Is your job merit-based, lockstep, or "up and out"?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by 63dot, Feb 5, 2011.

?

What system of employment are you under?

  1. Merit-based

    6 vote(s)
    60.0%
  2. Lockstep

    1 vote(s)
    10.0%
  3. Up and Out

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. None of the above or not sure

    3 vote(s)
    30.0%
  1. 63dot, Feb 5, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2011

    63dot macrumors 603

    63dot

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Location:
    norcal
    #1
    I am curious what type of job security the posters here have:

    While no one system is the best or a one size fits all, here are the basic breakdowns of some commonly found systems of employment or business models organizations work under. And these models are definitely subject to change in this downtrodden economy.

    In a nutshell, merit-based is the most typical system where a person/group/business either receives promotions/sales figures or gets the most customers/clients/patients based on skill, knowledge, and abilities (KSAs). This model is found most in a situation where a person or group of people have a business in a free market economy where there is competition. This model has no upper limit on compensation or reward. The big examples of merit-based is having a company like Apple (started by two college dropouts) and eventually introducing the iPod to the world and having customers vote with their dollars. In this time period, the merit of the products from a rather small company called Apple Computer has expanded the entity's employees by a factor of four and caused a name change simply to Apple Inc. representing the shift in percentage of revenues from computers to "other" which not only has iPod but iTunes downloads, and the very successful iPhone.

    Lockstep is a system most employed by civil service and many law firms where entrants are employees, contractors, or interns, and pretty much get the same range in pay, regardless of experience or KSAs, and usually have a more stable form of job security. There is a bottom rung of pay all the way up to a top level of pay (but with a limit so it's not a way to get rich but trade that opportunity for less stress and much greater job stability).

    Up and out
    is a system where a person is typically an employee and they are expected to move up within a certain period of time or leave. Like lockstep, there is a limit on level of pay and it is also not a system typically found among working people who achieve an upper middle class or wealthy status. The pay could be slightly better in some cases than lockstep as one can move up to a more elite level of employment within a closed system. Typical of this would be a soldier who can move up through the ranks quickly, but never higher than a four star general. Of course, this doesn't count a third world dictatorship where a general can also rule a country and receive billions in kickbacks as a result. :)
     
  2. NickZac macrumors 68000

    NickZac

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2010
    #2
    Technically you could say merit-based although it isn't exactly. I started at a higher level due to my education level, education specification, and previous (volunteer) field research with relevance to my work now. Obviously, my career is largely public-sector, as a MA and Ph.D often have little importance in the private sector, where as in the public sector, just those letters after your initials up your pay grade and title. (The exception is a MD which has use in the private medical practice; but it, like the other degrees, is very specialized and limited in scope.) With that said, it is not completely merit because in the public sector, there are caps, which are much lower than private sector salaries, which have no 'real' limits. Federal pay for most employees caps at around $150k (IIRC and it may have been lowered as I am using a few year old figure). My best friend got a BA and was sick of school and he makes a boat load more than me (construction contracting/mgmt...even with the current economic climate). If he were to go back to school and get both a Master's and Doctoral degree, it would not impact his pay by $1, nor would it impact his title. It's kind of amusing in a way as I would be lost in the private sector and he would be lost in government. :p
     
  3. Liquorpuki macrumors 68020

    Liquorpuki

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2009
    Location:
    City of Angels
  4. 63dot, Feb 5, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2011

    63dot thread starter macrumors 603

    63dot

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Location:
    norcal
    #4
    That's so true of many people. Yet with the changes in the economy, many have had to adapt.

    Being self-employed but having seen hard times like most entrepreneurs, I am very appreciative of both the private and public for different reasons:

    When times were good, I sometimes lost sight of making good money in the private sector (as opposed to when I was a teen making $3.35 an hour) because other techies/engineers/programmers/etc in the private sector in high tech were cleaning up making upwards of $120 dollars an hour if they were entrepreneurs. This was dot.com and people thought anything less than $90 an hour, or under $100K salary was low pay. Man, how times have changed. Most of the people who I know who got those crazy bonuses, cars, pay, and commission have pretty much lost it all and then some. The lack of appreciation of most people I knew in high tech stemmed from a culture of thinking everybody in the sector deserved to be at least a millionaire. Heck, Microsoft's first gardener had a Ferrari and millions in shares. The only people who got any attention outside of the immediate circles of ones high tech peers were the billionaires, and only the upstarts as they seemed to be a model for many to follow. The big investors of the brick and mortar were under-appreciated.

    The once discarded public sector is now the hot thing on the job market. Those same people who were shopping for sports cars who didn't yet have the money for them will now settle for a civil service job. Instead of bonuses, dot.coms, flipping properties with co-workers, the best thing is to have a job that will be there next week, next month, next year. Instead of a nice second home in an exotic location you can use as a trading card, just having a first home and being small but paid for is what many shoot for now as a very lofty goal. There's very little of the keeping up with the Jonses. The only thing I see yuppies do these days, in a much humbler time, is to brag about how much debt they have. That lawyer who once worked at the defunct big law firm or had his/her nice private practice is now a public defender. That MBA who once thought they could be another master of the universe is now teaching business at the junior college, and that plastic surgeon is now finding work in the local state funded hospital.

