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Office Romances Frequently Lead to Marriage

Whenever I meet a young married couple, I ask them how they met. I look for anecdotal data to get a feel for how engaged or married couples in their 20s get together. It’s common for them to report that they met at work. I’m always a bit surprised when I hear this – whenever the subject comes up here at HUS, someone inevitably jumps in immediately to warn, “Don’t shit where you eat!” 

No doubt most young people in work environments have some reservations about dating a coworker, but apparently many go ahead and risk it, according to a 2010 study of marriage:

Chart-Where-Met-Age1

There is no data for the U.S. that breaks out work from school, but a large study of European countries found that people met their partners in the following ways:

Place of work: 20.2%

Bar, pub or club: 18.8%

Introduced by friend: 15.7%

House party / social: 9.3%

College/University: 7.3%

Public space: 5.3%

Known since child: 4.6%

Large social event: 4.2%

Introduced by family: 3.8%

Neighborhood: 3.8%

Hobby / volunteer group: 3.8%

Sports team: 1.6%

Church: 1.6%

CareerBuilder.com has uncovered some interesting statistics in their annual Office Romance Survey:

  • 39 percent of workers said they have dated a co-worker at least once over the course of their career.
  • 17 percent reported dating co-workers at least twice.
  • 30 percent of those who have dated a co-worker said their office romance led them to the altar.
  • While the majority of relationships developed between peers, 29 percent of workers who have dated someone at work said they have dated someone above them in the company hierarchy.
  • 16 percent admitted to dating their boss.
  • Women were more likely to date someone higher up in their organization – 38 percent compared to 21 percent of men.
  • 35 percent kept their relationships secret, while the remaining 65 percent dated openly.

Here are the top five industries for workplace dating:

1. Leisure & Hospitality

2. Information Technology

3. Financial

4. Health Care

5. Professional & Business Services

How do people get together other than for drunken hookups at the annual Christmas party?

  • Running into each other outside of work (12 percent)
  • Happy hours (12 percent)
  • Late nights at work (12 percent)
  • At lunch (11 percent) 

Many young professionals work long hours, leaving little time available for socializing with friends. It makes sense that finding someone attractive at work is bound to happen – familiarity breeds attraction, and people often choose spouses with similar interests. In light of the recent finding that many young women feel ashamed of prioritizing relationships over career, dating someone from one’s professional network may be less intimidating than looking for love in other places.

Clearly, singles should at least consider potential opportunities in the workplace, even though office romance can be tricky. There is the dreaded spectre of sexual harassment claims, which can be made at any time for practically any reason:

 

But even when mutual attraction occurs, relationships don’t always last, and extricating oneself from an office romance can obviously be complicated. In How to (Legally) Hit on Your Co-WorkerLeslie Kwoh at the WSJ addresses the increasing prevalence of dating between colleagues:

“The workplace isn’t a nine-to-five place anymore,” she says. “Romance among peers is not as much of a no-no as it used to be,” says Margaret Fiester, an operations manager at the Society for Human Resource Management.

But there are still legal considerations when Cupid’s arrow strikes at work, as The Journal reportedearlier this week, and there are more than a few career ramifications, too.

Kwoh provides four guidelines for navigating office romance that are well worth heeding:

1.  Never date the boss. 

While work romance is becoming less taboo, relationships between supervisors and their employees are still strictly off-limits.

2. Get to know your company’s policy. 

Some companies forbid “fraternizing” of any kind at work. Others require that couples alert the HR department or sign a “love contract” when they decide to enter into a relationship, releasing the company of any liability should hearts break.

3. Don’t be a flirt. 

Simply asking a co-worker out isn’t illegal, but proceed with utmost caution. Telling a co-worker that you think he or she is hot could well be interpreted as sexual harassment (not to mention cheesy — Ed.). Try asking your crush out to lunch with a group of other colleagues, for example, before proceeding to one-on-one activities.

4. Have an exit plan. 

One company got served with a lawsuit four years after an office couple called it quits. The male employee was promoted to become his ex-girlfriend’s direct supervisor, and she claimed he was treating her unfairly.

Clearly, many happily married couples meet at work. Dating successfully at the office can be risky, but then so can lots of other kinds of work relationships. I’ve had female bosses who have treated me worse than any spurned lover would have. I once saw a piece of advice re exploring attraction with a colleague that I thought seemed very sensible:

No touching for four months. Build a friendship, spend time together informally with other colleagues, and begin to include one another in general social plans. Only after getting to know one another and feeling comfortable that your intentions are mutual should you proceed to taking the relationship into the romantic or physical. 

In my experience, workplace crushes usually develop slowly anyway, because people tend to be quite careful about them. 

In any case, the number of people meeting and marrying from work is large. It deserves a place in your portfolio of strategies. 

  • Bully

    It would be interesting to see a breakdown of what fields that the 37.8% is in.

    I do client relations and systems support in the finance sector and there’s about 7-8 men for every woman in my office.

  • doomwolf

    “Today, women make up over 12% of the Canadian Forces.”
    http://www.forces.ca/en/page/women-92

    The odds at work are clearly not in my favour…

  • Bully

    Ironically, the vast majority of my client contacts are female since we interact most often with HR departments, and it would probably be a conflict of interest to date one.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Ironically, the vast majority of my client contacts are female since we interact most often with HR departments, and it would probably be a conflict of interest to date one.

      Maybe, I’m not sure. It would obviously be terrible if it ended badly and you lost the account – perhaps it’s too risky. But I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with it. I would say that the client would have to initiate though…

  • JP

    If you are a lawyer, don’t date another lawyer in your firm.

    This does not apply to paralegals dating attorneys.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      If you are a lawyer, don’t date another lawyer in your firm.

      I know one couple where the woman was a partner, and the man an associate under her supervision. They fell in love, I’m not sure how it unfolded. He’s several years younger than she is. He left the firm and took a job in the Obama administration, then they married. She’s the primary breadwinner. It’s actually gotten very complicated because she has two little kids now and would love to work part-time, but there’s no way. She’s got to be a rainmaker and provider.

  • http://7thseriesgongshow.blogspot.com Mr. Nervous Toes

    As a physicist, I’ve never faced the problem of a workplace romance. It’s too bad because the way academia works it should be easy to date women in other research groups. However, the odds of finding a suitable counterpart in that microscopic pool of women isn’t very good. On that score, I’m kind of amazed that Information Technology is the #2 place for office romance to bloom.

    That and I don’t find moustaches on women attractive. (Ok, I jest, I have known two cute physicists in a dozen years, and I asked one out. No dates thought.) As a rule, office support staff are significantly less attractive than female physicists, so working hours are a bit of a feminine mystique wasteland.

  • Ted D

    IT? There really weren’t too many women in IT when I started in 94 so it was rare to see a romance. I guess things are different now in terms of female participation in the field.

    That being said, I’ve never even thought of dating a co-worker. Even if they work in another department.

  • Escoffier

    I would not trust any HR department to adjudicate any such dispute with anything resembling fairness. The woman will always win. The “crime” may never even be stated. HR is soft Kafkaism.

  • Lokland

    This is one of those situations where its good for women and some men.
    Other men not so much.

  • J

    This really argues for higher education for women, particularly in fields where men also work. Happy to see IT as #2 as older son will probably end up in IT.

  • Emily

    My (rather cynical) opinion: In this economy, how many Millenials are going to be at the same company for all that long anyways? If it looks like true love, I say go for it.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Emily

      My (rather cynical) opinion: In this economy, how many Millenials are going to be at the same company for all that long anyways? If it looks like true love, I say go for it

      That’s a really interesting point in general. Two generations ago, people often worked for one company their whole lives. And of course there were far fewer women in the workforce. I read that today, the average tenure with one company is only three years. “Planning an exit” might not be all that difficult.

  • K.

    I laughed at the list of top industries – I fell into hospitality in 2009 as a recent liberal arts grad. I won’t lie, my decision to go to grad school for a professional degree was largely motivated by the lack of compelling men I was meeting working in my field. Staying there would have meant stagnating professionally AND being mostly single.

    Now I’m building a career in IT, which is promising me both a stimulating work and social life.

    @Ted D
    There still aren’t a lot of women in my technology classes, although I’m sure there are more than there were 10-20 years ago.

  • Suise7a

    “1. Never date the boss”

    Liberal vibe there. Because it’s so UNEQUAL, OPPRESSIVE and H-A-T-E-F-U-L.

    “2. Get to know your company’s policy”

    Please be BRAINWASHED by their relationship ideals.

    “3. Don’t be a flirt”

    DON’T talk to anybody and be closeted in your interactions. Don’t have close friendships and show emotions.

    “4. Have an exit plan”

    How about how LAWSUITS baby?

    Thank god that I will choose either self employment or home businesses. No freaking way am I signing up for most companions nowadays.

    This whole “check your company’s regulations” is wrong. They close the entire door with locks and alarms and leave maybe quarter of an inch as an entrance.

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    Online dating beats bars! CALLED IT! :D

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Ana

      While researching this post, I found some stats about the divorce rate based on where people meet. It was highest for people who meet in bars. Probably because that crowd is more unrestricted.

  • Suise7a

    It doesn’t matter if it’s the Obama Administration or the modern British state, or whichever, there’s something odd about them.

  • Suise7a

    @Ted D
    There still aren’t a lot of women in my technology classes, although I’m sure there are more than there were 10-20 years ago.

    Affirmative action for women in STEM is supported by the Obama Administration. You can google it.

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    While researching this post, I found some stats about the divorce rate based on where people meet. It was highest for people who meet in bars. Probably because that crowd is more unrestricted.
    I knew it was a bad idea but I didn’t imagined it was so bad. Low chances to make it and low chances it lasts too? Ouch!

  • Abbot

    Its all good but not a place to get friend zoned.

    Now officially defined –

    friend zone
    Syllabification: (friend zone)
    Definition of friend zone
    noun
    informal
    a situation in which a platonic relationship exists between two people, one of whom has an undeclared romantic or sexual interest in the other:
    I always wind up in the friend zone, watching them pursue other guys

    http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/american_english/friend+zone

    .

  • http://7thseriesgongshow.blogspot.com Mr. Nervous Toes

    J wrote:

    Happy to see IT as #2 as older son will probably end up in IT..

    Methinks the child’s luck would be far better if the sex was female. The statistics are measuring the product of the number of relationships and the percentage of successful relationships. So it may be the case that Leasure and Recreation has a 50/50 gender split and a 20 % success rate. Whereas IT might have a 80/20 gender split and an 95 % success rate. I.e all the unattached women eventually get lucky even if the vast majority of the men do not.

    This is what I see in science: the ~8 % proportion of females are almost all in successful relationships with other scientists. Only about 40 % of the men are. By definition only 8 % max could possibly be attached to female scientists, so the majority of attached men had to look elsewhere for their mate.

  • Richard Aubrey

    Employment puts people together–in each other’s company–without either of them actually making the effort. Thus, approach awkwardness, neediness, fumblemumblebumblestumble, flop sweat, or possibility of rejection don’t apply. Among other things, he/she can’t get away. And that means you don’t have to pursue, chase, make opportunities. You’ll be as together as the employment circumstances allow.
    Thus, you can get to know one another in non-social/dating/sexual or proto-sexual situations. Which is more accurate. And you can watch the other dealing with the rest of the world, or at least as much as shows up in the workplace, including hints of the rest of his/her life. (“bought a car. Brother’s deployed. Grandparents celebrated their fifty-fifth anniversary, going caving this weekend, etc) And this improves accuracy.
    And there’s no rush since he/she can’t get away, except to be tied up by another person. And trying to get there first is not always commensurate with doing it right.
    Discretion requires knowledge, information.
    More is better than less.
    Problem is, as somebody said, a lot of people have said, that you have to be very careful that HR doesn’t want to see you RIGHT NOW.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Employment puts people together–in each other’s company–without either of them actually making the effort. Thus, approach awkwardness, neediness, fumblemumblebumblestumble, flop sweat, or possibility of rejection don’t apply. Among other things, he/she can’t get away. And that means you don’t have to pursue, chase, make opportunities. You’ll be as together as the employment circumstances allow.

      Well said. A lot of the pressure is removed, and there is the plausible deniability of professional camaraderie.

      Problem is, as somebody said, a lot of people have said, that you have to be very careful that HR doesn’t want to see you RIGHT NOW.

      That’s why I say take it slow. So slow that you’re both squirming in your seat and dying to do something about it. On the plus side, that much anticipation makes for awesome sex!

  • Brendan

    Of course people do meet at work, but care must be taken.

    I met my ex-wife at work, and when her job didn’t pan out it caused huge problems, and I ended up switching firms. It was kind of a mess (and that had nothing to do with our relationship going sour … that only happened over a decade later when that was long gone). At that age she wasn’t a peer, but I was not a boss of hers either — there was some pedestal effect taking place that evaporated during the course of our marriage (her taste for pedestal men didn’t and she had an affair with her boss when we were married … another risk, I think, for people who like to fish in the work pond).

    My current workplace has almost no relationships that formed at the workplace. I know of three among hundreds of execs and lawyers I know at my fortune 200 … only 3. And two of the three were people who met later on, when both were in the mid 30s and in both cases one was already divorced. Now we don’t have a surplus of people in their 20s in our corporate headquarters — I’d say people in their 20s are 15-20% of the work force at our headquarters (our field sites are different), so it’s not really the place to come for an office romance if you are in your 20s. Not enough people, really. We’re mostly people in the 30-50 range.

    And I’m in a company that is in industry 1 on that list.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Brendan

      (her taste for pedestal men didn’t and she had an affair with her boss when we were married … another risk, I think, for people who like to fish in the work pond).

      I confess I’ve always been a bit curious about your divorce. I’m really disgusted to learn of your ex’s behavior.

      Lord knows this post is not meant to encourage married people to have affairs with their superiors!

  • Johnycomelately

    A good corollary to the post would be where are afairs most likely to occur.

    I work in a blue collar environment, very heavy and difficult work with a lot of young muscular men with about 300 men to about 40 women, saving a few obese women, every single one has had affairs and there have been multiple marriage break ups.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Johnycomelately

      I sat next to a woman on a flight who was in the military and such a badass! She had served as a Guantanomo prison guard, and then as a guard at Bagram in Afghanistan. She was single, but she said that the level of adultery and cheating was very high. She witnessed marriages being destroyed, with unsuspecting spouses in the U.S. having no clue.

      I understand the stress of deployment, and I wonder whether it is advisable to throw men and women together.

  • SayWhaat

    This does not apply to paralegals dating attorneys.

    Woo-hoo!

    (her taste for pedestal men didn’t and she had an affair with her boss when we were married … another risk, I think, for people who like to fish in the work pond).

    This is one of my concerns… : /

  • Passer_By

    “If you are a lawyer, don’t date another lawyer in your firm.”

    There were a few like that started dating at my old firm, and some ended in marriage (or, in one case, a very long LTR). Best if not in the same area of law, I think.

    “This does not apply to paralegals dating attorneys.”

    I think it would be worse, especially if in the same department, due to the supervisor thing.

    Funny story. At my old firm, there was a fairly well established older partner, who was married, who was having a fling with a pretty hot young associate. We had this mail delivery (and other office services) guy who was, what’s the proper word now? Learning disabled. Anyway, he went into a conference room unannounced (probably to get a coke from the refrigerator) and stumbled onto them in the act. He freaked out. Big scandal. They break up, she leaves the firm (probably wasn’t long for it anyway).

    Years later, he gets divorced, and then they later bump into each other at some sort of professional function. I think she had also been married and divorced in the interim. Long story short, they immediately got together again and ended up married in pretty short order.

    Susan’s advice in this post is probably better for women than for men. The whole “don’t shit where you eat” thing pertains to flings and ONS. In today’s world, many guys won’t risk it unless they are pretty serious about pursuing a committed relationship. So, I wold guess it might act as something of a cad filter.

  • Passer_By

    @johnycomelately

    “I work in a blue collar environment, very heavy and difficult work with a lot of young muscular men with about 300 men”

    Sounds like a Village People video.

  • SayWhaat

    “This does not apply to paralegals dating attorneys.”

    I think it would be worse, especially if in the same department, due to the supervisor thing.

    I heard that there was a paralegal years ago in my office who was dating an associate. The day he got named partner was the day she handed in her resignation.

  • Passer_By

    @saywhaat
    “The day he got named partner was the day she handed in her resignation.”

    Yeah, that used to happen at my old firm with lawyers and secretaries, but that was way way back in the day (before even my time). Now, it would be awkward, unless they didn’t have to work together at all.

  • Brendan

    Yeah the “within the chain of command” type of thing is pretty uniformly condemned today in workplaces. Not that it doesn’t happen, but if it gets discovered it is usually asked either that it be discontinued or that one of them moves out of the chain of command. This is also for morale of other people who are not in the relationship who feel like they may be disadvantaged by it. Some law firms may be a bit different due to the lack of a real chain of command concept like you have in a corporation, but I’d expect that the bigger ones all have similar policies.

  • JP

    “I heard that there was a paralegal years ago in my office who was dating an associate. The day he got named partner was the day she handed in her resignation.”

    Silly Passer_By, this still happens.

    One of my associate friends was nabbed by a paralegal back around 2004. No problems there so far and I still talk to them.

    Now, a *partner* was dating an *associate* and the partner told the partnership, which resulted in the associate being immediately canned.

    She (the partner) was not happy about that, especially since there was a married partner doinking an associate *and* a married partner couple in the firm.

    Also, there was a major dustup with another married partner (who was taking a break from his marriage) was doniking another associate and really ticked off another woman partner who he was not doinking…ultimately *that* woman partner left due to office politics and her not being promoted to equity partner.

    Corporate law firms…the magic land of inequality and favoritism.

    I’m quite happy in TV ad law where the job is simple…generate enough revenue. Period.

  • Brendan

    The law firm I worked for when I was a puppy lawyer also had a rule against two partners being married to each other. I knew of one female senior associate who was involved with, and then married, a partner at the firm, and she was told that while she might otherwise qualify to become a partner, either she could become a partner and he could leave, or she could leave now and try to become a partner elsewhere. They elected for the latter, and I think she did okay at another firm, although I don’t know their situation now.

  • JP

    Note, the woman partner did not desire to be doinked by anyone but her non-law husband, she just got the short end of the stick.

    Private law firms are is basically a bastion of male power, in case anyone really wondered about that.

    Also, it’s not changing anytime soon because the workplace is basically toxic.

    And *I* was at a firm where working late into the night was frowned upon. Really. I got criticized for working after midnight on a litigation matter.

  • JP

    Basically all law firms have the Rainmaking Partner rule.

    Where the Rainmaking Partners make and break the rules at will.

    For example, forcing an exception to an anti-nepotism policy to bring in their son as a condition for joining the firm.

    All the women partners left my practice group while I was there and my group didn’t even suffer from any of the political stress, since we all pretty much got along.

  • Brendan

    Yeah the firm I worked at as a puppy lawyer was one of the only large firms to have lockstep compensation among the partners rather than rainmaking eat/kill divvying system. It made for a different culture among the partners — more egalitarian in many ways. But that’s hard to sustain. I’m not sure whether they have maintained that system today, really.

  • Passer_By

    @jp

    “Basically all law firms have the Rainmaking Partner rule.”

    Yes, but the associate dating the paralegal doesn’t fall under that protection. Even the junior partner doesn’t – though he might get the protection of a rainmaker mentor. And I say “he” because the notion of a female partner dating a male legal assistant is pretty far fetched.

    I’m not saying it would be fatal, but in a major office of an Amlaw 200 type firm, dating a paralegal within your chain of command, so to speak, would be frowned upon, especially if turned out to be a fling. His judgment would be questioned. Smaller firms (or small branch offices) are a bit more flexible, I think.

  • SayWhaat

    Now, a *partner* was dating an *associate* and the partner told the partnership, which resulted in the associate being immediately canned.

    She (the partner) was not happy about that, especially since there was a married partner doinking an associate *and* a married partner couple in the firm.

