Corona virus and the valuation of practical and non-practical work


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So,  what I'm getting at here in a nutshell...... is the required 'skill factor' of a multitude of desk based jobs?     

As an example, my missus is a paintings conservator. She is extremely well qualified, but because she's in the arts,  commands a wage that reflects how many people would love to do her job for free.... on a voluntary basis.   i.e.  it's a trade whereby lots of rich daddies girls/boys want to do it for free.........hence it's quite hard to shore up a value on the skills required. 

In direct counter travel to my girlfriends job,  she works alongside 'digital curators' or 'website gallery managers' connected to her role, whereby she can replicate all their computer skills, (and she is day-to-day required to do so),  but they can not replicate any of her skills.     These desk jockeys are paid nearly double what my girlfriend is.   but why?

My question is this.   Has covid-19 exposed a huge soft underbelly of "professions" that the world is now taking a second glance at and going......"wait a minute you're just a glorified web surfer"

I for one,  would like to see a refocus on highly skilled practical professions demanding wage packets that are reflective of the training required etc.  as I think 90% of today's work from home,  pen pushers could be easily replaced by 1st generation AI robots.

Just saying

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The beautiful thing here is that it will be sorted out by  the market and it's old friend "demand and supply"

If the spotlight has indeed been shone on the "soft underbelly of professions" then the market will make a call as long as the roles are in the private sector. Government sector can be a different beast where incompetencies are actively hidden if not promoted. 

 

 

 

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1 minute ago, El Presidente said:

The beautiful thing here is that it will be sorted out by  the market and it's old friend "demand and supply"

If the spotlight has indeed been shone on the "soft underbelly of professions" then the market will make a call as long as the roles are in the private sector. Government sector can be a different beast where incompetencies are actively hidden if not promoted. 

 

 

 

I think a core focus to my point (and you are 100% correct on demand and supply) is that so much of life in general requires an ever increasing skill requirement, and 'fold over' of computer prowess,  that professions that were previously 'specialist roles within computing' become nothing more than the basic human requirement of expectation. 

I hope this is the case. I remember a discussion with my Mother, when she gave a great analogy.   she said.   "before Thatcher you had a situation whereby the likes of Michaelangelo would be seen an the product, the embodiment of the skill and commodity.    Back then 'Managers' were seen as flunkies and nothing people  who's who simply brought the talent to the stage".    In the last 50 years or so.  The 'managers' has been seen as the focal point of talent. the middle men and the horsetraders have been seen as the focal point. and the commodity.   

 Yet.......yet.   one bright shining star of the last 5 years or so, is talent realising they don't need an agent, they can just sell themselves. yes to differing degrees of success, but good god it's liberating not pay someone a kings ransom,  for something you know could be learned in an evening

  

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18 minutes ago, 99call said:

I think a core focus to my point (and you are 100% correct on demand and supply) is that so much of life in general requires an ever increasing skill requirement, and 'fold over' of computer prowess,  that professions that were previously 'specialist roles within computing' become nothing more than the basic human requirement of expectation. 

I hope this is the case. I remember a discussion with my Mother, when she gave a great analogy.   she said.   "before Thatcher you had a situation whereby the likes of Michaelangelo would be seen an the product, the embodiment of the skill and commodity.    Back then 'Managers' were seen as flunkies and nothing people  who's who simply brought the talent to the stage".    In the last 50 years or so.  The 'managers' has been seen as the focal point of talent. the middle men and the horsetraders have been seen as the focal point. and the commodity.   

 Yet.......yet.   one bright shining star of the last 5 years or so, is talent realising they don't need an agent, they can just sell themselves. yes to differing degrees of success, but good god it's liberating not pay someone a kings ransom,  for something you know could be learned in an evening

  

The concept of product is interesting. 

The product of a good manager is the delivery of superior outcomes. 

If it is a talent or sporting manager, better contracts. If it is a workforce manager, coordination of the team to deliver better performance across multiple levels. 

The day that the manager is not delivering a better outcome,  his/her time is done. 

 

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37 minutes ago, 99call said:

So,  what I'm getting at here in a nutshell...... is the required 'skill factor' of a multitude of desk based jobs?     

