Wednesday, August 29, 2007

It seems to be a common statistic thrown around these days: CEO wages at big companies are increasing at a much faster rate than their workers. Personally, I have two minds about this. On the one hand there is the obvious shock at such statistics while one conjures images of greedy corporate bigwigs hoarding money and flying around in private jets while their Flynt, Michigan employees struggle without health insurance. While the coloring of this image might be a bit oversaturated, the reality of the gap in income is certainly there.

At the same time, I can't help but realize that we are in a free market. Assuming the company isn't some fraudulent natural resource monopoly a la Enron, the money it made was given willingly by customers, the CEO was hired freely by a board, stockholders or other authority group that deemed the person worth such a salary and the employees took jobs with full knowledge of what they would be paid.

Yet, do I really know what goes on behind the closed doors of executive and stockholder meetings? Is it safe to assume that it works like as an efficient market should, or is it really more of a good ol' boys network where jobs are passed around the elite as they scratch each others' backs? The more I read about George W. Bush's past and his current method for administration appointments (ex-roomates, family friends, etc.), the less confident I am that I do know what really goes on behind those doors.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Great news for me: I was able to find a job very quickly here in Washington D.C. (off of Craigslist of course). I am not quite sure why it seemed to be significantly easier to find a job here in D.C. than it was in San Diego. One reason could be simply the different job markets in the two areas. San Diego never seemed to be a great place to grow into a career. The job opportunities seemed to be very stratified into two groups: people finishing off their careers in high-level positions and unskilled workers (probably highly influenced by the large immigration numbers from Mexico). Of course, there were workers between these two groups, but that was always my impression; certainly it was no bell curve.

The other possible reason for this is that in San Diego I was dealing with the difficult dilemma most every recent graduate faces: getting experience without experience. Thus once I got my experience in San Diego, it was relatively easy to build on that experience in Washington D.C. Certainly my past experience fit in well with the job I have ended up at.

Finally, I have to admit, it could have simply been dumb luck. There are certain facets of this job that fit very extremely well with the experience that I was able to put on my resume so I have to accept the possibility that the occurrence of finding a job so quickly might have only been good fortune and I might very well not be so lucky next time.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Now that I am beginning to settle here in Washington D.C., it it time to come back to reality after some weeks of traveling and moving cities, and find a job. One thing I'm very thankful for is that in D.C., Craigslist charges $25 per job posting. This doesn't just pay for the running costs (and profit) of Craiglist, it discourages spammers and temp agency recruiters from posting a litany of fake jobs that get your hopes up before realizing the scam after a few emails and/or phone calls. Hopefully the $25 charge doesn't stop employers from posting jobs they otherwise might, but then again, the kind of employer for which $25 is is too much to pay for human resources, probably wouldn't be a great employer anyway.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Well this past week has been pretty crazy. With my wife going to Georgetown next year, we have finally had the week that I had been dreading for a long time. After we had reviewed all of our options for moving such as u-haul trucks, trailers, alternative moving companies, paid movers, pods, media mail and freight shipping, we decided that the best idea was simply to sell all of our furniture and everything else we couldn't fit into the car on Craigslist and then drive on over cross-country. Although there are of course some things I have learned from the experience, overall the entire episode went pretty well. Most of our furniture only took a small loss versus what we had paid for it originally (fortunately we had bought it all off of Craigslist in the first place). The small stuff was probably where we learned our lesson--we probably should have started selling it earlier, since most of it ended up being donated to the local Baras thrift store on the last day. But then again the Baras foundation seems like a pretty worthy cause so I guess really everything worked out fine!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

An interesting new entrepreneurial opportunity someone is attempting: The PhotoViolationMeter. The concept is to revolutionize the parking meter industry by allowing such things as payment with credit card, automatic incremental payment by credit card while you're away from the meter, payment by phone, automatic phone call when your time is running out, wirelessly informing an official of a violation.

However I do wonder if this is entrepreneurship will be successful for they might have been a bit too trusting in the city governments that would be purchasing this. First there will be a rather large expenditure to outfit all of the parking meters with such devices. Furthermore, there will be a direct link to reduced city income if they give out less parking tickets. From the perspective of the city employee's union, they will likely lose jobs as this technology makes some of the more manual labor jobs obsolete. Who exactly going to pull the trigger on such an program? This could be case of not knowing one's customers well enough, but time will tell.