    Also, there was a major dustup with another married partner (who was taking a break from his marriage) was doniking another associate and really ticked off another woman partner who he was not doinking…ultimately *that* woman partner left due to office politics and her not being promoted to equity partner.

    TL;DR Don’t marry someone who is aiming to be a Partner?

    And *I* was at a firm where working late into the night was frowned upon. Really. I got criticized for working after midnight on a litigation matter.

    Haha! Hahaha!

    My team pulled two consecutive all-nighters last week. :(

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      My team pulled two consecutive all-nighters last week.

      An aquaintance recently mentioned that her son is working so hard that some nights he leaves so late the morning donuts are being laid out. Of course, I only want to know what firm lays out morning donuts!

  • JP

    “I’m not saying it would be fatal, but in a major office of an Amlaw 200 type firm, dating a paralegal within your chain of command, so to speak, would be frowned upon, especially if turned out to be a fling.”

    Partners still go to work at AmLaw 200 firms completely drunk on a regular basis (which essentially just drove one of my ex-gfs into a in-house position).

    Nobody in law firms really pays attention to anybody else or has the slightest idea what anybody else does.

    Well, as long as the revenue is coming in.

    If not, you get Lathamed.

    I have two ex-partner former Summer Associate acquaintances who got junked as junior partners during the recent credit bubble bust.

  • JP

    “TL;DR Don’t marry someone who is aiming to be a Partner?”

    No.

    Make sure you are a Rainmaking Partner because they are the ones who own the firm and then date anyone you want to date.

    The rest of the attorneys eventually end up on the industrial scrapheap between ages 40 and 45.

  • Passer_By

    “Partners still go to work at AmLaw 200 firms completely drunk on a regular basis (which essentially just drove one of my ex-gfs into a in-house position).”

    Lawyers develop alcohol problems. If the partnership was aware of it, they would generally require treatment (assuming the guy wasn’t untouchable). Malpractice claims are not fun for the partnership. There are a few (sometimes only 1) partners who simply untouchable, but it’s the exception.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      “Partners still go to work at AmLaw 200 firms completely drunk on a regular basis (which essentially just drove one of my ex-gfs into a in-house position).”

      Lawyers develop alcohol problems.

      Really? I’ve never heard that – I wonder if it’s true in consulting, I-banking, and other high stress jobs. I haven’t seen it but come to think of it, a lot of Wall St. types did a lot of cocaine back in the 80s and 90s when I was working.

  • SayWhaat

    So…don’t date a lawyer?

  • Passer_By

    “So…don’t date a lawyer?”

    It’s a start. Though i-banking firms use those guys up even worse.

  • JP

    “So…don’t date a lawyer?”

    Don’t *be* a lawyer.

    Also, don’t date one.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Don’t *be* a lawyer.

      Also, don’t date one.

      Boo. One of my daughter’s best guy friends growing up just got into Duke Law. Such a good boy, a beta dreamboat.

  • JP

    ““So…don’t date a lawyer?”

    It’s a start. Though i-banking firms use those guys up even worse”

    My law school roommate found BigLaw at 2400+ billables a year to be much more tolerable than i-banking.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      My law school roommate found BigLaw at 2400+ billables a year to be much more tolerable than i-banking.

      That’s pretty interesting, actually. I’ve always wondered how the horror stories really compare.

  • SayWhaat

    So what you’re saying is, my mom’s recommendation to date doctors is sound advice? :P

  • JP

    “Lawyers develop alcohol problems. If the partnership was aware of it, they would generally require treatment (assuming the guy wasn’t untouchable). Malpractice claims are not fun for the partnership. There are a few (sometimes only 1) partners who simply untouchable, but it’s the exception.”

    The partnership is generally focused on their draw and their stomach ulcers.

    It really depends on the firm, but the setup really is diffuse and the chains of command are often a tangled mess.

  • SayWhaat

    Don’t *be* a lawyer.

    No worries, got that snuffed out of my system after two months on the job.

    Looks like I’m on a fast track to nowhere! And so is my dating life, considering I should probably rule out men with professional careers (Escoffier, +1). Hahaha!

    Jumping off the fire escape, brb.

  • JP

    “So what you’re saying is, my mom’s recommendation to date doctors is sound advice?”

    I’ve found dermatologists, radiation oncologists, opthamologists, and endocrinologists to be relatively safe, stress speaking. Maybe pathologists and radiologists.

    Cardiologists burn out (wow do they burn out – I had a private disability case with one a few years ago), internists and GPs are essentially low-level staffers with limited power and income – profit center workhorses, really, surgeons are generally less than easy to deal with, psychiatrists…uh, no. Granted, my neurosurgeon uncle seemed rather nice, but he is definitely the exception and he died a few years ago.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      psychiatrists…uh, no.

      Haha! I’m very intrigued by psychiatrists. The town next to mine has the highest per capita population of them in the country. They seem like good folks, if a bit neurotic.

      I’ve read that the specialties everyone wants for lifestyle – big money and low stress – are the ROADs:

      Radiology
      Orthopedics
      Anesthesiology
      Dermatology

      I always thought it would be cool if my daughter became Orthopedist to the Red Sox. Sadly, the idea never appealed to her.

  • JP

    “No worries, got that snuffed out of my system after two months on the job.”

    I think that it got snuffed out of my system after about two months on the job.

    Granted, that was faster than chemical engineering which got snuffed out before I graduated with the chemical engineering degree.

    I *do* recommend working in a law firm, even as a lawyer, over working in a chemical plant.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @JP

      I *do* recommend working in a law firm, even as a lawyer, over working in a chemical plant.

      Your sense of humor really tickles my funny bone. I really miss you when you take a break. You and Passer By make commenting more fun!

  • Passer_By

    @jp

    “It really depends on the firm, but the setup really is diffuse and the chains of command are often a tangled mess.”

    Perhaps, but at the risk of revealing too much personal info, I was a partner at one of the more profitable firms on the Amlaw 200 for over 10 years. I have a pretty good idea of how things would have gone down at that firm. It was not quite as restrictive in the early 90s before I became a partner there, but by the late 90s the full chilling effect of harrasment laws had set in. My understanding is that the ’70s and ’80s were wild times.

  • Brendan

    Doctors are not really better, but you face different problems than you do in a biglaw type firm. I worked in biglaw as a puppy, and it has little to recommend it really. I now work in-house and am really a hybrid lawyer/business negotiator, which is a different role, and quite different from the pure lawyering I hire outside lawyers to do. But in general, people should not become lawyers unless they are really passionate about being one. Pure lawyering at a biglaw firm is soul-crushing stuff, and if the guy is quite ambitious or successful in that environment, it gets worse, not better.

  • JP

    “Perhaps, but at the risk of revealing too much personal info, I was a partner at one of the more profitable firms on the Amlaw 200 for over 10 years. I have a pretty good idea of how things would have gone down at that firm.”

    A real partner or a workhorse partner? And partners don’t even talk to other partners, I note.

    (One of my workhorse partner friends just got de-partnered…not good)

    All firms have their own personalities. I think that the mid-1990s were a time of great repression, which was somewhat unrepressed during the dot-com mania and then somewhat further unrepressed during the credit bubble.

    And now, I suspect that the entire BigLaw business model is collapsing, which is not good for attorneys.

  • JP

    “But in general, people should not become lawyers unless they are really passionate about being one.”

    I’ll agree. But I was definitely passionate about not being an engineer.

    I’m excellent at finding work about which I am quite non-passionate.

    I enjoy market timing and macro-economic analysis more than either, but I’m not enough of a sales guy or a quant to do Wall Street.

    Although the real reason I went into law was because I needed a career, so I grabbed it and ran with it. Better than playing computer games all day or being homeless. So, now I represent the homeless.

  • Brendan

    Although the real reason I went into law was because I needed a career, so I grabbed it and ran with it. Better than playing computer games all day or being homeless.

    Right, which is most lawyers, as we both know. Most are in the profession because it’s a job.

    One of my main business clients in-house has an engineering background and parleyed it into being an asset manager/negotiator. He’s a great client due to his attention to detail.

  • Passer_By

    “A real partner or a workhorse partner?”

    There was no distinction there, though those with bigger books obviously got more points (higher equity). I will note that, for the most part, the partners with the biggest books there tended to bill the most hours (I’m talking 3,500). Not always, but usually. The notion of the whole white shoe firm where a guy brings in the business and does little or no work doesn’t apply much anymore. Clients hire the one they want to do/supervise most of the work.

    ” And partners don’t even talk to other partners, I note.”

    That’s just silly. I can’t speak for a place like Latham, but that’s not how it was. Nonetheless, I’m not necessarily advocating the lifestyle, and we’re getting off track here.

  • Scoot

    De-lurking to say that for whatever it’s worth, now that I think of it, I’ve never actually known anyone who suffered serious complications (especially lawsuit-related) from any workplace relationships. Even when I worked in restaurants, where pretty much everyone was “dating” everyone, nothing terribly messy happened beyond the occasional broken heart. And two folks I know engaged in the ever-taboo manager/employee pairing, and one of the couples married (after the “employee” found a different job).

    Maybe I’ve just been part of a lucky crowd!

    That said, I met my current boyfriend at work. We waited 5 months before even going out without a group, long enough to accurately assess character and tendency toward drama (or, thankfully, lack thereof). That was key. We’re now about to hit the 8-month mark.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      That said, I met my current boyfriend at work. We waited 5 months before even going out without a group, long enough to accurately assess character and tendency toward drama (or, thankfully, lack thereof). That was key. We’re now about to hit the 8-month mark.

      That’s the smartest way to do it. My guess is that most of the 30% of workplace relationships that end in marriage follow a similar path.

  • Brendan

    The notion of the whole white shoe firm where a guy brings in the business and does little or no work doesn’t apply much anymore. Clients hire the one they want to do/supervise most of the work.

    Right. That’s what I do. I don’t deal with “relationship partners” — not interested. I want to know who is doing the work or at least supervising it very closely and being very involved in it. It used to be the finders/minders/grinders paradigm, but there are now too many of us in-house who are selecting counsel based on not wanting a “minder” partner with faceless associates.

    Anyway, this is well off the mark. I think the point is that perhaps in law firms in particular there are some issues to be aware of (although I myself have been out of law firm culture since the 90s) when it comes to workplace relationships.

  • JP

    @Susan:

    “I understand the stress of deployment, and I wonder whether it is advisable to throw men and women together.”

    As long as you understand that they are going to throw themselves at each other while deployed.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      As long as you understand that they are going to throw themselves at each other while deployed.

      Right, and I see that as a serious threat to marriages back home. It sounds like the culture is one of rampant sexual aggression.

  • JP

    “That’s what I do. I don’t deal with “relationship partners” — not interested. I want to know who is doing the work or at least supervising it very closely and being very involved in it. It used to be the finders/minders/grinders paradigm, but there are now too many of us in-house who are selecting counsel based on not wanting a “minder” partner with faceless associates.”

    I know. What you in-house types are doing to those poor relationship partners is horrible! I’ll bet you cap fees and pay attention to the nature of the work being done, too! Are you trying to destroy their way of life? Have you no heart?

    I was a patent attorney for GEAE and the entire model for the practice group was volume billing at fee capped rates back in the late 1990’s. Amusingly enough, I represented a turbine parts inspector on GE disability retirement earlier today.

    The point of this comments section is to go off the mark.

  • JP

    “Boo. One of my daughter’s best guy friends growing up just got into Duke Law. Such a good boy, a beta dreamboat.”

    I donated $120,000 to Duke Law in the late 1990’s.

    What’s he donating?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @JP

      What’s he donating?

      My guess is tuition, at most. Geez, if you gave Duke 120K way back when, I can only imagine they telephone you every single night looking for money.

  • JP

    @Susan:

    “My law school roommate found BigLaw at 2400+ billables a year to be much more tolerable than i-banking.

    That’s pretty interesting, actually. I’ve always wondered how the horror stories really compare.”

    Big 4 accounting is reportedly worse after the massive recession since the partner track spigot got massively cut. One of our friends just bailed after going overseas for a couple of years because of the steep drop in availability of slots.

    Now he’s in house, which he apparently despises just as much.

    Accounting is worse pay, worse hours, and less stress.

  • SayWhaat

    That’s pretty interesting, actually. I’ve always wondered how the horror stories really compare.

    I’m still waiting for some M.D. to de-lurk and tell me not to date doctors.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @SayWhaat

      I’m still waiting for some M.D. to de-lurk and tell me not to date doctors.

      Funny you should say that, my BFF is a doc, and also a loyal reader. I can’t recall a single instance of an MD or even anyone in medical school commenting here. I guess they’re too busy…

  • JP

    “Of course, I only want to know what firm lays out morning donuts!”

    Mine does periodically.

    Also my happy clients bring in bagels and cakes periodically, which also get laid out.

    This week, a client brought in bagels and muffins.

  • Passer_By

    @saywhaat

    Have you tried dating hipster musicians? I hear they have pretty cushy flexible hours.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Have you tried dating hipster musicians? I hear they have pretty cushy flexible hours.

      LMAO!

  • Passer_By

    @jp

    “Also my happy clients bring in bagels and cakes periodically, which also get laid out. This week, a client brought in bagels and muffins.”

    Yeah, but your clients probably fished them out of a nearby dumpster.

  • JP

    “Right, and I see that as a serious threat to marriages back home. It sounds like the culture is one of rampant sexual aggression.”

    Well, considering that it’s job is to instill a very violent and organized hierarchical mindset so that they kill people…

    Although the body armor works really well. All of the security guards around here at the federal facilities are vets and speak highly of it’s quality. One guy got nailed dead in the back with a sniper round that only caused massive bruising.

  • Brendan

    I’ll bet you cap fees and pay attention to the nature of the work being done, too! Are you trying to destroy their way of life? Have you no heart?

    Of course I do! Although fee caps are more negotiable outside the US, they still exist.

    I’m still waiting for some M.D. to de-lurk and tell me not to date doctors.

    They’re too busy working in ways that don’t involve a computer keyboard.

  • JP

    @Susan:

    I meant that the $120K was my tuition, and that was with basically a full-year scholarship (which they give out a number of).

    The joke in the office here is that the instant you graduate, they start asking you for money as if you didn’t already give them a massive amount and don’t have massive debt.

  • SayWhaat

    Have you tried dating hipster musicians? I hear they have pretty cushy flexible hours.

    Haha! Though recently it has come to my attention that my type is not “hipster” as I had originally thought, but “well-dressed yuppie with hipster sensibilities”.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Though recently it has come to my attention that my type is not “hipster” as I had originally thought, but “well-dressed yuppie with hipster sensibilities”.

      A hypergamy epiphany.

  • JP

    I’m actually faxing, not writing, so I’m mindlessly typing fax cover sheets.

    Because I am my own administrative assistant because I took on too much work.

  • SayWhaat

    Funny you should say that, my BFF is a doc, and also a loyal reader. I can’t recall a single instance of an MD or even anyone in medical school commenting here. I guess they’re too busy…

    Yeah, that occurred to me too. Seems like legal-types are overrepresented at HUS (in this thread, at least).

  • Brendan

    Lawyers = words, docs not so much. So lawyers are hugely over-represented on the wordy parts of the internet as compared to docs.

    Plus there are a LOT more lawyers than docs.

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    DOMINICAN REPUBLIC WON UNDEFEATED!! :D :D :D

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    Right, and I see that as a serious threat to marriages back home. It sounds like the culture is one of rampant sexual aggression.
    Is very likely that the military had an over representation of the explorer unrestricted type so they are more likely to have low tolerance to abstinence/monogamy in general terms.
    I’m sure not all of them but if the college population has 20% of those and that is enough to screw the narrative. I can imagine they most have double that and that probably sets the climate. I wish someone writes about sex and military at some point to discuss how the dynamics play there I’m sure it will be fascinating and depressing, YMMV.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Is very likely that the military had an over representation of the explorer unrestricted type so they are more likely to have low tolerance to abstinence/monogamy in general terms.

      I recall one study that looked at testosterone levels in the Air Force:

      In another study of 2,100 Air Force veterans, men with testosterone levels one standard deviation above the mean were 43% more likely to get divorced than men with normal levels, 31% more likely to leave home because of marital problems, 38% more likely to cheat on their wives, and 13% more likely to admit that they hit or hurled things at them.

  • Bully

    Emily:

    “My (rather cynical) opinion: In this economy, how many Millenials are going to be at the same company for all that long anyways? If it looks like true love, I say go for it.”

    Somewhat OT..

    Man, this makes me feel even more like an anomaly for joining up with a good firm at 23 and staying the course. :P

    Granted, the companies have a hand in this as much as the workers do. My company is structured that pay is “competitive” (i.e. probably a bit lower) than other companies .. but the benefits stack like crazy, and before you know it you have ten years tenure and have six weeks plus of paid vacation and sick a year, a pension AND a 401k match, some of the best healthcare benefits around, tuition reimbursement, etc etc. This is getting pretty rare though based on my analysis of other companies’ benefits structures compared to what they pay.

    Give people just barely enough benefits to get by and they’ll job hop to whoever gives the biggest, shinest numbers on their paycheck.

  • Bully

    SayWhaat:

    [Trying to figure out this quote syntax thing, bear with me..]

    >Looks like I’m on a fast track to nowhere! And so is my dating life, considering I should probably rule out men with professional careers (Escoffier, +1). Hahaha!

    FWIW, speaking as a professional myself, the career/income of a propsective date literally has no bearing on whether or not I’m attracted to them. Maybe I’m a bad example though. I’m extremely independent and thus completely unmoved by familial or social pressures to date “within my class”, and obviously if someone makes 30k and has 100k of debt from buying handbags that’s a hell of a red flag.. but I wouldn’t be surprised if many other professional men felt the same way deep down inside.

  • Emily

    >> “So what you’re saying is, my mom’s recommendation to date doctors is sound advice.”

    Haha my mom (who used to be a nurse) always said to avoid doctors. She married a lawyer. Although I get the sense that my dad is nicer than most lawyers…

  • Emily

    >> “Looks like I’m on a fast track to nowhere! And so is my dating life, considering I should probably rule out men with professional careers (Escoffier, +1). ”

    STEM guys ftw!!!!!

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      STEM guys ftw!!!!!

      I just realized that the whole debate that has raged on the other thread can be summed up by this POV.

  • Emily

    Bully,

    My job has low pay AND no benefits! :(. I’m trying to figure out an escape route, but it will do for now.

    Strangely enough, the love/romance stuff seems to be the one thing that I’m getting right!

  • Deli

    I work in consulting and I know a couple of instances of consultants – support staff (admin and HR) couples.
    Heard of a couple of consultants hooking up on a project (I wonder when can anyone think of sex, when you are sleeping 5 hours a day anyway – but hey)

    But never heard of a partner-partner or partner-consultant hookups or marriages. Demographics do not help either – very few female consultants and partners in the firm.

  • Brendan

    Although I get the sense that my dad is nicer than most lawyers…

    Lawyers are nice. We’re just burnt around the edges and tend to cynicism.

  • Brendan

    I confess I’ve always been a bit curious about your divorce. I’m really disgusted to learn of your ex’s behavior.

    Thanks. We’re well over that now as it is long gone in the past. It did open my eyes a bit in the long run, but these kind of things happen.

  • Brendan

    The high prof center city lifestyle tends to breed addictions. There are fewer of them in the private (i.e., non-law-firm) sector, but there are still folks who, recalcitrant in their drinking or sexing or whatnot, are asked to leave in a F200 setting.

  • OffTheCuff

    JP: “As long as you understand that they are going to throw themselves at each other while deployed.”

    At home, too. There’s a reason why there’s military folklore about “Jody”.

  • Tomato

    I’m married to a radiologist. Long term success and compatibility are dependent on specialty (IM, ED, and surgery often work hard hours) and the individual (some put in their hours and spend the rest with their family, others moonlight whenever possible and hardly see their family). Medical school debt can be a real kicker too.

  • Escoffier

    “I should probably rule out men with professional careers (Escoffier, +1)”

    OK, what?

