SeaViews: Insights from the Gray
(formerly the _Rochester Rag_, formerly the _News
Motto: The surest way to get a reputation for
being a trouble maker these days is to go about repeating
the very phrases that the Founders used in the struggle for
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On last month's Fix;
the answer to last month's Fix,
Is it okay to kill people, who have killed people, to show
that killing people is wrong?
I am against the death penalty, which probably
confuses people who equate conservatism with
injustice. However, the simple fact is (made by
several letters below) that a government sanctioned death
penalty is immoral. As David points out, one cannot be
an executioner without performing the very act which was
supposedly being punished. And of course that gets
into an infinite spiral.
Pro death penalty types would say, "but there is a
difference between murder and putting the guilty to
death. Even the Bible says, an eye for an eye."
Yes there is a difference, if one assumes a trial by an
impartial, perfect judicial system. However, if there
has ever been any doubt that money bends justice in America,
the trial of O.J. Simpson seems to have put that to
The reality is, courts and juries are imperfect.
And it may be the case, that some of these imperfections are
not accidental. Furthermore, of what deterrence is a
death penalty when increasingly mass murderers put down 5,10
or more people and then take their own lives? Any
honest policeman will tell you, there are not enough of them
to protect you. The principal function of police is to
keep public order, investigate crime, and capture the
alleged perpetrators to bring them to the judicial
system. If deterrence isn't, and there are not enough
Guardian Angels in the form of police, then who is going to
protect you, your family, and your property?
When deterrence isn't, the only recourse open to would-be
victims is to take their own defense in their own hands.
On this issue;
As I have every year for the past five years, this year I
will be attending a meeting in Chicago which takes place the
day after Thanksgiving through the following week.
Sheryl and I've taken advantage of this to tack on our
Christmas vacation with our respective families in Wisconsin
and MN. For that reason, this issue will come out a
bit early and the December issue may be shortened scratch
then because I will not be able to work on it until the
second half of December. Happy Thanksgiving
Perhaps no populist author in the century has done more
to express the Libertarian ideal than Ayn Rand. I came
relatively late in life to reading her books. I started
reading her in graduate school, couldn't beat through it,
and finally came to her again. But I probably
understand it far better now and I would have ten years
ago. Although I realize many of you have already read
her, I think it would be instructive to to look at some of
the key soliloquies. Towards that end, I would like to
inject some excerpts from time to time.
by Ayn Rand
(adapted from the chapter Aristocracy of Pull)
So you think money is the root of all evil? Have
you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a
tool of exchange, which can't exist unless there are goods
produced and men who produce them. Money is the
material shape of the principal that men who wish to deal
with one another must deal by trade and give value for
value. Money is not a tool of the moochers, who claim
your product by tears, or of the looters, who take it from
you by force. Money is made possible only by the men
who produce. Is this what you consider evil?
When you accept money in payment for your effort, you do
so only on the conviction that you will exchange it for the
product of the effort of others. It is not the
moochers or the looters who give value to money. The
sheddding of tears nor all the guns in the world can
transform those pieces of paper in your wallet into the
bread you'll need to survive tomorrow. Those pieces of
paper, which should be gold, are a token of honor-your claim
upon the energy of the men who produce. Your wallet is
your statement of hope the somewhere in the world around
your there are men who will not default on the moral
principal which is the root of money.
Have you ever looked at the root of production? Take a
look at an electric generator and dare tell yourself that it
was created by the muscular effort of unthinking beasts.
Tried to grow a seed of wheat without the knowledge left to
you by men who had discovered it for the first time.
Try to obtain your food by means of nothing but physical
labor-and you'll learn that man's mind is the root of old
goods produced and of all the wealth that has ever existed
But you say that money is made by the strong at the
expense of the weak? What strengths do you mean? It is
not the strength of guns or muscles. Wealth is the
product of man's capacity to think. Then is money made
by the man who invents a motor at the expense of those who
did not invent it? Is money made by the intelligent at
the expense of the fools? By the ambitious at the
expense of the lazy? Money is made-before it can
be looted or mooched-by the effort of every honest man to
the extent of his ability. An honest men knows that he
can't consume more than he has produced.
To trade by means of money is the code of men of
goodwill. Money rests on the axiom that every man is
the owner of his mind and his effort. Money allows no
power to prescribe the value of your effort except the
voluntary choice of the man who is willing to trade you his
effort in return. Money permits you to obtain for your
goods and your labor that which they are worth to the men
who buy them, but no more. Money permits no deals
except those to mutual benefit by the unforced judgment of
the traders. Money demands of you a recognition that
men must work for their own benefit, not for their own
injury, for their gain, not their loss-the recognition that
they are not beasts of burden, born to carry the weight of
your misery-that you must offer them value, not wounds-that
the common bond among men is not the exchange of suffering,
but the exchange of goods. And when men live by
trade-with reason, not force, as their final arbiter-it is
the best product wins, the best performance, the men of best
judgment and highest ability - and the degree of a man's
productivity is the degree of his reward. This is the
code of existence whose tool and symbol is money. Is
this what you consider evil?
But money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you
wish, but will not replace you as the driver. Money is
the scourge of men who attempt to reverse the law of
causality-the men who seek to replace the mind by seizing
the products of the mind. Money will not purchase
happiness for the man who has no concept of what he
wants. Money will not give him a code of values, if
he's evaded the knowledge of what to value, and it will not
provide him with a purpose, if he's evaded the choice of
what to seek. Money will not buy intelligence for the
fool, or admiration for the coward, or respect for the
incompetent. The man who attempts to purchase the
brains of his superiors to serve him, with his money
replacing his judgment, ends up becoming the victim of his
inferiors. The men of intelligence desert him, but
cheats and frauds will come flocking to him, drawn by a law
which he has not discovered: that no man may be smaller than
Only the man who does not need it, is fit to inherit
wealth - the man who would make his own fortune no matter
where he started. If an heir is equal to his money, it
serves him. If not, it destroys him. Do not envy
a worthless heir, his wealth is not yours and you would have
done no better with it. Do not think that it would
have been better used distributed among the poor.
Loading the world with 50 parasites instead of 1 would not
bring back the dead virtue which was the fortune.
Money is a living power that dies without its root.
Money will not serve the mind that cannot match it. Is
this why you call it evil?
Money is your means of survival. The verdict you
pronounce upon the source of your livelihood is the verdict
you pronounce upon your life. If the source is
corrupt, you have damned your own existence. Have you
obtained your money by lowering your standards? By
doing work you to despise for purchasers you scorn? If
so, then your money will not give you a moment's or pennie's
worth of joy. The only things you buy will become, not
a tribute to you, but a reminder of shame. Do you
scream that money is evil because it would not pinch-hit for
your low self respect?
Let me give you a clue to men's characters. The man
who damns money has obtained it dishonestly, the man who
respects it has earned it.
Run for your life from any man who tells you that money
is evil. That sentence is the warning of an
approaching looter. So long as men live together on
earth and need to deal with one another-their only
substitute, if they abandon money, is the muzzle of the
Money demands of you the highest virtues, if you wish to
make it or to keep it. To men who have no courage,
pride or self-esteem they have no moral sense of their right
to their money and are not willing to defend it as they
defend their life. Such men will not remain rich
along. They are the natural bait for looters that stay
hidden for centuries, but come crawling out at the first
smell of a man who begs forgiveness for the sin of owning
wealth. They will hasten to relieve him of the guilt
and of his life, as he deserves.
Then you will see the rise of the men of the double
standard. The men who live by force, yet count on
those who live by trade to create the money which they loot.
In a moral society, these are the criminals, and statutes
are written to protect you against them. But when a
society establishes criminals by right and looters by
law-men who use force to seize the wealth of disarmed
victims-then money becomes its creator's avenger. Such
looters believe it's safe to rob defenseless men, once
they've passed a law to disarm them. But their loot
becomes the magnet for other looters, who get it from them
as they got it. And the race goes, not to the best producer,
but to those most ruthless. When force is the
standard, the murderer wins over the pick pocket. And
then society vanishes, in a spread of ruins and
Do you wish to know if that day is coming? Watch
money. When you see that trading is done not by
consent, but by compulsion-when you see that in order to
produce, you must get permission from the men who produce
nothing-when you see that money is flowing to those who deal
not in goods, but in favors-when you see that men get richer
by graft and connections than by work, and your laws don't
protect you against them, but rather they against you, then
know that your society is doomed.
Whenever destroyers appear among men, they start by
destroying money, for money is man's protection and the base
of a moral existence. Destroyers seize gold and
leave its owners counterfeit piles of paper.
This kills all objective standards and delivers man into the
arbitrary power of an arbitrary setting of values.
Paper is a mortgage on wealth that does not exist, backed by
a gun aimed at those who are expected to produce wealth.
When you have made evil the means of survival, do not
expect men to remain good. Do not expect them to stay
moral and lose their lives for the purpose of becoming the
tool of the immoral. Do not ask, "who is destroying
the world?" You are.
If you ask me to name the greatest distinction of
Americans, I would choose the fact that they created the
phrase "to make money". Americans were the first to
understand that wealth has to be created. The words
"to make money" hold the essence of human morality.
