06/27/19 – Retirement Motivations





  1. Rikard

    Oh gods of Earth and Fire – PTA-meetings! Where automechanics, dentists, hairdressers, accountants et cetera gets to tell me how to do my job. “Freude schöner Götter funken…” it is not.

    And boy-oh-boy do they get prissy when you play turnabout. Parents like Dmitri are Worth their weight in gold at sucg meetings, sleeping arrangements unspoken – down to earth and honest to god liars with a heart for all the sorrows and joys of the world.

    This arc with Pierrot, Emily and Dmitri beeing parents and humans (IN SPACE!) is really getting under my skin – well done mr Baldwin!

      1. Mic

        There’s parental involvement and Parental Involvement. The first is them volunteering and being a real help. The second is them thinking they know better and demanding you listen to them because “I have kids, you just look after them for 6 hours a day!”

      2. Muzhik

        I think the type of “parental involvement” that the teachers DON’T want is exemplified by the subreddit threads, “Lady I Don’t Work Here” and “Malicious Compliance”. You can see and hear these stories on YouTube.

        One relevant story (where the teachers are the bartenders and the management are the parents) was of a bar that was in an upscale restaurant, both attached to an upscale hotel. The hotel management brought in a business consultant to figure out why the restaurant wasn’t making enough money. Now the bartender telling the story pointed out that the restaurant was top-heavy with management types, who didn’t do any of the work of cooking or serving the food, and yet made more money than any of the cooks and servers. The bar staff did OK because they got paid overtime (they were all hourly) and because of that, they were always willing to pitch in and stay past their assigned hours to ensure the customers (who were frequently there waiting for their tables) got prompt service and stayed around until they could be seated at the restaurant. They also stayed to make sure the bar was cleaned and stocked and ready to be opened the next morning.

        So, after a few weeks of the business consultant studying the operation, looking at the books, and so on, came to a decision on how to improve the profitability of the operation: no more overtime for the bar staff.

        Now, management did not see fit to relay this decision to the bar staff. Imagine the staff’s reaction when their next set of paychecks were much, MUCH lower than they were expecting. That’s when the staff confronted management and learned “no more overtime”. That’s also when the staff decided (after hours and off-site) that so-be-it: they would practice Malicious Compliance.

        The next day, as the hours progressed, the staff kept an eye on the clock; and as soon as their assigned times were up, regardless of what they were doing (serving, mixing drinks, etc.) they stopped, folded their towels, and clocked out. Management noticed this only when it was 8PM, the bar was busy, and instead of 3 bartenders there was only one and no wait staff. When the management (after being forced to pick up the slack) asked why everyone had left, management was reminded that there was no further overtime, and state law forbade workers from putting in unpaid hours, so the people went home. The next two nights were Friday and Saturday nights, where ALL of the staff left by 8 and the management was forced to tend bar, serve, and prep the bar for the next day. Customers were miffed, and managers failed to receive many tips.

        The next Monday, the entire staff was called into a meeting and told they had better change their attitudes, or they would all be unemployed. The staff, expecting this, looked at each other, said “OK”, and walked out. They had put out the word to the local tending community so no one applied for the jobs, and the bar (and later the restaurant) were closed “for renovation”. Eventually the hotel was sold to a chain who actually did the renovation and reopened with new management. None of the former staff were ever paid for the overtime they had put in.

        1. Gregg Eshelman

          Management heavy describes many school districts across the USA. Look up what happened, and what didn’t, when Mark Zuckerberg flushed $50 million down the pipe in Newark, NJ. In Newark, the assistants have assistants while the people supposedly elected, appointed, or hired to do the work, don’t.

    1. Stefinatrix

      I had a parental unit who drank at a Dimitri-like level. The majority of the time he appeared sober as a judge. On the weekend when he really drank, it was another story entirely.

  2. TB

    The unavoidable flaw in government is that the people who would be best at it don’t want to come within a light year of the job, and the people who do get in are generally people who would give their right arms for political power.

    Sometimes I think political leaders should be drafted, military-style, with term limits. “Greetings. For the next four years you are going to be Senator.” Draw from the same universe of people as jury duty. You could get a deferment, for real reasons that amount to more than “I don’t WANT the damn job!”

    We could preserve our illusions, I suppose, by drafting two or three for each office, and holding an election, but that’s already a slippery slope.

    “Oh, but how are we going to get people who have the years of political experience the job needs?” Give that about two minutes of serious thought.