  • Brendan

    FWIW I met my current GF through blogging, and when I wasn’t frankly looking at all. Work was out of the question for me in terms of what has happened in my life with workplace stuff.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      FWIW I met my current GF through blogging, and when I wasn’t frankly looking at all.

      The best thing about not actively looking is that you’re displaying outcome independence, which is attractive to both sexes. I know that in my youth the times when I felt needy or under time pressure to find someone I had the poorest results.

      A guy commented once that what works really well for him when he’s in a crowded social setting is to get into the mindset that he is “taken,” and should not be going out of his way to impress other women. He had found that if he was able to psych himself up this way, his ability to interact with women improved dramatically, and he got a lot more IOIs.

      Work was out of the question for me in terms of what has happened in my life with workplace stuff.

      I can imagine. Also, being a senior person, odds are you’d attract someone with the same pedestal tendency.

  • Escoffier

    “I understand the stress of deployment, and I wonder whether it is advisable to throw men and women together.”

    To call it a complete, total, world-historic effing distaster would be an understatement.

  • Tilikum

    Admittedly, Im very self-restricted (ie, do what i want, but don’t), but also a professional, and there is no way that I would ever date a girl with a “good job”, it just isn’t relevant. At all. Ever. To a majority of men, especially those able to provide.

    1.young (enough)
    2.pretty (enough)
    3.nice

    If you aint got the top two, focus on the third, but for gods sake never never never focus on a career that you are going to want to drop out of when you are 32 because you feel like death leaving your 2 year old in daycare all day because you are SUPPOSED to feel like a failure. Thats a horrible decision that you made.

    The system sold you girls debt, degrees, and jobs you don’t want and now the men are starting to not want you. High end guys won’t even look twice at your accomplishments as attractive, but the squishy fellas with hipster glasses that cant change a tire will LOVE having a mommy figure to perform for. You girls are so, so screwed and you just keep marching along. Damnedest thing I have ever seen.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      High end guys won’t even look twice at your accomplishments as attractive,

      This is a favorite refrain in the manosphere, but the data tells a different story. Men frequently cite a female’s earning power as a key consideration for marriage. In addition, people still aim for assortative mating. A man is most likely to choose a female partner with similar education and intelligence, which are obviously highly correlated to achievement.

      The biggest problem with the current level of female achievement is that there are not going to be enough high achieving men to go around. There is some indication that women are willing to marry down, i.e. hypogamy. In fact, there are currently more hypogamous marriages among the college educated than hypergamous ones.

      Sorry to burst your bubble.

  • Angelguy

    I work in an office environment.
    The ratio of men to women is about 50/50.

    What I do notice about the Office romance premise is, most women are more comfortable with it than Men. As a guy, I feel like I have to tip toe over certain topics and behaviour.
    There is a greater risk for one to pursue a romance.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Angelguy

      There is a greater risk for one to pursue a romance.

      It’s true – few women are ever accused of sexual harassment. I think men need to walk that line of plausible deniability at all times. That means not singling out a woman too much until she clearly indicates her own interest. According to the stats, a lot of these romances are kindled off premise, not in the office itself. Obviously, if you’re at happy hour with someone and you ask them out, that isn’t sexual harassment. For guys, getting outside the building is probably a wise strategy.

  • Steven T.

    “No touching for four months. Build a friendship, spend time together informally with other colleagues, and begin to include one another in general social plans. Only after getting to know one another and feeling comfortable that your intentions are mutual should you proceed to taking the relationship into the romantic or physical.”

    In other words, the dating advice of the 1950s. Who knew that traditional dating wisdom made sense?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      In other words, the dating advice of the 1950s. Who knew that traditional dating wisdom made sense?

      Touche. Actually, it’s a bit more restrictive than that, but the general idea is the same.

  • Sai

    To me, it seems like an expert game of Minesweeper -so many ways to get in trouble, and I know I’ll hit one because I am me, I just don’t know when. (And if I already have to deal with you at work, I’ll associate you in my mind with SRS BSNS and nothing else, and want no further part of you after quitting time. But that’s just me.)

    “The system sold you girls debt, degrees, and jobs you don’t want and now the men are starting to not want you.”

    I guess you’re right… but it was either get a job or starve, so I chose the less-evil option.

  • Angelguy

    “There is some indication that women are willing to marry down, i.e. hypogamy. In fact, there are currently more hypogamous marriages among the college educated than hypergamous ones. ”

    @Susan

    I don’t know about that. I get the sense that the women that are willing to marry down are doing it reluctantly. It is not their first choice.
    Men have been marrying down for decades, but there has never been a sense of….entitlement. Career is not the first thing we look at.

    I believe the Men that do pursue Women with academic achievement often are those who worked themselves up to high earning standard.

    Maybe one should ask, are we becoming a nation of classes in North america, like the way countries like India are?

  • Sassy6519

    I don’t think I could ever pull off an office romance. I’m too transparent. People can usually tell by my behaviors/mannerisms when I have a crush on someone. Even if I tried to keep an office romance a secret, my nonverbal cues would give me away for sure.

  • Angelguy

    “It’s true – few women are ever accused of sexual harassment. I think men need to walk that line of plausible deniability at all times. That means not singling out a woman too much until she clearly indicates her own interest. According to the stats, a lot of these romances are kindled off premise, not in the office itself. Obviously, if you’re at happy hour with someone and you ask them out, that isn’t sexual harassment. For guys, getting outside the building is probably a wise strategy.”

    @Susan

    I am actually one of the few that have been harrassed by a woman, in the workplace. Unlike what is portrayed in film, the harrassment was more psychological. She was pushing her “friendship” onto me, dropping little hints of erotic inneuendo. It was something, I found both uncomfortable and annoying. Before it could go further, I reported it to my Manager, and it stopped. I was uncomfortable doing this, and was embarrassed.
    Management believed me because she was, by all standards, not attractive.
    If I didn’t report her first, the situation might have ended different.
    To this day, she is still working in my office, and resents me.

    I don’t relay this story to anyone because harrassment for a man often is seen as weakness, or someone who is full of himself.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Angelguy

      Good for you for reporting her! I’m also really glad you were taken seriously – it’s heartening that she wasn’t believed just because she was female. As for her being unattractive, if she was hot you might have responded differently, just like in the video :)

  • SayWhaat

    Though recently it has come to my attention that my type is not “hipster” as I had originally thought, but “well-dressed yuppie with hipster sensibilities”.

    A hypergamy epiphany.

    Haha! Yeah, that came about over dinner with a girlfriend. She said, “SayWhaat, we’re yuppies. We’re interesting yuppies, but we’re still young professionals, and those are the kind of guys we’re most compatible with.”

    She was completely right. I told her that with that in mind, it shouldn’t be hard to find a guy in NYC who isn’t a complete bro, but also isn’t a complete hipster. And yet it is! :P

  • Escoffier

    I agree with Susan as against the manosphere on the “accomplishment” point. At least in the UMC, men DO NOT marry women who are simply pretty but have no or low educational attainment and an unacceptable career. They don’t insist on the women being brain surgeons or i-bankers either, but they do tend not to give any consideration to careers that are “low status.” Money is not so relevant, and is less relevant the more the guy earns.

  • angelguy

    “men DO NOT marry women who are simply pretty but have no or low educational attainment and an unacceptable career. They don’t insist on the women being brain surgeons or i-bankers either, but they do tend not to give any consideration to careers that are “low status.” Money is not so relevant, and is less relevant the more the guy earns.”

    @Escoffier

    I agree with this point, especially the last sentence, “money is not so relevant, and is less relevant the more the guy earns.”

    Having said that, it makes me wonder if it would be any different if Men chose women based on their career and earnings, rather than youth and looks. Would one feel better being rejected for that reason alone rather than the other?
    I know it wouldn’t make me feel better.

  • SayWhaat

    Obviously, if you’re at happy hour with someone and you ask them out, that isn’t sexual harassment. For guys, getting outside the building is probably a wise strategy.

    Story time!

    Back on my former team, a few new associates had recently joined and we all went out for drinks. The night culminated at this one bar where the only associates that remained were the cool ones, so naturally the discussion veered towards the personal. Somehow, we’d gotten on the subject of one associate’s hookups. This guy was the kind of dude who would be permanently incarcerated by the PC police, so I shouldn’t have been surprised when he said, “the hottest girl I’ve ever hooked up with was Indian. And her name was SayWhaat!”

    Everyone cracked up, including me. I didn’t think much of it afterwards until it came up in a random conversation with my ex. He wasn’t too pleased…he thought it constituted borderline sexual harassment. To be honest, I have a couple other stories that I think were much worse, but I can see where he was coming from.

  • Escoffier

    I don’t think guys really “reject” a girl for low social, educational or occupational status. It’s rather that they simply never fish in that pond for a spouse. Sure, a guy might hit on and even bang such a girl, and I suppose that when he doesn’t call back, her status might have been a factor. There’s an easy remedy for that, though.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      I don’t think guys really “reject” a girl for low social, educational or occupational status.

      Except that SES plays a large role in style and how women present themselves. Like you, my husband prefers less makeup and shudders at the looks of some women other men would call hot, e.g. porn stars, Housewives of Wherever, etc.

      He always went for more conservative looking women.

  • angelguy

    “Everyone cracked up, including me. I didn’t think much of it afterwards until it came up in a random conversation with my ex. He wasn’t too pleased…he thought it constituted borderline sexual harassment. To be honest, I have a couple other stories that I think were much worse, but I can see where he was coming from.”

    @SayWhaat

    I can see why he would think that, but that is only because he was too close to you, in the relationship. However, since you were out with your co-workers, your work environment, any comment you make can be used against you. At least, if it is not cleared up. It is obvious you were joking.
    If it off-hours, and no management, it is cool.

  • http://meistergedanken.livejournal.com meistergedanken

    The gist of this article fits well with my experience – the office I work in has about 150 people, and I know of four couples who started dating and got married while both were working for my employer. One couple are actually both partners of the firm. What makes this perhaps a bit more unusual is that it is an engineering company, so the ratio of women to men is like 1:5 (for engineering staff alone it’s like 1:12). Still, we have all those women in HR, some in accounting, the mail room, receptionists and secretaries. It’s especially odd – and I’m surprised you didn’t mention this – when one of the two gets laid off (which has happened in 2 of the 4 cases). I wonder if there is survivor’s guilt or resentment towards the complany on the part of the spouse who retains their position?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Meister

      It’s especially odd – and I’m surprised you didn’t mention this – when one of the two gets laid off (which has happened in 2 of the 4 cases). I wonder if there is survivor’s guilt or resentment towards the complany on the part of the spouse who retains their position?

      Wow, I didn’t even think of that. In this economy, that’s probably not a rare occurrence either.

  • Lokland

    @Esc

    “It’s rather that they simply never fish in that pond for a spouse.”

    This.
    Last time I hit on a waitress…never.

    I can’t even imagine myself in a situation where I would be interacting with women from the lower or LMC.

  • SayWhaat

    If it off-hours, and no management, it is cool.

    Yeah, I wasn’t too bothered or anything. That incident happened before I even met my ex, so it wasn’t like it was exceptionally untoward.

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com david foster

    Susan…”In another study of 2,100 Air Force veterans, men with testosterone levels one standard deviation above the mean were 43% more likely to get divorced than men with normal levels, 31% more likely to leave home because of marital problems, 38% more likely to cheat on their wives, and 13% more likely to admit that they hit or hurled things at them.”

    I wonder…among those who were pilots…how their air safety record compared with the lower-testosterone veterans? (Of course, there would have been a certain number excluded from the study because they did not survive to become veterans.) I also wonder how…among fighter and attack pilots…their performance in actual or simulated combat compared with the lower-T crowd?

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @david foster

      Good question! It may well be that the best fighters are the worst husbands – indeed, I suspect that is the case. And that safety is inversely correlated to T.

  • Lokland

    @SW

    “Yeah, I wasn’t too bothered or anything. That incident happened before I even met my ex, so it wasn’t like it was exceptionally untoward.”

    Hmm, thats strange.
    I could see having a number of problems with it if you had actually been in a relationship with him. Not so much if you didn’t even know him.

  • http://www.rosehope.com Hope

    No personal office romances here, but I know several couples who got together from work.

    About work… going to vent a bit here. My husband graduated about two years ago with his master’s, and his first job is extremely stressful. It does pay well and has good benefits, but he works 10+ hour days, sometimes 12+ hours. The position supposed to be salary, but he is “hourly” because he has to clock in and out, and they want to see people work over 80 hours every pay period (two weeks).

    It’s a biotech company that just recently went public, and they are applying for FDA approval and going through rapid growth. But they don’t seem to care about work-life balance at all. With a young baby cutting into our sleep and his already high anxiety (he was very stressed in grad school as well), I feel like it’s not worth the pay.
    He has half-joked/half-seriously said if it keeps up, he might just up and quit one day. I told him that his dedication to his work is not reciprocated by his employer, and that it’s not worth killing yourself for a job. But I know guys care more about their jobs, so I just try to be a sympathetic ear.

    His boss is a very INTJ type of workaholic guy, who has unrealistic expectations and calls/texts/emails my husband at various hours including weekends. He is like a slave driver and doesn’t really give positive feedback. The redeeming thing about him is that he knows the work well since he used to be in my husband’s position, and so he also knows that my husband is smart and very competent/works quickly. But then he turns around and expects more since the bar is now set higher.

    Right now I kind of wonder if we’ll really be able to have another baby, since things are so hectic for him. At least my job is low-stress and flexible, so I can take care of our boy, and that isn’t an issue, but I worry about the effects of this stress on him long-term.

  • Escoffier

    It’s almost never a good idea to just up an quit. Look for a new job by all means, but don’t just quit.

  • JP

    “It’s a biotech company that just recently went public, and they are applying for FDA approval and going through rapid growth. But they don’t seem to care about work-life balance at all.”

    That’s because it’s a biotech company that just recently went public applying for FDA approval.

  • http://www.rosehope.com Hope

    I’ve suggested to him that he should look for other jobs. But he is stubborn, and he said that if he goes elsewhere all the hard work he’s put in would be wasted. So he’s kind of hanging in this limbo where things “might” calm down in a week, two weeks, a month, two months, etc.

  • http://7thseriesgongshow.blogspot.com Mr. Nervous Toes

    Hope,

    I agree with Escoffier, it’s fine to be looking for a new job but quitting is less than ideal. Unfortunately, when the economy is bad, the prejudice against people who are unemployed or underemployed is worse than normal. The problem is human resources, who like to treat people like cattle. Searching for a job is very time consuming and your husband is already overworked. There’s a couple of different approaches to try and create some breathing room.

    One, if your husband is as truly valuable to the company as you suggest, he can probably tell his boss to ‘fuck off’ to his face. I’ve stood up to bosses in the past and demonstrated that I am more stubborn and pig-headed than they are with good success.

    Two, he has a wifey, so you can be his personal job-hunting secretary if he’s amiable. Troll the internet and filter job openings to forward to him to evaluate. You can edit his CV. You can, after a bit of back-and-forth, write his cover letters for him. You can manage his Linkdin account, if that’s something people in his field actually use. For me, Nature Jobs and Indeed.com tend to cover the majority of academic and industrial position openings, respectively (plus some professional guilds). I also have a number of email alerts set-up.

    In my experience in the corporate world, the majority of jobs aren’t advertised. Working connections and networking is something your husband will have to make time for. I’ve never ever gotten a job whenever I’ve had to apply through human resources.

  • tilikum

    Lets unpack that.

    As a socially, physically, and emotionally connected and dominant male, (top 5%,, being honest) why on earth would I choose a mate who would actively PLAN on our children being in daycare after a socially acceptable 6 weeks of maternity leave.

    Nah, money is easy for the guy that 90% of you are chasing and thats what you should be trying to attract not compete with.

    You are developing strategies for women to attract the leftover guys (I didn’t say men on purpose) and by doing that reinforcing the creation of more leftover guys. It’s insanity.

    Manosphere? Susan come on. Women are leaving the workforce in droves past age 30 and sites like this wouldn’t exist if girls could get what they wanted. They can’t. You got hosed by some shrill bitter harpies in the 60’s but while the manosphere says men will have to fix it, honestly women will.

    You are trying to get what you want and I respect that but you are operating in such narrow ranges of behaviors you are enabling the system to perpetuate.

    Maybe men do have to fix it by refusing to marry you until you meet the three needs I listed. Who knows but its a damned waste of several generations.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      As a socially, physically, and emotionally connected and dominant male, (top 5%,, being honest) why on earth would I choose a mate who would actively PLAN on our children being in daycare after a socially acceptable 6 weeks of maternity leave.

      A lot of women take time off for kids, including those with great jobs and salaries. There really aren’t that many Sheryl Sandersons around. There’s some data that shows that marrying later and working during one’s 20s, even if you quit to stay home, raises lifetime salary by 56%. That’s a lot of cash.

      Forbes magazine found in a large survey that 84% of professional women aspired to stay at home with children full time, and viewed it as a luxury.

      So the good news for you is that you don’t have to marry a bimbo – you can get a high value woman in that 84%.

      You are developing strategies for women to attract the leftover guys (I didn’t say men on purpose) and by doing that reinforcing the creation of more leftover guys. It’s insanity.

      What are you talking about? Leftover guys? Who are they? I develop strategies for women to attract their natural MMV counterparts.

      Women are leaving the workforce in droves past age 30 and sites like this wouldn’t exist if girls could get what they wanted. They can’t.

      They can if they take my advice. My focus groups have knocked the cover off the ball – I’m extremely pleased.

      Maybe men do have to fix it by refusing to marry you until you meet the three needs I listed.

      So every man deserves a pretty wife, even the ugly ones? And a nice wife, even the assholes? And a young wife, even the old goats?

      LOL!

  • http://www.rosehope.com Hope

    Mr. Nervous Toes, I have suggested #2 to him, and I did that back when he was job hunting after grad school and set up a website, LinkedIn, etc. I can certainly do that again. I also know that HR tends to look for people already employed these days…

    But yes, the good jobs are not advertised. As a matter of fact, his current position was not advertised, and he was referred to it when he applied for something else. He is actually a perfect fit for it with his math analysis background and programming expertise, and his “interview” was lunch with his boss and another woman/project manager who also used to do the position. So I think this led to some level of loyalty on his part, because he was literally hand-picked for his position.

    We also both work for similar industries, in very close physical locations, and some of the execs at my job are owners of his company. There is some back-and-forth movement between the comanies here. A woman on his team who was hired earlier this year had worked for a long time at my company and even knew of me. So networking-wise, we are in a strange place.

  • tilikum

    @ lokland @ 125

    Then you have never seen a truly high-end girl. Under 25, and stunning, they are the best choice for a top 5% guy and do you know why?

    Deflection and social skills. I’ll fight ANYONE if I have to, but a girl used to deflecting unwanted male attention is worth three PITA and entitled useless Duke JD holders and the 200K in debt that goes with it. This coupled with the fact that the JD has a 50% chance of sitting on my couch in 5 years and begging me to figure out how she can stay home with the baby….. Those girls are all yours bro.

    Ask George Clooney.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Tillkum

      useless Duke JD holders

      Wow, you’re a real charmer. You sound like a very high SMV, low MMV kind of guy.

      Let me guess. You’re a Rollower.

  • Tasmin

    “For guys, getting outside the building is probably a wise strategy.”

    Yep, far outside the building. My advice for men is always to proceed with extreme caution when pursuing an office romance. HR policy was basically born from the same feminist-PC policing that brought us all of those wonderful divorce/family laws. If you don’t care about your job, plow ahead. Otherwise, I’d say enter into it with a similar set of screens and measures that you would marriage. That is, it better be “serious” and not just a “fling”. And stay away from the same job function, department, team, floor, etc.

    I actually worked with my ex for a couple of years early on. Slightly different functions, but plenty of overlap. Most couples would not have survived that. And I did it because I was essentially just passing through – was looking to jump ship the whole time and had been hand picked by the MD who brought me in for s specific role and was also helping me find somewhere to land.