Yet these are the words for which Americans are denounced by
the rotted cultures of the looter continents. Now the
looters regard your achievements as a hallmark of shame,
your prosperity as guilt, your greatest men, industrialists,
as evil, and your magnificent factories as the product of
muscular labor, the labor of whip driven slaves like the
pyramids of Egypt. The man who whines that he sees no
difference between the power of the dollar and power of the
whip, ought to learn the difference on his own hide-and I
think he will.
Until and unless you discover that money is the root of
all good, you ask for your own destruction. When money
ceases to be the tool by which men deal with one another,
men become the tools of man. Blood, whips, guns-or
dollars. Take your choice-there is no other-and your
time is running out.
1. Rafe Donahue writes:
Date: Mon, 15 Nov 1999 11:32:57 -0500
From: "Donahue, Rafe" <email@example.com>
> Is it okay to kill people, who have killed people,
to show that killing
> people is wrong?
Rafe Donahue, PhD
2. Dave Dubey opines:
Date: Mon, 15 Nov 1999 13:37:06 EST
Subject: Re: lastcall
"Is it okay to kill people, who have killed people, to
show that killing
people is wrong?"
No, because then the executioner would have to be killed
(because he killed
someone), and then the executioner of the executioner, etc.,
until the last
person left was a killer.
It is also not okay also because our justice system is
not 100% accurate, and
therefore an innocent person would be killed. If your
question ended 'to
show that killing innocent people is wrong,' then the
executioner would still
have to be killed, and lead to the same end, that the last
person left was a
Ed: Damn, I always said you were the best mathematician
in our class. And there you go with a irrefutable induction
3. Chuck Scripter says:
Date: Thu, 18 Nov 1999 21:00:06 -0500
From: Charles Scripter
> Is it okay to kill people, who have killed people, to
> killing people is wrong?
It is not useful. Far better to assign
a _true_ life sentence, and
WELD these prisoners into their cells. "No, you were a
bad boy and
you will stay in that cell until you die". If they
want an "early
release", offer them a voluntary overdose of morphine.
But further, given that in at least some
States, the government(s)
are so ill behaved that they cannot be trusted to only
prisoners who are _actually guilty_ (see these sites for
http://www.truthinjustice.org/12-12.htm), these governments
exercise any such power.
Conversely, Citizens who catch criminals "in
the act" should be
allowed to use deadly force in defense of themselves, their
and their property. (no, this not "vigilantism",
despite what many
liberals claim -- see John Locke's Second Treatise on
Quote(s) of the month:
I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never
live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to
live for mine.
-- Ayn Rand, ATLAS Shugged
"Dodge: Do not follow. Do not conform. Be
-- A car ad promoting independant thought - by
Fix of the month:
Is it the govt's duty to protect it's citizens from their
own stupidity,or is it just a convenient excuse to loot the
producers of society?
1. Nov. 2, Olympia: You may recall from last month that
initiative 695 was a proposal to replace Washington state's
current car registration fee (which is based on 7 percent of
the vehicles value) with a flat fee. And in a
defensive move, the authors of the initiative also attached
the condition that any further tax increases would have to
be approved by public referendum. Against all pundits
and political expectations, the proposal was passed in all
but four counties.
The governor and legislature now find themselves
scrambling to recover from the revenue loss. The governor
has made no bones about the fact that he intends to
make the cuts where they will hurt the most. One of
the areas most affected will be the ferry service.
Despite the fact that the counties using the ferrys are not
the ones responsible for passing the initiative, the ferry
service has announced that beginning Jan. 1, they will half
the number of passenger only boats and cease construction on
the new passenger run altogether.
Given that the total lost revenue represents
approximately five percent of the ferry service budget, it
seems rather draconian to eliminate 15 percent of the system
service. In particular, it is interesting to note that
fully two-thirds of the operational ferry service is funded
by ticket sales with only the remaining third coming from
various state subsidies. Hence a simple 7-8 percent
rate increase on the tickets would have offset the revenue
loss, and there is little doubt that a referendum on that
bill would have been passed.
However, this isn't about serving the governed.
It's about teaching them a lesson from their betters.
2. Seattle, 25 Nov.: While I am now gone to the midwest
for vacation, Seattle is now playing host to the World Trade
Organization. Both Sheryl and my employer sent us
warnings to use alternate routes and public transportation
to try to reach our respective places of work. The
police and health care institutions have been warned to
expect massive demonstrations ranging from peaceful
demonstrations against human rights abuses through violent
anti-free-trade demonstrations by American labor
unions trying to discourage any further U.S. involvement in
treaties such as NAFTA. I will be following
developments on the story as most of the rest of you will
be, from the dubious viewpoint of the national media.