    Now all those very old people who said the great things about Roosevelt, the new deal, and rock solid job security in the DMV office or post office are sounding a lot like people today. The only consolation to tougher times is that technology has moved so far so fast that you can get a "professional" Mac laptop for $1199. :)
     
  5. firestarter macrumors 603

    firestarter

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Location:
    Green and pleasant land
    #5
    Up and out is also a system employed by some of the top management consultancy firms - where you can make a lot of money.

    I worked for one in my first job, and stayed there for 3 1/2 years before getting fed up of it. They hired a large number of graduates, then assessed them all each year. Every year you moved up the grades (Assistant, Consultant 1,2,3, Manager 1,2,3,4,5, Associate Partner, Partner). Every person was ranked 1st, 2.1, 2.2 and 3 within their grade and 3s were 'encouraged to leave' (often by just leaving them in the office with no work to do - in the UK you can't just dismiss people).

    It worked pretty well. Everyone was very cutthroat, so the transparency of the pay grades stopped arguments and kept egos under control. Because they hired so many grads to do code-monkey roles, they could bear a lot of wastage - and they needed people to leave to make the pyramid structure work. Most people burnt out or wised up after a few years! :D
     
  6. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2002
    Location:
    Republic of Ukistan
    #6
    I have always been self-employed with my own business. My earnings depend on merit, self-promotion and sheer luck, not necessarily in that order.
     
  7. NickZac macrumors 68000

    NickZac

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2010
    #7
    That is soooo true. A lot of people making well over 100k have lost much; especially given our tendency to live outside of our means. The drive for materialism also makes us piss our money away. I've been their myself, and so I am paying off gobs of student loans, medical bills, and credit card bills on stuff I did not need. I will say the economic slowdown has made me realize what is and is not important and helped me realize what I want versus what I need. I suppose older persons have a lesser idea of materialism/credit due to the Great Depression. A lot of my friends in the private sector are very heartset on making a lot of money; nothing is wrong with that but I guess I don't have the same drive as I like the public sector despite less earning capacity. I wouldn't mind one day transferring to the private sector, but when you work with the Federal government, you have the chance to impact MANY lives...you rarely get this in other places. Even the Feds are having job issues and a huge hiring freeze is coming (may have already came). Even job security with local/state/Federal government is in question, but not nearly as much as select hurting private industries. To be honest, for years I hated hearing my parents tell me to not spend so much money on crap and as much as I hate to admit it, I wish I listened.

     
  8. 63dot, Feb 5, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2011

    63dot thread starter macrumors 603

    63dot

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Location:
    norcal
    #8
    The extra junk we bought that our parents said was junk both hurt us and helped us.

    Individually, we end up with big credit card bills and a lot of, well, junk which we simply don't need.

    What is good about our massive spending habits is that not only does it create jobs with increased demand for goods and services, but also spurs innovation like nothing else.

    Our materialism is a two edged sword and I have no idea where the sweet spot for our consumerist society is. I want to cut back and I have and glad I did, but if we isolate ourselves from free trade, grow our own food, resort to walking and public transportation, and buy very few clothes, electronics, non-essential foods, soft goods, and hard goods, we will make our America and western countries third world in a short time.

    But if we go on a rampant consumer binge and rape our resources as we have since WW II, we will also eventually spend our way into being a third world set of nations (US, Japan, Europe). So what's the best way out of this recession?

    While I cut back, at the same time when I spend, I try and buy locally. I can't save the world, but the world can save itself if everybody does their part and help their local economies. Yes, I will spend 10 percent more with no issue if it means getting that pair of shoes at the local store instead of online. It's not the huge picture of "where" that pair was made that has the biggest impact, but where you bought the shoe if it's the local store (which hires local people and hopefully gives a local entrepreneur a dream).

    If people can do with less, but when they have to buy and do so locally, we can reverse the recession that much of the world is in. I say let the big fortune 500 play in a free market, but don't remove the local brick and mortar stores that carry those goods. It's one place where I think the computer has had a negative effect on our economy and I am afraid young people won't see that as they become the bread winners one day.

    This whole scenario of high tech married with low cost of labor is a big reason that there may be a shift in power from the current powers to "BRIC", which are Brazil, Russia, China, and India. If that's the wave of the future, all I can say is I hope those new superpowers keep the environment in mind.

    That being said, I don't think the USA, Japan, and western Europe have had a positive effect on our environment these past few decades. And not to be knocking the west, but it's hard to imagine anybody else being able to do business with less respect for the environment than the west has since the end of the second world war.
     