    I would have never done that if I was there for the long haul. And I still wouldn’t recommend it. It worked for us because we were able to spend time together in a crushing time-suck environment which made long hours a little more human. And we enjoyed learning/teaching together. And unlike TV, we were never touchy at work, even after hours, and certainly never had a conference room quickie. In any case, most people like-need-enjoy having a different life at work, a bit of mystery, things to explain, time of their own without that kind of proximity. And if there is any competition potential, one of you will have to bail, fast.

  • angelguy

    “HR policy was basically born from the same feminist-PC policing that brought us all of those wonderful divorce/family laws. If you don’t care about your job, plow ahead. Otherwise, I’d say enter into it with a similar set of screens and measures that you would marriage. That is, it better be “serious” and not just a “fling”. And stay away from the same job function, department, team, floor, etc. ”

    Good advice here.

    What doesn’t get talked about her is the Gender discrimination that goes on in the office environment.
    It is not even personal sometimes, but always subtle.

  • JP

    “This coupled with the fact that the JD has a 50% chance of sitting on my couch in 5 years and begging me to figure out how she can stay home with the baby….. Those girls are all yours bro.”

    Are you a psychiatrist, psychologist, life coach, or New Age Guru?

  • JP

    I have my SAHM wife come in after hours and help me process medical records and fax.

    Like the two feet of records that she did last week.

    I suppose this adds “legal assistant to her resume”.

    Granted, this only works when your work is 10 minutes from your house during rush hour. I think it takes her seven minutes to drive here.

    She gave me some ice cream when she was driving by earlier today.

  • Tasmin

    @Hope
    Your situation sounds similar to what I had with my ex. It is a strange place but can also offer some interesting options, opportunities, and synergy down the line. As for your man, it sounds like he is experiencing the teeth-cutting phase and is in a firm that is transitioning. I’ve been there too.

    On one hand a Masters is great, but experience counts for a lot. Chances are he will have to eat some shit sammiches for a while before he finds some smooth air regardless of the company or manager. That used to just be called: being a man. Not to say that your hubby isn’t up to the task – and I’m not being snarky, but most men – especially fathers, are going to have to eat a stack of those sammies at some point. Many do it for years. This is just part of those silent expectations that tend to get covered by the cozy blanket of entitlements and options that women both embrace and struggle with these days.

    I think it is always good to keep up up the networking and stay informed about comp, hours, expectations, and cultures within your field. Loyalty is great and may come back around to help some day, but it burns off quickly when those conditions are inconsistent with the market. Staying informed about one’s worth and realistic options will help for either building his case to cut a better deal in house (manage up) or position for a move. This is also where you may be of help to him. Interestingly, it is kind of similar advice to navigating the SMP.

    I don’t know about that field, but what I found to be most soul crushing about my past career was that the 80+ hour week was industry standard, as were shitty bosses, and the hard fact that there were always 1,000 highly qualified resumes waiting to take my place at the table. So you either acquire a taste for shit sammies or you bail. Prior to the meltdown most people put in their time and then bailed strategically making the 60 hour week in that smaller shop that touts the cuddly work-life balance BS seem appealing.

    The good news is that it sounds like your husband has some real skills. It could be worse. He could end up hanging out in his underwear painting landscapes in the spare room all day. Struggling to print $40k/YR via two part time gigs and some creative bartering with some of his homegrown. :-)

  • INTJ

    @ david foster

    I wonder…among those who were pilots…how their air safety record compared with the lower-testosterone veterans? (Of course, there would have been a certain number excluded from the study because they did not survive to become veterans.) I also wonder how…among fighter and attack pilots…their performance in actual or simulated combat compared with the lower-T crowd?

    That’s interesting too. If I had to guess, I’d guess that low-T veterans have a better air safety record and low-T Air Force pilots a better performance in simulated combat, but that high-T pilots have a better performance in actual combat.

    Just a guess though. Also, from the limited anecdata I have, fighter pilots seem to be somewhat high-T…

  • INTJ

    @ Susan

    I just realized that the whole debate that has raged on the other thread can be summed up by this POV.

    If you count an HVAC worker as STEM, then sure.

  • http://www.rosehope.com Hope

    Tasmin, the “doing time” thing didn’t seem to work out that well for you, though. Didn’t you say that you burned out and started doing something else? I suppose you did accumulate savings, but what good is that when other things fall apart? Like, for example, health (mental and physical).

    He is “mission critical” to the company right now. Without him they’d be scrambling. That is also what I find so strange. What if, god forbid, he has a real medical emergency? In his case, there are very few people around who has his skillset. But there are also very few positions that require his skillset.

    He could drop to just programming at another company which he could do (better than most out here), but he actually enjoys writing algorithms and mathematical analysis. He says doesn’t even mind being busy, but that it’s the constant, no-break busy and working at 200% capacity that’s getting to him.

    At my job the programmers are really lazy and are always months to years behind schedule, but that’s probably because it’s a non-profit.

  • JP

    “I suppose you did accumulate savings, but what good is that when other things fall apart?”

    You get to afford a psychiatrist, psychologist, and life coach.

    Also, you can afford a month on the Florida Keys.

  • tilikum

    JP @ 140

    Yes, I have an advanced degree in psych and consult in asymmetrical environments, but I meant the living room couch.

    nah man, seen every man I know go through the stress, acquiesce, and end up divorced anyway because he didn’t understand the enigmatic but true nature of women in his 20’s.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      nah man, seen every man I know go through the stress, acquiesce, and end up divorced anyway because he didn’t understand the enigmatic but true nature of women in his 20′s.

      Ah, so you’re divorced? Her call? Makes sense.

  • tilikum

    INTJ @ 142

    Disagree. There is a reason HFT guys are high T and it’s because they think fast and don’t F*&K up. Hand eye, fine motor skills, advanced systems reasoning.

    The high T man is top 5 percent, and IMO generally are northern European bloodlines with French, German, or English/Irish last names, race unimportant.

    As long as his Mommy didn’t soften the beach head too much and he had at least one positive male role model……that cat-daddy is a Platinum Hublot in a Timex world.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      The high T man is top 5 percent

      He sucks in relationships though, and it’s been demonstrated that women reject the highest T men.

      • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

        Whoa, Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit linked to this post about an hour and a half ago, and has already sent 1,000 visitors here. This makes me realize how puny HUS is!

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    FWIW I met my current GF through blogging, and when I wasn’t frankly looking at all. Work was out of the question for me in terms of what has happened in my life with workplace stuff.

    I had always being wary of office romances for that reason. If he fell for me because we spent time together it might happen again with someone else. It might be a coincidence but I had see lot of affairs also happen in the same conditions.
    I’m sorry to hear about your divorce too, BTW

  • AnonymousDog

    Interesting, but how representative are those studies? The one concerning Europe appears to actually have been conducted scientifically. I wouldn’t put much faith in the other. I’m told there is very little scientific/academic research done on how/where heterosexual couples meet, whereas a great deal has been done on how/where same-sex couples meet.

    I would also have to say that there’s a difference between dating someone you actually work with on a daily basis, and dating someone who just happens to work for the same employer or in the same industry, that you don’t work with on a regular basis.

  • Art

    Conversely, marriage often leads to office romances.

  • doomwolf

    In general, the military really over-represents the single 18-30yr old segment of the population, who are going to do more stupid things than those of middle age with kids, and aggression/sexual conquest/excessive alcohol consumption is looked at more tolerably than most civilian jobs. It depends on which country*/branch/trade you’re in as well, your average 19 year old Infantryman who works in an a near 100% male environment is probably as unrestricted as they come, whereas your professionally-trained Dental Officer will often be a dentist who happens to wear camo to work.

    Can’t speak for other militaries, but in the CF female medics and artillerymen (aka ‘gun bunnies’) have a reputation for sleeping around lots.
    Conversely, the combat trades (NB-all trades, and svc on submarines, is open to women in Canada) attract a high percentage of lesbians (3 out of 5 in my unit currently). I had a superior who was in the navy at one point, and of the 15 women on ship when she was posted in she was the only straight one.

    *from what I hear, the CF has lower tolerance for/greater awareness of these issues than either the US or British militaries, but having never worked with either I can’t provide any personal testimony one way or the other.

  • Angelguy

    “Good for you for reporting her! I’m also really glad you were taken seriously – it’s heartening that she wasn’t believed just because she was female. As for her being unattractive, if she was hot you might have responded differently, just like in the video ”

    @Susan

    Thanks. I appreciate the comment.

    If she was hot, I would have responded differently, and probably be out of a job today.

    The most difficult part of that experience was not getting emotional.
    I have a mortgage, and she put that and my job in jepoardy.

    I do have pretty women in my office, but I am much more cautious about that now after that incident.
    Thank you for the link.

  • Tasmin

    @Hope
    What I meant by the doing time, paying your dues, cutting your teeth, etc. stuff was that in any field there is going to be a period where the company is leveraging your skills – or even just your raw time, pretty far into their favor relative to your earnings, quality of life, or even learning curve. We all make trade offs in how we allow our time and skills to benefit “the company” but typically the less experience we have in the field, the more we have to give. Your husband is in a unique position, but it would be a mistake to assume that one is not replaceable. Even if he is critical path, companies are often stupid – killing the golden goose and then having to replace it with two chickens at three times the cost. Happens all the time.

    Ideally, as we become more skilled and experienced we begin to leverage our value for ourselves and move the gap in our favor. This can mean more money, power, position, responsibility, control or it can be more flexible schedule, less travel, picking our projects/clients, even working less. Either way, we have to make it over some kind of hump before we afford ourselves those choices.

    Early on we often have to “pay” for those skills and experiences in the form of long hours and outsized expectations of our productivity. In my case, early on was a meat grinder by design. Attrition was expected, be it full ripcord or about 80% who bounced into Bschool. Still, of the people who stayed in like me, almost all had a number or an exit in mind; very few are lifers.

    I made the eyes-open choice to establish financial security for my family at a great cost in terms of my time and quality of life. I don’t regret it exactly, but I wouldn’t make the same choice again. My 20’s were a blur of work. But the latter half of my career was substantially better in terms of the congruence between my contribution and my compensation, flexibility, respect, and responsibility. And I really enjoyed being a mentor and teaching the biz to the people coming up.

    Though admittedly my experience kind of gives me a bias: I just think that a 12+ hour day is no big deal if one wants to make some good cake and provide for a family. At least early on. And as a “boss” I was often surprised at how many younger people just have no desire to burn the candle like that. Don’t blame them one bit, but too many expected the opportunities and paychecks to come in accordingly. Could be because I was forced to hire MBA’s, many with minimal real world experience. The whole working up from the mail room thing is dead.

    It does get better. Toward the end it actually wasn’t that bad in terms of working long hours. My problem was that I didn’t love it and that was catching up with me. You have to love something about that kind of work in order to stomach the risk, stress, pressure, politics, and alpha-hardass-dickheads that populate that field. But surviving those early years affords one a kind of respect. In some ways its like being “made”. But it is psychologically painful to make it in something that you don’t really enjoy. Yep, you are still in the mafia, but you’ve got a first class ticket, that is, until someone finally punches it.

    I also had no kids and my lady was way more all-in than I was. I never wanted to be like my partners with kids at home, nannies and the like, rushing home to try and kiss their kid somewhere between bath and sleepytime. Rarely making it. No thanks. But then I also never wanted the big car and 7-figure mortgage either.

    My beef had to do with loyalty (lack of) on the firms part and the invasive nature of the greed and politics, and the questionable executive decisions as the wheels were coming off. That sealed my exit for good. I wanted to go on my terms, but such is life. I often just laugh about it. It was at times surreal. I wish your husband well. Hang in there type advice always lands rather hollow, but its also often valid.

  • Erik L

    @Susan and SaayWhat- I’m an M.D. and I have (rarely) commented here. I don’t practice, which might explain why I have time. I would never tell you not to date Doctors. Many of my friends are doctors and many seem to have good marriages.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Erik L

      So glad to add that credential to the ranks! :)

      Our best friends are both docs, and we’ve known a lot of other docs socially as well (inevitable in Boston). I would agree that their marriages seem very stable, and that’s true when the wife is an MD or not. Of the scandalous divorces I’ve known of, I’d say business types have the most, with lawyers in second place.

  • Passer_By

    @susan

    “‘Lawyers develop alcohol problems. ‘
    Really? I’ve never heard that”

    I didn’t mean to imply that all lawyers or even most do – just that, like in any other high stress occupation, it’s that uncommon.

  • tilikum

    13 years and I would agree that high T men are often divorced and in my case it was definitely her call. She cheated at 31 with her 53 year old high T boss we will call “The Roofer”.

    The baby was 3, and after 13 years of over feeding me “to keep me unattractive at least physically to other women” (her words), I decided to take accountability for my health because I loved her and my sons (first boy was her cousin that we adopted when his parents both died of drugs, he was 9, I was 25, she was 20) and wanted to be there.

    After battling postpartum ( have always done well and spent only 20 hours a week, 4 hours a day out of the house in his first year) I wouls take the baby for the weekend up to a vacation spot with one of the grandmas. Despite never having to work, money, my truck, her Navigator and the BMW M5 I bought for a toy, she indicated a desire to work right after I started to get in shape. ……you already know where this is going don’t you Susan, you can feel it in your bones I bet…..

    I was very reluctant, but after 13 faithful years….

    Yep, after a weekend giving her a “break” you guessed it. She made sure it stuck by making it dirty too. Told me she had to get STD tests and the whole thing.

    Not a Rollite, or a CH head or anything else, but lets talk about why she and so many others leave an exceptional man and it is AUTO EJECT.

    She was screaming towards the wall and avoided the pain of her own abandonment (because I probably had a girlfriend right? I mean guys like me cheat….right?) by shifting that burden to me, the strongest man she knew and traded down. Her words.

    She is miserable, bitter, cruel. What did you call it? Life Splitting? More like her lifestyle and security evaporated in a moment. All the stuff, support, my sons emotional health (well, both really) her very identity has been shattered because she trusted her feelings.

    What she knew (she admitted later) is that when I say I am self-restricted, I am but for specific reasons. MBTI classified INFJ which means introverted, sensitive, and strive for high quality relationships or NO relationships over whoring. Had a pet scan (?) once and both sided of my brain light up. As emotionally connected as logical. My N is ridiculously low.

    But the hamster got her. She found a guy to raise another mans kid, giver her her own, support her fully, be her friend, and ahem capable lover and she traded down. But here is the saddest part of this for my kids…..she never even said a word, never asked me what was in my heart nada.

    She let her hamster make a decision in a vacuum.

    Boom.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Tilikum

      OK, consider me a friend and ally. FWIW. That’s a horrible story, I can understand why you feel the way you do, and I wish you all the best. I won’t go through the motions of NAWALT because it doesn’t matter. That happened to you. I’m sorry I got snarky with you.

      All I ask is that you lay your weapons down too. There are some commenters who drive by solely to tell me how worthless and pointless my work here is. Surprisingly, CH sends me good readers, guys who want to engage in the conversation with a lower level of cynicism. But the Rollowers and Dalrockolytes are almost always loaded for bear.

  • Passer_By

    @susan
    “It’s true – few women are ever accused of sexual harassment.”

    That’s mostly because we let stuff roll off of our shoulders that would freak a lot of women out if directed at them.

  • Emily

    >> “I agree with Susan as against the manosphere on the “accomplishment” point. At least in the UMC, men DO NOT marry women who are simply pretty but have no or low educational attainment and an unacceptable career. They don’t insist on the women being brain surgeons or i-bankers either, but they do tend not to give any consideration to careers that are “low status.”

    This matches what I’ve seen as well. Before we met, my boyfriend tried eHarmony. He said that he soon deleted his account because they kept suggesting matches that were “inappropriate”. One example of this was a girl who worked at an ice cream shop.

    Career/education/status might not affect “bangability”, but certain social pressures/expectations and things like common interests mean that it definitely plays a role in MMV. Status and career aren’t as important to men, but certain baselines still need to be met.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Career/education/status might not affect “bangability”, but certain social pressures/expectations and things like common interests mean that it definitely plays a role in MMV.

      I can tell you that as parents, we always tried to learn about the intelligence of girls my son liked, and the things we like very much about his girlfriend include her education, intelligence, and work ethic. She has been “well brought up.” Similarly, I know my daughter has received feedback from guys she’s dated that his parents approved of her intelligence and accomplishments. It’s not surprising – parents of Millennials have raised them to be high achieving, and they want them to produce high achieving grandchildren.

  • Emily

    Totally unrelated: I love Tilikum’s username/display pic. I have a bizarre fascination with orca whales…

  • SayWhaat

    Totally unrelated: I love Tilikum’s username/display pic. I have a bizarre fascination with orca whales…

    Me too! I love dolphins and whales! XD

  • SayWhaat

    Career/education/status might not affect “bangability”, but certain social pressures/expectations and things like common interests mean that it definitely plays a role in MMV. Status and career aren’t as important to men, but certain baselines still need to be met.

    +1.

  • Thinking Neanderthal

    ” Career/education/status might not affect “bangability”, but certain social pressures/expectations and things like common interests mean that it definitely plays a role in MMV. Status and career aren’t as important to men, but certain baselines still need to be met. ”

    I don’t have any studies or scientific model to draw from on this subject, but if my personal experience is any indication, I would say that career/education – for a potential relationship – is less important for its intrinsic status related value than its usefulness in establishing intelligence and social aptitude.

    There’s a significant (perceived) risk an icecream parlor clerk wouldn’t know how to handle herself if I left her alone with my boardroom colleagues at a coporate event, no matter how beautiful she is. I would expect a better education and social know-how from an accomplished professional.

    Of course this wouldn’t detract me getting a chocolate milkshake and shagging the icecream girl once in a while …

  • A Definite Beta Guy

    At work today, one of the female co-workers decided to rub my hand to demonstrate how cold her fingers were.

    Another joked about what underwear she should wear now that she was losing weight.

    Ahhhh, hostile work environments :/

  • http://7thseriesgongshow.blogspot.com Mr. Nervous Toes

    Socio-economic status of women tends to show the disconnect between the instinctive reptilian brainsteam and sentient rational neocortex. Attractive women are attractive and instinctive and emotional kick is what starts girding the hips to initiate rapid pelvic tilts. However, a woman who’s dull too talk too can definitely kill the motivation needed to hit on a woman. I’ve met some spectacularly gorgeous hair dressers and the like that I couldn’t face the prospect of inane pillow talk with.

    Basically in a relationship you need to be both a lover and a friend. Professional qualifications or career achievements really don’t matter much in a woman. What matters is the personality that drove them to obtain said achievements.

    IMHO.

  • tilikum

    ^^^^^ there is no one better than a stunning bartender in a boardroom, sorry.^^^^^

    The social skills are impeccable and they are deft at switching topics and reading facial queues. I have two or three gorgeous friends that I hang with just for this reason, and sometimes I will employ them to give me feedback on the room holistically because I tend to miss the forest for the trees in intense conversation and they are great at seeing the whole pic quickly. Plus they disarm female competitiveness quickly and effectively.

    I get the fact that many here are quite educated, but this seems a bit classist.

    My bartender friends have been to Embassy dinners, but your right, the company xmas party is too much.

  • http://7thseriesgongshow.blogspot.com Mr. Nervous Toes

    To expand on what Neanderthal said, girl behind the counter at the Baskin Robbins, probably not. Girl who serves at the 3-star Michelin restaurant, quite possibly.

  • A Definite Beta Guy

    Also relevant:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/21/business/economy/as-men-lose-economic-ground-clues-in-the-family.html?src=twr&_r=1&

    Funny part:

    Instead of making marriage more attractive, he said, it might be better for society to help make men more attractive.

    Now, would it be politically acceptable to do that? Hmmmm….

  • Thinking Neanderthal

    “It’s not surprising – parents of Millennials have raised them to be high achieving, and they want them to produce high achieving grandchildren.”

    The world is becoming ever more competitive for occidentals. Those kids need to be able to put up a good fight.

    “there is no one better than a stunning bartender in a boardroom, sorry”

    “(…) girl behind the counter at the Baskin Robbins, probably not. Girl who serves at the 3-star Michelin restaurant, quite possibly.”

