|Quoting Aogdesk (Reply 37):|
Are you going to humor me and say that you won't have a problem if your boss comes to you tomorrow and tells you that a worker in Bangladesh has accepted your job for $5k a year? Do you really think thats a good way to sutain a nation, constantly shop overseas for cheaper (read slave) labor, until we just become a nation of consumers?
Sure, I'd have a problem if my boss came over tomorrow to tell me that. My problem would be that the going wage for my job would now be $5k/year. So I'd find a new line of work.
Your second question is irrelevant, because your scenario cannot and will not happen. We aren't selling ourselves to slave labor, and we are still a nation of producers. Just because you can't necessarily hold the goods in your hands doesn't mean you're not producing. Of all people, an aircraft mechanic should be careful with this line of reasoning. What, exactly, does an aircraft mechanic "produce?" They aren't making new goods. They aren't selling new ideas and innovations. But they *are* producing. They produce safety, among other things. In the case of AA, they might even be able to generate a positive cashflow instead of being a simple cost center, and do so by being the best and most productive. Read: best value.
My credentials: high-dollar Microsoft business intelligence consultant. I make my living by asking top dollar for excellence in a field which presently has lots of demand and virtually no supply of excellence. I *plan* on a negative price pressure for the work I do as time progresses. High dollars entice others to enter the market. The march of time reduces once-emergent goods and services to commodity of relatively uniform quality, and which competes on price.
Make no mistake: I produce something. I produce something ethereal, but very real, and HIGHLY valuable -- presently much more valuable than aircraft maintenance. Let's effectively distinguish between "important" and "valuable." Collecting the trash and cleaning the bathrooms in my office is important, but it's not nearly as valuable as what I do because right now, I produce something every company needs and wants. We won't become a nation of consumers. Production is *the* central tenet of effective capitalism, and we should be able to tell when production is reduced to rote status, and when it's still high-value.
Ask how many guys making top dollar in network operating systems in the early and middle-90's are still making top dollar? Ask how many guys who were making top dollar installing networks are still making the same? 10 years ago I had two Novell experts telling me that their market would never dry up, that their jobs were immune to this inevitable march of economics. Morons. I could NOT believe my ears, and I told them so. Guess who was right? Neither one of them makes nearly as much money now, and neither of them make it with Novell.
Know what? I think *all* of this is good. It's good for me; it's good for you; it's good for our economy. It's up to *me* to either become the standard of excellence by which all others are judged (thus still commanding a premium) or to find a new line of work which is emergent, high-value, and high-demand. My failure to do so *will* result in a drastic reduction of my income, and eventually, an elimination of my job. You can be assured that whatever path I choose, I will still be producing something.
I applaud AA for what they're doing. They're questioning their core competencies, and they are attemting to become best-of-breed (read: producer with highest value) in what is truly a commodity service industry: aircraft maintenance. And I don't buy for one second that there is a true cause-and-effect between outsourcing and safety. You're clearly a qualified, thoughtful, accomplished mechanic, and the fact that you can see and communicate what's happening is plenty of evidence that you are no victim. If you see your career deterioriating, and still you choose to cling to it, you're a fool. You KNEW what to do, but you didn't do it. How can we have pity for that? We *all* face these issues; some of us handle them well, and some don't.
Besides, you're the guy somebody like NW or AA wants/needs to keep around, even if in a supervisory capacity. The burden for you is not to "protect your brothers" and "full pay to the last day" and all that useless claptrap (and I emphasize "useless"). If you are capable of excellence as an individual, and as an organization, you should make it an overt goal to be the very best. Not the very best YOU can be, but THE very best, with value measured in real dollars. THAT is how you remain a producer.
[Edited 2005-05-25 05:43:26]