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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Take This Job and Shove it?

This Friday is the first Friday of the month.  That's an important day in financial markets.  It is the day that Bureau of Labor Statistics releases the monthly unemployment report for the U.S. - arguably the most important macroeconomic data point reported monthly.

It will report that employment increased by 200,000 plus.

Immediately, some pundits will make a "glass half empty"argument and say that the jobs created aren't good jobs.

This brings to mind my visit to Chipotle in Charlottesville.  I have been to Chipotle in Charlottesville, throughout Virginia, and in College Park, Maryland.  I have been at various times of the day.  This goes back a few years.

In every single instance ,the experience has been the same.  The line is out the door, and fast food establishments next door are half-filled or practically empty.  It reminds me of visiting an Apple store where there barely is elbow room and yet the stores on either side are empty of customers.

What is interesting to me is that Chipotle is looking for workers.  They would rather you have no experience.  Is this a good job?

Think about it like this.  This is a company that has literally disrupted the fast food industry.  Its stock has skyrocketed.

Source: Yahoo! Finance
Sure, you start near the minimum wage; but you get an inside look at what it takes to be at the top!  If I was in my 20s, I would run down there as fast as I could and get on the line.  I'd like to learn how they cook, how they order food, who does their menus, how they figure out pricing, etc.  To me (and, by the way, much of rest of the world!) this looks like a super opportunity.

Just so you know that I know when a job isn't attractive, let me tell you about my 20s.  I reached a point where I needed to take whatever I could find at the highest wage.  This led me to the laundry department at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.  In other words, I collected the hospital's dirty laundry and delivered it to the laundry room in the basement which was basically a sauna.  I know a bad job when I see it, thank you.

Since I'm on a pretty good rant here (at least in my own mind), let me present one more anecdote.  It was my practice as an Econ instructor at Howard Community College in Columbia, Maryland over a 12-year period to question students near the end of the term about their plans.  Most responses were cookie cutter similar.  Students were headed to a 4-year school, some were taking more classes to get an AA degree, and so forth.

But one student had a surprising answer.  He said this was his last class.  He said he and his buddy had worked at Ledo's Pizza for 5 years, saved everything they made, and now were going to buy a Ledo's franchise.  He said they knew how to make the pizzas, how the menus were made up, how to set the prices, how to hire and fire people, and even how the financing of the ovens worked.

For him, community college classes were for finding out things he needed to know to run his business.

I would be willing to make a blind bet that he is enjoying working more than the pundits in their ever-critical roles they play.

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