    Indeed ! There are always degrees of nuance. I was going off from the comment regarding eHarmony matches, whereas someone may be inclined to opt out based on a match’s profession. In real life, people with the most menial jobs can have splendid personalities (or vice versa), and evidently, the nature and quality of the establishment can be a factor.

    Although, I worked at a Michelin rated during my college years restaurant and met some real tarts there ! Anecdotal, I know, but just sayin’ …

    In summary, accomplishments matter. Though probably more as an indication of correlated attraction factors.

  • Bully

    I must be one of the few millennial UMC guys that just doesn’t care about a woman’s income. I’ve so preferred the cute hipster starving artist chicks over the women that make near what I do, all other things being equal.

    Granted, I also prefer living well below my means and having financial invincibility as a result as opposed to spending it and having status for status’ sake, so my values may be more in line with theirs anyhow.

  • Bully

    Of course, there’s something to be said for the fact that money has diminishing returns on happiness, too. Past a certain point, each additional increment of money contributes less and less to your happiness and quality of life.

  • Escoffier

    “I must be one of the few millennial UMC guys that just doesn’t care about a woman’s income.”

    Guys care about a woman’s STATUS far more than her INCOME. They are related, but separable. Status is more determined by upbringing and education than income.

  • Richard Aubrey

    There are guys in the new oil-rush fields making excellent money. Some are learning their way around, planning on going into their own biz one way or another. That could be even bigger money.
    The usual percentage of them are really good guys. You don’t have to worry about whether they know how to change a tire, or a light bulb, or run off a drunk making a pass at you.
    I know a young lawyer who took two states’ bar exams the same week, passed both, and scratched for a year reviewing contracts. Now he’s with a big firm as a staff attorney without upward possibilities. Great guy. Currently, seeing how things are in the legal field, not much prospect of advancement. Fortunately, his wife is a teacher.
    Diff is, you wouldn’t bring the oil-rush guy to a sorority reunion.
    Which way would hypergamy run? Or hypogamy?

  • JP

    “There are guys in the new oil-rush fields making excellent money. Some are learning their way around, planning on going into their own biz one way or another. That could be even bigger money.
    The usual percentage of them are really good guys. You don’t have to worry about whether they know how to change a tire, or a light bulb, or run off a drunk making a pass at you.
    I know a young lawyer who took two states’ bar exams the same week, passed both, and scratched for a year reviewing contracts. Now he’s with a big firm as a staff attorney without upward possibilities. Great guy. Currently, seeing how things are in the legal field, not much prospect of advancement. Fortunately, his wife is a teacher.”

    Yeah.

    You want to be the lawyer.

    Oil fields are massive outdoor chemical plants.

    At least staff attorneys aren’t income partners, so there should be some stability.

  • Tasmin

    “parents of Millennials have raised them to be high achieving, and they want them to produce high achieving grandchildren.”

    The market for achievement is long overdue for a correction.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Tasmin

      The market for achievement is long overdue for a correction.

      Yes, it sure is. It’s driven, AFAICT, by the college admissions process, which is also overdue for a correction. In fact, the whole higher education market is ripe for change, though I don’t see a flight to online education that some people predict.

      It’s an insidious sort of pressure – it’s hard to escape it as a parent, and once you buy into it, your kid is going to feel it too. Our relationship with our son was very rocky when he was a teenager, largely because he felt we put too much pressure on him. He rebelled, and after freshman year of college dropped out for two years. We made a lot of mistakes. Looking back, I’d totally back off if I could do it again, but at the time that was unthinkable.

  • Tasmin

    FTR the above comment is my shortest ever. Wait. No this one is. Damn.

  • JP

    @Tasmin:

    ““parents of Millennials have raised them to be high achieving, and they want them to produce high achieving grandchildren.”

    The market for achievement is long overdue for a correction.”

    Well, I have absolutely no idea what you are trying to say.

    Brevity might be the soul of wit, but you still need enough words to get to the point where the comment can be witty.

    Can you try again with more words?

  • http://www.rosehope.com Hope

    Tasmin, yeah, he is hanging in there. Thanks for the perspective. He really is still young in the scheme of things. We are both still under 30 (though not for long), and his career is just starting.

    tilikum, I am sorry to hear about your divorce. That is really unfortunate, especially with kids. I have to admit though, you did not sound like INFJ to me with your posts. My husband and I are both INFJs, and I thought I would recognize one. Maybe it’s the George Clooney talk. :P

  • Resident Comedian

    “Office Romances Frequently Lead to Marriage”

    Ahhh so THAT’S why fishing from the company pond is so discouraged, eh?

  • Joe

    @Susan

    Whoa, Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit linked to this post about an hour and a half ago, and has already sent 1,000 visitors here

    That’s an Intalaunch!

  • Bully

    “There are guys in the new oil-rush fields making excellent money. Some are learning their way around, planning on going into their own biz one way or another. ”

    I’ve read stories about strippers in these oil boom towns making $3k a night, so that’s where a lot of this money is really going.

  • J

    I can’t recall a single instance of an MD or even anyone in medical school commenting here. I guess they’re too busy…

    Roissy regular “Rum” has commented occasionally here. He is a doctor.

  • J

    I would never tell you not to date Doctors. Many of my friends are doctors and many seem to have good marriages.

    My cousin is a doctor; he and his wife have one of the best marrriages I know of.

  • Emily

    >> “I can tell you that as parents, we always tried to learn about the intelligence of girls my son liked, and the things we like very much about his girlfriend include her education, intelligence, and work ethic. She has been “well brought up.” Similarly, I know my daughter has received feedback from guys she’s dated that his parents approved of her intelligence and accomplishments. It’s not surprising – parents of Millennials have raised them to be high achieving, and they want them to produce high achieving grandchildren.”
    ——

    Yeah, I imagine that’s huge part of it. I get on well with my boyfriend’s mom, but she can be kind of intimidating. (When I asked him if she liked me, he told me that it would be obvious if she didn’t. *meep!*) I can’t imagine she would have been pleased if her son had brought home the ice cream girl.

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    The best way to catch a Hipster Boyfriend
    http://www.barnorama.com/wp-content/images/2012/03/its_a_trap/25-its_a_trap.jpg
    You are welcome ;)

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Anacaona

      Haha, that hipster trap is hilarious!

  • JP

    “It’s an insidious sort of pressure – it’s hard to escape it as a parent, and once you buy into it, your kid is going to feel it too. Our relationship with our son was very rocky when he was a teenager, largely because he felt we put too much pressure on him. He rebelled, and after freshman year of college dropped out for two years.”

    At least my father and I agreed that the Princeton interviewer was a complete jerk, which meant that neither of us wanted to have anything to do with that application process.

    My problem in college was that I didn’t have any study skills or organizational skills.

    So, I’m a profoundly underachieving as an adult, which actually looks like complete success to the outside world.

    Go figure.

  • Escoffier

    “It’s an insidious sort of pressure – it’s hard to escape it as a parent, and once you buy into it, your kid is going to feel it too.”

    There are few things in life I dread more than this.

  • http://www.peopletobe.com Herb

    I wonder, based on the European study, what European sexual harassment law, on the books, in case law, and in HR tendencies, is like.

    As one of the hard core “don’t shit where you eat” types it has less to do with distrusting women (*waits for people to dispell disbelief* :) ) and more to do with not trusting HR. Pre-emptive HR when the woman herself doesn’t raise an issue, HR responding to 3rd parties, and HR not distinguishing someone trying to use the system for revenge/out of mental issues are bigger worries than most women I approached trying to get me.

    In Europe, if HR is less likely to intervene without being prompted by the people involved and when approached has a better detector on what is important and what isn’t that could allow a lot more freedom/comfort for people to meet and date at work.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      Re Europe mating habits, this is a bit OT but this morning at my gym a French woman told me that the precedent for French men having mistresses reflects the decimation of the French male population during the world wars. That makes sense to me, but I would have thought it went back further than that…

  • SayWhaat

    At least my father and I agreed that the Princeton interviewer was a complete jerk, which meant that neither of us wanted to have anything to do with that application process.

    My Princeton interviewer told me that she was between jobs and she clearly did not want to be interviewing hopeful high school students. I was sweating bullets the entire time, lol.

  • SayWhaat

    Speaking of office romances, I just finished season 3 of Parks and Recreation, and I have to say that the Ben/Leslie romance is sooo cute. Ummf. Why can’t more guys in my office wear skinny ties? :(

  • Escoffier

    Herb, I am with you 100%.

  • Lokland

    “I can tell you that as parents, we always tried to learn about the intelligence of girls my son liked, and the things we like very much about his girlfriend include her education, intelligence, and work ethic.”

    My parents both thought my wife was a genius within about 10 minutes of meeting her.

    Why?

    0 to fluent in under 6 months.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      My parents both thought my wife was a genius within about 10 minutes of meeting her.

      Why?

      0 to fluent in under 6 months.

      There you go – high intelligence, determination and work ethic. Parents want to see that for their kids, assuming they value those things themselves.

  • Joe

    @SayWhaat

    Why can’t more guys in my office wear skinny ties?

    Do you have any idea how hard it is to find skinny ties these days???

    Fat ties. It’s one of the miseries of being male.
    [pause]
    ;)

    Heh. I have a collection that dates back to the 70s. I should put them on e-Bay and make a minor killing.

  • Escoffier

    Knit ties are always skinny, and they look better than skinny folded ties anyway.

  • Brett Daniels

    I’ve dated a co-worker and it only ended badly. I also know people who’ve dated their boss or co-worker, and those didn’t end well either. I’m definitely part of the “Bar, pub or club: 18.8%”. I’d much rather meet people while I’m out having fun with my friends. Work is stressful enough to being with, why add more stress by dating someone you work with? Check out a book called “The Club Rules” http://theclubrules.com/, it’s a reminder that dating should be fun and has tips for going out and really enjoying yourself. Don’t date co-workers, that’s my personal opinion.

  • OffTheCuff

    Why can’t women wear deeper cleavage shirts?? ;)

    Anyway, it’s easy to find slim ties… tons of them in JCPenney. However, without the right kind of shirt, collar, and build, they look pretty stupid. Regular-width ties are pretty safe bet for style dunces.

  • Joe

    OTC – At JCP? Really? The last time I looked there, they had many varied designs and even some I liked a lot. But no skinny ties at all (and I looked)!

    Must be a regional thing.

  • Tasmin

    @Susan
    “Our relationship with our son was very rocky when he was a teenager, largely because he felt we put too much pressure on him. ”

    I can relate. In my case both my parents had it extremely rough as children. My dad made it through college – barely, as a working adult at 35 with two kids. On one hand they just wanted to make our lives better/easier than theirs and on the other they were at times obsessed with our “achievement” relative to our peers – which just happened to be well above average. Good was never good enough.

    It is interesting, however, that the “pressure” is received quite differently by the kids based on personality (and other hard wiring), birth order, gender, etc. What I thought to be reasonable, my sister thought to be excessive. I always thought things through – was focused on the future. My brother was in the moment, learning the harder way through trial and error. The message from my parents was definitely received differently by us kids. And as much as the pressure to achieve was detrimental for one, it was also necessary for the other. And it is unreasonable to think that parents can craft those messages to the individual on a consistent basis. Not to totally let them off the hook or anything, but the recipient of the message has a lot to do with how it plays out.

    What proved to be equally as damaging was in fact my parents obsession with giving us a better life than they had – and keeping up the appearance that we were UMC when in fact we were a few years out of LMC and a layoff away from the van down by the river. They were unknowingly elevating image over substance.

    Then there is enabling. The other side of the coin. How far-hard-long do you let those hard lessons fall on your kid before you prop him up? How “hungry” to do allow her to get before you feel she understands where things come from? Ultimately it was this coddling that instilled a pretty steep sense of entitlement in my sisters and allowed my brother to squander his gifts in favor of immediate gratification. He eventually wised up, but it still costs him to this day.

    2 boys 2 girls. I moved out two weeks after graduating HS and never looked back; college then work. Sister made it through college in 7 years, in debt, doesn’t use her degree, still in debt. She just wanted to be a wife and mom but is overweight and shy and a “victim”. My parents were supporting her into her mid 30’s before my dad went to heaven and what little money they had went too. So, single mom by choice at 42. Guess who paid for that kid?

    Brother joined the army at 25. Went to a couple of wars. Whatever optimism he had evaporated in the desert; he was never the same. Has a decent paying blue-collar job he hates with all his might. Youngest sister tested off the charts but never went to college due to a series of ugly relationships (alpha chaser) ultimately resulting in her being a single mom. She’s quite smart, attractive, extroverted, and personable and so she has had men providing for her the entire way. Full time SAHM. Marriage #3 seems to work for now.

    Part of my point about achievement is about how we chose to define that and what value we place on that relative to other things in life. I don’t know the answer, but I do see a great deal of young – even older – people still seeking out the credentials, the masters degrees, the possessions, house, car, title at work, etc. too often in the name of achievement (or the image of such) when in fact the “value” is debatable, the real economic and/or opportunity cost of achieving is not appropriately considered, and the actual endgame relative to those achievements is often overshadowed by those proxies.

    I’d never suggest abandoning the desire to achieve – nor reinforcing it in our children, but we need to approach it with a more holistic perspective and consider how we frame achievement relative to our overall success-happiness-satisfaction in life. I still think it is all part of the same cultural shift in which we’ve allowed image to trump integrity and status (symbols) to trump character.

    I don’t mean to pick on Law. But law school seems to be a favored choice of the achievement minded folks who place the credential and corresponding status above all else, not the least of which is the actual desire to be all Lawerish. Hell, even my sister’s BA in some kind of squishy public health (basically physical education without the teaching credentials) that took her a good chunk of her 20’s to complete at an obscure, small-town, public college, ended up being incongruent with what she really wanted. And her job working for the state as a processing clerk for the past 10 years requires no college. WTF? But god forbid my mom would have to utter: “my daughter never went to college”. In fact my mom flipped when I suggested that my sister would have been better off learning a trade and spending that money on a dietician and personal trainer.

    And all of this college loan/debt nonsense is just big daddy government’s way of enabling. Do the math later but at least you will have that degree. And that enabling may print a bunch of achievement certificates, but it also makes for some very unhappy “victims” down the line.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Tasmin

      And as much as the pressure to achieve was detrimental for one, it was also necessary for the other. And it is unreasonable to think that parents can craft those messages to the individual on a consistent basis.

      It’s so true! My kids are about equally intelligent – my son might have a slight edge. We raised them exactly the same way. However, here’s a typical dinner table convo during the high school years:

      Susan: How was school today?

      Young Squire HUS: Not bad, we got our math tests back and I got an 81.

      Susan: Hmmm. Okaaaay. How about you Little Miss HUS?

      Little Miss HUS: (Eyes fill with tears.) Terrible. I got an 89 on my Science test. I’m going for extra help tomorrow.

      Susan: OK, listen up. Miss, you need to chill out that’s a fine grade. Young Squire, we’re going to back to our policy of going out only one weekend night.

      How far-hard-long do you let those hard lessons fall on your kid before you prop him up? How “hungry” to do allow her to get before you feel she understands where things come from?

      Indeed. We could not let him sink or swim during that two years. Providing he worked hard, we helped support him, mostly by letting him live at home, paying his insurance, etc. We tried to find a balance between enabling and supporting – it wasn’t always clear where that was.

      I’d never suggest abandoning the desire to achieve – nor reinforcing it in our children, but we need to approach it with a more holistic perspective and consider how we frame achievement relative to our overall success-happiness-satisfaction in life. I still think it is all part of the same cultural shift in which we’ve allowed image to trump integrity and status (symbols) to trump character.

      +1

  • http://www.rosehope.com Hope

    I won’t be pushing our kids to an expensive Ivy/top 20 university. My husband went to a public university and came out with zero debt. I went to Northwestern and paid off my student loans five years after graduation, but it was not an insignificant sum.

    We are both semi-underachievers. Sure, we like some status, but we don’t care enough to chase after it endlessly. The most miserable people I’ve met are those who had sky-high expectations and didn’t reach them.

  • Escoffier

    “But law school seems to be a favored choice of the achievement minded folks who place the credential and corresponding status above all else, not the least of which is the actual desire to be all Lawerish”

    Coming from a family of lawyers, I have seen this firsthand.

  • angelguy

    One thing I would like to say about the office, there seems to be a sort of underlined tension. It is like, one can’t speak to someone of the opposite gender without feeling like they invaded another country, without the proper reasoning(excuse, work related issue.)

    We are not all out to hit on you ladies. But saying “hello” once in a while, wouldn’t hurt. People that work in an office know what I am talking about.

  • OffTheCuff

    I think it’s hit-or-miss based on location. The closer you get to Boston, the better the men’s departments get, generally. I work fairly close to the 128 loop, in a huge retail area.

  • Tasmin

    “That makes sense to me, but I would have thought it went back further than that…”
    Well IDK for sure but it probably does. Until recently I doubt the French have gone more than a generation without a war. Colonial societies are quite good at shipping off their young men to die on foreign soil and other means of male attrition for the good of the people. USA being no exception. In fact the Foreign Legion was created to quell disruptive foreign born residents by recruiting them into service and shipping them off but also because regular French folks were getting mighty tired of watching those ships return to port with that load-water line etched into their sides as a reminder of what was lost.

    And despite the lack of official aristocracy, the lords, landowners and their modern equivalents continue to be largely excluded from this sacrifice while free to enjoy the spoils, mistresses and all. Personally, I just think it is because French men are just so damn irresistible with their knowledge of cheeses and wines and smallish dogs and such. Plus they talk real nice.

  • Maggie

    @Susan
    “We could not let him sink or swim during that two years. Providing he worked hard, we helped support him, mostly by letting him live at home, paying his insurance, etc. We tried to find a balance between enabling and supporting ”

    Wow, thank you for saying this. This is EXACTLY where I am now with my son and we’ve never been sure just what the balance is, but I think it’s been the right choice. He plans to go back to school in the Fall and the school decisions are coming out right now. The waiting is tough.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Maggie

      In the end, we found that being supportive, believing in him and encouraging him was the best solution. I have other friends who have taken a tougher line with kids but the kids suspended their education indefinitely. We had to get tough on occasion, e.g., “You will finish. After everything we’ve all been through, your quitting with one semester left is not an option.” But mostly he did it himself once we backed off and withheld criticism or even curiosity about his results. In the end, after a two-year break of poorly paid work, he knew he had to get the degree.

      Good luck, I remember well the anxiety of that time.

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    And as much as the pressure to achieve was detrimental for one, it was also necessary for the other. And it is unreasonable to think that parents can craft those messages to the individual on a consistent basis. Not to totally let them off the hook or anything, but the recipient of the message has a lot to do with how it plays out.

    Yeah I also have a sort of big family and I did noticed how certain things worked better depending on the kid. I was happy to obey the rules while for my sociopath of a brother it was an invitation to break them regardless of consequences. For my little brother and sister was also easy to obey too. I’m hoping I’m wise enough to tailor the upbringing depending on the kid once is not only William. Also smart enough to make them understand why there is a different treatment.

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    And despite the lack of official aristocracy, the lords, landowners and their modern equivalents continue to be largely excluded from this sacrifice while free to enjoy the spoils, mistresses and all.
    Call me cynic but seeing the lost boy phenomenon I think they were all too willing to sent their young men to war to make sure the young women wouldn’t have a choice but to share a man. One of the things I learned with my Muslim friends is that given the choice all women wanted one husband for them and were unwilling to share. A couple of them rejected richer suitors proposals to be second and third wives and picked poorer men and even negotiated lower Bride Prices just to make sure they will be the only wives. Very few women want to share their man because of the status, so forcing them with a shortage of men makes sense if you are at the top, YMMV.

