Re: Guest Post - Hidden rules and economic class

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This might be off topic, but this sentence sort of bothers me: "But for the purposes of this analysis, the working class can be split into those actually working, who count as middle class, and those who don't work, who count as poor."

Because as someone who teaches at a working-class university, I have to tell you this does not match the reality I daily encounter. My students almost all working, and they are almost all poor.

(It is, in fact, the student who *do* *not* work who are very much middle-class: the ones who are living off their middle-class parents, in other words, and driving expensive trucks and and SUVs to class and telling me about how "those" people on food stamps all have iPhones. But that is another comment.)

So, yeah, I'm not sure what you meant by that. But working class in America today is not middle-class. Not anywhere where I live, anyway.


Posted by: delagar | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 6:40 AM
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I haven't had a chance to dig into this much, but in the more progressive foster parenting circles I've seen this article on the impact of poverty on the brain being passed around all week.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 6:50 AM
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What is, or is supposed to be, the value proposition (sorry) of these discussions? In a larger sense--I.e., more than fodder for our comments. Are middle- and upper-middle-class teachers and fellow students supposed to be enlightened? Chastened? Humbled? Has anyone ever approached a presenter after one of these sessions and said "Before your presentation last year I thought most of my students were stupid and useless, but you opened my eyes to their humanity! And their exam results really improved when I stopped mentioning Portofino and Chamonix in essay questions"?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 6:59 AM
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So, yeah, I'm not sure what you meant by that.

I was repeating the speaker's justification, not necessarily endorsing it myself. I should have been clearer.

Really, though, the speaker was lumping "underemployed" and "unstably employed" with "unemployed." Her focus was on the effects of instability on people's ability to benefit from education.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 7:02 AM
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3: Most professors are not from such backgrounds themselves, and so they tend to run their classrooms in ways that would have made sense to them as an undergraduate, and ime it's lots of little non-academic things that aren't a big deal if you're primarily just a student that become a huge deal if you're also a parent/working full-time. E.g., setting deadlines ad hoc vs having everything planned ahead of time.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 7:08 AM
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Others seemed weird.

My mom has told me about similar things she's had to go to for her job, which sounded really weird to her and to me. I don't know if it was based on Ruby Payne. But to me it sounded like a lot of the things they were told were condescending or just plain bizarre. Like that poor people place the most value in social relationships and middle class people place the most value in possessions. And that this explains why poor people have more children, because it's a way for them to create more social relationships.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 7:09 AM
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Oh wait I said that before. I guess I also mentioned the workshop run by a psychologist who told them that you can find all the autistic students at a university by seeing who's in the library during the football games.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 7:11 AM
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Hmm. Okay, I guess that makes sense. Certainly my upper class colleagues run their classrooms far differently than I do.

(And sorry, Robby! I've gotten a little touchy on this subject lately!)


Posted by: delagar | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 7:11 AM
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shiv is taking advantage of my tuition benefit to become a full-time student/stay-at-home-dad, and the new perspective is fascinating.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 7:11 AM
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*rob

One should always spell one's colleague's name correctly in an abject apology. mnf.


Posted by: delagar | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 7:12 AM
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I would be in the library during a football game. But I don't think I'm autistic.


Posted by: delagar | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 7:13 AM
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Our library had big screen TVs with the game on.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 7:14 AM
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Has anyone ever approached a presenter after one of these sessions and said "Before your presentation last year I thought most of my students were stupid and useless, but you opened my eyes to their humanity! And their exam results really improved when I stopped mentioning Portofino and Chamonix in essay questions"?

Teaching is about battering someone with the same information over and over again until they develop their internal ear to it. Training educators is the same thing. The newbie teachers that we spit out into the education workforce need to be bombarded with this sort of thinking, yes.

It's not that they're idiots, but that they're immersed in a culture that constantly touts the narrative of the individual who believed! and believed so hard! that they overcame whatever ol' hardship. It's important to remind new educators over and over again that that is not the general case.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 7:16 AM
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Wait, something happens in Chamonix other than accelerator physics workshops?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 7:17 AM
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A lot of the condescending stuff is just condescending, when it's of the poor people are like *this* nonsense. But knowing, for example, that students who are short on cash need to use Amazon or the used bookstore to afford textbooks, or that they may be looking at the course website on their phone to do their homework while at their job, or that most of your students will need to schedule time off for an exam if it goes beyond the class period (so moving an exam back actually isn't helpful) --- all useful.

This is not to defend the content of the seminar in the OP, which obviously I didn't attend.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 7:17 AM
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If you ask me, Edward James Olmos has a lot to answer for.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 7:17 AM
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16 mostly to 13.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 7:18 AM
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We know that Flippanter isn't truly wealthy because Chamonix isn't that fancy a resort. He probably has a four year time horizon at best.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 7:18 AM
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It's important to remind new educators over and over again that that is not the general case.

Aren't they going to be reminded of it every day by the existence of their students?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 7:20 AM
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"Before your presentation last year I thought most of my students were stupid and useless, but you opened my eyes to their humanity!"

I actually think that is the desired outcome. The problem is that everyone who would say "My students are stupid and useless" skips this sort of event.

It is not so much "preaching to the converted" as "preaching a sermon that will be ignored by the heathens and disputed by the converted."

Maybe I should, like hb-gb, be embarrassed to bring up this work, but it does seem to have some value. It just very quickly goes off the rails.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 7:21 AM
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Aren't they going to be reminded of it every day by the existence of their students?