1. Minneapolis, Nov 10: A leading midwest HMO announced
today that it will shortly cease pre-approving diagnostic
and treatment decisions of its member physicians. You
may recall in the Clinton's first term when the nationalized
health-care system was being discussed, it was a widely
considered that reasonable business oversight could
introduce sharp curtailment of "un needed" services.
This was expected to yield much more affordable health
care. However, it was found by this group that they
overturned the physician's judgment in only 1~2 percent of
cases, and additional staff salaries far exceeded any
savings. The decision is expected to reverberate
throughout other HMOs.
1. Madison, Nov. 10: A student of the University of
Wisconsin Madison is suing the school on the grounds that
part of his tuition room is being used to fund political
action groups of which it is not approve. The
university charges 15 percent of the students tuition as as
a separate fee which is set-aside to support the palette of
political groups on campus. This particular student
(Scott?) happens to be a religious conservative, but he
argues regardless of his political leanings, no student
should be compelled to fund groups that they find
objectionable. Among the groups listed are: a gay and
lesbian rights group, and environmental group, a socialist
group, and a pro abortion group.
On its behalf, the university argues that submersing its
students in a milieu of ideas is the proper role of the
university. They contend that regardless of individual
beliefs, every member of the student body should be
obligated to pay for the free speech of others.
The university lost its case at the state level and is
currently appealing it in the U.S. Supreme Court.
1. Dade County, Nov. 4: The Japanese owner of a Miami
sushi bar is finding himself in a lawsuit with the state
Attorney General over a matter of gratuities. One evening a
man and his wife were dining and when they noted the amount
of the bill they concluded that a 15 percent tip had been
added. Since the stated policy of store was that an
automatic tip was only added for parties of eight or more
they were a bit confused. Turning to the couples on
either side of them, they noticed that they had not been
charged the 15 percent on their bills. Confused, the
husband asked the proprietor the reason for the
surcharge. The owner responding matter of factly,
"because blacks don't tip good."
And indeed it turns out the couple in question were the
only black customers in the restaurant.
The customer began arguing and the owner called
police. When they arrived they pulled the combatants
aside separately and interviewed them. Acting almost
embarrassed, the officer confirmed to the customer that
indeed he was only being treated differently because of his
race. The officer was white.
It turns out, however, that this particular black
customer was also an attorney who happened to know the state
Attorney General. And that is how the sushi bar owner
now finds himself facing the state.
1. Nov. 12: Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman said
today that the population of theUnited States of America is
the most overweight of any country on the planet. He
continued that this remains true despite years of education
efforts by his department to encourage healthy eating habits
from grade schoolchildren through the elderly. He said that
in an effort to save money, his department will now cut back
its advertising effort because "people have to take control
over their own eating habits."
Ed: interesting how this does not seem to apply to people
who smoke. Perhaps there's not yet enough money to go after
the makers of potato chips.
Thanks tons to Sheryl for helping me out to get the
following items in.
1. Why it pays to QUIT
Loyalty, shmoyalty. In todayís frenzied job
market, staying put gets you nowhere. Walking out gets
By Kim Clark
US News & World Report, November 1, 1999
Truck drivers are abandoning their rigs at truck stops
and driving off with recruiters who offer them a few more
pennies per mile. Waitresses scooping up tips of
dollars and dimes are also pocketing business cards left by
competing restaurant managers. When pharmacists answer
the phone, they hear the healthy voices of headhunters
offering big signing bonuses to jump to the new chain store
Maybe your mother told you that quitters never
prosper. Well, Mom never saw a job market like
this. No one has. Trying to rein in salaries,
employers continue to limit annual raises for long-time
employees to a paltry 4 percent on average. But in
their hunger for extra staff, they are offering job hoppers
10 to 20 percent raises over their current salaries.
By the millions, American workers are taking the hint and
the cash. Based on a survey of resignation rates by
the Saratoga Institute, a work-force research firm, US News
estimates that approximately 17 million workers will quit to
take other jobs this year, up 6 million from five years
ago. The quit rates in some industries, such as the
notoriously low-paying retail sector, are
mind-boggling. On average, companies nationwide will
have to replace one seventh of their work force this year,
but the National Retail federation says that because
part-time clerks tend to stick for only a few months, a
typical store replaces the equivalent of nearly its entire
work force annually.