  • Richard Aubrey

    Talking with a military history re-enactor and handling the weapon of the late eighteenth, early nineteent century, he mentioned that, by the end of the Napoleonic Wars, the French were having a hard time getting guys taller than their minimum, about 4’10”. And having that long muzzle-loader out in front of you isn’t all that easy at 6’2′. Thinking about going bayonet with it, I thought that the various countries’ Guards regiments–usually had to be 6′ minimum–would have been hell for a unit of ordinary guys to face in hand to hand combat.
    In addition to the dead–million in WW I, half that in WW II, the French had the usual number of wounded and crippled. After WW I, they built resorts for guys who were so horribly mutilated that they wouldn’t come out in public. The Brits had about the same casualties in each war, but, iirc, with a smaller population.
    As to the aristocracy, at least in Britain, only the landed gentry and up could be officers because, among other things either you bought the commission, or you had to have enough private funds to sustain the lifestyle–horses, fancy uniforms, mess bills–because the Brits didn’t pay an officer enough to live on.
    This way, the army wasn’t going to revolt against the establishment.
    Primogeniture being European law, younger sons didn’t have much choice but to go into the regiments. Couldn’t go into trade, now, could one?
    After the US Civil War with its horrendous casualties, the phenomenon of the “Boston Marriage”, supposedly women living together and eventually going lesbian out of desperation if not by choice initially was noted and then passed by without comment, there being no alternative.
    In Britain, at least, the upper classes were expected to serve.
    That’s why the guys waiting to enlist in 1914 looked like the models for the old Arrow Shirt Collar ads, or the guys in Edwardian portraits and now the Brits look like Mick Jagger and Ringo Starr. With an occasional Daniel Craig as an outlier.
    There is a semi-fictional book about/by Hemingway’s wife when they were in Paris and she talked about the Parisian women getting themselves up like peacocks. Had to. Competition was fierce on account of so few good prospects.

  • A Definite Beta Guy

    Ahhhhh, parental pressures…
    I do remember elementary school. Some classes ridiculously easy. Other classes not caring much about. Homework seemed a pointless exercise and an infringement on my fun time. My parents would help out with projects, but would never help me with my school-work, but they would sit down with my brother and sister to help them.

    I’ve told this story before, but eventually the school decided to put me in an advanced class, and assigned me a paper. My mother took a lot at the book decided it was too hard for a 5th grader (college-level, she called it), and wrote the paper for me. I didn’t even want to write it.

    I also remember getting a 74% on my first fractions-test in 6th grade. I told my parents. I felt stupid and wanted help. My father basically called me a shitty person for doing so poorly and said my mother would probably agree with him when I started crying.

    Boys don’t cry, you see…

    After that, I don’t think I tried on anything. For years. Fuck school. Every textbook ended up torn into pieces. My locker had a layer of paper up to my shoulders and made the whole thing inaccessible. I rarely if ever had a pen or pencil in class, I never studied…

    Ahhhh, parents.

  • Lokland

    “There you go – high intelligence, determination and work ethic. Parents want to see that for their kids, assuming they value those things themselves.”

    Yeah, I was quite surprised (and still am) that one of my mothers pride points in her DIL is her intelligence.

    Thats in the top two things she won’t shut up about when describing her to friends/family.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Lokland

      Thats in the top two things she won’t shut up about when describing her to friends/family.

      Ha, way to create suspense! Tell us the other one!

  • Lokland

    “Ha, way to create suspense! Tell us the other one!”

    Ha, I’m about to ruin your feminist sensibilities :P

    That she (and I quote) “from Asian, so she is very submissive and looks up to her husband(at the time fiancé)”. (Which is in and of itself funny because she knows nothing about Asia and has only been there once for my wedding.)

    Its slightly more nuanced than that but basically it meant she is kind, not a bitch, will be a good mother an a great first officer.

    Seeing as my mother is a gender equity feminist (similar viewpoints to you actually) I almost spit out my drink when she said it to a family friend the first time.

    And yes, she actually did in all seriousness used the word submissive.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Lokland

      The thing about we gender equity feminists is that we believe in meritocracy without denying sex differences. I applaud your mom for recognizing what you want as a man, and that your wife is well suited for that!

  • Lokland

    Omg the grammar is horrid.
    Less wine.

  • Resident Comedian

    “men DO NOT marry women who are simply pretty but have no or low educational attainment and an unacceptable career. They don’t insist on the women being brain surgeons or i-bankers either, but they do tend not to give any consideration to careers that are “low status.” Money is not so relevant, and is less relevant the more the guy earns.”

    Right. There are plenty of young good looking women working at fast food drive-thrus but they do not get asked out on dates by upper middle, even solidly middle class men.

  • Jackie

    @ADBG

    “I also remember getting a 74% on my first fractions-test in 6th grade. I told my parents. I felt stupid and wanted help. My father basically called me a shitty person for doing so poorly and said my mother would probably agree with him when I started crying.”
    =====
    :(
    :cry:
    :evil:

    ADBG, that’s terrible!! I am so sorry you had the experience. :( What were your parents thinking?!?! How was that supposed to teach you to do fractions (or anything) the right way? You need encouragement to gain a skill, not emotional abuse.

    Do you think this kind of stuff may be related to some issues you have mentioned previously, like the Big D (depression)? Again, I am so sorry ADBG, and so glad you are done with school!

  • J

    I also remember getting a 74% on my first fractions-test in 6th grade. I told my parents. I felt stupid and wanted help. My father basically called me a shitty person for doing so poorly and said my mother would probably agree with him when I started crying.

    Boys don’t cry, you see…

    After that, I don’t think I tried on anything. For years. Fuck school. Every textbook ended up torn into pieces. My locker had a layer of paper up to my shoulders and made the whole thing inaccessible. I rarely if ever had a pen or pencil in class, I never studied…

    Would anyone care to have me review why I think shaming is bad thing?

  • Jackie

    Re: Parental Pressure

    This is really interesting, reading the accounts of others! I think I got the inversion treatment. My parents “rebelled” against all the self-esteem indoctrination and pretty much skipped the pressuring to be a grade-getter as well. (Or, possibly, they saw in me that I was already a weirdo and knew their work, in that respect, was already done. :D )

    And yet, they were –more than anything– bound and determined that I become resilient and super-independent. The expectation was that I would find and fund my own college experience. If I preferred to do something else, that was fine, too, as long as I could do it without a safety net.

    My Dad would read me stories by authors like Studs Terkel who detailed Joad-like children of the depression; some of whom had been living on their own from single-digit ages and were basically uber-resilient. He would also regale me with training that some people paid to experience: Having willingly surrendered their credit cards and ID, they were instructed to be able to find a job by the end of the weekend. :shock:

    There were more stories, too, about real-world survival skills (not the Bear Grylls kind, I mean about doing-for-yourself). Also, he gave me a lot of books like _How To Win Friends And Influence People_. That book is *ancient* but it still packs some good advice! I still have a dossier of people’s birthdays and special info, to remember them personally. 8-)

    Looking back now, I realize that my Dad was trying to get me ready to survive in the world if anything else went wrong with his brain. There was no one around (or willing, I should say) who was interested in taking me on if something happened before I turned 18. The idea of anyone going into the foster care system in this country still makes me shudder. :(

    Book smarts and college degrees are all very good, but, as my Dad would quote, “People will not remember what you did; they will remember the way you made them feel.” The personal touch and the strength of one’s ability to connect with others and meet their (unspoken) needs, will assure you of always finding some kind of sustenance.

    It has affected me in that I am good with negotiating with and making the peace in an at-times unpeaceful world. It also has made it difficult for me to let others help me when I need it. And I am continuing to learn the skills needed for interdependence, much later than many people.

    This was much longer than I thought it would be. :)

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Jackie

      The expectation was that I would find and fund my own college experience.

      Fund it? That’s a very tall order for an 18 year old. Families struggle for years to save enough for college. No offense, but I see providing education as a responsibility of parenting. It doesn’t have to be a fancy school, of course. How on earth did you manage it? You must have been saddled with a mountain of debt.

      I confess I have never heard of a parent doing that before.

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    Would anyone care to have me review why I think shaming is bad thing?
    Is a bad thing applied to a child that through no fault of his own is doing poorly in a subject or life.
    Is a good thing applied to young adults that are making the choices that will screw themselves in the future and are screwing others in the present.
    Not All Shamers Are Like That, YMMV.

  • Sai

    @tilikum
    That’s lame.
    Not you, what she did. :(

    “I would expect a better education and social know-how from an accomplished professional.”


    What do people talk about at functions like these? Can you get away with history, culture and science/fiction?

    “Personally, I just think it is because French men are just so damn irresistible with their knowledge of cheeses and wines and smallish dogs and such. Plus they talk real nice.”

    Are women really that into wine and/or dogs? I met some guy near a grocery store once who asked me for food and claimed he was French and he thought I was so pretty, but it felt very uncomfortable. Did I just meet a ‘dud’?
    I do love cheese though.

  • JP

    @Tasmin:

    ” How “hungry” to do allow her to get before you feel she understands where things come from? ”

    Things come from the sun.

    More specifically, things come from the stored sunlight in the form of oil, gas, and uranium.

  • JP

    @Escoffier:

    “Coming from a family of lawyers, I have seen this firsthand.”

    The only lawyers in my family hate law.

    Granted, the doctors hate being doctors, too.

    I’m just convinced that we hate work. Or something.

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com david foster

    Re parental pressure….I think many parents are so concerned with their kids getting the right credentials and “skills” that they ignored the meta-skills…or what used to be called “character”…that matters extremely. Things like resilience in the face of setbacks, ability to stand up for one’s own beliefs, becoming actually *interested* in things rather than only doing what you’re tasked to do, etc.

    Once past the earliest runs on the ladder, lack of meta-skills probably leads to a lot more failures than lack of skills.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @david foster

      Once past the earliest runs on the ladder, lack of meta-skills probably leads to a lot more failures than lack of skills.

      I heard an Admissions Officer from a highly regarded university speak and he said one of the things they worry about most is admitting “teacups.” Like porcelain, they’re beautiful (on paper) but fragile. They’ve been so heavily coached and propped up by parents that they fall apart when they arrive at college and have to be independent. He said that every year the number of students who flame out this way and have to leave school is increasing.

  • Jackie

    @Susan

    “Fund it? That’s a very tall order for an 18 year old. ”
    ===
    IKR! (I KNOW, RIGHT?!) :shock:

    Especially how you could basically do that in my dad’s time (fund yourself) since college was reasonable, but it takes a huge amount of strategic planning nowadays.

    At the time I felt that it (and the world) was completely unjust. I felt I had had enough loss and bad luck already! I remember seeing other friends prepare for it like it was just this fun thing… when I felt it was like an insurmountable quest into very deep and dark woods.

    ===
    How on earth did you manage it? You must have been saddled with a mountain of debt.
    ===
    Actually, no! I was full-scholarship all the way through in [my discipline]. :D And I had been so :shock: about the task, that I had overzealously prepared for other scholarships as well, plus I had started freelancing/working. So there was one or two semesters I turned a profit. 8-)

    But, as my sister (also scholarship) will say, that kind of “bootstrap and platitude ethic” is notable only *because* I was able to do it, i.e. an exception. You shouldn’t build your worldview around the exception, but, rather, the rule. (If you want to know why she does humanitarian/social justice stuff– I think her experiences and empathy are pretty much why.)
    ===

    I will add, also, that I felt I had a MUCH more serious view of things than many of my other fellow students. In some ways this was good, in others I wish I could have enjoyed things more along the way…

    There was one exam designed to wash people out, halfway through, on which my whole scholarship rested. I had already failed it once and if I did not succeed, I was up a creek. I remember feeling the weight of the world *so heavily* upon my shoulders the night before… it was so hard to sleep. :(

    Obviously, I passed, but at the time I felt like… just overwhelmed. I knew that I *always* had options, though, as my atheist mentor was telling me. I could start over somewhere else or somehow, figure *something* out. I would have actually been kicked out of my program, so I was thinking beyond $ at that time. (PHEW, glad to be done with that!)

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Jackie

      That is quite a story! Proof that whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?

  • Jackie

    @Susan
    This is totally OT, but writing this out has made me think about a lot of things, re: strategic planning. I remember when I was still a teenager, I couldn’t be in cross-country (running) due to circumstances. I made up my mind to train for a marathon in its stead.

    If my mom had been around, I think she would have freaked over the possible damage on a teen’s body. But my dad was all, Sounds interesting. I researched and trained following a program, every single day (well, Mondays off) for over 6 months.

    It strikes me now that it was an extremely adult thing to do, the idea, strategies and discipline part. (BTW, I think I finished something like 52nd in F-21&under, it took me like 4:30 though.)

    My dad didn’t want to push me or interfere –though he did take me and my friends to the race all that day– so it was pretty much self-directed. (I am trying to imagine a helicopter parent in these circumstances and failing utterly. ;) Sometimes I think my parents had *too much* pushback against the cult o’self-esteem.)

    I also think that I did a lot of “overachieving” to cope and prove my self-worth, which was not very high back then. Lots of stuff to process here for sure…

  • Jackie

    @Susan

    Ha ha! Good ol’ Nietzsche! But, yeah, my Dad is totally resistant to change in the world. He still keeps a rotary telephone! (I made him use a cell phone, haha. He’s been dragged into the 21st century pretty much kicking and screaming, and still prefers the personal letter as his expressed form of communication.)

    I was talking with my sister about this earlier today, actually! Maybe that’s why it’s on my mind. Anyway, she said, You know, our parents basically pledged allegiance to beliefs and moral codes that were outdated even in *their* time!

    There are some ethics, like the Golden Rule, that are pretty much timeless. But how do you know what to jettison and which ones are the keepers? Especially when so many of the publicly pious turn out to be weirdo hypocrites?

    We also were thinking aloud that maybe we got switched at birth, and, somewhere in the world, there’s a family who got Victorian-era type children and are wondering how they as hippie-types could have ever gone so wrong. :)

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Jackie

      The more I read about your childhood, the clearer the movie scenes are becoming in my head! I can see it as a documentary, or something fictionalized. I can also see you writing an amazing memoir, complete with Grandmother Norma Desmond!

  • pennies

    Major respect, Jackie!

    There is so much gratitude embedded in your stories; you make resilence seem fun! It seems like your dad was able to read you correctly as someone who would rise to the challenge and feel more competent when all was said and done.

    I’ve done a lot of work helping low-income students prepare their applications for college and it feels great to help them get a leg up. But then I remember my own experience — I researched everything myself and handled the whole process without parental assistance and it made me feel very powerful, like I would be able to handle the challenges of adulthood. I worry sometimes that I am sending my students off to school without knowing how to grapple with a major task from start to finish.

    Sometimes I frame it all in terms of neuroscience — I feel like my brain matured somewhat early in that I was able to grasp the seriousness of getting a good education. My peers were not always able to when they were 15-, 16-, 17-ish and consequently they were not into researching average GPAs for ‘best fit’ schools or test prep options…

    But what a nice trait to have — old-soul-itude!

  • JP

    “Fund it? That’s a very tall order for an 18 year old. Families struggle for years to save enough for college. No offense, but I see providing education as a responsibility of parenting.”

    It’s going to be hard for me to part with any money for college education for my children, considering how much I despised my experience and remain extremely bitter about it.

    I really view it as a waste of time and money, where you easily end the process much worse off than you started.

    It’s essentially a ticket showing that you are potentially eligible for employment.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7XzcGnUCI0 OffTheCuff

    I have mixed feelings about that. I don’t think kids are automatically entitled to a college education, though I will try my best to fund it for them. College isn’t a few thousand a year anymore. To get my three through college on one income, would quite possibly means me eating nothing but Alpo when I’m 70. Gotta fund my retirement first, and that’s doing pretty awful. I’m sure I’ll work until I drop dead.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @OTC

      I have mixed feelings about that. I don’t think kids are automatically entitled to a college education, though I will try my best to fund it for them.

      That’s all I meant, really.

      This is one of the reasons the higher education bubble has to burst. College costs so much, and yet the degree is the price of entry to most jobs that enable one to make a living. Kids are increasingly saddled with huge amounts of debt – this is one of the factors driving back the age of marriage.

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    It’s going to be hard for me to part with any money for college education for my children, considering how much I despised my experience and remain extremely bitter about it.
    I do want all my kids to have college education but I do agree than having 100,000 dollars on debt to become a psychologist is all sorts of stupid. I have the option of sending him to study to DR that has cheap but good education and he will have a multicultural experience and practice his Spanish. He can get the post-degree here and benefit from the connections and market place without having to blow that much money.
    Not sure how much is that option for people in the First World but if there is Health Tourism maybe Educational ‘Tourism” can also become an alternative, just thinking out loud.

  • Ion

    Ana,

    But don’t the hipsters who make those things run the risk of being ensnared by their own traps?

    http://jeffgreenspan.com/about/

    Not a “hipster” per say… my guess is a pro sex poz vegan photographer renting loftspace near the local organic deli or falafel shop? lolz

    Still, it was pretty funny.

  • Ion

    “That she (and I quote) “from Asian, so she is very submissive and looks up to her husband(at the time fiancé)”. (Which is in and of itself funny because she knows nothing about Asia ”

    Yeah, like the part where American women are actually considered more submissive than local women when traveling as foreigners. At least, that was my experience in the mid east.

  • Ion

    “There are plenty of young good looking women working at fast food drive-thrus but they do not get asked out on dates by upper middle, even solidly middle class men.”

    They should do a test where one woman (about average or above average, 26 yrs old) creates two seperate online dating profiles. In one, she’s unemployed or works 3rd shift on weekends at walmart. In the other, she is a school teacher or works as an associate producer for a small firm. Willing to bet that most middle class men will select option 2.

    Where’s OKcupid stats when its needed to do something even remotely productive?

  • ExNewYorker

    ‘They should do a test where one woman (about average or above average, 26 yrs old) creates two seperate online dating profiles.”

    They should add a third one: high powered lawyer for well known firm.

  • Ion

    “Guys care about a woman’s STATUS far more than her INCOME. They are related, but separable. Status is more determined by upbringing and education than income.”

    Actually, scratch my last comment, because this is exactly it.

    I’ve had some dating success recently even though I am technically unemployed (waiting for grad school to start, and just enjoying the free time watching science channel and hang out with my dad and stepma). When I give guys the spiel, it’s that I’m basically enjoying the summer off before starting graduate school in the fall, that I quit my last job to relocate only a few months ago, that I just got a job because I left NYC, etc., blah blah blah (all true).

    If I were low class, no car and simply unemployed, that probably would’ve looked worse. Would’ve looked like lack of ambition, poor character, and lazy, probably.

    Context is always relevant.

  • Ion

    “‘They should add a third one: high powered lawyer for well known firm.”

    100%.

    I’m sure “I am an advertising exec for conde nast” fares about equal to 3rd shift walmart clerk.

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    http://jeffgreenspan.com/about/

    Not a “hipster” per say… my guess is a pro sex poz vegan photographer renting loftspace near the local organic deli or falafel shop? lolz,
    Maybe we should introduce him to this girl: https://twitter.com/IrinaGreenVoice
    “Environmentalist,Dreamer,Vegetarian,Digital artist,Amateur astronomer,Support @greenpeace,I’m in love with our amazing Planet! I tweet to inspire #SaveTheArctic”

  • JP

    “‘They should do a test where one woman (about average or above average, 26 yrs old) creates two seperate online dating profiles.”

    They should add a third one: high powered lawyer for well known firm.”

    I’m still trying to figure out how my ex-girlfriend became a “high powered lawyer” for a “well known firm.”

    Granted, I’m still trying to figure out how I ended up practicing “poverty law”.

    It’s even stranger that I’m generating significantly more revenue as a “poverty lawyer” than I was as an intellectual property associate for megacorproations.

  • Ion

    ““#SaveTheArctic”

    Lol, omgz match made in heaven.

    Btw, wonder what ever became of the Save the Whales, Protect the Ozone Layer, and Free Tibet campaign? Reeks of the 90s I guess…

  • Ion

    “College costs so much, and yet the degree is the price of entry to most jobs that enable one to make a living.”

    http://www.crabtree-law.com/var/upload/image/student-debt.jpg

    Students whose parents saved for the future or can comfortably afford their education allow these kids to be comfortably middle class, the student with loans now has to “work” themselves up to middle class, contingent on paying back this debt. It was never this hard to enter into a class you were born into. You see this divide even with friends in college who had to pay off debt, and those who didn’t (those who didn’t married earlier, can buy homes earlier, can afford annual vacations and traveling abroad etc).