Yes, don't people in power automatically tune in to the struggles and hardships of those over whom they have authority?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 7:23 AM
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1 stupid and useless student is his fault. 100 stupid and useless students are your fault.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 7:25 AM
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Is that linear such that 50 stupid and useless students make it half your fault (or give .5 odds that it is your fault)?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 7:30 AM
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19: Oddly, students tend not to announce their job status or income or scheduling conflicts during lecture. And sometimes, because of insecurity and unfamiliarity with college, they don't challenge the prof when s/he's being unreasonable. So there isn't a useful feedback loop.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 7:33 AM
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We were told that middle class people are used to working for people they don't like and don't respect, but our poor students will only do the work we assign if they personally like us.

This makes more sense to me in a workplace environment than it does in an educational environment, but it does make sense. If you're a disposable worker-unit with no prospect for advancement who probably won't last very long in a particular job through no fault of your own (layoffs, whatever), gauging how much effort to put in on the basis of how much you like the boss and want to please her rather than on some less personal basis seems perfectly rational. Liking your coworkers would be the only reason to do anything beyond the bare minimum.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 7:33 AM
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25: I mean, in an educational environment it seems reasonable; if you have no expectation that doing what people ask of you will provide a tangible benefit (because it hasn't in the past, for you or for anybody you know) then you aren't likely to do it unless you have some other reason for doing so (such as liking them personally).


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 7:40 AM
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That said I have no idea if it's actually true.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 7:40 AM
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15 and 24 seem much more useful than generalizations that go against the fundamental assumptions of profs with bad teaching habits.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 7:43 AM
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The bit about "they need to like you" is pretty useless though. Obviously as a teacher you want to be liked (because being liked is fun and because it leads to high evaluations).

Scheduling in advance was mentioned above. Are there other concrete bits of advice? Also are there concrete bits of advice that are relevant for teaching poor traditional students and not just non-traditional students?


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 7:43 AM
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And of course, come to think, I'm as middle-class as anyone (actually, seeing 'making twenty year plans' as a mark of wealth makes me feel rich), but in school and at work, my personal feelings about supervisors have a very substantial effect on the quality and quantity of my effort. I know I'm not supposed to act that way, so I try to cover, but it's certainly a significant factor.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 7:44 AM
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I don't know how concrete it is, but merely having compassion and assuming that students are trying hard, instead of being suspicious that they're trying to flake and dodge all work would go a really, really long way.

Obviously students also flake and try to dodge work, because they're people, as RHC gets at in the OP. But it's not useful to bludgeon them with that.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 7:47 AM
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My experience is most students work reasonably hard, but in bizarre ways. I generally think of teaching as a struggle where I want the students to learn something and the students want to maximize their grade subject to the constraint of not learning anything. Though partly my opinion is colored by the fact that I don't work very hard, whereas people who work much harder than me might be less charitable about how hard students are working.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 7:51 AM
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24 19: Oddly, students tend not to announce their job status or income or scheduling conflicts during lecture.

I've been thinking more of primary/secondary education than college, because that's the context where I first heard about this kind of workshop. I guess it's rather different. Elementary school teachers get pretty obvious clues about the socioeconomic status of the kids in their classes.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 8:02 AM
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It is probably very bad that this thread has put me in mind of the Oxford tutors' blithe ignorance of the mass suicide of the undergraduates in Zuleika Dobson.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 8:03 AM
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Are there other concrete bits of advice?

I haven't read the book recommended here but I would guess that, yes, it's possible to come up with practical advice for students or faculty about how to bridge those cultural gaps.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 8:09 AM
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[Sorry, I find the discussion of class interesting, and think that Cala is exactly right. I didn't want to go off topic, but when I was thinking about books of concrete advice that came to mind and seemed close enough to the subject at hand to be worth mentioning.]


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 8:13 AM
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A 24 h planning window seems awfully short to me - don't people get weekly work schedules at most college compatible jobs? I mean, that time frame seems nutty to me. Registering your kid for school, for example, seems like it would require a longer window of planning. I get that there's lots of uncertainty, but some looming events seem like they'd be entirely predictable. How long until you need to buy gas? How long can the kid make do with their current pair of shoes?


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 8:17 AM
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28: Yeah, personally I don't find a lot of the sociological explanations helpful on a practical level (even when I'm not skeptical that they haven't been oversimplified in a bad way.)

Stuff I've figured out through observation/talking with students... I guess the best way to put it is that a non-trad student has less margin for error with respect to their coursework due to the demands on their time, and so I should endeavor to make sure that I'm not making things harder. E.g.:
a) if most of my students have jobs, I should make sure that assignments are posted well in advance, and that deadlines when feasible are Mondays, not Fridays, so they can have a weekend to do the work.
b) the reason that they keep asking whether books are going to be required is not because they're lazy, but because textbooks are expensive and some of my colleagues assign $250 books that are barely used.
c) exams at the testing center should be open multiple days, and include a Saturday.
d) if the syllabus is handed out on Tuesday, having an assignment due that Thursday is going to be hard on people who need to source used copies/wait for Amazon to deliver their books. Have a back-up plan for the first week (e.g., post the questions yourself if the books aren't in.)
e) if your university brilliantly starts the spring semester before federal financial aid is disbursed, expect a lot of panic...
f) try to be approachable, so that if you've screwed up something, students feel like they can alert you to it.

This last is kind of vague as far as advice goes, but a lot of first-gen non-trad students will assume that if they can't figure out something, they must be doing something wrong, not that university bureaucracies are generally screw up.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 8:30 AM
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The 24h planning window seems like egregious bullshit, to me, but I haven't read the Payne stuff. In my experience, poor people who aren't junkies are usually planning pretty damn well given the financial constraints they are operating under.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 8:32 AM
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some of my colleagues assign $250 books that are barely used.

