Can you still get ahead in America?

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In this WSJ video interview, Charles Murray says it is not correct that young people can't get jobs in this economy. Rather, he says they can't the jobs they perceive they deserve, that they are not willing to start at a low paying gig and work up.

Opinion: Can You Still Get Ahead in America?

Looking at the bigger picture, he says most people don't work as hard as they could, and that you can do well for yourself in America just by doing good work because most people turn in average work. From your low level job as a 20-something, it may seem daunting to get ahead. However, from the top, managers are desperate to find good workers who can stand out.

I believe there is unlimited opportunity if you are willing to work hard and accept greater responsibility to get things done. What's your opinion? Can you still get ahead in America, or have opportunities to advance been obliterated due to income inequality, movement of jobs overseas, robotics, cronyism, and every other reason we are told?
  • Profile picture of the author HeySal
    I think it's harder now. The gov is trying to take every damned cent they can get their greedy little mitts on. It leaves a lot less for people to maneuver on. Those with some ingenuity can still make it happen, though. They just have to understand in the admin of the Freebie - success can't just be handed to someone.
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    Sal
    When the Roads and Paths end, learn to guide yourself through the wilderness
    Beyond the Path

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  • Profile picture of the author James McAllister
    I didn't watch the video but I don't think there's really such thing as a career anymore, only jobs. Hard work is important for sure but doesn't have the value it did 50 years ago. Qualified degree holders are so abundant that employers really don't mind getting rid of anybody to be replaced by somebody who is slightly cheaper or works slightly harder.

    As far as getting ahead goes - it really starts with not getting behind. The main cause of getting behind is taking out student loans for a degree that has no value. You can certainly make good money, but you either need to start a business or get a degree in something that society actually needs (STEM or trades come to mind.)

    Sadly, most people DO NOT major in these areas and then are stuck in the 'rat race' because they have a ton of debt. Tuition costs are continuing to go up while the value of a degree is continuing to go down.

    My question is when will this end? Hard to say...
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    • Profile picture of the author Dovakiin
      Banned
      Originally Posted by James McAllister View Post

      I didn't watch the video but...
      Then why are you commenting on it!? Too typical.

      I disagree with Mr. Murray. He's making false generalizations about Millennials concerning their upbringing and work ethic.

      Many of them have worked labor jobs while paying their way through school. Many of them were kicked out of their homes at 18 to "grow up".

      Many of them have degrees and higher education. Many of them have done what they were "supposed" to do. It's not too much to ask for a stable job with enough income to survive. But employers want their cake and to eat it too.

      Murray's points sound all too typical of a baby boomer. The worst generation so far. The generation that squandered all the progress and entitlements that the Greatest Generation worked so hard for. Yet it's the Millennials fault for demanding some opportunity in the workplace?

      To hell with you Mr. Murray.

      Originally Posted by seasoned View Post

      SAM WALTON wasn't rich! His first attempt at something like Walmart was VERY modest! Steve Jobs and Stephen Wozniak were practically POOR, they had to scrounge in defect bins for parts for prototypes! They sold an old VW bus(COMMON in those days!), and a calculator, to get the seed money(around $2000, IIRC), to start Apple. Apparently warran buffett wasn't rich EITHER! He developed a reputation in stocks, started a kind of mutual fund of sorts that became Berkshire hathway. He bought companies that were distressed in some way, and built them up.

      As for employers? My old job, working at what was then a career has been broken up into like 10+ careers! Seriously, I can't really do the job I did, I have to pick a PART. And companies hire a LOT of people they DON'T need! It is a pity that OTHER dynamics cause so much garbage.

      And NOW, they have ARTIFICIAL concepts that have artificial ownership, etc... And the idea of various fads doesn't help.

      But yeah, a lot of kids today just want to go right out and get a 6 figure job. A couple business magazines like 2 DECADES ago spoke of the "MBA GLUT"!

      HECK, for a while, my career was simple concepts and business skills and automating that. TODAY, on some whim, all the technology might change, and I have to learn it all, ALL OVER AGAIN.

      At my first computer programming job, for an employer, ****I**** was the BA, MANAGER, PROGRAMMER, ANALYST, ARCHITECT, DBA, TESTER, CONFIGURATION MANAGER, etc...