    Bachelors is required for anything above retail really, even for the 24,000 a year secretary jobs in New York for example. There aren’t enough 40,000-80,000 annual jobs anymore. It’s really sad.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Ion

      It was never this hard to enter into a class you were born into.

      Not to mention owning property. One BR condos in Boston are so expensive I don’t see how young people can ever buy.

      Bachelors is required for anything above retail really, even for the 24,000 a year secretary jobs in New York for example.

      When my son was looking for a job after graduation, he temped for a while. The agency he worked with only works with college graduates – for temping. He had to submit a transcript. I think the pay was around $10-15/hr.

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com david foster

    Ion…”“College costs so much, and yet the degree is the price of entry to most jobs that enable one to make a living.”

    The role played by colleges today is somewhat analogous to the Robber Barons who controlled many of Europe’s rivers during the Middle Ages: you build a castle (or at least some kind of fort), stretch a chain across the river, and charge all the river traffic a big fee to permit passage.

  • Richard Aubrey

    I’ve seen it said that the requirement for college is a matter of Griggs vs. Duke Power.
    Also that high school isn’t teaching what it used to teach so an employer can’t count on getting what is needed when an applicant shows up with a HS diploma.
    Just for grins, look up “McGuffey Reader” to see what kids were expected to know a hundred or a hundred fifty years ago.
    Scary.

  • Jackie

    @Pennies

    Hey Pennies! Long time no see! :D

    Thanks for the kind words– that means a lot coming from you. That’s awesome that you are an advocate for low-income kids to help them prepare for college. WTG! The real world will most likely give them an education on following through start-to-finish, eventually. (Though it is difficult to watch someone learn how to swim by being thrown in the water.)

    I think that kids in those (low-income) circumstances rarely have a healthy progression of developing resilience and/or independence, so there is a kind of “learned helplessness” present (or a “doesn’t affect me this second, so I don’t care” attitude).

    It’s a shame, too, because it’s not that the tasks are hard or that they can’t do them. It’s kind of like the circus elephant that is tethered to the ground with one little stake and a rope. The elephant learned when he was a baby that it would hold him in place and never realized that he would be capable of so much more as he outgrew it physically. The entrapment is a mentality, not an actuality.

  • Jackie

    @Susan

    “I can see it as a documentary, or something fictionalized. I can also see you writing an amazing memoir, complete with Grandmother Norma Desmond!”
    ===
    Ha ha ha! :D Now you’re sounding like my Dad– he’s been begging my sister and me to document our family history like Norma D for posterity. (My reply, No way, Dad. Stephen King has cornered the market on horror for decades. My sister: “So much dysfunction; so little time.”)

    I can’t remember if I mentioned this, but Norma was married to King of the Alphas –my maternal grandfather– whose brother is actually a rather successful actor. (Something like 8 Tony noms, multiple NY Drama Desk awards, nearly 100 IMDB credits including Oscar-winning films. The last time I saw him, he was guesting on a CBS procedural.)

    On my Dad’s side, unfortunately, not as happy. They emigrated here from Germany and pretty much refused to assimilate (didn’t want to even speak English).

    Even worse, they were National Socialists (most German people were at the time– even Pope B-16 was) but unlike many, they were clearly unrepentant and held completely gross and heinous ideas. I wish I could describe how chilling my grandfather was: The merciless blue eyes, the hawk-like nose, the creepy Germanic precision. Even in old age, he was “asked to leave” the senior care community he had been placed in.

    :evil:
    :( :sad:

    As to my Dad: He left home the day of his 18th birthday to escape. So I’ve got to cut him a lot of slack, since he didn’t have the easiest upbringing either.
    ===
    So some of the comments about judging a girl by her status make me sad. When I think of the genetic “contributions” I’ve received– delusional beauty queens, insane bigots, theatre people, the King of the Alpha’s blood runs through my veins!– theoretically I should be a psychotic alpha-chaser. :(

    But I’d like to think both my parents were rebels with a cause (normalcy) and I will continue to break the chains. :)

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Jackie

      So some of the comments about judging a girl by her status make me sad. When I think of the genetic “contributions” I’ve received– delusional beauty queens, insane bigots, theatre people, the King of the Alpha’s blood runs through my veins!– theoretically I should be a psychotic alpha-chaser.

      But I’d like to think both my parents were rebels with a cause (normalcy) and I will continue to break the chains.

      You’ve got to tell this story, it’s incredible!

      You’ve escaped the aloof narcissism, clearly. It’s a testament to the power of values in upbringing, and no accident that you hold religion dear.

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com david foster

    Richard Aubrey…”I’ve seen it said that the requirement for college is a matter of Griggs vs. Duke Power”

    I think this is only a small part of it. Indeed, while Grigg vs Duke ruled that the company could not use IQ tests for hiring people in certain positions where (a)the tests tended to reduce the number of minorities, and (b)no clear relationship with job performance had been demonstrated, the same ruling ALSO said that a requirement for high-school diplomas could be discriminatory based on the same logic. I’m not clear on why there hasn’t been more litigation on the *degree* aspect of this.

  • Jackie

    @Ion

    “Students whose parents saved for the future or can comfortably afford their education allow these kids to be comfortably middle class, the student with loans now has to “work” themselves up to middle class, contingent on paying back this debt. It was never this hard to enter into a class you were born into.”
    ===
    I have a theory that this is not coincidence. Debt is a modern-day indentured servitude, in my opinion. People that deeply in debt are deeply limited in options and therefore easier to control. :(

    The education bubble has just got to burst– it can’t go on like this, the rate increase is just not sustainable. In the meantime I am hoping that the trades will make a comeback and be rescued from unjust ignominy. Or that people will develop small sustainable businesses in creative ways. I would much rather be a successful beauty-school grad who worked for herself and made bank than have a degree in an esoteric discipline where I could not find a way to produce value from it.

  • Richard Aubrey

    David Foster.
    I thought the Griggs issue was aptitude testing. Well, either way, it provided a disparate impact.
    I think the diff wrt degree is that degreed folks showing up can be hired without disparate impact. Whether there’s a disparate impact in the number of degreed folks is somebody else’s problem/fault.

  • A Definite Beta Guy

    @ Jackie

    ADBG, that’s terrible!! I am so sorry you had the experience. What were your parents thinking?!?! How was that supposed to teach you to do fractions (or anything) the right way? You need encouragement to gain a skill, not emotional abuse.

    Do you think this kind of stuff may be related to some issues you have mentioned previously, like the Big D (depression)? Again, I am so sorry ADBG, and so glad you are done with school!

    Thanks for the condolences, Jackie. A lot of the experiences really did suck, and had some big negative consequences. I don’t know exactly what the relation might have been to Depression…a lot of that time period is just a huge blur to me and I can’t disentangle cause, effect, or triggers from it. I actually completely forgot about the experience with the Fractions Test until this thread brought it back to the surface.

    My parents were by no means perfect, but they did at least provide. My Dad was probably thinking I was whining too much. He was a farm-boy and most of his uncles spent time shooting at Nazis, and the 1990s “self-esteem” culture probably rubbed him the wrong way on a very visceral level.

    Things have turned out alright for us kid-folk, so it’s rather impossible to hate them too much.

    @ Susan

    When my son was looking for a job after graduation, he temped for a while. The agency he worked with only works with college graduates – for temping. He had to submit a transcript. I think the pay was around $10-15/hr.

    This is also how I started, although I was eventually hired by the client company. The number of temps we had peaked out at about 30, with about 12 full-time workers.
    At MY peak, 20 of the temps were on my team for a special government audit. Twenty people.
    I was getting paid $12.65/hour.

  • A Definite Beta Guy

    My sister also graduated from one of the top pharmacy programs in the nation at #2 in her class, and couldn’t get an interview. That was until she had a family member pull a favor for her and she was finally able to get into the field. No one really wanted to take a chance on her because she didn’t have enough work experience.

    After that, she finally got a full-time job at a huge salary, she graduated with very little debt which got paid off quickly, she is 30 with a kid, a house, and another kid on the way, etc.

    If that family relationship didn’t exist she would have been fucked, and no one would have given a shit about her GPA.

    Which maybe doesn’t make sense, unless you see it from the employer’s perspective. I haven’t sat down with a pharmacy employee, but I have reviewed resumes with Mother Dearest and it is quite easy to dismiss candidates for extremely shallow reasons. You have sooooooo many to choose from.
    Every single thing you have done gets thought about 10,000 times over with an eye towards DQ’ing you.
    We, for instance, DQ’d en masse anyone who had a resume gap of any sort after the recession, even the ones that did find work afterwards if the work wasn’t “good” enough. DQ’d people if they didn’t have exactly the job skills we were looking for, unless they were fresh from school.
    Any resume over 2 pages long was auto DQ’d.
    Anyone who didn’t list a GPA, even if they were out of school for a decade, was DQ’d. Same if the GPA was below, say, a 3.4.
    I auto-DQ’d someone for not going to an American university.
    Extracurriculars were almost entirely meaningless for recent college grads. I would rather see you working at McDonald’s then being Treasurer of the Glee Club.
    Continuing education really meant fuck-all unless it was from a good university.
    We picked almost identical people from the 40 resumes she reviewed. I can’t remember all the ones. Maybe four in all. One was relatively recent college grad who was a little green,but had a decent GPA, a good current job, and was doing SOME coursework. One was a defense contractor who handled contract pricing.
    Our only disagreement was when I suggested she should pay more consideration to a man who used to be a NCO in the Air Force. The position she was hiring for required extensive interaction with unionized line workers in a manufacturing environment. I’ll take a former NCO over a female pricing analyst or a recent college grad for that, even if he an Air Force NCO…

    I told my mother that she should ask for each candidate to succinctly explain their role in their previous company and the projects they were working on. Anyone who can’t explain that, doesn’t know what the fuck they are doing, and isn’t useful to me.

    In my department, it always surprised me that no one actually had any idea what the fuck our role was, or why we existed

  • Ion

    Jackie

    “I have a theory that this is not coincidence. Debt is a modern-day indentured servitude, in my opinion. People that deeply in debt are deeply limited in options and therefore easier to control. ”

    And if that is the case, then “Bachelor of Arts” is probably the biggest scam of all! lol.

    “I would much rather be a successful beauty-school grad who worked for herself and made bank than have a degree in an esoteric discipline where I could not find a way to produce value from it.”

    1,000%.

    I majored in Art History which is one of the most useless majors of all time (I did work in a famous museum, but still. There’s literally only 1 or 2 museums per town, and most of them hire volunteers, and most have an abundance of people with this type of degree and hire based on shallow reasons). craigslist gallery jobs in places like soho, they ask for a picture first. The pay there is way less than even my museum job, which started me at 35,000 a year. Gallery and small museums pay around 24,000 and 10 dollars an hour, but mostly they hire free interns. Just an example of how things are in liberal arts field.

    I think its important for parents, to step in now and tell their kids that the jig is up, do not to take out loans if they’re majoring in one of the useless majors. I don’t think parents were slacking off, they genuinely believed that their kids would be able to afford to pay loans back, until they looked around and saw that their kids, and their neighbors kids, and all the 20somethings in the family didn’t have stable careers, just debt.
    Sigh.

  • A Definite Beta Guy

    No, bad bad BAD! The problem isn’t that you majored in Art History, the problem is that you need to go to college at all to have a basic middle class life.
    My grandfather did not finish high school and when he died he left all of his grandkids a substantial sum of money. Never in his life was he struggling in abject poverty. Yet now if you don’t finish high school you probably have a worse future than if you rape small children and torture animals. At least in jail you get fed.

    This “oh, you should have majored in something useful” nonsense is more hand-wringing and blaming people for shit that is not their fault, so the Powers That Be do not have to feel bad that they are fucking everyone else over.

    In the old days, it was enough to point at someone and say “you’re black, therefore you are inherently inferior and I get the good jobs over you.” That’s part of why my grandfather had it easier than me, I would think.

    But that’s wrong, so now they invent more subtle reasons.

    New reason:
    Your life sucks because you are fat. fatness is within your control. Therefore I don’t feel bad about shaming you. wait, the vast majority of the country is fat now? So maybe we should consider serious changes? LA LA LA LA LA LA I CAN’T HEAR YOU FATTIE!

    Just apply it to education. If everyone NEEDS a college education to survive in this world, fuck it, we’re screwed. And that is just an excuse to piss on people that don’t have college diplomas, because, for some reason, those people were good enough to beat Nazis and communists, but aren’t good enough for capitalist jobs.

    Fucking ridiculous.

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    Which maybe doesn’t make sense, unless you see it from the employer’s perspective. I haven’t sat down with a pharmacy employee, but I have reviewed resumes with Mother Dearest and it is quite easy to dismiss candidates for extremely shallow reasons.
    This is actually a good case for self-employment and entrepreneurship. At least to consider it along with the college experience, IMO.

  • Mireille

    Personal rant:

    I’m really having a hard time with the American notion of “personal record”. There are so many ways people get discounted here. Once you get into a bad spot, it follows you all your life and basically will become some sort of social determinism. I know there is the hero cult in this society but it is only because people have such rigid opinions about what should be or what should not. If your N is high then you basically trash now; if you have a gap on your resume, then all those years it took to acquire those skills become useless. Are humans so disposable?
    I’m right now looking for a job and there is definitely a gap on my resume because of that. It is actually one of the reason I do not date at all since I’d like to be more independent before getting involved with someone. It figures all personal plans will be pushed back because of that and my social life definitely suffer from it. But it is a choice I can live with.
    I think preferring to hire only already employed people could be likened to mate poaching. If someone refuses to invest and prefers to prey on what is already taken, it is the same situation.

  • Richard Aubrey

    In the old days, or in polite society, we say;
    Don’t try to get your meat and bread from the same place.
    Much nicer, don’t you think?

  • OffTheCuff

    Long employment gaps are just as suspicious as job-hoppers. People should work part time or at another job, while looking.

  • Ion

    ADBG +1 your entire comment at 274! Bravo!

    “In the old days, it was enough to point at someone and say “you’re black, therefore you are inherently inferior and I get the good jobs over you.” That’s part of why my grandfather had it easier than me, I would think.”

    Even so, my grandparents definitely owned a home in the 50s, and had 14 kids (my grandpa later remarried and had 10). That’s right, my mom has 24 siblings. Not bad for two people who made it to only the 8th grade and 3rd grade. They were resourceful and dedicated, my grandpa also worked odds and end jobs. No welfare. No kids starved to death. Home owners.

    Yet today, 30 year old college grads are struggling to buy a home and to afford anything more than 2-4 kids without public assistance. So yea, perhaps we’ve been *hoodwinked* as they say.

  • Ion

    “Long employment gaps are just as suspicious as job-hoppers. ”

    Not when you want someone desperate enough in places like the non-profit sector. Qualified is not as important as “dedication”/unwavering obedience to long hours and wearing “multiple hats” (administrative assistant pay for carrying the whole organization on your shoulders, basically).

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com david foster

    Re the costs of college and the all-too-often low value of the resulting degree…Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit has written and linked extensively about the higher-ed bubble, and has also published a book on that topic.

    Several years ago, I linked to a professor who was being pressured to give higher grades than were merited. The conversation went something like this:

    “Bernie, would you trust someone who got 140 out of 420 to do your taxes?”
    “Eric, that’s not the point.”
    “Would you trust him to be your doctor?”
    “Eric, that’s not the point.”
    “Would you trust him to build a bridge for you?”
    “Eric, that’s not the point.”

    To which my comment was:

    Of course, we all know what the point *really* is. The point is for students to obtain a piece of paper–a diploma–which is viewed as a passport to economic success. Increasingly, the perceived value of this diploma is decoupled from any knowledge or accomplishment that it actually represents. It is valued for the circular reason that–it is valued.
    This situation is reminiscent of other pieces of paper–stock certificates in certain dot.com companies. At the height of the boom, people were acquiring these certificates without much consideration of the current or potential business results of the companies they represented. (“I don’t know what it does,” said one investor of a stock, “but I know it’s moving.”) The hope was simply that a popular stock would become more popular and hence increase in price–that is, these certificates were valued because they were valued.

    A bubble is not infinitely sustainable. In the market, stocks will eventually collapse if there are no earnings to support their price levels. And, in academia, degrees will not be valued indefinitely unless they represent genuine knowledge and accomplishment. The collapse may not be as immediately dramatic as a market collapse–but it seems inevitable that it will eventually happen.

  • Emily

    >> “This “oh, you should have majored in something useful” nonsense is more hand-wringing and blaming people for shit that is not their fault, so the Powers That Be do not have to feel bad that they are fucking everyone else over.”

    Agreed! I actually suspect that this mantra means that at some point there will be a huge influx of Engineering students who will then struggle to find work.

    I was always taught that University = job and I didn’t find out otherwise until it was too late. In hindsight I feel like a complete idiot, but most of the grown ups were fooled as well.

  • Ion

    “And, in academia, degrees will not be valued indefinitely unless they represent genuine knowledge and accomplishment.”

    I agree, but is education only valued if it is an “exclusive” club most people can’t get into? The more people working as hard as they can to pursue a degree, the more the assumption is that it’s easier to get a college degree. That’s not really the case, imho. An influx of lower class pursuing degrees simply means that there’s an increased amount of people pursuing education to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, because student loans + education have now made it possible for them to do so.

    Most people obtaining degrees want to be MC to UMC, and are doing everything they can to pursue that dream. The debt is something they’re willing to deal with in order to become middle class. It’s just too bad there aren’t enough middle class jobs to go around….

  • Lokland

    @Susan

    “This is one of the reasons the higher education bubble has to burst. College costs so much, and yet the degree is the price of entry to most jobs that enable one to make a living. Kids are increasingly saddled with huge amounts of debt – this is one of the factors driving back the age of marriage.”

    Actually two things need to happen.
    The education bubble needs to burst and the economy has to backslide to the point where a construction worker/blue collar job is capable of providing a family with living expenses (not I did not include yearly trips to Disney world or Mexico).

    We’re suffering a two pronged problem.
    1. Too many degrees.
    2. Too many of those degree holders over estimating the value of their degree both in current and past market conditions.

    As for the age of marriage.

    +1 Both of our families were very supportive of us as we took of. Without that we would have ended it along time ago.

  • Lokland

    “You see this divide even with friends in college who had to pay off debt, and those who didn’t (those who didn’t married earlier, can buy homes earlier, can afford annual vacations and traveling abroad etc).”

    Like I mentioned prior.
    This is the problem with our culture.

    Middle class should not be synonymous with travel, luxury or yearly vacation.

  • Lokland

    “the problem is that you need to go to college at all to have a basic middle class life. ”

    Actually the problem is
    a) a degree is needed for a basic middle class life
    b) the definition of basic middle class life is that used by the boomers which was just a touch over the top

  • Lokland

    Also, my personal solution to the education bubble.
    Percentile based grading!!!

    Didn’t go over well.

  • Sai

    @Lokland
    How much should the definition/income of middle class backslide?
    I’m probably just being paranoid over nothing again, but last night I was watching a special on Carnegie, Rockefeller, et al. and there are many, MANY things I will do to not have to live like the people who worked for them.

  • Lokland

    @Sai

    Not sure, not my concern.

    Only real observation.
    If someone bitches about paying x, y or z (necessities) but does any of the following;
    -smokes
    -drinks
    -gambles (including lotto)
    -goes on yearly vacation
    or some such.

    My sympathy well goes dry instantly.
    (note that a pack of smokes a day is ~$10 in Canada which is slightly cheaper than a family vacation to Disney World once a year).

    Like my neighbour in college who bought the newest, bestest phone in the whole wide world and was then evicted for not paying rent.

    One must get their priorities straight and live within their means.
    If that means you never go on vacation ever, you either never go on vacation ever or scrimp and save.