Then they should be fired and never get work in education again. That would have been a serious strain on me in the old days of generous student grants. Are these people pig ignorant or deliberately sadistic?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 8:36 AM
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39: That didn't ring true for me, either, not the least because if we're talking about poor college students, their being there is demonstrating that they are planning a few years out.

40: No clue, but they make it easy for me to get stellar evaluation just by being competent. But what happens some times is professors who don't assign books they don't use see and work to keep costs down that question as "I don't want to do the work" instead of an oblique way of asking whether the text is going to be sufficiently central to the course to be worth the purchase price.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 8:48 AM
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40: Their copies are often free from the publisher. As far as usage, I think it's better for profs to write and post their own practice exercises, which is a big reason the texts were required where I went to school.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 8:51 AM
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If you are writing and posting your own practice exercises, you may as well just write a textbook, assign it, and get royalties.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 8:53 AM
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40: On a couple of courses in grad school the textbook was assigned on the basis of having been written by a close friend of the prof. The absolute best textbook I had was a set of handwritten photocopied notes handed out by the professor at the beginning of the semester. The total cost to cover the photocopying must have been all of ten bucks, if that.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 9:26 AM
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If you are writing and posting your own practice exercises, you may as well just write a textbook, assign it, and get royalties.

Or you could just put your textbook online for free, and really save students some money.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 9:33 AM
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But if you ask the students for royalties directly, you get in trouble.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 9:36 AM
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So, one thing this brings up for me, as an over-educated, under-employed child of lower-middle class intellectuals, is just how hard do people actually study? I put very, very little time into studying when I was back in school getting my BA in my late 20s. If I'd stuck it out when I was 18-22, maybe I would have worked a bit harder for the same grades, but not that much. I mean, if you're working 30-40 hours a week at a relatively demanding job like frontline food service/customer service, you're often pretty burnt out and should get points just for not falling asleep in class. Even so, I've always assumed that virtually everyone around me (present company occasionally excepted) is way more studious, and persistent, than I am. But perhaps everyone is really phoning it in 90% of the time. I dunno.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 9:42 AM
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Like everything else in life, the amount that students study varies wildly.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 9:47 AM
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I'm using my colleagues Inquiry Based Learning notes, as a favor for him because he wants to distribute them widely and wants some feedback. (Not for profit, though.) I actually am not enjoying them very much, and am not sure what I'll say to him.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 9:48 AM
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"Your notes are worse than spreading goat entrails on the white board and calling it a lecture."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 9:53 AM
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I tend to use no book at all in freshmen classes, and as few books as possible in upper level classes.

Of course, for my lit classes "as few books as possible" this semester means 8 books in one class. So, well.

But I do let them buy whatever editions they like, and some of them are available free online.


Posted by: delagar | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 9:55 AM
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re: 47

I think it's hard to tell. People lie an amazing amount about how much they work, both to others and to themselves. Both exaggerating, and playing it down. When I was an undergraduate, I worked a couple of part-time jobs, and spend pretty much all of my vacations temping [secretarial work, or IT stuff]. That was quite manageable for me.* I had friends who didn't have jobs at all, who seemed to struggle to get enough studying done. I don't think they were slacking. They just either needed a lot of studying time [because they didn't read quickly, or have good memories] or were adopting inefficient practices.

* a similar or slightly harder working schedule was a major problem in graduate school, though.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 10:07 AM
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I'm using my colleague's lecture notes because he has detailed notes and problem sets that correspond to exactly the length of a semester here, and all I have to do is look over them briefly and phone it in.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 10:12 AM
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In terms of books, I don't ever remember being assigned anything expensive as an undergraduate. The most expensive was about £20 [mid 90s, so £30-ish now]. But that was mostly humanities stuff.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 10:18 AM
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|| I just did some homework on the escape-my-career fantasy of the day and it looks like it would take me like eight years just to do the math prereqs to start a civil engineering program. Alas!
|>


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 10:32 AM
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Eight years? Did you skip high school?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 10:35 AM
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No, I took up through Calculus. But don't really remember Calculus.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 11:11 AM
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Meanwhile, at my educational institution for the 1%, there's an assumption that anyone not in the top 10th percentile is an unwashed semi-literate. In my pedagogical training as a grad student instructor, we had a dean of admissions let us know that a small percentage of students are from households of incomes with less than 70K a year, but, as she went on to helpfully inform us, they too can make intelligent contributions to the classroom.


Posted by: Britta | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 11:20 AM
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they too can make intelligent contributions to the classroom.

Rich fellas come up an' they die, an' their kids ain't no good an' they die out. But we keep a'comin'. We're the people that live. They can't wipe us out; they can't lick us. We'll go on forever, Pa, 'cause we're the people


Posted by: Ma Joad contributin' | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 11:44 AM
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This has sort of been covered already, but is the "planning window" thing at all helpful when you're talking about university-level students? Who at that point is actually making 20-year plans?

Even at the one point in my life where I considered myself legitimately wealthy, I couldn't have articulated much more than a 2-year plan and a 5-year guess. But maybe that was because all my hope for the future had already been turned into billable hours.

I'm just not seeing it.


Posted by: rural merkin | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 12:02 PM
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Rich fellas come up an' they die, an' their kids ain't no good an' they die out. But we keep a'comin'. We're the people that live.