As an example, my missus is a paintings conservator. She is extremely well qualified, but because she's in the arts,  commands a wage that reflects how many people would love to do her job for free.... on a voluntary basis.   i.e.  it's a trade whereby lots of rich daddies girls/boys want to do it for free.........hence it's quite hard to shore up a value on the skills required. 

In direct counter travel to my girlfriends job,  she works alongside 'digital curators' or 'website gallery managers' connected to her role, whereby she can replicate all their computer skills, (and she is day-to-day required to do so),  but they can not replicate any of her skills.     These desk jockeys are paid nearly double what my girlfriend is.   but why?

My question is this.   Has covid-19 exposed a huge soft underbelly of "professions" that the world is now taking a second glance at and going......"wait a minute you're just a glorified web surfer"

I for one,  would like to see a refocus on highly skilled practical professions demanding wage packets that are reflective of the training required etc.  as I think 90% of today's work from home,  pen pushers could be easily replaced by 1st generation AI robots.

Just saying

Here's the thing:  the value of a given skill set has a lot less to do with how hard/expensive/time-consuming it is to acquire that skill than it does with the marginal *utility* that skill has to the potential employer/purchaser.  It would take a tremendous amount of time, energy, and training for someone to acquire the skill of underwater basket weaving (to make use a classic cliche) but at the end of the day the actual value of that skill is only what someone is willing to pay for it.  "Highly skilled" is not necessarily "valuable".

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1 minute ago, El Presidente said:

The day that the manager is not delivering a better outcome,  his/her time is done.

I think this comment is a very zen, brutally Japanese sort of sentiment that I can completely get behind.  Sadly though, I think bad management is often some sort of amorphous blob, whereby it often takes workplaces a great deal of time to work out where the rot is. 

If someone is shit at practical skill it is immediately obvious, you can point it out instantly. 

Sadly, I think your Zen logic maybe true of FOH, but I think the truth of a majority of workplaces is, there are a huge number of low skilled people "managing" projects that are way above their aptitude and pay grade.......and whats more they get away with if for decades

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2 minutes ago, 99call said:

 there are a huge number of low skilled people "managing" projects that are way above their aptitude and pay grade.......and whats more they get away with if for decades

It is harder today to "hide". Certainly in the private sector. 

Evolution in business environments has always been there but it has reached warp speed today. There are few dark places to hide in an organisation as you are always being challenged to redesign, reassess in order to do better" Hell, whole divisions are punted for perceived improvements (tech services/data entry/call centre/electronic medical monitoring etc). 

If a private business in a competitive environment is not evolving, then they will eventually die. 

Public sector is a different kettle of fish. "layering" departments with excess (staff/equipment/red tape) is still seen as a protective measure against budget cuts. 

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39 minutes ago, Grady said:

"Highly skilled" is not necessarily "valuable".

I totally understand and appreciate this,  my point was...........when you set a skill against another skill which is highly replicated within the general populous  (i.e basic computer skills)  why does the 21st century workplace skill have a soft spot for paying better wages to those who have simple computer processing skills, as opposed to highly talented people who also have simple computer processing skills?

as a metaphor it's like you're being asked. "which person should you pay the most"

A=  the person who can fry you an egg

B=  the person who can fry you an egg, but also is qualified to do your accounts, dentistry, etc etc . 

The core reason why I posted this thread is to highlight the often thoughtless preference for a 'managerial' type skill.  To me a manager is a low skilled individual,  someone who has chosen to anchor onto a non-profession because they do not have an obvious talent.  Thats not to degrade them, but just to say some people can be time earned and qualified professional and also a manager.  

I do agree with you about we shouldn't give a "value" to someone who has trained for years, as a given  etc.   but equally,  I think we should do a generational audit on the term 'manager' and how FOS and worthless the majority of them can be

 

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24 minutes ago, jhalischuk said:

Check out bullshit jobs by David Graeber. He writes about how there's many bad reasons that so many people are in low skill jobs (eg. glorified web surfers), while getting paid well, and why it's likely not going away. 

There's an article that he wrote that inspired the book here:

https://www.strike.coop/bullshit-jobs/

 

Brilliant article, really hits home, to how worthless many modern day 'occupations' are

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6 minutes ago, 99call said:

I totally understand and appreciate this,  my point was...........when you set a skill against another skill which is highly replicated within the general populous  (i.e basic computer skills)  why does the 21st century workplace skill have a soft spot for paying better wages to those who have simple computer processing skills, as opposed to highly talented people who also have simple computer processing skills?

as a metaphor it's like you being asked. "which person should you pay the most"

A=  the person who can fry you an egg

B=  the person who can fry you an egg, but also is qualified to do your accounts, dentistry, etc etc . 

