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Under Construction

Ladies and Gents Who Lunch photos
Ladies and Gents Who Lunch Happy Hour

August 8th, 2003

What Might Happen
OK, I can do this, two days of work and then a weekend. Not sure I can do the five following. Problem, that: Not sure you can do the five days following. Makes you think you could be out on the street one day for not hacking it. No weekend break when you're pounding the pavement. Hard time, all the time; old guys beware.

Where did that come from?

Hard to say. A short talk with one of the programmers in the hallway today. Had I read the piece in the New York Times? The one that laid it all out, this shipping of tech jobs overseas, how many are going, how many are gone? No, but I've read enough. We both thought it was good we were old enough to think about retirement, maybe we'd duck the bullet. Not sure about ducking the bullet. Not sure where the bullets are coming from right now, let alone tomorrow. Best to put on a good face and shuffle along lock step in icky old folk time. The world will throw a curve, I have every confidence, and that curve will find me or it won't, whatever I do in preparation. Stuff more money in the mattress? Couldn't hurt. Then again, where's your mattress when the building burns?

My goodness. That sounds ominous.

Nah. The nineteen twenties and thirties were stories in books when I was in school, not so for my parents. Whatever they call these turn of the Millennium years will be stories in books soon enough for the coming generation and they'll read them, not because they'll believe or understand them, but because they'll need to pass their history lessons so they can get a degree and find those good jobs in California and Canada and, well, India.

How did this start?

I'm not really all that sanguine. If I feel as well as I have these last two days I'm going to go over to San Francisco and pick up developer and fixer and do some black and white film. Run some test stuff through the F3, then the F5. Make pictures. I was somewhat upset when I saw the black and white from the trip when I got it back, but looking closer, particularly after scanning one or two frames into PhotoShop, I realize they're sharp and reasonably exposed, it's just the contact sheets look weird. I'd like to vary the development times again to accommodate odd ball conditions, do the things real photographers do. (God have I written this before and not done anything about it.)

And this thing about jobs going overseas, well, it's like the weather. It rains, you put on a slicker. It starts raining in a desert where it hasn't rained in a hundred years and it looks like it's not going to stop, well, you waterproof the roof. You plant rice along side the cactus. You move to California where there's lots of room these days now that everybody's leaving. Any day you can tie your own shoes is a good day in my book. Any evening you do the fandango in the moonlight is even better. Eatin' regular is up there on the list as well. The rest is smoke and mirrors.

Programming jobs to India and China? Well, you can't say they can't use the money. There are still a lot of jobs left that are done in front of a computer - Accounting, Finance, Payables, Receivables, Administration, Filing, programming, web development - and, if it turns out they can be done somewhere else more cheaply, they're going. How many tears were shed by programmers when a manufacturing job was exported? How many people will shed tears when they get yours? Can't stop it, you can only slow it down. My thought is other stuff's also happening, this being a revolution and all, and we're yet unaware of the opportunities that are opening up in, say, restaurant management. Long haul transport. The military. How's that for head in the sand denial?

I have never wanted to prepare for a profession just to make money. If you're hungry, you do what you have to, plenty of hungry people around, fewer of them now perhaps in India - China, but working long hours just for the paycheck? To buy a bigger car or a larger house? Go with your gut and if you hit a brick wall, well, at least you got your rocks off and if you make it big time, well, so much the better. What do techies do when their jobs are gone? Tinker with their computers on their own time, which they now have a lot more of, and maintain their journal (with photographs) twenty four seven.

It's hard to wander, when you're in head in the sand denial, but your doing it.

Well, the day is really nice. The temperature is just right, the sun is shining, everyone has that look in their eye, a long day, yes, but it's Friday and night approaches. Saturday is coming and who knows what may happen?

The photograph was taken at a recent Ladies and Gents Who Lunch Happy Hour at PCB.