There's that cohort effect again.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 1:09 PM
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Heh. I have a good friend who has a relentless plan to retire when she's no older than 50. I'm pretty sure she's been like that since her early twenties. She knows her retirement fund within two dollars at any point. She always knew she didn't want children and she and her husband are both decently paid, so I think she's going to pull it off.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 1:12 PM
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(By odd coincidence, she is the project management sub on a contract that my sister is the lead contractor for. I had nothing to do with it.)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 1:14 PM
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No, that's the female management style thread.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 1:20 PM
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I knew a guy who was putting everything he could into deferred compensation so he could retire at 40. This was in 2000. I don't think it worked.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 1:27 PM
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If a "24-hour planning window" means that someone has no idea where they'll be 25 hours from now, then that sounds like a junkie-or-other-mental-illness trait, not just a poor person trait.

On the other hand, there's a meaningful distinction to be made between predictable commitments and unusual events like doctors' office visits or shopping for birthday presents, and if "24-hour planning window" just means that someone doesn't like to plan unusual events more than 24 hours in advance, I can believe that correlates with economic status. I'd be surprised if the relation was that clear and clean - no one can plan 20 years in advance as reliably as 24 hours, and even if someone could, the 50th percentile of wealth probably wouldn't be exactly at a 10-year planning window - but the idea of a correlation seems reasonable.

It's just a personality trait. my fiancée is much better about planning than me.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 1:28 PM
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$250 really is far more than I ever paid for a textbook, even adjusting for inflation. The most expensive were math and science ones which ran forty to sixty. Adjusting for inflation that's still 'only' a bit over a hundred books. Classes also generally had multiple copies of all assigned books and packets on three hour reserve at the library so if you didn't want to buy them you could manage to just read them that way.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 1:29 PM
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This textbook lists for $199:
http://www.amazon.com/Many-Particle-Physics-Solids-Liquids/dp/0306463385


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 1:34 PM
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$250 really is far more than I ever paid for a textbook, even adjusting for inflation.

I have an old calc book I'll sell you for $250 if you want the experience.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 1:34 PM
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I'll even pay shipping (continental U.S. only).


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 1:39 PM
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63: By odd coincidence, she is the project management sub

God, I could really go for a sub, like the subs of my childhood, right now


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 1:47 PM
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62, 65: Yeah, I can see something like that, a planned end state some years down the line. But then it gets hard to say that the poor and middle-class don't have similarly vague plans. After all, most everyone wants to retire at some point.

I guess I know some people who have had their life planned out from their early teens: college, med school, residency in some prestigious subfield, meet someone and marry them, three kids each two years apart, etc. But that's more about control issues than wealth, really.


Posted by: rural merkin | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 2:01 PM
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I suppose reading Payne's work might clear up some of my confusion. But what's the fun in that?


Posted by: rural merkin | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 2:04 PM
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I've got a plan through Friday afternoon.

But it's shaky. It depends on how much the cat's vet bill is going to run.


Posted by: delagar | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 2:05 PM
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67: General Chemistry standard text for $317.48 new. Introductory Physics, $184.55, Solution Guide $103.14. Used is better, but the problems won't match assigned homework.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 2:46 PM
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Used is better, but the problems won't match assigned homework.

How hard is it for professors to type up the problems they want students to solve, instead of just assigning a number from a particular edition of a book?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 2:53 PM
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68: I don't think I've ever seen it called "Many-Particle Physics" before. I guess I'm a "few-particle physicist" and the really difficult subject is "Several-Particle Physics".


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 2:55 PM
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Looks like my slightly-senior-colleague's new textbook is going to go for $90 list price when it comes out in a few months. That's quite a bit more than the other books on the market. I'm not sure there's much value added.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 2:59 PM
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It seems to me that the smart Republican move would be to vote en masse to block Obama. Then the tea party lives again off the momentum for a few more electoral rounds. Most of the die hard libertarian types are also anti-interventionist.


Posted by: text | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 3:24 PM
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76: really hard. No way. I'd be willing to consider scanning and posting problem sets from the book, though.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 3:35 PM
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I mean, not actually hard, but the type of task that I'd never remember to budget time for, and would keep forgetting/resenting/regretting.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 3:37 PM
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75: God that's awful. I remember being sick at a two volume set being $200 bucks in grad school.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 3:58 PM
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76: In classes I TAed, the lecturer wrote all the graded homework problems himself, but he would list all the relevant textbook problems for students to get more practice. For exams, he would then pick one or two of the optional problems as exam questions with a minor change. We did tell them if they had an earlier edition of the book to make copies of the reserve books in the library.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 5:02 PM
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This is such an interesting issue. On the one hand it is vividly apparent that better cross-class understanding could dramatically improve so many things, from individual human relationships to social problems.

On the other, almost everyone that I have seen attempt to cover this stuff* does it in such a ham-handed way that it's almost worse than not discussing it.

*Always for a middle class/professional class audience, I should note.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 5:59 PM
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Btw, while I'd quibble with rob's terminology, I think he gets an an important distinction here:

"But for the purposes of this analysis, the working class can be split into those actually working, who count as middle class, and those who don't work, who count as poor."

There is a radical difference IME between people who have some toehold of participation in our economy and those who don't. Being utterly outside the formal world of work (or higher education) is IMO a bigger difference than almost any other demographic or social factor.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 6:02 PM
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Most professors are not from such backgrounds themselves, and so they tend to run their classrooms in ways that would have made sense to them as an undergraduate, and ime it's lots of little non-academic things that aren't a big deal if you're primarily just a student that become a huge deal if you're also a parent/working full-time. E.g., setting deadlines ad hoc vs having everything planned ahead of time.

