Tea Time With Jesse

Six of One, Half Dozen the Other


Posted by middlerage on December 15, 2012

Middlerage spent all day Thursday in “new employee orientation.” It was needlessly long, and needlessly boring, and basically served to provide no information under the guise of actually providing information; i.e. “You were warned about Di-ammonium-fatal-cide in a blizzard of Power Point at New Employee Orientation, so… yoo-no-suey-us, sucka!”

And what can we say about the modern state of Human Resources, and the middle class employment landscape? – It’s all about choice!

In fact, too much choice. Studies have shown (no, I’m not gonna go look up citations, but I’m pretty sure I’ve read, somewhere…) that too much choice in fact does not improve our lives but makes them worse. I sat in the back, and since I don’t have a smart phone or laptop (yet) I surveyed my fellow new-emps and saw confusion and angst (at least amongst those not on their smart phone). Even among very smart folks who held PhDs. They were all thinking, “Geez, I only have 30 days to make a health and retirement decision that will affect the rest of my life! What if I decide wrong!?!”

Me, because I am infinitely wise and brilliant, knew this was a falsity of choice. We (they) were all fretting about the trees and ignoring the forest – which is, “Why don’t we just take care of people when they retire?” Take Las Vegas out of it! If you suck at 401k’s (which were originally designed as a savings account for the 1%, not as a retirement solution for middle class worker bees), then, Hey! you’ve just won an extra 15 years of being a WalMart greeter and secretly halving your prescriptions behind your doctor’s back.

Let’s just take care of people. When they are sick. When they retire.

It’s trendy these days to follow a “paleodiet” – eat what our ancestors ate, and you’ll be more healthy. What would a tribe of paleolithic hunters do with the elders? Was there any, “Oog, you didn’t skin the requisite number of mammoth, so we’re turning you out, onto the steppe, and you’re on your own.”? Let’s forget this falsity of choice, and have a new employee orientation where HR says, “After you’ve worked here for awhile, you’re going to be taken care of. You’ll have your Maslow’s Needs met – food, shelter, etc”

Okay, you might be saying “Jess, we know hardly anything about the social structure of nomadic, paleolithic cultures, and besides, the average lifespan was 40, there just wasn’t a need for retirement.” So maybe I need to invoke Neolith-Retirementâ„¢!

Okay, okay, you might be saying, “That last statement is hogwash – I’m saying nothing of the sort. I don’t give a rat’s pickled ass about the difference between paleo and neolithic culture. I wanna know how you’re gonna pay for all of this. That’s why it’s a problem in the first place. Where do we get the money to just blithely* “Take care of everybody”???

And I say: I’m an infinitely wise and brilliant ideas man. I don’t dirty my hands with details! I’m like Steve Jobs – you figure it out and I will say ‘yay or nay.’

Let’s just take care of people. You heard it here first.

*correct spelling of blithely courtesy of Dahveed


One Response to “Paleo-Retirement”

  1. Jerry said

    I’m with you on paleo-retirement, by ammending your statement: Let’s just take care of people who need it. Did Oog say “I’ve skinned enough mammals for you guys. I’m coasting from now on.”? I know about as much of those days as you do (though I read in an author’s notes about a video game that some believe the average lifespan back then was 17 years and someone with gray hair was really rare), but I doubt they had the concept of retirement that we do now.

    Thinking out loud here, I expect retirement as we know it is courtesy of labor unions, as a result of workers pooling their resources. For that, and for Saturday mornings I can spend blathering on the Internet rather than working, I thank them.

    It’s easy for me to say, since I have a cushy job that pays well that I can keep doing as long as my brain keeps working, but is spending an extra fifteen years as a Wal-Mart greeter really that awful? When Social Security was first instituted, the payouts began at an age most people didn’t reach.

    I’m also really lucky that for some mystifying reason society values what I do more than, say, actually building things. So I’m able to save some of what I earn and I’ll likely enjoy a retirement funded by my own savings. I’m Oog with a growing pile of mammoth skins back in my cave.

    To be clear, when someone can’t support themselves, I’m all for “just taking care of them.” And by focussing on those people, I think paying for the system would suddeny get a lot easier.

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