      I say that NOT to make my job look more complex, but simply to show how much things have changed. I once waited about 4 WEEKS for two fields to be added to a table. I could LITERALLY do it in a few seconds. SERIOUSLY, I did EVERYTHING, and only had to push a BUTTON! But I was FORBIDDEN to do that, and I had to wait for the DBA to do it which included 2 ROUND TRIP FLIGHTS to his home!
      The fields ended up being named wrong, but I changed my code to use them, just to avoid waiting another 4 weeks. OK, OK, he DID do it MANUALLY! I have to admit that if I did that it WOULD take a lot longer. It would probably take like 2 whole MINUTES!

      BTW they have been having tens of thousands of foreigners come here every year to get US jobs. The current yearly quota is 85000. Those are NEW guys! The old ones can come in as long as they are sponsored.

      Steve
      Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

      I can only think of thousands of examples, from personal acquaintances...where that is wrong. In fact, It astounds me that your brain just didn't slap you, as soon as you typed it out.
      Originally Posted by BigFrank View Post

      There's a good reason for that. Think about it for a few seconds. I promise you it will slap YOU upside the head.

      Cheers. - Frank

      I love it when the plebeians defend their rich masters. It makes the system work so well! Statistically speaking...Walking Carpet is correct. But of course you'll all hammer on me soon enough with your assorted BS rationales. Tsk Tsk
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      • Profile picture of the author seasoned
        Originally Posted by Dovakiin View Post

        Then why are you commenting on it!? Too typical.

        I disagree with Mr. Murray. He's making false generalizations about Millennials concerning their upbringing and work ethic.

        Many of them have worked labor jobs while paying their way through school. Many of them were kicked out of their homes at 18 to "grow up".

        Many of them have degrees and higher education. Many of them have done what they were "supposed" to do. It's not too much to ask for a stable job with enough income to survive. But employers want their cake and to eat it too.

        Murray's points sound all too typical of a baby boomer. The worst generation so far. The generation that squandered all the progress and entitlements that the Greatest Generation worked so hard for. Yet it's the Millennials fault for demanding some opportunity in the workplace?

        To hell with you Mr. Murray.


        I love it when the plebeians defend their rich masters. It makes the system work so well! Statistically speaking...Walking Carpet is correct. But of course you'll all hammer on me soon enough with your assorted BS rationales. Tsk Tsk
        Well, people HAVE done REALLY well on minor things. The guy that started what is apparently the #2 concession/catering company on the planet started by selling PEANUTS from the trunk of his car! Carls Junior(AKA HARDEES) started as a hotdog push cart! mcdonalds was based on a small restaurant two brothers started.

        Is it hard? Often, YEAH! Is the government and a lot of rich idiots making it harder? YEAH! I am NOT defending them AT ALL! But WC was wrong.

        As for what you say about the millennials? lawsuits, news, polls, etc... don't seem to bare it out! In fact, it is thinking like THEIRS, or YOURS, that helps to make things HARDER! And HEY, that better fits the definition of plebeian! You say "It's not too much to ask for a stable job with enough income to survive.". And many times IT IS! If you want to charge SO much that the people at the lowest paying jobs get a "living wage", you are not only being a hypocrit, but part of the problem. What will happen is what HAS happened EVERY TIME! The price of EVERYTHING climbs up, and you come back. THAT is why, in the 77 years it's been done, there has been no success!
        And HEY, the idea of taxing all to death and having tons of kids, even if you can't afford food for YOURSELF, isn't helping. And the US USED to provide work for citizens and those committed to legally staying here, or that happened to be here legally. NOW, the us feigns to do THAT, but also for illegal aliens, and people brought in to do so.

        Steve
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      • Profile picture of the author TLTheLiberator
        Originally Posted by Dovakiin View Post

        Then why are you commenting on it!? Too typical.

        I disagree with Mr. Murray. He's making false generalizations about Millennials concerning their upbringing and work ethic.

        Many of them have worked labor jobs while paying their way through school. Many of them were kicked out of their homes at 18 to "grow up".

        Many of them have degrees and higher education. Many of them have done what they were "supposed" to do. It's not too much to ask for a stable job with enough income to survive. But employers want their cake and to eat it too.





        Murray's points sound all too typical of a baby boomer. The worst generation so far. The generation that squandered all the progress and entitlements that the Greatest Generation worked so hard for. Yet it's the Millennials fault for demanding some opportunity in the workplace?

        To hell with you Mr. Murray.








        I love it when the plebeians defend their rich masters. It makes the system work so well! Statistically speaking...Walking Carpet is correct. But of course you'll all hammer on me soon enough with your assorted BS rationales. Tsk Tsk
        I don't agree with your comments regarding rich masters etc., but this below is making more and more sense and its surely something most baby boomers don't want to hear.