Oh man, this. I was a night student and while I had all kinds of economic privileges and pillows, I also had a full-time job. Professors who "helped" by changing deadlines or shifting assignments just unbalanced my carefully designed pyramid of tasks and deadlines, and yet they always seemed convinced they were just making life easier.

One time I was so frustrated I just turned in the original assignment, with a cover note telling the professor that I had started it when she gave out the assignment, I worked full-time, and I didn't have time to redo it when she changed course midway through. As I recall she didn't acknowledge the issue in any way besides not flunking me.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 6:06 PM
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re: 84

It'd be interesting for someone to write one from the other perspective. A working-class perspective on the academic world, and middle-class mores.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 6:07 PM
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Being utterly outside the formal world of work (or higher education) is IMO a bigger difference than almost any other demographic or social factor.

True also for people who are outside it from the other end.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 6:11 PM
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There is a radical difference IME between people who have some toehold of participation in our economy and those who don't.

I guess that would be the difference between "poor" and "indigent".


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 6:12 PM
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It's not that they're idiots, but that they're immersed in a culture that constantly touts the narrative of the individual who believed! and believed so hard! that they overcame whatever ol' hardship. It's important to remind new educators over and over again that that is not the general case.

So so true. And Cala's 15 and 38 too.

With regard to the 24-hour time horizon, it rings perfectly true to me IF you substitute "planning" for "counting on." Many of the poor and working-class people that I've spent time with are absolute masters at juggling. But they are acutely aware that you can't count on anything ever, except maybe family and sometimes not then.

It's not that they can't predict in advance that their child will need new shoes in six months, but that there are going to be472 unpredictable things that happen in that six months that make it non-worthwhile to make firm plans about how to handle it. Their uncle in North Carolina is going to die, and they're going to have to go down by bus for the funeral, and then they're going to meet a new guy and he's going to have a job and they're going to get help with the rent, and then he's going to turn out to be a bum and they're on their own again and their youngest kid is going to get an ear infection that turns into something much worse and they're going to have to borrow cash from everybody to try to get the prescription filled. And then they'll leave the house one morning and by the McDonald's will be a guy with a folding table set up, selling new shoes in boxes that "fell off the back of a truck" and they'll get a pair for $8 and that's that problem solved.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 6:17 PM
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87: Very! I know I always, always bring up Alfred Lubrano's book Limbo (oops there I go again) but that's because in the class-phobic US it is one of the few nonfiction books I've run across that attempts to explain US UMC/professional culture through the eyes of someone not born to it.

(Lubrano is writing about blue-collar kids who go to college and end up semi-alienated from their childhood worlds while also feeling distant from their professional peers -- he calls them "straddlers," of which he is one himself.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 6:20 PM
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I guess that would be the difference between "poor" and "indigent".

Yeah, actually, I'm honestly not sure about that. In my observation there are people who live entirely outside the formal world of work (e.g. SSDI payments + informal economy) who most people would call "indigent," and it's not at all clear to me that their quality of life and health isn't measurably better than people who are making a pittance of paid income but at a titanic personal cost.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 6:23 PM
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I know I always, always bring up Alfred Lubrano's book Limbo (oops there I go again)

I hadn't seen it before! Thanks.


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 7:05 PM
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I'm suddenly having lots of conversations where I tell beginning grad students "since your goal is to learn more about subject A, I think it would a good use of your time to do X, Y, and Z" and they say, in so many words, "nope, not gonna do that". I don't think class enters into this.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 7:57 PM
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Also I can't decide if this kind of evasive answer from a student who wants to work with me should bother me or I should just be respecting their privacy: "I can't make any meetings on Thursday afternoons". "Oh? Are you teaching then or something?" "No. I have something else I do then".


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 7:59 PM
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"nope, not gonna do that"

I'm always kind of boggled when these happen, but after 10+ years I've started to decide that it's sometimes because the person wants the outcome without any of the process. So they don't actually mean "I would like to develop my writing skills," they mean "I want to be able to point to a finished product with my name on it." ::boggle::

95: I should just be respecting their privacy
Yup.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 8:12 PM
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the person wants the outcome without any of the process.

Seems that way. Although there was one student who outlined his super-elaborate and disciplined plan for studying a bunch of books basically on his own, so he didn't seem to be shirking work. But when I tried to persuade him that actually, going to talks and chatting with people about their research was much more likely to make him an effective scientist in the long term than burying himself in books, he just kind of smiled politely and then told me that he would wait at least a year before attending any talks because he has to finish working through his pile of books first. That was really odd.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 8:26 PM
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Because nothing at all is more strange than a young man who isn't very socially adept and who is more comfortable with books than people trying to go into science.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 8:29 PM
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Then I had a chat with a grad student who's been around for a few years and seems pretty successful, and asked him how often he and the other grad students in the group chat about new papers that they think are interesting. "Read new papers? We don't really do that. I guess we might have talked about a new paper once or twice."

I'm just feeling like the more I talk to students the more I think the whole culture of our department is broken and they aren't getting any of the things they should be getting out of their PhD program.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 8:30 PM
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The fact that there's an infinite number of new papers published on the internet every week makes it hopeless to try to find which ones are interesting. We students nowadays just go into the literature to answer questions, or read review articles. Unless the new articles are directly related to the exact experiments we are doing.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 8:36 PM
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I think I said a few "nope not gonna do that"'s in my first year of grad school. I *was* very confused about how the process worked.


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 8:39 PM
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99.last: One thing that has changed radically for me in the last decade is how willing I am to give frank advice that assumes the person has NOT been given any useful info on how the world works.

This goes full circle back to the OP: I used to think it was horribly rude and condescending of me to think that anyone might not know something that I consider a basic fact of decency -- as if I was judging the parenting or education they received.

Thousands of examples later, I'm convinced that a) "home training" varies wildly, b) things that are rigid requirements in certain situations are often totally opaque to people who weren't taught the rules, and c) one of the best things you can do for another person is to articulate *make visible* the invisible structure/rules, so they can decide for themselves if/how they want to play along.

Not in a "This is the right way to do it and you are wrongity wrong" way* but in a "This is how this code works, and if you want successfully use this code here is how to do it."

*Unless of course they are wrong.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 8:41 PM
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86: I did something similar when I was a freshman, not because I had a good work-based excuse, but just because the new, improved assignment was less interesting to me, and I'd already done some work on the original. The TAs were fine with it, but got very shirty when I asked to confirm that this was okay. So, from then on I sat in the back and never asked or answered any questions because my LMC self-confidence had been destroyed by their UMC privilege. Ha.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 8:43 PM
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Sorta to 102, I was talking with someone about AAVE and codeswitching and stuff the other day, and thinking about it on the bus today, I considered how I am almost 100% fluent in AAVE, at least as spoken in MPLS, but I hardly ever use it in conversation. Not that this is so uncommon -- quite the contrary, I think most white kids who follow hip hop are in the same boat, to varying degrees. But then, on the other hand, you have white folx who grew up working class in integrated neighborhoods/schools and wound up having AAVE essentially as a first language, whether spoken at home or not. Kinda made me think about something someone was saying (here?) about someone growing up in Weimar Germany as a Jew, speaking High, Mittel and Low German, plus Yiddish, plus a little Polish I think, and maybe one other language or dialect. And how they had to switch between all of those languages pretty much every day to get around town and go to school and talk to their grandparents, etc. And then I found 5,000,000,000 Marks.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 8:58 PM
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104: I also understand very well, but use AAVE only semi-ironically (meaning not to be offensive but to deliberately send a message) with Lee or a few other black close friends who are also middle class. I think I've gotten better at being able to do cross-class stuff without faking or changing who I am, which is sort of a weird dynamic but an important one in my line of work. I need to understand everything and make myself understood, but that just means paraphrasing things in ways that still fit my mode of speech and so on.

And yet I still don't know how I'll totally manage making sure the girls are good at code-switching appropriately, though we talk about it already and presumably I'll just puppetmaster Lee if any of it seems too racially awkward for me to say myself. Right now we're working on getting Mara to stop saying "don't have no" and I doubt she'll ever fluently pick it up again because we're too bougie. The first time she was accused of sounding white, she was 4 and had been talking for less than two years.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 9:14 PM
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E.g., setting deadlines ad hoc vs having everything planned ahead of time

I don't remember this ever happening. There was a syllabus with readings and assignments and dates. Depending on the prof and circumstances you might be able to get an extension but that was about the only ad hoc thing.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 09- 4-13 10:22 PM
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It'd be interesting for someone to write one from the other perspective. A working-class perspective on the academic world, and middle-class mores.

Crack on, ttaM.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 2:20 AM
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re: 107

Heheh.

Chapter 1: The Middle classes: Amoralism, and individualism.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 3:21 AM
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108. Epigraph: "I used to be working class- fuck that" - Jim Davidson, professional racist and suspected kiddie fiddler.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 3:53 AM
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109: Not
"I'd like to see them starving
The so-called working class
Their weekly wages halving
Their women eating grass"?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 4:11 AM
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110 Better. Who's the immortal bard?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 4:30 AM
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OT: I was in the offie yesterday and they were prominently displaying "Ned" wine. I laughed. It wasn't even Buckfast.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 4:45 AM
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Mr. 'Notes on an Arundel Tomb' and 'Schoolgirl spanking' Philip Larkin, I believe.


Posted by: Richard J | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 4:45 AM
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Chapter 2: The Tyranny of Stuff: China, Silver, Sports Cars and other stuff UMC people have but rarely use.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 5:26 AM
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110 is Larkin in a letter to Kingsley Amis, IIRC.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 5:37 AM
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87, 108: Everybody Hates Chris and maybe Chappelle


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 6:38 AM
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Chapter 3: "Because it builds character": "Activities" as a substitute for work in UMC families


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 6:49 AM
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Chapter 4: "I deserve better": Sources and expressions of entitlement


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 6:51 AM
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Witt at 90: "It's not that they can't predict in advance that their child will need new shoes in six months, but that there are going to be 472 unpredictable things that happen in that six months that make it non-worthwhile to make firm plans about how to handle it."

Yes. Absolutely. After awhile, really, it just becomes a joke to try to plan for anything.

Man plans, God laughs, as we say.

I think this is the biggest difference between people who have and have always had enough money and the working class. I remember reading somewhere a bit of solemn advice about how you should always have enough money saved to live on for a year (it might have been two years?) in case you lose your job.

I remember looking at that advice for about 20 minutes. I mean, it might as well have been written in Urdu. WTF? I kept think. What is this person on about? Save up WHAT now?

Because, seriously. If I have enough money each month to buy groceries in the last week before payday, it's high fives all around. And I wasn't kidding about the cat's vet bill. ($65 bucks, the little fucker. We're living on grits and eggs again.)

I get that saving up money for these sudden emergencies that always happen is a really good idea. But I don't come from a place where that is possible, or has ever been possible.

I used to read all these finance and financial advice books, trying to see what I might be doing wrong. Basically, the advice boils down to, first assume a screw driver. (First, assume some fucking money...)


Posted by: delagar | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 7:16 AM
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Chapter 5: "Quality Time": Why rich kids take so many drugs.


Posted by: Annelid Gustator | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 7:16 AM
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I don't think the pay-check to pay-check vs. having savings thing falls cleanly along class lines. Yes poor people typically don't have savings and rich people do, but in the middle (say individuals making 25K up through families making 200K) I think it ends up being more a matter of personal habits. Personally I don't like spending money or having things, and I feel really antsy if I have less than 10K in the bank. So I've had at least 10K in savings for all but a few months since my second year of grad school (when I was making 25K). Conversely, I know several people in the 100K+ range who never have savings.

My problem is that I never have or buy the things I need. Marriage combined with being rich has fixed this, since RWM spends money and I save it but there's enough to do both.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 8:41 AM
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Chapter 2: The Tyranny of Stuff: China, Silver, Sports Cars and other stuff UMC people have but rarely use.

Ah yes one of the ne plus ultras of first world problems. The silver sets are us, as in recent years as several have come to us via inheritance. Purchased and valued by various parts of our families from the late 1800s through about the depression and subsequently passed down (my UMC and UMC-aspirational forebears let me show you them). I've not really looked at them in detail (some may be plate for all I know); I do feel some "loyalty" to them, but they just sit in drawers* waiting for us to die in turn (and my daughter already has inherited her own set from a relatively distant relative because they happened to be inscribed with the first letter of her first name--my wife forced her to take them out of our house to her apartment recently). I guess we could clean them up and eat with some of them, but aside from status and/or self-image they really are inferior as utensils compared to modern alternatives. And of course there are well-worn paths to sale and meltage for folks so inclined.

*Unlike some older furniture, quilts and pictures which we have deployed, but which are threatening to turn parts of our house into shrines to the departed.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 9:05 AM
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My problem is that I never have or buy the things I need. Marriage combined with being rich has fixed this, since RWM spends money and I save it but there's enough to do both.

I've had the same experience. It just never occurred to me that things are sold that would solve so many of my problems. (Like, say, a jogging case to hold my ipod. Or a drawer organizer. Or a soft cooler.) Then Jammies buys them and I realize how marvelous they are.

The flip side is that we acquire more stuff which we could be just fine without, which I don't like. See also: philosophies about packing for travelling and camping trips and diaper bags.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 9:32 AM
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The flip side is that we acquire more stuff which we could be just fine without, which I don't like.

I've started secretly throwing away things that haven't been used in a while. I'm fairly certain this won't help anything in the long run, I just can't stand the amount of stuff.


Posted by: Gerald Ford | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 9:36 AM
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122 sums it all up. We ended up with both my parents' and grandparents' wedding china and silver because my sister and her husband are modernists when it comes to Stuff. So we live in a fucking museum because we can't bear to get rid of it. Lately it transpired that my niece would be interested in some of it, so now all it needs is for her to get a job and move out of her parents' place, and the job's a good 'un. I'm not holding my breath.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 9:38 AM
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While I'm generally very happy with my life, I do daydream about living alone and starting with literally no possessions, so that I had to acquire whatever I needed, and not anything I didn't need. A pot, a pan, a chair, a bed, a bookshelf, a lamp, a toothbrush.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 9:42 AM
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Happy the teens of today, whose lifetime collection of books will be entirely electronic! Trapnel can argue if he wants.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 9:49 AM
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Also I can't decide if this kind of evasive answer from a student who wants to work with me should bother me or I should just be respecting their privacy: "I can't make any meetings on Thursday afternoons". "Oh? Are you teaching then or something?" "No. I have something else I do then".

Wtf, respect her privacy. That's when her therapy sessions are, or she's babysitting her nephew, or her bridge club meets then, or she has some other work building her ``shadow resume" because she knows she'll never get an academic job. Exactly what percentage of a graduate student's time, during what hours, do you expect to have exclusive rights to?

...I might be projecting my own issues onto this a tiny bit.


Posted by: L. | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 9:49 AM
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128.last: I don't think it's projection. There's no reason anyone should pry any deeper than simply knowing when a person is available. It's simple politeness.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 9:52 AM
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127: And their "silverware" will be disposable, biodegradable, corn-based plastic utensils that are freshly made with a home 3-D printer prior to every meal. Your grandkids will inherit a license to use so many pieces of a particular pattern.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 9:52 AM
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I just did some homework on the escape-my-career fantasy of the day and it looks like it would take me like eight years just to do the math prereqs to start a civil engineering program. Alas!

Smearcase: Math and civil engineering is tricky. The math is probably the hardest part of getting the degree, but we (I) rarely use more than trig and algebra in my daily work.

If you're looking for a less intimidating transition, draftsmen are in demand. You can take one or two community college classes without prerequisites (for example), and get a decent paying job working in an office and being a part of creating buildings. (Structural draftsmen are in demand enough that a lot of freshly graduated civil engineers work as half-draftsmen for several years, as almost an internship.)


Posted by: Mooseking | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 9:53 AM
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A pot, a pan, a chair, a bed, a bookshelf, a lamp, a toothbrush and that's all I need, for sure.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 9:56 AM
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Half-draughtsman get fired from pubs.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 9:56 AM
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I just realized I threw my biodegradable, corn-based lunch fork in the trash. Oops.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 9:58 AM
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Not to be rude, but this kind of thing "I think it ends up being more a matter of personal habits" really gets down my neck. Frankly, you can only say this because you've had a really lucky life.

You've had the kind of life where your personal habits didn't include getting cancer at 29, for instance. Or you or your spouse being unemployed at some point along the way.