Money talks. True, people change jobs for all
sorts of reasons. But anyone who thinks puny raises
arenít at the root of almost every decision to quit
gets a snort from Stephen Pollan, co-author of career advice
books like Live Rich and an upcoming negotiation
primer. ìBoy, are they wrong,î he
says. In his opinion, money is behind many of the
common non-financial explanations for changing jobs.
It can ease the pain of personal problems such as child or
elder care crises, Pollan notes. A hefty raise can
also compensate for an obnoxious boss or other work-place
Dan Meyers, 51 couldnít agree more. The
manager of five mobile-home parks in Connecticut, Meyers was
fed up with being on call seven days a week, breakdown prone
equipment, and his frozen salary. Early this year, he
gave up asking for improvements and found another job.
Now manager of a nursing home near Chicago, he is still on
call evenings and weekends and has plenty of stress.
But he doesnít mind so much because heís
earning $15,000 more a year. ìPeople say it
isnít the money,î Meyers says.
ìBut it is. It is always the money.î
There may be plenty of good reasons to stick with your
current job ñ great benefits, a pension plan, or you
might just plain enjoy it. And the quit-to-win
strategy does have a downside. Job-hoppers have no
chance of retiring with a company pension, for example, and
they face the danger that in a downturn, the most recent and
higher-paid hires will be the first fired.
But loyalty also now carries a cost. If long
time employees ever decide to look for other jobs, some
recruiters suspect they lack drive or competence.
Chris Olson, a headhunter in Fresno, CA says she recently
tried to sell an employer on a prospective applicant who had
been at his current job for 15 years. ìThe
employer asked: ëWhatís wrong with him?í
I said: ëHeís loyal.íî
How did we stumble into this through the looking glass
job market, in which loyal workers are left behind?
One reason is that companies believe it is more profitable
this way. Itís hard to argue with them ñ
so far, anyway. Since the beginning of this economic
expansion in 1991, companies have budgeted 4 percent annual
merit raises for their salaried workers and slightly less
for hourly workers. Corporate profits, mean while have
risen by 9.4 percent a year. Executives and investors
have done even better. Take home pay of CEOS of large
corporations rose by 13 percent a year in the same
period. The S&P 500 index has skyrocketed by 15.5
percent a year.
Bye-bye staffers. The calculus is simple to
managers like Theresa Hoover, who heads human resources for
Gallery Graphics, a Joplin, MO firm of some 100 workers that
makes frames and gifts. Large raises have gone only to
a few indispensable workers who threatened to leave.
Thatís meant a lot of costly turnover, but Hoover
shrugs it off. ì
We just have to lose people,î she says.
ìIt is cheaper than giving general raises.î
Thatís why professional career coaches like Leslie
Prager, founder of the Prager ñ Bernstain Group and
coordinator of the Career Center at New Yorkís New
School University, warns clients not to expect big raises
from their current employer. If your boss tries to
keep you from jumping by making a counteroffer,
youíre probably wise to ignore it. ìThey
shouldnít but employers hold it against you,î
she says. Her straight forward advice: ìto get
a significant raise, you have to change jobs.î
Demographics also work against many baby boomers who stay
loyal. Most companies say they distribute raise funds
by merit. But they also tend to distribute the money
by age: The older the worker, the smaller the percentage
raise, observes Sylvester Schiber, vice president of
research and information for Watson Wyatt Worldwide, a human
resources consultant. He says this makes economic
sense not just because it limits the dollars the companies
hand out ñ it doesnít take many dollars to
give a big percentage raise to a young, low-wage
worker. Itís also a good strategy for companies
because younger workers are probably showing the biggest
increases in productivity, Schieber says. Middle aged
workers, who are already comparatively well paid and
productive, find themselves bumping up against the corporate
ceiling. ìThere are so many baby boomers in
journeyman positions that there is a bottleneck at the
top,î Scheiber explains.
No bump. Thatís what happened to Dennis
Morris, who spent seven years working in the labs for Watson
Pharmaceuticals in Salt Lake City. Early this year,
Morris, 42, realized he had topped out. ìThey
couldnít bump me up to the next level, senior
scientistî because he only had a bacheloreís
degree, not a doctorate. And there was plenty of
competition for management jobs. Facing the prospect
of doing the same job for 3 percent raises for the rest of
his life, Morris concluded: ìThe only way to move up
was to move companies.î He called a local
headhunter, checked Web sites for job listings, and read the
want ads. After a couple of month, he found a job
testing vitamins in the lab at a nearby vitamin company for
a 20 percent raise.