The core reason why I posted this thread is to highlight the often thoughtless preference for a 'managerial' type skill.  To me a manager is a low skilled individual,  someone who has chosen to anchor onto a non-profession because they do not have an obvious talent.  Thats not to degrade them, but just to say some people can be time earned and qualified professional and also a manager.  

I do agree with you about we shouldn't give a "value" to someone who has trained for years, as a given  etc.   but equally,  I think we should do a generational audit on the term 'manager' and how FOS and worthless the majority of them can be

 

which person should you pay the most"

A=  the person who can fry you an egg

B=  the person who can fry you an egg, but also is qualified to do your accounts, dentistry, etc etc . 

 

The person who adds most value to the team. If I deem Person B has a chip on their shoulder because they are frying eggs, then bugger off and I will pick person A every time. If they are truel a lineball proposition then I would pick B for flexibility. 

 

To me a manager is a low skilled individual,  someone who has chosen to anchor onto a non-profession because they do not have an obvious talent.  Thats not to degrade them, but just to say some people can be time earned and qualified professional and also a manager.  

Tough. I have met many a "qualified professional" who now work for once grocery store clerks who today run the region or country. 

Many of those who chose to become (or drifted into ) managers in their 20's do so because traditional professions don't appeal to them. However due to personal drive, people skills and the willingness to do what is necessary to get ahead, they are happier individuals making great coin come their 40's.Far happier than most lawyers I know at the same age. 

 

 

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33 minutes ago, El Presidente said:

To me a manager is a low skilled individual,  someone who has chosen to anchor onto a non-profession because they do not have an obvious talent.  Thats not to degrade them, but just to say some people can be time earned and qualified professional and also a manager.  

Tough. I have met many a "qualified professional" who now work for once grocery store clerks who today run the region or country. 

Many of those who chose to become (or drifted into ) managers in their 20's do so because traditional professions don't appeal to them. However due to personal drive, people skills and the willingness to do what is necessary to get ahead, they are happier individuals making great coin come their 40's.Far happier than most lawyers I know at the same age. 

Again the concept of value, and market demand it everything.  I think the inclusion of "chip on the shoulder" is both unfair and valid in equal measure.     I have worked with loads of people in the past who think they are too good for a given task, and it's a f-ball-ache, and more trouble than it's worth.   

I'm not saying I want qualified or time served professionals to be showered in flowers and gratitude,  I know a great deal of them that are both incapable of managing others, or themselves!! (including myself)   I just want a bit more caution for the age of question free adulation for bullshit, talentless 'managers' that have nothing to offer other than grift. and basic computer skills. 

 

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Tough, a manager that is not talented in His field, does he really add value? I say Not a Chance!!!

Also talent doesn’t so much like to do the clerical end of a trade or profession. They really want to just do what they’re good at. 
another thing that is hard, is being really talented in your field, and managing people that do the work at a below par level. The frustration is ridiculous!!! 
 

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43 minutes ago, 99call said:

To me a manager is a low skilled individual,  someone who has chosen to anchor onto a non-profession because they do not have an obvious talent.

I’m not even a manager, but this might be the silliest thing I’ve ever seen posted on here.  This sounds like sour grapes.  Sorry

Typically most corporations operate as a meritocracy, and your top performers are chosen to manage.  Doesn’t always translate, but the goal is take someone who’s good at their job, and see if they can teach 3 people to be good at their jobs therefore having 3 top performers (scaling your workforce).  This is kind of important in large businesses or any business where scaling is an issue.  What are you going to do, do everything yourself?  Maybe if you operate a very small business but not if you are in an enterprise.  Plus the market dictates pay, there is a deficit in good employees vs job roles open, and I can tell you the company I work for knows they have to pay to have a chance at hiring anyone, and probably overpay to keep them as the millennials don’t operate like the old guard, there is no loyalty and they will leave for better offers.