Also, apparently, your personal habits include marrying someone with money, and always having jobs that paid more money than you needed to live on.

My graduate school stipend, in contrast, paid $6000/year. And no health insurance, so that when I got cancer, it was without health insurance.

Nor do we live the high life down here in Northwest Arkansas -- I mean, I get what you're saying about making choices to not buy a lot of crap, and I wish that was the issue. But seriously, when it comes time to cut the budget? What we get to choose between is either not paying the water bill or not buying food. (We already got rid of the phone, which saves us $40/month.)

Maybe I could take my kid's cats to the pound. Little fuckers don't pull their weight, after all.


Posted by: delagar | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 9:59 AM
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135 is in fact pretty rude, and also unfair, because Upetgi pretty clearly said that the "personal habits" thing applied only to those in "the middle (say individuals making 25K up through families making 200K)".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 10:03 AM
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I apologize for being unclear. Certainly illness in the US is a huge financial problem, and people who aren't paycheck-to-paycheck still are likely to be bankrupted by illness in the US. I thought I was clear that my comments didn't apply to the genuinely poor, but I'll re-emphasize that now.

I don't think that as a general matter saving several months salary is impractical or bad advice for most people, though obviously for some people it's not going to work out.

(For the record, I did not marry someone with money, but rather someone with debt. My financial situation would be clearly better if I were single, though of course it's fine as it is.)


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 10:10 AM
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(Also Ph.D. programs that don't pay a living wage and don't cover health insurance are immoral: schools shouldn't offer them, the professors in those departments should feel shamed, and everyone should try their best to stop 22-year olds from going in to them.)


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 10:14 AM
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$6000/yr with no health insurance is . . . I mean that's what around what a reasonably paid housekeeper here makes for 1 1/2 day of work per week.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 10:26 AM
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That should be a single 1/2 day of work per week.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 10:26 AM
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Assuming a 40 hour work week, that's what, like $2.50 an hour?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 10:28 AM
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Plus the housekeeper gets to feel like they've actually achieved something.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 10:29 AM
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OK, I'm outraged. Where was your graduate program and how can we burn it to the ground, execute the administrators and entire faculty from the department, and salt the earth where it once stood?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 10:30 AM
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I know there's often a problem with sincere vs. ironic tone in this blog commenting medium, but 143 is entirely serious.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 10:31 AM
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144 is not a very efficient emoticon.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 10:32 AM
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Anyhow aren't there PhD programs with neither a stipend nor tuition coverage? I feel like this is a thing of which I've heard.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 10:34 AM
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144: I know there's often a problem with sincere vs. ironic tone in this blog commenting medium

How so?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 10:43 AM
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144.last: Or as neb would say, it's literally serious.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 10:44 AM
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Upetgi pretty clearly said that the "personal habits" thing applied only to those in "the middle (say individuals making 25K up through families making 200K)".

I would also not that at the low end of that range (say $25K-50K) even setting aside health-care, there's a big difference in the people who know that, if they really had to, they could borrow $1-2K from their family and the people who occasionally have to help family members out with an expense.

I'm in the former category, and it doesn't feel like that much support from family, but then when you watch somebody who's in the other position, it's clear that it makes a big difference.

Also there's going to be a difference between different professions. For someone making, say, $30K, some jobs are going to require much larger expenses just to fit in and maintain credibility with co-workers and supervisors than others.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 10:55 AM
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149.mid is spot on.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 10:59 AM
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During early grad school getting 2K from my parents would have been pretty difficult. 1K maybe they could have swung (they did pull together 1K towards one brother's wedding when I was in my young 20s). Certainly I've given family members more money than they've given me. (Money towards my one brother's wedding, getting my other brother's car out of repo.)

Speaking of bailing out family members and health care, I've been thinking I should buy health care for my brother once Obamacare starts out. It's annoyingly difficult to find actual practical info on Obamacare in California on google, it wants to just give news articles.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 11:10 AM
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151.2: "ACA California" seems more useful.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 11:13 AM
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Er that was supposed to have a link.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 11:17 AM
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151: Good news there - Covered California just this past weekend updated its premium calculator with the actual approved plans and premiums by location, so you can enter in his zip code, income, and household details, and get a full list of what plans are available to him and what they would cost. Or if he might be eligible for Medi-Cal, it will say so. (For some reason it doesn't display for me in Chrome, and I have to use IE.)


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 11:19 AM
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Thanks! I should call him to try to get his actual financial info so I can sort this out.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 11:21 AM
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to try to get his actual financial info so I can sort this out.

Dear XYZ,

I am offering to buy you health insurance under the ACA. Please reply to this email with your financial information including account number and mobile phone number.

--Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (419)



Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 11:33 AM
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I've been financially self-supporting since I was 16. One relative lent me a sum under $1000, once, and another a sum under $500 (also once). In both cases it was with the expectation that they'd be paid back fairly sharpish, as neither could afford to miss it for long.

I've never been able to live with the expectation of any kind of bailout. I remember my doctoral adviser suggesting [strongly] that I give up work for a year to finish off my D.Phil. He was genuinely shocked when I told him I couldn't.

'Surely someone in your family can support you? Lend you the money?'

'Er, no. Are you fucking shitting me?'


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 11:34 AM
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151-155 -- I pay for my daughter's health insurance, but have been wondering what the ACA was going to mean for that. She lives in California, so thanks, guys.

(I was actually planing to send Minivet an email in the next few days.)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 11:36 AM
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156 is good.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 11:52 AM
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The bad thing is he's probably gullible enough that that would work if the email looked like it came from me.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 09- 5-13 11:55 AM
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