Even if they arenít being pushed to look for new
jobs by their current employers, new technology is pulling a
lot of workers into the job market. Becky Dinkins, 49
a part-time school aide, ìhadnít even thought
of looking for a job online.î Cruising the
Internet this summer, she happened click on a banner ad for
the CarreerPath Web site. She noodled around and
suddenly was staring at a want ad that seemed to have her
name on it ñ and paid twice as much as her current
job ñ for 10 hours less a week. She clicked
over to the employerís Web site, printed out an
application, and a week later, was talking to the man who
became her new boss. She loves her new job installing
videoconferencing equipment in schools so NASA scientists
can talk with students, she has more time to spend with her
13 year old son, and sheí using the extra money to
buy a house ñ all because of an accidental job
Drugstore cowboys. Donít think for a moment
that the job shortage is limited to the red-hot technology
field. As a result of the booming economy, dozens of
headhunters make cold calls or lurk outside workplaces to
nab bodies in occupations that just a few years ago were
over crowded. Ray Rogers spends much of his day taking
calls from desperate pharmacies at the San Antonio
headquarters of Innovative Staff Search. He scours the
country for pharmacists at a drugstore paying, say $25 an
hour and offers them, typically, a 50-cent-an-hour raise and
up to a $5,000 signing bonus if theyíll shift to a
competing store across town. Theyíll get more
if they have to move or if the job is a promotion, he
says. ìItís crazy. Five years ago
we had to fight to get openings. Today there arenít
enough pharmacist to go around,î he says. Other
headhunters repeat similar stories for anyone with computer
expertise, as well as a host of less nerdy skills: chefs,
assistant store managers, nurses, truck drivers,
journalists, even barkeeps.
Keep on truckiní. Finding another job is so
easy that workers of all stripes are jumping for relatively
small advantages. Donnie Whitley of Milano, TX had
trouble finding his first truck driving job in 1987.
In the past couple of years, though, whenever he pulls into
a truck stop one recruiter or another tries to lure
him. Earlier this month, he jumped to his 11th
employer in his 12 year driving career, joining Hawk
Transport of Dallas because it promised steady work, a
friendly atmosphere, and a 3 percent raise.
ìFrom my point of view, itís a big
raise,î he says.
All this pushing by employers and pulling by the Internet
canít help but change worker attitudes. Through
much of the hiring binge of the 1990s, economist, including
Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, have puzzled over
why so many workers have clung to low paying jobs.
After all, surveys by the Hay Group show workersí
satisfaction with their compensation has eroded steadily
from its 58 percent approval rating in the late 19702.
As workers have watched profits and executive pay skyrocket
past them in the 1990s, their happiness with their
compensation level has slipped to about 40 percent.
Fed up, wired and ready to grab their share of the boom,
workers are abandoning their economically puzzling job
insecurities and loyalties. Millions of American
workers whoíd never before thought about changing
jobs are logging on to want ad Web sites.
Whatís more, theyíre doing it on company
time. Hits on the new Wanted Technologies meta-Web
site (which searches 30 other job sites) peak at 1 pm.
And those who seek are taking the jobs theyíre
finding. Five years ago, 1 in 10 workers was a
quitter. Today the number is 1 in 7.
Darren Smith, 32 remembers how he lost his nerve in his
first attempt to switch jobs. Instead, he gladly
accepted a counteroffer from his first employer, a mall
software firm. Within a year he was sorry, though, as
he realized he would have to keep getting other offers to
get more raises and promotions. In the five years
since then, he has changed jobs twice for big raises.
He likes his job a s a network services engineer at the Web
division of a publisher in Tampa, but he still checks We
site job listings and help wanted ads religiously because he
believes ìthereís always somebody willing to
pay you more down the street.î
Lunch crunch. Yet job jumping can carry a psychic
cost. Proving yourself again is emotionally
exhausting. So is learning new bureaucracies, coping
with a new insurance and benefits package, making new
friends, even figuring out the best lunch spot.
Thatís what 31 year old Penny Brothers learned this
summer. After four years of feeling underpaid as an
account manager at an Orange County, insurance brokerage,
she landed a job as an account manager at a health claims
administration company for $6,000 more. But her new
office was poorly organized, so she had to put in long hours
filling in for others. Worn out and frustrated, she
quit for a sales job that paid less (though still more than
the previous job) but promises more in commission and fewer
hassle. ìThe more you [quit],î
say Brothers, ìthe easier it gets.î
Some employers are finding the growing popularity of job
hopping so distressing and potentially unprofitable that
they are beginning to reward loyalty again. Costs
associated with turnover are sky rocketing from some
employers. Surveys by the Saratoga Institute show the
average time to fill openings has increase by 10 days to 51
days in the past 3 years. And some employers say they
canít afford to lose too much institutional
A penny saved by not giving a raise isnít always a
penny earned. Mike McBroom, vice president for human
resources for the Hendrick Health System in Abilene, TX says
his hospital brags that it is keeping raises to the industry
standard 4 percent. But, he acknowledge, ìWhen
you tack on recruiting costs and hiring bonuses, our budget
is probably up 10 percent.î McBroom says the
hospital is now considering retention bonuses as a
counterweight to hiring bonuses.