  9. bradl macrumors 68040

    bradl

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2008
    #9
    Personally, I would have to say none of the above, but close to lockstep, as my job is based on my skill set, but no matter how much I do or how much I learn or improve my skill set/knowledge, it won't ever come with an increase in pay. In short, my income is about as high as my job really allows; if I grow myself in it, I'll get pay increases substituted for titles that can go in front of my job, such as 'senior', 'Level x', etc.

    I'll go even further and say that the more I look at my job and most private sector jobs in general, they are more akin to pyramid schemes. When you think about it, if most pyramid schemes consist of someone at the top of the pyramid making more money than someone down at the bottom, or making that money from the work of someone down near the bottom, wouldn't the same be said about some executive in a corner office, compared to someone doing the sales work, maintaining the servers in use, marketing, finance, etc.? Furthermore, no matter how much harder or smarter someone works, they will never make as much money as the CEO or someone in that 'Chief' position or big office. So even a traditional employee job in a traditional business doesn't get as much ahead as they realize. Yet we've grown accustomed to it and treat it like it's normal.

    Don't get me wrong; there is nothing wrong with traditional employment. We all do it in order to keep roofs over our heads and food in our stomachs. As far as stability goes, unless we live and die by our own merits, this is the best way to have any sort of job stability. I have a lot of friends clamoring to get into public sector jobs in not only my city, but my state (funnily enough, while our state has a $25B deficit, to the point where they are cutting state workers' pensions), because both provide the best stability in these times.

    I just find it funny that the 'go to school/work hard/get good grades/get a good safe secure job/work your way up the corporate ladder leads you to the same type of scheme we all have been told to avoid, yet we do it anyway...

    BL.
     
  10. zioxide macrumors 603

    zioxide

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    Dec 11, 2006
  11. 63dot thread starter macrumors 603

    63dot

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Location:
    norcal
    #11
    Yeah, like any player the Yankees favor...hmm...I like that player on XXX team...still on contract with them...then, well, how much to get him in Yankee pinstripes?...OK, done...by the will of the NYY organization ;)
     
  12. NickZac macrumors 68000

    NickZac

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2010
    #12
    Finding the balance of amount to spend to drive the economy vs. the amount to save for in case stuff happens is hard and I have no idea where that balance lies whatsoever. We carry so much credit it is worrysome...I've seen figures on it before and it is insane how many people have such high credit loans, NOT including home-related.

    I hear ya about buying local if possible. I try to buy food from local farmer's markets whenever I can, and like you said, if it's a bit more I really don't care as I feel that money is being used in a way to directly benefit us in the future. The only issue is that most things are made in so many different places, that other than food and other raw materials, it is almost impossible to live up the concept of 'buying _____'...(insert person's own country into the blank). One major example is General Motors/Ford/Chrysler...they are American car companies and while they assemble cars in the US, the parts that they use to assemble are not made/designed in the US. It makes me wonder how much (money wise) is actually going to America or China, which has a fantastic system of production far beyond what we do. The overall design of many of their current cars are in fact designed by European designers who have done other European car companies in the past. Current Buick designs are almost all European design and IIRC a former/present Mercedes Bendz designers made most the lineup...and with that said, the current Buicks are the first Buicks someone under 60 years of age would find exciting and worth looking at and even buying.

    I really do think that China will pass the GDP of the US within the next 10+/- years. Their rate of economical expansion is so insanely higher than anyone before...

    As far as the environment, Western companies scare me in the crap they put in/do to the environment. It is disgusting, especially because better ways currently exist, but they often cut into a business' bottom line. We are getting to the point in which this is going to come back and hurt all of us. When the world population was under a million people, then yes, dilution could be the solution to pollution. With 7 billion people and a hyper-advanced industrial economy, no way that would work. Many governments have historically left businesses alone in regards to pollution outputs...this is changing but it is way too late.

    I live near the Eastern Shore (Chesapeake Bay area in MD on the other side of the C. Bay Bridge (Kent island area). I LOVE the Chesapeake and all it offers, but we have destroyed it. The last time I looked at the 'health' of it, it was sometime like 22% of what it was 100 years ago. Even worse, invasive species are killing off native species, and some invasive species, mainly a type of invert and especially a specific breed of snakehead fish (but also certain birds and semi-aquatic animals), is consuming everything and well, not a lot has been done to kill the invasive species. There has also been resistance (historically) to killing off invasive species, which makes it even harder. I do not like the killing of animals, but if certain invasive species are not eliminated, then well, a LOT of native species will die. The most extreme example would be rabbits in Australia; the rabbit is thought to have killed off more species of plants and animals (and certain bacteria/microscopic organisms) their than every other animal combined (including humans). At this point in time, I don't think we can make any real difference in population control is Australia as they have survived and continued to reproduce despite invasive predator introduction (multiple), hunting parties, trapping, dragging, biological diseases, chemical control, barrier control, and burrow control. Population of rabbits their are literally in the billions, with some estimates saying in excess of 20,000,000,000 rabbits. They have caused billions of dollars worth of damage to crops, property, and 'natural' population control.



     

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