Monday, January 08, 2007

Cents and Sensibility

Or: Cents, seconds and clicks
Or: Melodrama vs Live and Death
Or: How American call girls get their pay

When you are on a dinner date, time flies at some five, ten, or tens of, dollars per minute. It seems like easy money, or is it?

There's one corporate tradition for some American boss to delivery monthly pay checks in person, to every employees that he practically can. Bloomberg did it, I think. One of the purpose is apparently to increase the sensibility of employees to the source of their salary. It's not your qualifications, it's not your performance, it's not that you can quit any time and find something else waiting for you, it's who is willing and able to pay you out of his pocket, so to speak.

A question come to mind. Did you ever have a client who give you the money at the end solemnly? He tells you that the money is his whole day's pay, or that he saved up for weeks or months. And asks you to treasure the money? Guess not :-)

Now it's good to have a local captive market, that clients cannot go far to get alternative service, and competitors cannot come from all over the world all of a sudden. I can think of professionals charging hundreds of dollars per hour, which looks like easy money.

But take lawyers for example. Their starting scale shot through the roof during the tech bloom. Because big and small corporations fight fiercely with traditional law firms for new recruits. At the end, these corporations are manufacturers and service providers on a large scale. Similar to drug companies selling millions and millions of little pills, offering good pay for pharmacists.

The traditional concept is that big guys don't deal with chicken shits. But in today's world, it's all about chicken shits, which are the big deals. A car cost some 20, 30 grand. What about a laptop? A camcorder, a cell phone, or a wireless router? To offer good salaries you need to sell millions and millions of your product.

To justify your existence, all you need to do is to save a cent or two on the material cost once a while, a second here and there on the manufacturing time. It's hard, like sucking blood from dead chicken bones, but that's why you have good pay.

I would say from CEO to new recruits, the mindset is all about cents and seconds. It's not all of course, but common. If not cents, than it's dimes, depending on the scale. It's about optimizing the work flow, saving labor, hence cost and time, again. If you know how to improve but don't act immediately, others will, always sooner than you think.

If your work is highly creative for example, it does not make sense to waste time on something mundane, be it a few seconds. Take a walk, watch TV, if that relaxes you or you enjoy it, it's not a waste. Long lunch is OK for me, coffee is OK at any time, but re-typing something you see on the monitor is not, not even copy and paste.

If you live with the few mundane seconds, it may well be a slippery slope. You may find your idle time longer and longer, and harder to put it to good use. Similarly, if you know of a possible way to save one cent, you better find time to go at it before it's too late.

It's not melodrama, it's live and death, when you find out that your pay is no longer justified.

What else you can think of to do to your minimum wage Walmart employees? Automate the checkout and make them all redundant, keep the ones who can work flexible hours on other things. At the same time, spend a billion to improve your image.

My rant is the follow up of a comment that I made about call girl advertisements online. The image of sitting at home, browsing leisurely on beautiful babe pictures, with a phone in hand, is not very true. Not for me and neither for significant numbers. Maybe at work, but only if you have a secure encrypted tunnel to bypass the company network. And it's not likely that someone will come close to your monitor when you are hard at work.

If you don't search in advance, it's not likely you that will see the one you want. Some need advance notice, from hours to days. For busy ones, she may not be able to find a slot for you at all. For the low volume ones, she's not likely to pick up the phone when you call. So I usually maintain a list.

I may be a special case, often I have to and I like to call in the privacy of my car. You don't want to do a lot of things on the driver seat even if you have an online connection. PDA is never something to surf comfortably.

I was thinking that ideally I should be able to download something like a digital business card for the girl I like, with one click. So a picture with name, number and perhaps rate would be ideal. So you can save it on your cell phone, USB drive, laptop, PDA, whatever. Some girls do this, but most feel not classy to do it perhaps.

More importantly, my short lists are very volatile. I search for different things at different times, making most short list pretty short lived. And that there are so many new girls all the time. Anything more than a click or two to make a list while surfing will be too tedious for me to worth the effort.

I have tried some alternatives, using my camera phone to take pictures of the monitor - one for the girl and one for her number. It works but the digits may become unreadable. Now it's easy to save to the laptop the whole page of advertisement with a single click. But still you may miss some critical information when you are confined in the driver's seat on the go. But if you have a picture with key information on, you can call while driving. PDA's are too small for the whole advertisement.

Often you have to visit personal escort websites, where gallery, rates, and contact details are all on separate pages.

I think it's good for everybody if the escort directories provide 'feeds', just as blogs, banks and credit card companies. I hate it when it's originally digital, you look for the info, retype everything. Good except perhaps for the escort directory, when other sites can easily copy and put it on their sites. Now you don't pay the top sites so much for the traffic, but to show that you pay good money for it, and therefore your ad must be alive and current, and you must have clients to sustain the ad, be it pleasing or ripping off them.

Can I take it easy and do it otherwise, including using the keyboard? Probably not. For me it would be tedious enough to turn me away from surfing the ads, instead of enjoying them. If I force myself it would be double standards, one for the company and one for myself. It could easily end up in split personality.

1 comment:

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