Donít go. Larry Hall, Chuck
Dresslerís boss at Mickís Restaurant in
Atlanta, has thought hard about the value of loyalty.
Last year, he was recruited away from a company that offered
meager raises, and he doesnít want to repeat his
previous employerís mistakes. Heís also
seen studies showing that restaurants with stable work
forces make more money. So Hall is handing out annual
raises of about 8 percent this year. But he
canít afford such big raises forever. At some
point, his workers ìwill be topped out and
theyíll leave,î he says.
Someday, too the great hiring frenzy will screech to a
halt. The growing recruitment and retention
costs will put pressure on prices. The Federal
Reserve, already hypersensitive to any signs of inflation,
will raise interest rates in response. Then will come
the true test of the technological and attitudinal changes
in the labor market.
The free agents of the work force may indeed be the first to
suffer when Internet sites and headhunters stop bidding for
their services. But two dozen years of corporate
layoffs and the Internet communications revolution have
combined to release the genie of employee loyalty from its
cubicle. It would take more tan a run of the mill
recession to make workers forget the thrill of walking into
their bossís office with a better offer in their
pocket and saying, ìI quit.î
Ten Signs that itís time to go
1. You spend your entire raise on the celebratory
2. Your new project leader is so young he thinks Creedence
Clearwater Revival is a Pentecostal church in West
3. You get more calls from headhunters than from the
4. When you ask about stock options, youíre given the
choice of blue or black ball-point pens.
5. The company spends more on the executive retreat than on
research and development.
6. You see your office PC at the Smithsonian.
7. Your only friend at work is the UPS man.
8. Your long-awaited promotion means taking on the work load
of the guy who just quit.
9. The continuing-education program is the Learning Channel
on the break-room TV.
10. You are reading this, arenít you?
2. Seattle frets but gets ready for WTO conference
Seattle Times: Business News : Thursday, November 18,
by Jack Broom and Susan Gilmore Seattle Times staff
With the World Trade Organization conference less than
two weeks away, Seattle is struggling with the question of
whether to show off, celebrate, protest or hide.
A mix of welcome and worry, the latter triggered by the
congestion and demonstrations expected to accompany the
event, is prompting an unusual assortment of
preparations, promotions and precautions downtown.
Some businesses sponsoring the gathering, including Bank
of America, are confidentially instructing employees not to
wear clothing with corporate logos, to avoid contact with
demonstrators and consider taking vacation time during the
Seattle Municipal Court, preparing for possible mass
arrests, is canceling all trials during the conference; King
County courts are canceling most proceedings, including all
jury trials so jurors won't face the difficulty of getting
to the courthouse.
Building operators downtown are increasing
security, watching for attempts by protesters to get
to rooftops and limiting the use of building loading
In the Public Safety Building, showers and a gymnasium
open to city workers who bicycle to work are being closed to
house extra police officers to deal with the WTO.
At the Environmental Protection Agency's regional office,
an internal memo says demonstrators are already testing the
capability of building security systems and will likely
attempt "some mischief designed to attract attention."
Hotels are instructing staff members on ways to welcome
people of different cultures, but are also advising
employees to be alert and to quickly report any signs of
"Hoping for the best and preparing for the worst" is how
the attitude is characterized in a recent Pioneer Square
While some downtown offices and day-care centers are
closing for the week, others are taking steps to entice the
6,000 delegates and support people in town for the
conference Nov. 30 to Dec. 3.
"This is not a time to panic, but it is a time for people
to think through things," said Lucinda Payne, marketing
director for the Downtown Seattle Association. "We think
it's an opportunity for Seattle to shine, but clearly there
is also a concern."
Downtown retailers remember other major events, such as
the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation in 1993 and the
Goodwill Games in 1990, for which advance publicity about
the difficulties of navigating downtown scared people
away, hurting business.
If this goes well, it could be an incredible
opportunity for Seattleites to come downtown," Payne
For many, that remains a big "if," given that no one
knows exactly what to expect from the tens of thousands of
Keeping a low profile Bank of America sent a memo to
employees warning that demonstrators "may be
aggressive, so pay attention and avoid them if
The memo, which a bank spokeswoman would not discuss,
encourages workers to wear business casual clothing that
does not identify them as bank employees. It also warns
about traffic and suggests telecommuting if
Building managers, particularly those close to the
Washington State Convention and Trade Center and along
protest-march routes, are advising tenants to watch for
suspicious items and activities.
