Monday, June 14, 2021

Hispanic Day Laborers are like Amazon Web Services

Contractors are overpaid for the same reason CTOs are. They, and they alone, have the magic formula for wielding the tremendously useful and economical - but essentially non-user-configurable - back-end toolset.

If you have reasonable tech competency and spend an afternoon or four trying to get an image up and onto Amazon web services so it appears when its URL gets called by a web browser, you will inevitably be reduced to tears, even though that's precisely what Amazon web services is built to do....and does it beautifully well and ridiculously inexpensively, if you can actually make it happen.

Same thing trying to get a talented, diligent Ecuadoran carpenter into your house to install a tile or cut a beam.

I speak Spanish, too! And lots of these guys are my friends. But I swear on my children's health, it was easier to build and run Chowhound while penniless than it's been to get my bathroom done by going directly to day laborers (who are great and friendly and hard working and honest and diligent). It just can't be done.

And the funny thing is that all those guys aspire to being contractors. They look at their fat-cat contractor overlords driving around in expensive pickup trucks and doing no work at all, and figure "I can do that!" But if they had the organizational skills and administrative clarity to schedule, plan, and answer questions in an organized and timely fashion, they never would have dropped out of high school, and never would have become day laborers. They're day laborers precisely because they hate needing to clearly answer questions and plan and schedule and be organized and think about anything beyond where to hammer the next nail.

Same, to a lesser degree, for American-born tradesmen. If they had a flair for clear-headed linearity and timely on-point communication, they'd be friggin' lawyers or whatever. And, to pull back the camera and behold the nauseating ultimate futility of it all, those fancy contractors aren't all that great at it, either. They're just slightly more coherent hammerers. And, truth be told, even the lawyers are usually pretty messed up.

"The Simpsons" was incredibly incisive social satire. Chowhound Matt Groening had one brilliant flash of insight: pretty much everyone's a foggy incompetent heedless feckless dweeb. So do not redo your bathroom, ever.

And don't imagine for a moment that your own stupidity doesn't contribute amply to the shitstorm. It's insane of you to imagine that people will do better by you than they do for themselves. If your laborer, or contractor, or lawyer were capable of shaking off the malaise and elevating into clear-headed 100% smart responsiveness, that would be immensely more helpful to them than to you.

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