May 2

Staying at companies too long and rethinking manufacturing

Category: Uncategorized

Another post that floated through my Facebook feed was a Forbes article on employees who stay in companies longer than two years get paid 50% less. These are always interesting because I’ve seen everything posted in this article including the too many jobs too soon. If you are in an industry in demand then that gives you flexibility though not everyone has that flexibility. Silicon Valley has a lot of competition for everything so it‘s likely a bad example more broadly. For example I wouldn’t expect a teacher to be able to make the same sort of beneficial changes. Which makes me wonder for the future of many of these jobs: if there isn’t upwards pressure on wages then it’s likely they’re stagnant or decreasing.

This ties into an article I read a while back in the New York Times on American Middle Class erosion which covers how the middle class in America has shrunk over time. This isn’t exactly something new because as I was reading this I remembered an even earlier piece that covered wages shrinking when accounting for inflation in America. In some cases it looks like wages shrunk in real terms not just when adjusted for inflation.

Tangential to this my dad was visiting and he commented that if the wages were adjusted for inflation, the 1970’s wage would be around $60 an hour. This brings you up to a reasonable wage in Silicon Valley these days and reflects something I’ve been toying with for a while: Silicon Valley is strong because it’s still manufacturing products. Now the form and distribution of these products might have changed with the use of the internet and software, however fundamentally my day to day work is the manufacture of software.

When we consider that elsewhere in the USA, manufacturing has been declining it sheds a far more interesting light on the current decline. The few parts of the country still manufacturing goods are surviving and those parts that aren’t manufacturing aren’t doing so well.

In any case I guess I need to change jobs in another year.

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