I’ve noted on this blog before that I have actual paying gigs as a writer beyond hustling my books and other fiction to the legions of people out there who might, maybe, perhaps, possibly, want to fork over a little cash for them.
The paying gigs involve writing shortish web content for sites like GOBankingRates, Yahoo Finance, and The Business Download. The work is steady, the pay comes every month, and it has been particularly fruitful of late, which is good for the old bank account.
Most of the articles I write have some kind of money/business angle. Some are geared toward personal finance. Others focus on sustainable and eco-friendly trends in the business world – which is heartening to see, considering that the Earth is overheating at a rate that you don’t really want to think about too much.
Much of my work is simply covering news events or trending topics. Every now and then you run across something pretty interesting, which was the case with a couple of recent articles.
One was about how women investors consistently outperform their male counterparts. Another was about a fast-food chain that has dispatched its corporate employees to work front-line jobs as cashiers and cooks because the chain can’t find enough workers.
The first one should not be surprising, women doing better than men with their stock and other investments. The main reason is that women tend to take more of a “buy and hold” strategy, investing in something and then waiting patiently for it to rise in value.
Men, on the other hand, tend to take more of a testosterone-fueled cowboy approach, always looking for the big payoff, and growing impatient if it doesn’t happen within the next three minutes. So they sell this investment and buy that one and repeat the process over and over, and wind up either losing money or breaking even, even when the market is so bullish that a lamppost could make money off it just by making an investment and leaving it the f**k alone.
The race, as they say, isn’t always to the swift.
The second one, about the fast food chain – Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, headquartered in Louisiana – is instructive on several levels. For one thing, it demonstrates just how hard it is to find workers in 2021. People are quitting jobs in record numbers, fueled partly by rising demand for their services from other employers, and partly because the coronavirus pandemic has made them reconsider what’s important in life.
Many have decided that life is too precious to spend all your time toiling away at some job that doesn’t pay enough, sucks up too much of your time and energy, undervalues your talents, and might put you in an early grave if you’re not careful. And so they’ve joined what has come to be known as “The Great Resignation,” as we media wags have termed it. In some cases they are leaving the workplace for good, mainly older folks who are retiring early. In other cases they are just dropping out for a while to see what else life has to offer.
Well, it’s been tough on businesses, for sure. There’s a severe labor shortage in the United States and elsewhere, particularly in terms of lower-paying jobs that require a lot of hard work for minimal financial reward. Raising Cane’s has come up with a novel solution: transfer the corporate folks out of the offices and into the restaurants, where they can prepare the food and ring it up at the register.
I see this as a positive. For one thing, it temporarily solves the labor problem and keeps the business operating at regular speed. More importantly, it forces the higher-paid folks to reacquaint themselves with the hard work done by those on the front lines.
Anyone who has ever labored over a hot stove or jackhammer for a living – and yours truly has done both, though only in short stretches – knows that the suits in the executive suite wouldn’t be able to cash their million-dollar bonuses without the people out there sweating for minimum wage every day.
Yes, ideas and vision make money. That’s why people like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are mega-billionaires. But labor also makes money. Bezos and Musk will find that out next time they try to ship a package or build a car, and there’s nobody down the pecking order doing the work.