jump in unemployment numbers. But these jobs should be automated! Aren't we past these menial desk jobs copying data from one screen to another? Some of these jobs should never have existed! The results of impossible timelines crafted by overly ambitious managers with their eyes on a better title, a bigger desk, and a long list of potential subordinates. I'm just fixing the mistakes they made, building better systems that will make things easier for the few remaining cubicle occupants. Right? Isn't that what I should tell myself? Buggy websites and old hardware, that's what's expendable. But those systems have users, experts of bad technology, and I get paid to supplant them both.