        You said...

        "Murray's points sound all too typical of a baby boomer. The worst generation so far. The generation that squandered all the progress and entitlements that the Greatest Generation worked so hard for.

        Yet it's the Millennials fault for demanding some opportunity in the workplace?"


        I say...

        To be more precise, I believe some (but not all) of the baby boomers helped squandered the gifts bequeathed to them by the greatest generation and have not done a good job setting up the next generation.

        (Actually I think the revolutionary and/or even the civil war generation were greater that the "greatest generation")
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        • Profile picture of the author Dovakiin
          Banned
          Originally Posted by TLTheLiberator View Post

          To be more precise, I believe some (but not all) of the baby boomers helped squandered the gifts bequeathed to them by the greatest generation and have not done a good job setting up the next generation.

          (Actually I think the revolutionary and/or even the civil war generation were greater that the "greatest generation")
          I use the term "Greatest Generation" because that's what they are typically referred to...not necessarily because they are the greatest generation of Americans. IMO every generation has some of the greatest of the times...and the worst. I was simply using the vernacular. Anyway, you make fair points. A lot of Millennials grew up entitled...but I'd venture to say that more Boomers had the good life growing up as opposed to Millennials. But ultimately, this is the realm for social scientists and statisticians to sort out.
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          • Profile picture of the author Midnight Oil
            Originally Posted by Dovakiin View Post

            A lot of Millennials grew up entitled...but I'd venture to say that more Boomers had the good life growing up as opposed to Millennials.
            How would you define "the good life" that you think this majority enjoyed?
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            • Profile picture of the author seasoned
              Originally Posted by Midnight Oil View Post

              How would you define "the good life" that you think this majority enjoyed?
              Yeah, weren't they saying the baby boomers were the FIRST generation to not be better off than their parents?

              Social Security hits first wave of boomers - USATODAY.com

              Baby Boomers: Poorer in Old Age Than Their Parents - Businessweek

              Baby boomers worse off than those starting work in 1990s | Business | The Guardian

              As irma bombeck said the grass is always greener over the septic tank!

              Steve
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              • Profile picture of the author TLTheLiberator
                Originally Posted by seasoned View Post

                Yeah, weren't they saying the baby boomers were the FIRST generation to not be better off than their parents?

                Social Security hits first wave of boomers - USATODAY.com

                Baby Boomers: Poorer in Old Age Than Their Parents - Businessweek

                Baby boomers worse off than those starting work in 1990s | Business | The Guardian

                As irma bombeck said the grass is always greener over the septic tank!

                Steve

                And some folks started with a bang and are ending with a whimper - and IMHO their parents generation can't be blamed for it.
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                "It's easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled. -- Mark Twain

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                • Profile picture of the author seasoned
                  Originally Posted by TLTheLiberator View Post

                  And some folks started with a bang and are ending with a whimper - and IMHO their parents generation can't be blamed for it.
                  Who do YOU blame for the social security crisis? It DOES exist! I have spoken to retired people from all walks of life, AND gone to the social security website. They ALL say the same thing. Only AFTER one of the recent ACA bombs(triggered 1/1/2014, IIRC), is social security POSSIBLY over minimum wage now. That ISN'T because SS went up, but because the REAL minimum wage, or rather minimum salary, FELL!

                  But OK, you blew your whole theory about minimum wage, etc.... I mean YOUR theory is they got here first, got to that point and won't "pay their fair share". But your statement ABOVE says they aren't responsible for ANYTHING. So I don't really care what your response is.

                  BTW I wouldn't be talking about social security so much if they didn't make regular investing so complicated, put limits on all retirement vehicles, and STEAL money for SS on the PRETENSE that we will EVENTUALLY get it back with interest and be able to live off of it. Many pension plans are gone, and that is likely a consequence of the SS garbage.

                  Steve
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      • Profile picture of the author BigFrank
        Banned
        Originally Posted by Dovakiin View Post

        Then why are you commenting on it!? Too typical.
        New around these parts, I see. Tread lightly lest you be the second newbie banned in 3 days for not getting their feet wet before jumping in, head first. No reason to quote me in your rant. My post did not pertain to you, since as of this date I have not authorized you to engage me in any fashion.

        My work is done, here.

        Cheers. - Frank
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  • Profile picture of the author TLTheLiberator
    Of course its harder now than in America's golden age. Jobs were falling out of the sky in those days.

    With the glut of unemployed and underemployed workers on the market brought on by the great recession, there's less freedom of movement in most industries and right now employers have the upper hand.

    It also doesn't help that since about 1980 wages have not kept up with inflation and productivity. But those with specialized in demand knowledge in settled or growing sectors of the economy will be fine - as far as jobs go.

    But all of the above doesn't mean conditions won't improve for the average American - and only time will tell.
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    "It's easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled. -- Mark Twain

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  • Profile picture of the author WalkingCarpet
    Banned
    You have to be born rich and powerful or you won't get anywhere in this world.
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    • Profile picture of the author tagiscom
      Originally Posted by WalkingCarpet View Post

      You have to be born rich and powerful or you won't get anywhere in this world.
      You can become rich, (online) power is just a by product, or it gives you more options!

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    • Profile picture of the author seasoned
      Originally Posted by WalkingCarpet View Post

      You have to be born rich and powerful or you won't get anywhere in this world.
      SAM WALTON wasn't rich! His first attempt at something like Walmart was VERY modest! Steve Jobs and Stephen Wozniak were practically POOR, they had to scrounge in defect bins for parts for prototypes! They sold an old VW bus(COMMON in those days!), and a calculator, to get the seed money(around $2000, IIRC), to start Apple. Apparently warran buffett wasn't rich EITHER! He developed a reputation in stocks, started a kind of mutual fund of sorts that became Berkshire hathway. He bought companies that were distressed in some way, and built them up.

      As for employers? My old job, working at what was then a career has been broken up into like 10+ careers! Seriously, I can't really do the job I did, I have to pick a PART. And companies hire a LOT of people they DON'T need! It is a pity that OTHER dynamics cause so much garbage.

      And NOW, they have ARTIFICIAL concepts that have artificial ownership, etc... And the idea of various fads doesn't help.

      But yeah, a lot of kids today just want to go right out and get a 6 figure job. A couple business magazines like 2 DECADES ago spoke of the "MBA GLUT"!

      HECK, for a while, my career was simple concepts and business skills and automating that. TODAY, on some whim, all the technology might change, and I have to learn it all, ALL OVER AGAIN.

      At my first computer programming job, for an employer, ****I**** was the BA, MANAGER, PROGRAMMER, ANALYST, ARCHITECT, DBA, TESTER, CONFIGURATION MANAGER, etc...

      I say that NOT to make my job look more complex, but simply to show how much things have changed. I once waited about 4 WEEKS for two fields to be added to a table. I could LITERALLY do it in a few seconds. SERIOUSLY, I did EVERYTHING, and only had to push a BUTTON! But I was FORBIDDEN to do that, and I had to wait for the DBA to do it which included 2 ROUND TRIP FLIGHTS to his home!
      The fields ended up being named wrong, but I changed my code to use them, just to avoid waiting another 4 weeks. OK, OK, he DID do it MANUALLY! I have to admit that if I did that it WOULD take a lot longer. It would probably take like 2 whole MINUTES!

      BTW they have been having tens of thousands of foreigners come here every year to get US jobs. The current yearly quota is 85000. Those are NEW guys! The old ones can come in as long as they are sponsored.

      Steve
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    • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
      Originally Posted by WalkingCarpet View Post

      You have to be born rich and powerful or you won't get anywhere in this world.
      I can only think of thousands of examples, from personal acquaintances...where that is wrong. In fact, It astounds me that your brain just didn't slap you, as soon as you typed it out.
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      "Those who know that they are profound strive for clarity. Those who would like to seem profound to the crowd strive for obscurity" Friedrich Nietzsche
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      • Profile picture of the author BigFrank
        Banned
        Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

        It astounds me that your brain just didn't slap you, as soon as you typed it out.
        There's a good reason for that. Think about it for a few seconds. I promise you it will slap YOU upside the head.

        Cheers. - Frank
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        • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
          Originally Posted by BigFrank View Post

          There's a good reason for that. Think about it for a few seconds. I promise you it will slap YOU upside the head.

          Cheers. - Frank
          Well played, my ironicalistic...ish friend.
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          One Call Closing book https://www.amazon.com/One-Call-Clos...=1527788418&sr

          "Those who know that they are profound strive for clarity. Those who would like to seem profound to the crowd strive for obscurity" Friedrich Nietzsche
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      • Profile picture of the author WalkingCarpet
        Banned
        Originally Posted by Claude Whitacre View Post

        It astounds me that your brain just didn't slap you, as soon as you typed it out.
        Me hair got in the way.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dani Jackson
    I agree! There are many opportunities if you are willing to put in the work.
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