    Living expenses > Kids college fund > retirement > entertainment & enjoyment.

  • Sai

    @Lokland
    “My sympathy well goes dry instantly.
    (note that a pack of smokes a day is ~$10 in Canada which is slightly cheaper than a family vacation to Disney World once a year).

    Like my neighbour in college who bought the newest, bestest phone in the whole wide world and was then evicted for not paying rent.”

    This makes sense. (Not the non-rent payment, the rest. This is actually one reason I decided against kids -no way of predicting how much money it would take.)

  • J

    @Ana

    Is a good thing applied to young adults that are making the choices that will screw themselves in the future and are screwing others in the present.

    That’s guilt because it is in response to an action or choice a person makes. Shame is about who a person is at their core.

    @Susan

    The notion that parents should pay for college is a UMC thing. It’s fairly common for the WC and LMC to expect kids to work/contribute/earn scholarships.

    @Jackie

    You go, girl! ;-)

  • J

    I’m hoping I’m wise enough to tailor the upbringing depending on the kid once is not only William. Also smart enough to make them understand why there is a different treatment.

    My sons are very different from each others, and I’ve always treated them differently. I tell them it’s my job to make sure each gets what he needs, not they they each get the same thing. If you are consistent, they get it.

  • pennies

    @Jackie
    >Hey Pennies! Long time no see!

    Hey back, m’dear!

    >I think that kids in those (low-income) circumstances rarely have a healthy >progression of developing resilience and/or independence, so there is a >kind of “learned helplessness” present (or a “doesn’t affect me this >second, so I don’t care” attitude).

    Yeah, it’s pretty hard to watch at times. The success stories are few and far between. But I do know of two young women on full scholarship who are phenomenal. One has a father in prison and a mother who was out of her life due to drug addiction. She had terrible grades in high school but now has a full scholarship to a great liberal arts school because her writing is very strong. What I love is that they have a program at this school that matches students who need extra support with a counselor. They do a lot of cohort activities together and work through their self-doubt issues together.

    >It’s kind of like the circus elephant that is tethered to the ground with one >little stake and a rope. The elephant learned when he was a baby that it >would hold him in place and never realized that he would be capable of so >much more as he outgrew it physically.

    You have such a gift in terms of presenting concepts in complex but accesible ways. If you don’t mind sharing on the ‘net, what field are you in right now? I hope you’re writing non-fiction essays on the side. :D

  • Ion

    “Middle class should not be synonymous with travel, luxury or yearly vacation.”

    Perhaps, but there has to be SOMETHING that shows one has at least some disposable income. It can’t just be that middle class in the future is a bunch of educated people who gross lower income salary as a result of debt. Going to college and working hard just to get a job that barely pays off debt is the current middle class reality of our generation. What’s the point of being middle class then? What dream should you aspire to?

    I think of annual vacations in my family on my dad’s income (which included me, my bro, stepbro, cousin and nephew), to Barbados (imagine the cost of plane fare for all of us?), and other vacations. Myrtle Beach, Florida, etc., Then again, dad graduated from college debt free, thank you University of West Indies. Definitely encouraged me to travel early on, and I did. But people can’t afford that on the $85,000 salary he was making in the early 90s (then again my stepmom also made around that salary, so I think that is technically UMC for their household, not really sure).

  • Ion

    “I think that kids in those (low-income) circumstances rarely have a healthy progression of developing resilience and/or independence, so there is a kind of “learned helplessness” present (or a “doesn’t affect me this second, so I don’t care” attitude). ”

    Hmm, I wonder in these cases. Poor families have been producing well-adjusted offspring for hundreds of thousands of years, and even in the US. “Learned helplessness” and an “I don’t give a crap” attitude is a byproduct of family dysfunction, usually. Most often, crappy dads.

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com david foster

    The number of “middle-class jobs,” and the income of these jobs, are not figures cast in stone…they depend on how the economy evolves.

    I’ve been reading the autobiography of the writer Edna Ferber (highly recommended). She notes that when she was helping in her mother’s store, circa 1900, farmers’ wives who came in would almost invariably be old-looking at 30….sallow, so undernourished as to be flat-breasted, never having been more than 20 miles from the place they were born, without much hope for the future. By 1963, when Ferber published the last volume of her autobiography, the granddaughters of these women would–whether they were on the farm or in the city/suburbs–have almost all been well-fed, reasonably well-dressed, able to take the occasional trip to Disneyland or wherever.

    There is really no inevitability to American economic decline: if it happens, it will be brought about by dysfunctional institutions and bad political policy choices, not by any automatic economic or technological process.

  • Lokland

    @Ion

    “Perhaps, but there has to be SOMETHING that shows one has at least some disposable income.”

    This mindset needs to be stricken from the public consciousness.
    Middle class may very well come to mean, house + car, go to work go home and not be starving.

    The entire concept is relative to income levels and what those income levels are able to afford will change over time.

    So, there does not have to be anything. It simply will be what it becomes.

    ” What’s the point of being middle class then? What dream should you aspire to?”

    Not missing any meals. Perhaps not having to worry about repossession of ones home or for that matter owning a home.

    The trips to Disney World, vacation etc. are dependent upon the disposable income of the MC. If that is non-existent than so to are those trips.

    I realize those examples are extreme but there is no reason that the MC cannot be represented by that.

    “Then again, dad graduated from college debt free, thank you University of West Indies. Definitely encouraged me to travel early on, and I did. But people can’t afford that on the $85,000 salary he was making in the early 90s (then again my stepmom also made around that salary, so I think that is technically UMC for their household, not really sure).”

    Times change. That might simply be the requirement for living eventually.

    There does not have to be anything. There is no auto free meal for going to college. No one deserves a vacation.
    For that matter no one deserves three meals a day. Its entirely based upon what they can afford.

    Note: I realize the technical definition of MC came about when disposable income became a reality. Disposable income does not have to remain a reality but the term itself could still apply to those in between the extremely poor and rich.

  • SayWhaat

    There is really no inevitability to American economic decline: if it happens, it will be brought about by dysfunctional institutions and bad political policy choices, not by any automatic economic or technological process.

    Interesting, I’m currently reading Race Against the Machine, which makes the case that the technological progress we’ve made is causing a structural change in the economy that is supporting American economic growth in GDP per capita, while the median laborer’s wage has stagnated. In other words there is progress and growth, it’s just that *people* are not benefiting.

    It made me wonder, if machines increasingly replace human labor, could we eventually reach a point where we would need to rely on a socialist model in order to support our families? Just a thought.

  • Sai

    @david foster
    “There is really no inevitability to American economic decline: if it happens, it will be brought about by dysfunctional institutions and bad political policy choices, not by any automatic economic or technological process.”

    That makes me feel a bit better.

  • Ion

    “Not missing any meals. Perhaps not having to worry about repossession of ones home or for that matter owning a home.”

    Yeah I hear ya, completely. I do not thing people should aspire to be entitled brats. But without some incentive, why not aspire to be a debt-free cashier at 7-11 instead of a middle class earner who only makes enough to cover your student debt? Not much, unless one would give you more disposable income.

    Telling people to work hard to live right above poverty line might not create innovate thinkers who want to challenge themselves, which could be the problem for future economy. So far, it looks like it’ll be a bunch of lower class people who hold on to the belief that they are middle class somehow, because they share the “values” of the middle class. Which is good (nuclear family) and bad (susceptible to media about what those “values” should be).

    Many recent graduates in debt live right above the poverty line. Though not if they’re a free slave/”intern”, another problem that says that recent grads who are in debt should work for free because treating young people like crap allegedly “builds character”. But that’s a whole ‘nother topic.

  • http://photoncourier.blogspot.com david foster

    SayWhaat….”It made me wonder, if machines increasingly replace human labor, could we eventually reach a point where we would need to rely on a socialist model in order to support our families? Just a thought.”

    Bear in mind that the replacement of human labor by machines has been going on for a long time. I’m not convinced that the current much-talked-about advances in robots, “big data,” etc really represents more of a quantum leap in productivity than the textile equipment of the late 1700s/early 1800s (a Spinning Jenny, which wasn’t even a power-operated device, could replace 6 or more traditional wheel spinners), the railroad and steamship of the mid-1800s, the assembly line of the early 1900s, the punched card equipment and mainframe computers of the 1930s through 1970s, or the numerically-controlled machine tools (robots, really) introduced to factories in the 1960s and 1970s,

    A good source on technology and employment is the book Inventing Ourselves out of Jobs?, by Amy Sue Bix. She discusses the impact of labor-saving innovations which are today rarely thought of in that context, such as recorded music (replacing many musicians) and sound films (same effect), also the dial telephone which replaced hundreds of thousands of operators.

    Our economy is today bearing enormous and largely unnecessary burdens…such as a fairly dysfunctional public school system, which is not only very expensive in itself but results in the graduation of large numbers of students who will lack the skills for most jobs, who will never achieve what could have been their full human and economic potential, who in many cases will need to be supported by the rest of society. Such as the insane levels of litigation, which impose a tremendous tax on the whole society. Such as a public-policy environment which has been quite hostile to American manufacturing.

  • http://www.4stargazer.wordpress.com Anacaona

    That’s guilt because it is in response to an action or choice a person makes. Shame is about who a person is at their core.
    I think we are using different Shame, Guilt and embarrassment:
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/shame

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/guilt

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/embarrassment

    My sons are very different from each others, and I’ve always treated them differently. I tell them it’s my job to make sure each gets what he needs, not they they each get the same thing. If you are consistent, they get it.
    Good to know thank you for the tip!

    “I think that kids in those (low-income) circumstances rarely have a healthy progression of developing resilience and/or independence, so there is a kind of “learned helplessness” present (or a “doesn’t affect me this second, so I don’t care” attitude). ”
    Had anyone realized that I probably grew poorer than anyone here? Aside from the sociopath my siblings are educated and hold good values. My mother told me always that we weren’t poor just lacked money. There is a difference lacking money is a transitory state being poor is what you call learned helplessness. Don’t need to be rich to teach your kids about hard work, not starving and learning to rise above your base instincts, IMO, YMMV.

  • Lokland

    “But without some incentive, why not aspire to be a debt-free cashier at 7-11 instead of a middle class earner who only makes enough to cover your student debt?”

    Because they don’t want to eat once a day, live in a box and have to worry about the cold winters?

    Seriously, if the MC shifts down so too must the poverty class.

  • doomwolf

    @ Lokland – corollary to that, one of my coworkers grew up in Peru and once told me that “No one in North America is poor. Your ‘poor’ are fat and have TVs.”

    Whether or not you define MC as someone who can take vacations on a regular basis depends if you consider ‘class’ to be based solely on income, s income+occupation/occupational status. A tradesman working in the tar sands might make more than a recent law graduate, but I wouldn’t say that the tradesman is of a higher class just because he’s got a bigger T4.

  • SayWhaat

    david foster, thanks for the book recommendation. I’ll check it out!

  • Jackie

    @Mireille

    “There are so many ways people get discounted here. Once you get into a bad spot, it follows you all your life and basically will become some sort of social determinism. I know there is the hero cult in this society but it is only because people have such rigid opinions about what should be or what should not. If your N is high then you basically trash now; if you have a gap on your resume, then all those years it took to acquire those skills become useless. Are humans so disposable?”
    ===
    You bring up a great point, M. It reminds me of how people will throw away a perfectly good item that may have a mark, scuff or some sign that it’s less than pristine. Despite it’s usefulness and function. :(

    I think there is a kind of black-and-white thinking that gets practiced a lot in the US. Where someone is either the hero, like you said, with the golden fleece who can do no wrong, or the debased wretch who is despised by all. There doesn’t seem to be much room for shades of grey. (Ahh, PLEASE, no jokes about that crass and trashy book!!!! I beg you!)

    The answer is, No, people are not that disposable. But it’s much more convenient to judge and subsequently pidgeon-hole to keep us from thinking of other people as human, with all the regular human frailties and foibles. Like me and you and everybody here. :)

  • Jesse

    There doesn’t seem to be much room for shades of grey. (Ahh, PLEASE, no jokes about that crass and trashy book!!!! I beg you!)

    I somewhat consider it a point of pride to be able to evade cultural phenomena like this.

  • Jackie

    @Susan
    “You’ve escaped the aloof narcissism, clearly. It’s a testament to the power of values in upbringing, and no accident that you hold religion dear.”
    ==
    Thanks! :mrgreen:

    This is the last of the truth-bombs (I promise!) but the reason that religion may be “in the blood” is because of my Dad. When he left home, the day he turned 18, he entered the Christian Brothers of the Order of De La Salle. Before he was My Dad, he was Brother Aloysius, for more than ten years.

    I can’t even imagine taking a vow of poverty, chastity and obedience as a teenager. If I had to speculate on his reason –and I’ve never pushed him on it or his childhood much, as it’s clearly a painful subject :( — I think he wanted know the “peace that surpasses understanding” of a life devoted to God.

    (I don’t think I could even start to share the things about my paternal grandparents, as they are beyond NSFW. Imagine growing up with that and yearning for God. :( )

    Anyway, like Ana said earlier on a different thread, some guys will have such a longing for a family that it surprises even them. My Dad felt that call so strongly he left behind the community that had been *everything* he had known since leaving home.

    This was in the 1970s, so I cannot begin to imagine what must have been like– free love! swingers! socially condoned drug use!– for someone emerging from a monastery. Holy cow, he had to learn how to get a bank account, and how to handle currency! (Even as a teen, my grandfather was true to form and had kept whatever money my dad made for himself.)

    Have you ever seen “The Shawshank Redemption”? I imagine it must have been something like once Red got paroled from jail after 27 years, and all the changes that had passed him by while he was doing life on the inside.

    Anyway, lots to process here. Especially learning from the inside out. No one ever told me, Oh BTW, your grandmother is a hardcore NPD! Bee tee dubs, your grandparents on BOTH sides are psychos! Knowing that something is “off” but not understanding what, and then gaining that understanding is a heroic quest. :) In the meantime… my therapist should just go ahead and put a down payment on a new swimming pool. ;-)

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Jackie

      I don’t mean to be glib, but the story just gets better and better. You wouldn’t even have to lie like James Frey. You’ve got a blockbuster memoir here. I’m 100% serious. It’s like an Ann Tyler novel except it’s all true. Have you thought about writing it all down?

  • Jackie

    @Pennies

    “I do know of two young women on full scholarship who are phenomenal. One has a father in prison and a mother who was out of her life due to drug addiction. She had terrible grades in high school but now has a full scholarship to a great liberal arts school because her writing is very strong”
    ===
    I love stories like that! Pennies, if you’ve figured it out, what is behind the resilience in these kind of people? I’d really love if this could studied, disseminated and taught as a matter of practicality. A life skills class.
    ===
    As to the non-fic writing– aw, Pen, you’re so sweet! :oops: I wish I could! I read a DFW essay or a short story by George Saunders and feel like a toddler beating on rhythm sticks, to their Paganini playing on a Guarneri!

    Thanks for the encouragement, tho! :D

  • A Definite Beta Guy

    If you have to go to college to avoid starving, your leaders should be executed. Summarily.

  • doomwolf

    ADBG

    +1

  • Richard Aubrey

    doomwolf
    The association of money with class is one thing.
    The starving artist considered himself above the prosperous grocer, from whom he begged a commission.
    The point of the discussion seemed to be, where could you get the most money for the least debt and the tar sands are one place. If somebody wants to look down on the tradesman there, the looker-down may be in the position of the starving artist mentioned above.
    What’s his opinion worth to anybody besides himself and fellow starving artists?
    As I said earlier, a woman would probably rather bring a starving young attorney to a sorority reunion than a tradesman from the Bakken fields with considerable money in the bank. But you have to eat.
    One phenomenon of the industrial revolution in Europe was the thrusting industrialists marrying–and bringing their money–into the penurious upper class. Thus both won. The rich guy got a title and the titled got money.
    So perhaps there could be some mixing, even when the guy has dirty hands and massive forearms. And all of your sorority sisters are doing that hand-wave in front of the face thing.
    And you don’t have to invite friends to jewelry parties.

  • Sai

    @Richard Aubrey
    “One phenomenon of the industrial revolution in Europe was the thrusting industrialists marrying–and bringing their money–into the penurious upper class. Thus both won. The rich guy got a title and the titled got money.
    So perhaps there could be some mixing, even when the guy has dirty hands and massive forearms. And all of your sorority sisters are doing that hand-wave in front of the face thing.”

    I wasn’t even in a sorority, so ha! I’ll take it! :D

  • Lokland

    “If you have to go to college to avoid starving, your leaders should be executed. Summarily.”

    I’m goign to take a guess that people have said multiple versions of this throughout the history of our species

    Hunter to farmer.
    ‘If you have to build a house and run a farm to avoid starving, your Chief should be executed..ur rah lets hun T-rex.’

    Farmer to basic education.
    ‘If you have to get an education to maintain a normal standard of living then …”

    Basically the minimal requirements for middle class or more than just food/water have consistently been increasing for pretty much ever.

    At the same time more and more individuals are meeting these requirements.

    Which summarily drives both the standard of living up and what is required to get it (via competition).

    The trend has basically been upwards for approx. 20,000ish years.

    So what is middle class today is poor tomorrow.

  • Ion

    “Seriously, if the MC shifts down so too must the poverty class.”

    Eh…..

    My first apartment in NYC in a bad neighborhood (Flatbush). I had to have a cosigner in order to qualify because it was a “renovated” apt (they only really painted the walls). I made 30,000-35,000 yrly and paid $1250 with a roommate, had student loans, and sometimes struggled when I was laid off in 2009.

    Other tenants in the building (and even the apt next to me) were single mothers I assumed with section 8, and perhaps 2-3 children. Even though I was also struggling, I assume my salary put me in a bracket too high to qualify for section 8/public assistance (though I never tried, no desire to).

    At the end of the day, our salary must not have been that different right? If I’m paying rent/loans and the other tenants were not. Financially similar to the part time walmart clerk and 24,000 secretary with a bachelors degree who pays off loans. We basically make the same salary at the end of the day.

    So the poor class is expanding, and by default, the middle class is shrinking. And no one is starving, everyone is just struggling pretty much equally.

    “If you have to go to college to avoid starving, your leaders should be executed. Summarily.”

    +1.

    Particularly if you have to be 50 grand in debt JUST to prevent starving.

  • pennies

    @Jackie

    LOL Susan is right — you would not need to roll James Frey-style. You have more than enough material to mine. Please do write. If not now, later in life. Your families stories and the meaning you make of them are so compelling. There is something very healing and very genuine about the way you share them.

    As far as what makes someone resilient — I was hoping Paul’s Tough’s book would shed more light (it’s called How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character). But a lot of it was a repeat of psych wisdom I’ve heard of before, like the marshmellow experiment. I do think it’s a good read if someone wants all of the basic research assembled in an easy-to-read book written by someone who excels at longform journalism. But does it tell us how to restructure schools or society to optimize success for most children? Nah, not really. I think psych folks and educators are still grappling and trying to figure it out.

    After I finished my undergrad at Chicago long ago, I was a research assistant for the professor who studied intrinsic motivation and coined the term “flow.” About ten percent of the population are what he calls “autotelic” — they thrive on challenging situations that require focus. People who are autotelic are generally happier and more likely to stay creative across their lifespan. Elites have been studied extensively.

    But I don’t think anyone knows much about how to make de-motivated teenagers enjoy school. :O

    I do believe that our brains are trainable and that we can teach ourselves optimistic habits and thought patterns. But but but… I also think that a more optimistic character is somewhat hard-wired.

    Occasionally, I see students who have little family support kick some serious ass and I can’t really explain it… They just seem to have innate hopefulness and gratitude.

  • JP

    I’m whatever the opposite of resilient is.

    I also have a complete lack of purpose or goals at this stage of my life.

    Although I thrive on challenging situations that require focus.

    Go figure.

  • OffTheCuff

    Jesse: “I somewhat consider it a point of pride to be able to evade cultural phenomena like this.”

    I haven’t read Harry Potter yet, either.