Tuesday, May 26, 2009

From the Ashes

I had a little debate with a friend a few weeks ago, who was horrified by all the car dealerships closing down. I wasn't as worried -- essentially making the point that while it was unfortunate for people who would lose jobs, new jobs and opportunity would soon emerge from the ashes. It looks like developers are already interested.

The only thing particularly troubling is that these car dealerships offered a lot of great, working class jobs. There aren't whole tons of those to go around anymore. However, we may be seeing a shift in the entire auto industry -- who knows if people will ever buy new like we did in the 90s and early 2000s anymore. If that's the case, perhaps the jobs will just shift from dealerships to more local auto shops.

Yet, in any case, there is resiliency in the economy: land will always hold value and all these soon-to-be vacant dealerships will certainly offer a lot of future opportunity, as well as jobs.


nathan said...

Herb Chambers did an interview on NECN about auto sales and said last year when gas was $4 a gallon, no one wanted SUVs and this year, they're back and fuel efficient vehicles are out.

There's going to be a lot of reshuffling in the future that can't be predicted and the best we can do is be prepared to be adaptable.

We're not driving as much as we used to and neither are our friends. Everyone combines trips to reduce gas consumption. Trash volume and electricity usage are also down which might be a good thing.

Peter Porcupine said...

Ryan- Car salesmen sell cars. They can't fix them! The guy making $55k in a dealership service dept. is fine. The salesmen on the floor are screwed.

Ryan said...

Well, I wouldn't say they're screwed. My brother did sales for years. He went from selling anchors in Texas to yellow page ads in Massachusetts without any problems. He frequently complains about how much less he's making now that he's switched to teaching. I think cars salespeople, for the most part, will make the transition -- and the state should provide whatever help is necessary in terms of retraining and help with job placement.

Anonymous said...

Does your brother complain about how much more time off he has now that he's teaching. They only work half a year. If he misses the money go back to a "full time" job. The economy dictates job losses and growth, the US is in a long downhill slide from which we won't recover till there is a dynamic invention which we harness first. Cold fusion or widespread industrial use of cutting lasers, something on that order. The artificial intervention of the government only delays the inevitable and creates a higher pricetag for future generations.

Anonymous said...

How is it that we are now worried about car salesman? They do what the rest of us would do. They find other jobs. It's not like they are brain surgeons.

Ryan said...

Anon, you don't know what the heck you're talking about. "They only work half the year" my ass.

People assume that when teachers go home, they leave their work at the school. That's a very false assumption. I'd say that, conservatively, my father (a frm. history teacher) averaged 20+ hours grading a week while I was growing up.

My brother has less of that work because he teaches special education, but he's a 3 sport coach: the line coach on football, the JV basketball coach and the track coach. He gets paid a minimal sum for each, but probably works 20-30 hours a week doing them. Furthermore, he has football duties all year round, most especially in the summer.

"Go back to a 'full time' job?" He probably works twice as hard as you, jackass.

Ryan said...

"How is it that we are now worried about car salesman? They do what the rest of us would do. They find other jobs. It's not like they are brain surgeons."

Any time when anyone loses jobs in a sector that they can probably no longer find them in is problematic. It's unfortunately necessary in this case - and they will have to 'do what the rest of us do,' but it doesn't make it any less unfortunate. I am sympathetic: most of them will probably make less than what they were traditionally used to before the car market crashed.

algebra flop said...

In prehistoric times, I struggled with algebra. A math teacher I had had for a previous course (trig) sacrificed his study period to teach me his "apples and oranges" method of factoring so I could pass the course. I'm sure he gave up valuable time he could have spent grading papers or preparing lessons or tests. He wasn't paid additional, but had a real gift of making math simple.
When people paint all teachers with a broad brush, I think of Mr. H. who didn't have to go out of his way for me.
There are other teachers who are my contemporaries who have spent their personal time trying to compensate for poor at home learning environments or too much television viewing. I can imagine no profession that is more frustrating than the current teaching environment we've created. Some kids arrive unprepared to learn or are too overbooked in athletic commitments and have no time to learn. Some administrators won't support teachers. Other administrators won't support parents in their attempts to improve performance. Some teachers shouldn't be teaching. The process has become too politicized to educate.

Anonymous said...

"Most" teachers have all summer off and school vacations. And the 20 hours a week your father may have worked "extra" was more than made up for by having all summer off. Teachers have it pretty good. Why else would there be 300 applications for one position when it opens up. And if conditions are so bad why isn't there an exodus of these people from their jobs. Your brother is a well paid teacher, he may be an underpaid coach but that is another story. By the way my niece is a teacher, she took the job so she could be on a schedule to spend more time with her children at home.

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