At Union Square, where two skyscrapers house 235
businesses with 5,000 employees, General Manager Pat McCabe
said about 10 percent of his tenants are closing their
offices, at least for the first part of the week when major
demonstrations are planned. Some others will stay open but
discourage client visits and meetings.
"We're going to have heightened security, but we're
trying to operate in a welcoming, business-as-usual mode,"
Union Square tenants are being advised to carry their
building-access cards. Although McCabe plans to start the
week with building entrances open as usual, a change could
be made quickly so that access cards are required.
As far as the expected traffic difficulties, McCabe said,
"We've been advising tenants to treat it as if a blizzard
came in and dropped 2 feet of snow."
The University of Washington is canceling most class
sessions in extension programs that meet in two buildings on
Fourth Avenue during the WTO conference, a closure that
affects 600 students in two dozen classes.
Cutting into Christmas trade. The timing of the
conference, early in the Christmas
season, is a particularly sensitive issue for shop
"Our main concern is that the local people won't come
downtown, and this is a very big week for retail," said
Eriann Pearson, owner of The Best of All Worlds gift shop on
Union Street and Sixth Avenue. Pearson said she
hopes to maintain her usual hours, but she hasn't
But at a Briazz sandwich shop a block away, assistant
manager Jennifer Miller said her primarily college-age crew,
despite the inconvenience of having some bus routes changed,
is looking forward to working extra hours "and getting some
spending money for the holidays."
At Minuteman Press on Union Street, a manager said, "Our
intention is to operate business as usual. But if it gets
real nasty, I guess we could just lock the door."
And at the nearby Tom Teifer women's wear, owner William
McClelland said he's apprehensive. "Conventions are usually
good for business, but with this one, I just don't know what
to expect." One side effect: McClelland will miss his
regular exercise because he works out in the convention
center at World's Gym, which will be closed during WTO.
City and county employees have been told they can ask for
vacations during WTO if they are worried about being able to
get to their jobs.
"Employees who are concerned that civil disturbances
during the WTO summit may interfere with their commute to
work, or employees who may wish to participate in
may request vacation leave," said Paul Tanaka, deputy county
executive, in a memo to employees. "Supervisors should do
their best to accommodate such leave requests."
Tanaka said county government will remain in operation
during the event, but that departments may be closed due to
emergency conditions only with his approval or that of
County Executive Ron Sims. `All hands on deck'
While some employers are inviting workers to take
vacations, others - particularly those in the hospitality
industry - are restricting or prohibiting vacations during
"It's all hands on deck here," said Carla Murray, general
manager of the Westin Hotel, where President Clinton has
often stayed during Seattle visits. Murray said hotel
security personnel are in close touch with law
enforcement, and that hotel security includes "making sure
everyone has a heightened sense of awareness of what's going
WTO delegates, along with their liaison officers and
spouses, will be welcomed to the city with packets that
promote downtown retailers, including notice of special
hours and gifts offered with certain purchases.
"It's everyone's dilemma about what we can expect, so
we're trying to be as positive as possible," said Rose
Dennis, chair of the retail committee welcoming the WTO.
No place for a class field trip
One group that won't be visiting downtown during the
event is Talbot Hill Elementary School in Renton, where
Principal Ed Sheppard had hoped to use a WTO visit as part
of a curriculum on the importance of world trade. Sheppard
said the idea was scrapped after the FBI recommended against
it. "We were told it would be better if we not
participate," Sheppard said. "Even though we think most of
the demonstrations will be peaceful, we didn't want to put
any of our kids at risk potentially. It's turning into
a much bigger security thing than I understood."
Preparing for the unthinkable
The possibility, however remote, of a terrorist attack
with biological or chemical weapons is prompting officials
to bring up to 400 federal emergency-response personnel
The Seattle-King County Health Department has sent
letters to hospitals and emergency rooms asking that they be
vigilant for symptoms of exposure to biological agents.
Scenarios as grim as the release of anthrax bacteria, nerve
gas and food-borne contamination have been included in
Despite all those precautions - or partly because of them
- the city's official position on the gathering is a
Mayor Paul Schell said the city has "prepared for every
possible contingency. . . . But even more importantly, as
members of the global community, we are providing the chance
for these critical discussions to be shaped Seattle-style -
in an atmosphere of respect and civility and reasoned
© Steve Langer, 1995-2000