    I do have fun imagining what political boot camp would be like…

    1. Thracecius

      I loathe “reality TV”, but I’d watch at least one episode of “political boot camp” for some giggles.

      On the face of it, I like your idea, but I’d have to give it some thought before actually agreeing it was a workable idea. Still, it’s a nice thought…except for the draftees! 🙂

      1. Peter Rogan

        The last person who tried to make the idea of drafted politicians work was Solon, some twenty-three hundred years ago in Athens. The results were less than notable; Solon learned then that public service is a burden to all except those with an actual taste for power, and for cutting deals, and for working with people even against their expressed interests. The draftees possessed none of these traits and were worse than useless. Politicians are born, not made, not trained, and the work itself is so thankless and onerous that only those who crave it can stand it. A lesson we should remember better today, frankly. You may as well try to train a man to be a petunia. You’d have the same success.

        1. TB

          A lot of people got drafted to go to the front lines and be shot at, and somehow that worked for the most part. I doubt politics is much more thankless and onerous than that.

          For the record, I personally oppose conscription in any form. It’s just a thought experiment. I’m tired of “career politicians.” It’s painfully obvious that their primary goal is to gain and keep power, and everything they do is geared in that direction. I’ve also noted that they have a reluctance to solve problems if that problem can be exploited to keep them in office.

          1. Peter Rogan

            People with an honest hunger for responsibility are scarce, sir, almighty scarce. And politics, leadership in general, is little else. You may not like it, but there are some things a society needs (sewerage, stray dog-catching) that must be done, and the best people for these jobs are people who want to be responsible for keeping the waste moving out and picking up dogs without owners or homes. The larger the society, the more the thankless jobs, and the higher the authority, the greater the responsibility visible to all. Most people run from public responsibility like they were on fire, and rightfully so. You may not like the volunteers for such jobs, but a society that is more than a tribe or a collection of families needs them very badly. The alternative is Neolithic survival, nothing more.

    2. Meran

      My husband and I have talked about this concept for years! And, having had many discussions, we came up with term limits of no more than 2 yrs. Would keep the government from revolting.

      More would get done because they’d want to GTFO when their “jury duty” was up.

    1. Fontlady

      If your kid is in the wrong and the teacher refuses to reward the kid for doing wrong and instead provides correction to improve the behavior, then the teacher should NOT listen to the parent who wants to enable the kid to be even more entitled.

  3. Peter Rogan

    Perhaps the only thing more painful and self-revealing than outgrowing your job is the realization that your work as a parent has come to an end, whether you wanted it to be or not. Emily has reached the end of her capacity to operate effectively, but Dmitri has it worse. He cannot give up trying to shape and direct Devyat, even though it’s plain to him, and to her, that she has outgrown him and his teachings. Devyat accepts that, though it scares her. Dmitri has not, perhaps cannot. He realizes the contradiction is making his job difficult, his ability to keep the Galaxy together hampered to the point of inutility. Emily can go off and think her way through her problems, and come out of it ready to make the changes that will hold her together. Dmitri? He cannot hold his job while he wants to shape Devyat, and he cannot give up that wish. He has no safe option, no clear path out of his dilemma. He is in its grasp until it finishes with him, however that may happen.

    I never expected to see Dmitri so vulnerable and so unable to shape his own fate. He has become a figure of tragedy, caught in a maelstrom of his own making, and will go to the bottom with it to be shredded on the unforgiving rocks there. I am not sure I can feel sorry for him when I am so gripped by the awe of seeing Dmitri become so powerful an engine of his own destruction. It’s like trying to feel sorry for Niagara Falls, eating away its very existence in the pounding falling water. I can only wait, and watch.

    1. War Pig

      Being a parent will do that to you. You want your children to grow up to be as bright, independent and adventurous as you were, but you also love them more than life itself and don’t want to see them harmed. There is no more sorrow than a military man (or woman, now) who braved the action and did the parachuting and served in elite units and flew aircraft and other adventurous (and dangerous) things, and then loses a child in the military doing those things themselves, if that makes sense.

      1. Peter Rogan

        Perfectly. Parenting is another thankless job of leadership and vulnerability, whose outcomes we cannot direct as we wish. Yet we must have it, or we will be scarce, sir. Almighty scarce.

  4. Marco

    i finally catch up after reading Spacetrawler from the very beginning. Amazing work! (I mean Bladwin’s work, not the work of reading it)

    Now, I should gonna start to binge read another webcomic. Probably Skin Horse or Drive.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *