The Brainchild of Unpaid Internships: The Nazis

(Article first published as The Brainchild of Unpaid Internships: The Nazis on Technorati.)

Bowl of Bourbon

“For those who enjoy the taste of variety”

“Your work at a factory will help build Deutschland” was probably belted out of the propaganda ridden speakers on a routine basis in Nazi Germany. Replace factory with ‘internship’ and Deutschland with ‘your career’ and you’re listening to the same BS projecting from your college adviser’s scam ridden mouth. The only difference is the person you’re hearing this from doesn’t have an odd little mustache. Or do they. . .

Instead of wasting your time wondering why certain college majors require the completion of an internship, because many already do, ask why not? From their viewpoint, the benefits are endless. Pimping out student interns to businesses adds connections to the school, potential fund donations, fees for the internship “course” and the department doesn’t have to pay for a teacher or equipment. All they have to do is continue blindfolding students from seeing the real picture.

Let me first throw out the disclaimer that not all internships are unpaid. There are a select few internships that follow the normal human principle of giving a paycheck to a person that does work for the company. Not pointing my finger at those. However, the majority of internships offer indentured servitude; oops, I mean “for-credit” positions. Allow me to let you in on a secret, “for-credit” is code for free labor. Some cake eating administrator coined the term; he thought it sounded a bit jazzier.

“With job openings scarce for young people, the number of unpaid internships has climbed in recent years, leading federal and state regulators to worry that more employers are illegally using such internships for free labor.” -NYTimes.

And to this, the index finger’s pissed off neighbor is raised.

The hyenas that support unpaid internships preach the so-called benefits of said position: experience, class credit, learning how to hustle, opportunity to get your foot in the door. How noble of an idea, put in hard work and reap the rewards later on. The American dream. The concept is just like buying something on credit that you can’t afford; you’re only kidding yourself. The American nightmare. Beneath the surface of this utopian concept, the true beneficiary is not who you would expect: the employer.

But federal regulators say that receiving college credit does not necessarily free companies from paying interns, especially when the internship involves little training and mainly benefits the employer.” – NYTimes.

Look around, you’re at a company with 16 employees and 8 interns. You really think they’re looking to increase staff by 50%? Do yourself a favor, start playing Clue, not Monopoly. A new flock of sheep will be filing in the next quarter. To pass go in this game, you don’t just have to avoid getting taxed. You have to pay the piper to just roll the dice.

Essentially, at the forefront of this broken concept is the hypothesis, “If students are required to complete an internship, they will be better prepared for a career after graduation.” Grand idea, but there’s a reason it hasn’t become a theory. The patsies that are relaying this scheme to students need to notify their superiors that it’s time to close the curtains on this charade. The presence of many imperfect variables is causing this experiment to become an ultimate failure.

To fully understand how ludicrous it is to require internship experience, you have to look at the circumstances that are in play for a college student. The majority of college students take a full course load each semester. On top of that, many have a part time job during the school year and work full time over the summer to pay for tuition. Students are left with a dismal catch-22 situation: either take the internship during the semester when they are working and attending class or over the summer; instead of working at a full time paying job.

Both options come with thick wrinkles that call for an industrial iron to flatten out. For the intern-during-semester route, you have to find an opportunity within driving distance of campus. Schools do not place students at internships; that’s so Commi. Instead, students are expected to find an opportunity themselves. Time for real world experience in capitalism kids! Students have to compete with their fellow classmates for the few internship opportunities in the surrounding area.

Unfortunately, the situation always plays out like being the 2nd captain in pick-up basketball. The 1st captain gets the tall, athletic player and you’re stuck with the guy that has a gimp leg. All of the promising paid internships that are located near campus are swept up by those who have an “in”. For the rest of us who don’t have the fortune of a Dad that golfs with big wigs, we’re left with the scraps. This, of course, happens to be the stale medley that is far away and doesn’t pay. Thanks, but no thanks.

As a result, many students have to resort to interning over the summer. For students that have to support themselves financially, it’s like throwing giant stones on their already sinking ship. They lose out on all the money they would have made at a regular job for an unpaid position that will eventually catapult them to the stars!

“Some of my friends can’t take these internships and spend a summer without making any money because they have to help pay for their own tuition or help their families with finances,” she said. “That makes them less competitive candidates for jobs after graduation.” – NYTimes

The notion that internship experience will lead to a higher salary career is initially ass backwards. It has gotten to the point where many students are paying for their time as an intern. Add this expense to their mound of student loans and you’re looking at a recent graduate entering the real world drowning in debt. Please, Mr. Cake Eater, can you toss out a lifesaver?

To put an end to this unjust scam, it’s time to start shining a fluorescent spotlight on the weasley exploiters that enable this travesty to continue. Only under this hot light and scrutiny will they break a sweat and admit wrongdoing.

The businesses that have unpaid internship positions should be subject to public stoning. Knowing full well of how hamstrung students are, they take advantage of their desperation to fulfill the requirement. The tyrants’ stance on internships is centered on the thuggish premise, “Why take the toll road when we can veer off to this service road. We’ll avoid the fee and it isn’t exactly illegal.” They’re taking advantage of the situation and reaping the benefits without getting penalized.

Boorish advice from one pimp to another pimp; internship.com explaining to employers the vast benefits of taking in indentured servants:

“Take advantage of low-cost labor. Interns are an inexpensive resource. Their salaries are significantly lower than staff employees, and you aren’t obligated to pay unemployment or a severance package should you not hire them on full time. Moreover, while their wage requirements are modest, they’re among the most highly motivated members of the workforce.

The pimp continued, “Like Leonidas in ‘300’ said, ‘Give them nothing, but take from them, everything!”

Whether it’s negligence, sheer stupidity, or some shady monetary reason, the colleges that require students to complete an internship deserve the sharpest stones. They aren’t putting any traffic cones up to block the crooks. The trolls are either waving the exploiters through or are too ignorant to realize that they need to be put up. When a bully is stealing a kid’s candy bar, you would think the parent would say something instead of looking the other way. Maybe they’re going halfsies on the Twix bar? Who knows.

Now, after being pelted and bloodied, the scoundrel administrators should listen to a very simple solution. DO NOT REQUIRE; have internship “course” as an elective, under one condition. This solution would save many students from financially crippling themselves. For the admins that are hell-bent on students taking internships, one condition MUST apply. All internships taken for course credit “through” the school must be paid positions and an elective. Every single ghoul recruiter that steps foot on campus looking for interns must be offering wages for the duration of the internship.

“About 60 percent of students who did a paid internship in the for-profit sector received a job offer by graduation, while only 38 percent of students who’d participated in an unpaid internship in that sector had an offer by then.

Time to make the change, pimps, if you want to be able to continue the “we want to better prepare students for the future” spiel.

And to the shady businesses, be prepared.

The blindfold has been ripped off. We are now putting up the cones.


Sorry, Keep the Champagne on Ice – Part 3

(Posted in Muddled Memories)

(Continued from Sorry, Keep the Champagne on Ice – Part 2)

Two buds, draft.  Want anything to eat? Nachos, Bruce.  Order of nachos and a hot dog, extra mustard.   That’ll be $20 even, sir.  Piston looked like someone took a broken bottle to his Charger’s tires.  $20!?  Filet mignon gettin’ sprinkled on them nachos?  His downtown Flint attitude took the cashier off guard.  He didn’t know what to say.  No, sorry, just cheese with the nachos.  Piston forked over the cash.  Decades later, he’s still in denial that beers aren’t a quarter anymore.  Why you gotta do that?  These prices are ridiculous.  It’s not like he sets the prices.  Come on, you know that McClaneEasy to say when it’s free, BlutoI stand corrected.  But, the wheels are in motion Butch.  I’ll be getting the next roundYou steal someone’s lunch money?  No, I convinced them to give it to me.  Give it a year, no more hand outs.  With a “I see your BS and raise you” grin, – Okay, Biff.  We grabbed our hillbilly supper and trotted off to see shit get smashed.

The pungent smell of gasoline and b.o. stampeded upon my senses as I walked through the grandstand.  I could taste the sewage excitement.  This is so American!  Piston agreed as he nudged his way through a group of Big Berthas sporting belly high Wranglers.  Damnit!  Aw, Shucks!  5 minutes into the event and Piston’s buzz was already killed.  One of the Bertha’s bumped into him and spilled beer on his sentimental Gorski Automotive shirt.  Forget the ol’ shirt, Piston is steamed about losing 50 cents worth of brew. The Gravedigger better revive the night, damnit.

At last, we reached our comfy hard plastic seats.  Time to enjoy the delightful combination of stale chippy’s and artificial cheese.  After checking my fingers for any remnants of left over cheese, I slipped on my trusty batter’s gloveWhat the hell are you doing?  Yes, I come prepared.  I don’t want to turn my hand into an icicle while enjoying my beverage.  After taking a couple sips, I realized that this was most likely perceived as a sign of a alcoholic or a resourceful idiot; with no in between.  My theory was reinforced when I caught Piston’s perplexed glare.  I quickly scanned my surroundings to find a counter.  Look, they’ve got the right idea.  A group of resourceful gents.  I yelled down to my fellow aristocrats.  Ehh!  They turned around.  With my free hand, I pointed to my boozin’ glove.  Get R Done!  We “air” cheers’d and let ‘em rip.

Piston signaled near their seats.  I suppose your hand would get cold after 10 cups.  Chalk one up for us outside the box thinkers Piston.  I couldn’t help but think it was an omen or something; this was the perfect segue for bringing up my idea.  F’in alcoholics.  Did I just hear Ol’ Piston mumble F’in alcoholics?  What?  Huh, nothin’.  So much for the omen.  Better yet.  I signaled to the beer guy.  Two buds. 

Oh, good, I’m just about out.  Oh, you want one?  Damn, you should move down there with the Belushi brothers.  I had a long week.  I changed the order.  Make it 4.  Another perplexed glare was shot at my grill.  God gave you two hands for a reasonYeah, to build things, to fix things.  Not to shot put beer into your mouth.  I guess you used to street race for tea and jellybeans then.  Lighten up Stone Cold.  I handed the beer guy a $20 for the alottment.  That from the first national bank of Piston?  You referring to yourself in the 3rd person now?  I grabbed the other glove out of my pocket and tossed it onto Ol’ Piston’s lap.  He caved.  Alright.  He slipped on the glove and gripped one of the cups.  He held it up – To Motor City.

Part 4 will be served shortly . . .

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Sorry, Keep the Champagne on Ice – Part 2

(Posted in Muddled Memories)

(Continued from Sorry, Keep the Champagne on Ice – Part 1)

“The God’s” quintessential jam was blaring when he peeled into the parking lot.  It’s been a long time since I rocked and rolled.  Very good sign.  Meant he was in a good mood; Piston mode.  You know when your jamming to a rager, say For Whom The Bell Tolls , you start uncontrollably stomping your foot and head banging.  Oh really, you aren’t into rock?  You prefer listening to Jack Johnson and throwing a frisbee.  Well, just move along then.  Anyway, that warm blood pumping upward from your rockin’ foot to your metal head starts producing an impulsive, excited feeling.  You want to do something spontaneous, something crazy.  I cranked up the treble and volume.  Ol’ Piston started nodding his head.  Hopefully he’ll want t0 do something crazy; like back this headless venture.

We roared onto the interstate.  Ol’ Piston kicked his high school sweetheart into 4th gear.  You could feel the American muscle rumbling (OR PUMPING IRON?) through your seat.  Let me get it back, baby, where I come from.  I was smashing an “air” bass drum, channeling my inner John Bonham.  These speakers have projected some of the greatest riffs in rock history.    90 mph and climbing, we passed a minivan.  Pansies.  Ironic, considering we also own one.

It’s always an honor to ride co-pilot in the Charger.  Ol’ Piston only brings her out on special occasions now.  Round 30 years ago, he peeled through the Detroit night piloting this beast, racing for 12 packs.  She delivered many victories, many PBR’s.

Those victorious PBR’s didn’t come easy.  At age 13, Ol’ Piston began grinding away at a downtown gas station.  Removing dead rats, cleaning the crapper, pumping gas, and everything in between was part of the the job description.  And, no surprise, the owner was a full blown alcoholic.    Piston kept his Chuck Taylors  laced tight in case he had to make a run for it.  Fast forward five years, and he was a master mechanic at the age of 18.

Like your ordinary alcoholic, the owner was damn near broke.  In desperate need of cash, he put  his prized Charger up for sale.  Ol’ Piston  put in a offer well short of what he was asking for.  The owner threw his hands up in the air.  A couple days later, he lowered them to shake Piston’s hand.  Instead of gunning it out of the lot, laughing at the guy with his middle finger raised, like many would have done, he continued working for him.  For 3 more years.    He kept the shop alive, along with the owner.

When I was a spud, we all met the owner.  Doing his best to hold back tears, “Piston is the reason I’m still alive.  The poor guy had his problems, but damn did he come up with a great nickname.  Actually, he might of stole it from the basketball team, but . . . it stuck, so screw it.

Decades later, you can still see faint black lines embedded in the crevices of my Dad’s  fingers.  If you didn’t know him, you would think he’s allergic to washing his hands.  There’s nothing he can do about it.  The oil is pretty much tattooed on his skin.  Those lines aren’t the only permanent marks on his skin.  He has an actual tattoo on his upper right arm. “Motor City” above a sketch of a  Charger.  Now a days, he makes sure this is covered at all times.  The Joneses would turn their noses up at the sight of it.  He wouldn’t admit it, but, I’m sure that’s why.

As a youngster,  it was cool to see all the neighbors roll their cars into our driveway for Piston to fix.  By this time, we all were living in the Commonwealth and pops had become the manager at a car dealership.  Everyone in the neighborhood knew him as the Detroit motor head; Mr. Piston.  He’d have his sleeveless t shirts on, proudly showing his Motor City branding.  Many payments went unfulfilled, but it didn’t bother him.  More than anything, it was to get back to his roots.  To remind himself of how he got his Charger.

We’re now in the right lane going 55.  Minivans are passing us on the left.  The music inside the Charger is tuned to the level a nun would vibe to.  Genie in a bottle is thumping from the Odysseys flying by us.  I’m beginning to feel sick.

Currently, Pops is an industrial engineer executive.  He can’t red line his fun anymore.  As many females in my age group would say, “no time” to be irresponsible.  No time for victorious PBR’s.  We pulled into the parking lot.   I’d like to see Ol’ Pistol roll his sleeves up, one last time. 

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Sorry, Keep the Champagne on Ice – Part 1

(Posted in Muddled Memories)

(Continued from Toilet Alarm Clock – Part 2)

Parents change your poo diapers, listen to you when your voice changes to an annoying Michael Jackson pitch, and invest in you going to college.  They grin and bear through this ever long sentence in purgatory in hopes that you gain some semblance of a skill in college and land a job.  Then, they can finally belt out “Victory!”  Champagne is popped and at last, relief.

I was cognizant of that as I was pacing around thinking of the best way to pitch the idea to my Dad.  In my parents minds, the long awaited boot-to-ass day is so close that they can almost taste the Cristal. The last thing they’d want to hear is that I want to start a business.  That would definitely keep the bottle on ice for awhile.  Well, damn, I want to move out too.  Hell with champagne, I’m going to be celebrating with several sets of keg stands.  Sure, it’s going to extend my stay, but its too good to leave on the back burner.  This baby needs to immediately be thrown into the deep frier.  Its marinated and ready to be devoured.  I stood still.  Why am I arguing with myself?  I need to come up with something.  I concluded the best thing to do was check out clips of the show “The Apprentice” on youtube.

Thinking that I could get some good ideas on how to pitch an idea, I realized that this was the worst thing I could have watched.  The Donald completely craps on everything the contestants had to say.  Fortunately, my Dad is bald doesn’t have a severed skunk’s tail sitting on his head like The Donald.  So, it might not be as bad.  Hopefully.

My Dad was going to arrive any minute to pick me up for the monster truck rally we had tickets to.  I needed to have a strategy ready because I knew how he would respond.  Businesses take forever to start, you need a lot of start up money, there’s probably something already like it, and you don’t know anything about business.  Taking a step back, I knew that they all were fair points; other than the something already like it part.  Rather than combat every point he made, I decided it would be better to counter with a tried and true method The ol’,  “Look what they did.  If they can do it then I can.”  The success-story- strategy (try saying that 5 times fast) can be a deal closer if used correctly.  I had a specific story in mind that was similar to my situation.  This will show that it is realistic to think that it can work.

With this “wing and a prayer” plan in my back pocket, I went to eagerly await outside.  While waiting, I felt like I was about to try out for a sports team.  I had to prove that I had something viable in order to make the cut.  It was important to have my Dad on board with this venture to bestow his decades of business smarts.  And, obviously, help out with some start up cheese.  I could see my Dad’s ’71 Charger howling down the hill.  I crossed my fingers.  Hopefully the rally cars are the only things that get crushed today.

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Toilet Alarm Clock – Part 2

(Posted in Muddled Memories)

(Continued from Toilet Alarm Clock – Part 1)

The internet is full of information.  And a lot of it is useless.  It’s almost a science to know how to find helpful information.  You would think you could type  __________ manufacturing into the mighty Google and a plethora of useful links would pop up.  Unfortunately, that’s not the case.  Many of the search results that show up at the top are the companies that pay top dollar to get that position.  These companies can pay big bucks to get there because they are hauling in big bucks.  They do business with well established brands that have deep pockets.  Developing a product for a complete amateur isn’t exactly on their to do list.  In fact, it’s not on it at all.  Manufacturers, especially oversees ones, deal in minimum orders.  They usually require you to purchase at least 2,000 units.  So, let’s say each unit is $10 from the factory.  You’re in $20,000 deep for just the first order.

Not to mention, oversees manufacturers are in foreign countries.  Slight problem; they speak a foreign language.  How the heck am I supposed to communicate with them?  I don’t even know any of the important terms for this type of industry.  I was ready to give up and roll back onto the ground.

I stuck it out for a couple more searches and struck gold.  So I thought.  Here we go, a manufacturer that is only about 5 hours away and works with start ups.  How lucky am I . . . they do consulting and construct prototypes.  Everything on their website looked good and I liked what I was seeing.  I did a little research about the company in a couple forums and everything check out alright.  I decided to email them to see if they could help me out.

It’s kind of amazing now a days with social media and information overload that everyone has to have some comedian in them.  You’ve got to stand out a little if you want to get someone’s attention.  (It’s too bad because it creates the annoying “one-upper” type person.)  I realized that this manufacturing company probably got hundreds of emails a day from people like me that thought they had a fantastic idea.  They were pretty much the only company I found after hours of research that stated they work with amateurs.

So, the subject line of an email becomes your audition.  You’ve got to pass the eye test and compel them to click on it.  I went with “College student with an idea so good I will no longer have to sleep my way to the top.” A little long?  Absolutely.  But, they responded.  And God, how I now wish they didn’t . . .

It’s funny how sometimes you think you caught a lucky break and it really turns out to a shitty situation.  Kind of like having a toilet siren for an alarm clock . . .

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Lets hear from you . . . do you get frustrated with researching on the internet?  When you really want a response from someone via email, how do you prepare your subject line?

Post your responses here in the comments section, on twitter, on facebook, or within the MadCap facebook group!  Thanks, I look forward to discussing this with you!

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Toilet Alarm Clock – Part 1

(Posted in Muddled Memories)

(Continued from In Bloom)

I woke up to the glaring sunlight streaming through my window.  My head felt like it got into a fight with a brick wall, and lost.  As I was cringing to the repulsive taste in my mouth, I squinted and saw that the clock read 10 Am.  Aw, hell naw.  Way too early for a night dweller like myself.  I had made the rookie mistake of leaving my blinds open.  They must be closed, at once.  Like a wounded animal, I rolled out of bed and slowly made my way to the window.  From my back, I reached up and spun the blinds closed.  Laying there, catching my breath from all of the barrel rolls, I felt like I too could see Blue.  Contemplating whether or not to just set up camp there for awhile, the post it on the wall caught my attention.

It was funny to see how crappy my hand writing was after having a couple of beverages.  I was relieved that I did it, though, because I didn’t remember the observation I had made about the group of girls.  Yeah, pinning it to the wall was a little unnecessary, but . . . yeah.  Really have nothing else to add on there.  I really wanted to get some people’s opinion of my product idea.  But, my room had just turned into a dark cave.  So, that was gonna have to wait  for a couple hours.

Most people wake up to the birds chirping.  Not me.  I am awaken every afternoon by a much less delightful noise.  The wall in my room is connected to the bathroom and I am reminded of that with each blaring toilet flush.  It’s usually a series of 5 or 6 flushes because of the 12 pack and 4 chimichangas my roommate had the night before.  It gets even lovelier when he bangs on my door and proclaims “Put some wings on me, I can fly now that I’m so much lighter!”  I can’t believe that this is my alarm clock . . .

I usually would have told him to f off and went back to sleep.  Not today though.  “Come in here batman”.  He opens the door and attempts to jump on my face; ass first.  Fortunately, he misses and bounces onto the ground.  “Dude, listen to this.  I came up with a brilliant idea last night.”  “Doubt it“.  “Screw you, listen.”  I disclosed the privileged information to him.  “That’s stupid.  Drive me to Burger King“.  Are you serious, it’s a great idea.”  “Yeah, not really.  I’ll be waiting downstairs.

He’s a guy, he doesn’t understand that girls will like it.  I then decided to call a trusted adviser.  She’ll get it.  I told her about the product.  Not bad.”  “That’s all you got?”  “Well, it could work.  But, it takes a lot of money to start up a business.  And you’re broke.”  “Thanks for the positivity.  I’m going to get a prototype made.  You’re going to have to test it out for me.”  “We’ll see.”  I already knew from the little time I spent brainstorming about the idea that it was going to be a long process to get the product on the market.  But, I didn’t know it would be so difficult to get people to buy into the idea.  I knew it was a good idea and people would realize it; they just needed something tangible to look at.  I absolutely hate doing research but knew I had to find a manufacturer to make a sample.  This is going to suck . . .

Continue to Toilet Alarm Clock – Part 2 . . .

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I’m interested to hear from you about your college experience.  Did you also have hilarious roommates?

Post your responses here in the comments section, on twitter, on facebook, or within the MadCap facebook group!  Thanks, I look forward to discussing this with you!

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The MadCap Effect

(Posted in Daily Chronicles)

(Continued from The Brothers Who Stand A Century Apart)

A couple days after I came up with the idea, I was casually having a drink outside and held up my glass to finish off the last drop.  At the bottom of the glass, I saw the 5 tiny letters that are engraved on most of the items in your house: CHINA.  Along with kitchenware, the industry my company is going to be a part of is dominated by Chinese manufacturing.  Before doing any research or asking anyone, I already knew that it was a given to produce products like mine in China.  And I really thought, and hoped, that there was someway I could have it made in the U.S.  Freshen up your drink and allow me to explain why I have come to find out that it is impossible.  At least for now . . . .

The whole reason I keep harping on about this is because it is a major issue within my product’s industry.  My view of the respective manufacturing situations that the U.S. and China find themselves in is directly responsible  for a challenging goal I have for my company. I have wanted to produce my product in the U.S. ever since I first came up with the idea.  I thought then and still think that it is the most moral thing to do.

My desire to do this increased even more after learning about the violent labor strikes going on in China.  I know that if my product took off and sold really well, I wouldn’t be able to get any satisfaction driving around in a car that was essentially paid for by oppressed Chinese workers who can barely afford to get by.  After being immersed in this project for so long, I’m shocked that this matter is such an afterthought.

If a riot policeman slugged a pregnant worker (near bottom of article) here in America, I’m sure every news pundit on TV would be screaming about it.  Especially Nancy Grace.  But, so long as it is a worker making the blue jeans outside the U.S. border, who cares.  We all rally around the rights for Timmy working at Wal Mart, but don’t give two shits about the 14 year old girl in China stitching the jeans for 12 hours without a break.

I do want to be clear that I don’t think this is the consumer’s fault.  I am a consumer and just about all of my clothes are foreign made.  All of the blame belongs on the company’s shoulders.  They certainly comply with the labor laws for their employees working in the U.S. stores, but it’s quite a different story for the workers across the Pacific who are making the products for the stores.  That minimum wage salary seems to get lost along the 8,000 mile distance from here to there.

Within my company’s industry, a lot of ethical issues get swept under the rug.  That is for those CEOs to live with though.  And sure, some might absolutely have to manufacture in foreign countries for practical reasons.  But, I bet some of them do it to make more money.  There is no accountability for their actions.  They take advantage of the cheap labor and want to reap the benefits without getting called out.  I don’t want my company to operate like that.  Take a look at this video; you’ll see what I’m saying about the zero accountability part at the 15:35 mark.  And this one.

I am in the process of heading a company and I have taken all of this into consideration.  Upon finalizing the mock spec for my product, I asked my consultant to price out sample costs from American factories.  Come to find out, it’s simply impossible to have my product mass produced here in the U.S. because I wouldn’t be able to turn a profit.  That is alarming.  Voola, just like that, I had to accept my product being made in China.  I was reassured by my consultant that they have worked with this factory in China for 15 years and they have great working conditions.  They visit the factory a couple times every year and the workers get paid fairly.   Just turn a blind eye to it, that seems to be the protocol anyway.

I do realize that I am guilty of being a mild hypocrite right now.  I have been up on my soap box yelling about how deplorable Chinese factories are and now I’m doing business with one.  Trust me, if I had it my way, it’d be USA all day. However, I’m not going to let this roadblock deter me from meeting my goal.  If I’m lucky enough for my product to become a fad, I believe that I would have the capability to open up a factory here and mass produce my product.  There would be many things to consider, especially being able to keep the product at the same price point and turning a profit.

If I would be able to meet those requirements, I would definitely do it. I understand the potential hot water situation I am putting my company in right now by declaring all of this.  Like the girl said in The Social Network, on the internet, everything is written in ink.  But, I stand by it now and will in the future.  If it can financially work opening a factory and producing units here, I by all means will do it.  Some may consider it wishful thinking, but I like to think of it as forward thinking.

Considering China is the manufacturing powerhouse right now, they need to do some forward thinking of their own.  To reiterate my point from the last post, their labor cost is going to go up and all the companies are going to move to countries like Vietnam.  This trend is already beginning.  In 50 years they very well could be in the same situation the U.S. is in right now  and having to outsource for manufacturing.  It’s almost just like the infamous Domino Effect.  Once the cost of labor goes up in one country, companies will move onto the next cheap one.  Maybe this explains the sudden skedaddling of the rich Chinese out of their homeland.

That’s why, along with the U.S., China should get ahead of the game and set regulations for the companies selling products within their country.  They should make these companies abide by labor laws that protect the rights of the laborers who are manufacturing the products, even if they are outside of the country.  This would be in their best interest and a giant step towards equality throughout the world.  It would knock down the next “domino” in a much more positive fashion.

My company will never be a major player in the industry by any stretch, but I want to do my part.  What’s right is right.  Maybe opening a factory here would encourage the big wigs that it could work for them.  Nonetheless, creating jobs for fellow Americans is good enough for me.  Just maybe, we could create a positive domino MadCap Effect.

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What are your thoughts of the labor strikes going on in China?

Let me hear your responses here, on twitter, on facebook, or within the MadCap facebook group!  Thanks, I look forward to discussing this with you!

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The Brothers Who Stand A Century Apart

(Posted in Daily Chronicles)

(Continued from Waiting at the Doorstep)

I’d like to take a break from story time and touch on a hot button issue.  Still stay gathered around though, I’d like to hear your take on this matter.  This discussion is definitely something a president of a company wouldn’t want to comment on because of the potential microscope it could put their business under.  But, fortunately, I’m the idiot in charge and haven’t made any sells yet, so I guess I don’t know any better.  Or I actually care . . .

I rarely watch the news, but when I do, it seems as though the news pundits are always talking about how much money the U.S. owes China.  When I see this, I can’t help but shake my head at the complicated relationship we have with them.  It’s almost like two stubborn brothers who are trying to prove to their Dad that they are the one who deserves to take over the business once he retires.  They want to prove that their system works the best.  If they want to earn their Dad’s approval, they’d be wise to learn about what was going on in their “brother’s” country over a century ago.  They would realize that the predicament they find themselves in is eerily similar to their “brother’s” past experience.

Remember daydreaming through your world history class on the day your teacher talked about China?  Yeah, I don’t really either.  But, I do remember hearing them harp on about “The Boxer Rebellion“.  This, of course, comprised most of the lecture because the U.S. had some involvement.  Pretty much, the uprising took place because foreign influence was spreading at a dangerous rate within the country.  These foreign influences were dispersing their own ideals and they undermined Chinese values.

I’m not saying the exact same scenario is taking place in the U.S. right now.  However, I think the rebellion’s call to action to address the problem at hand is a strategy that the American consumer market needs to analyze.  There’s way too many foreign products in the U.S. market right now.  Just the other day, I saw a segment on CNBC where they would go to people’s houses and remove all of the foreign made products from the house.  All that was left was usually like a box of toothpicks and an old jock strap.  That is not a good sign for ol’ red, white, and blue.

Like the “Boxers” did, we need to start decreasing foreign influence in our country.  We need to import less and focus on domestic production.  (Americans are really starting to take pride in this movement and are going in droves to stores like this.)  Not only would this shrink the amount of foreign products on the market but it would also increase the volume of our exports.  Easy win-win solution, right?  Nope.  Not that easy.  Many domestic companies wouldn’t be able to do this  because of the cost of labor.  With all of their competition using foreign manufacturers that have low labor wages, they couldn’t turn a profit selling the product at the market’s price point.  Which brings me to . . .

China is looking pretty damn good right now.  They are the manufacturing powerhouse that America once was.  They’re relaxing poolside with a sh** eatin’ Jack Nicholson grin wiped across their face.  Their “brother” owes them so much money that they’re making him wear women’s sunglasses (guy on left) in public to rub it in until he can pay up.  Sure, China may have the hot blonde sitting next to them right now, but she just might be moving on to the next movie star here shortly.

If China really wants to maintain their “progress”, they might want to steal their “brother’s” American History book and flip to the section about the Progressive Era.  They might put two and two together and realize that a very similar movement is taking place within their country.  During the early 1900s, the American labor situation was in dire straits.  Workers were barely making enough to get by, conditions within factories and meat packing plants were unfathomable, the child labor rate was alarmingly high, and workers were dying at their job.  “There was great interest during the Progressive Era in investigation of hazardous working conditions. President Theodore Roosevelt had championed the conservation movement and broadened its scope to include the saving of human life.”
Including saving a life!  How crazy is that, only a 100 years ago . . .

Now, it isn’t as fatal as it was here a hundred years ago.  But, even the slight resemblance to a situation that took place a century ago says a lot.  Many of China’s workers are oppressed.  There is no denying that.  Much like the American workers during the Progressive Era, the Chinese workers are unionizing and organizing strikes.   They are fighting for better wages to improve their families life.

Once the cost of labor goes up in China, and it will, companies are going to move onto the next oppressed country for manufactured goods.  China might want to start thinking about a future strategy for their manufacturing industry.  Or they might find themselves owing someone money in the not so distant future . . .

The hot blonde is starting to get up; she says that she is just going to get a drink real quick.  The in debt brother lets out a vengeful chuckle.

These two stubborn bastards need to meet in the middle.  They need to come to the realization that the business will be better run by them working in unison; not against one another. It is vital that they lay the foundation for the centuries to come.  Before they know it, they will have sons of their own who will want to impress their Dad.

Continue to The Madcap Effect . .  .

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Do you think it’s plausible that America can once again become a manufacturing giant, like we were in the 1800s?  What do you think about American companies sourcing foreign factories to manufacture their products?  Let me hear your responses here, on twitter, on facebook, or within the MadCap facebook group!  Thanks, I look forward to discussing this with you!

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