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20 minutes ago, mprach024 said:

 

I’m not even a manager, but this might be the silliest thing I’ve ever seen posted on here.  This sounds like sour grapes.  Sorry

Typically most corporations operate as a meritocracy, and your top performers are chosen to manage.  Doesn’t always translate, but the goal is take someone who’s good at their job, and see if they can teach 3 people to be good at their jobs therefore having 3 top performers (scaling your workforce).  This is kind of important in large businesses or any business where scaling is an issue.  What are you going to do, do everything yourself?  Maybe if you operate a very small business but not if you are in an enterprise.  Plus the market dictates pay, there is a deficit in good employees vs job roles open, and I can tell you the company I wovrk for knows they have to pay to have a chance at hiring anyone, and probably overpay to keep them as the millennials don’t operate like the old guard, there is no loyalty and they will leave for better offers.

I think it all depends on.  if the skill that your passing on is easily replicated, or if the skill that you have can not be easily passed on....... And that was the point of the thread. 

It's just my opinion. But I think Corona virus has cast a spot light on a huge swathe of low skilled, high paid employees.  I think there is going to be vast recalibration of how valuable middle management is, and little it will be missed

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22 minutes ago, DaBoot said:

Tough, a manager that is not talented in His field, does he really add value? I say Not a Chance!!!

Steve Jobs may argue :lol3:

His strength wasn't engineering or coding.  He knew squat of either. finance or economics? Pfffffffffft. 

However, value a plenty he added. 

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I agree, a capable manager cannot be valued high enough!

Still I think, and that’s probably focussing on the bigger picture, it is also a basic question of societal appreciation. Of how much society is willing to grant, and how much importance is attributed to certain professions. For instance for my liking, there is a vast societal imbalance to what importance is given to pro-sports and to science, the budgets they are moving today. (ok that’s not cutting any ice, I am aware I am aware ?). Or the „insta“-influencer and the nurse, if you will. It‘s gotten pretty sick in some segments. Value and „market“ demand, anyone?

 

There are even folks, so I heard, who manage to make a living on shipping such things as rolled tobacco leaves around the globe.... tzzzz. ?

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This thread seems to have missed one important element.

If you actually walk around the floor of a large corporate cubicle farm, it turns out that a large percentage of the jobs (both worker and manager) are some sort of government compliance.

One example--I remember visiting a friend in a very large insurance company.      They worked in the "tax department".     That was in the days when there were hard-copies of everything, so the visuals were dramatic.   File cabinet after file cabinet lined walls for as far as the eye could see.    Each one had the name of a US state or locality where some sort of taxes or fees were paid.

The company had employees who were "experts" in the taxes of each of these jurisidictions.

Of course, this had _nothing_ to do with providing insurance to their customers--this was all administrative overhead.

And--that is just taxes.

Each of those same jurisdictions had an endless stream of regulations, filing requirements, etc.

There were separate floors of cubicles for those!

Modern society has so many rules and regulations--and millions and millions of jobs are created to comply with them.

 

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25 minutes ago, Fugu said:

 

There are even folks, so I heard, who manage to make a living on shipping such things as rolled tobacco leaves around the globe.... tzzzz. ?

Now STOP RIGHT THERE  :hand:

Provision of Tobacco was seen an an essential business in most civilised countries through the CV 19 lockdown. 

Our work never stops    :pooped:

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Rule of thumb. People who work for multinationals get paid higher remuneration for the same role than those in smaller firms (in the same sector)

Manager, janitor, internal cafe barista or CEO.....they all get a bigger comparative fillup. 

The bigger the company the more uncomfortable it is to price labour on pure demand and supply economic metrics. Big companies are less capitalistic in this area than many believe. They will spread bonuses even to those who have had questionable input. They are aware and battle with pay/reward  discrepancies.  

That is why "outsourcing" is so popular :D

Someone else makes the hard decisions and drives down wages and costs in locales where you don't live.  Companies can wipe their hands of the difficult decisions and just negotiate with the outsourcing contractor. 

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I work in computer software so probably one of those fields you are referring to as a glorified websurfer.

A portion (nowhere near the majority) of my job is searching google for computer code to almost literally copy paste somewhere to get something to work. You would think this part of my job would be easy to replace but maybe 1% of people have the computer programming skills to know what to search for and where to copy paste and what small modifications to make to get everything to work. Even within the company not everyone is adept at this most basic skill and everyone has a degree in engineering or computer science or equivalent practical experience.

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