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  #101  
Old 08-28-2018, 02:18 PM
Crazy Canuck Crazy Canuck is offline
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Originally Posted by begbert2 View Post
They're coasting, and while they might bitch a bit about how hard things are as a thin justification for their inaction, they clearly aren't bothered enough to actually get off their butts and try.
This is a perfect example of the just-world fallacy in action. Did you ever consider that they've been so beaten down by the world every time they've tried to better themselves that they logically decided to give up? The only reason to assume that they are not trying is that It's easier and more comforting to assume they "deserve" it somehow.
  #102  
Old 08-28-2018, 02:25 PM
begbert2 begbert2 is offline
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Originally Posted by Crazy Canuck View Post
This is a perfect example of the just-world fallacy in action. Did you ever consider that they've been so beaten down by the world every time they've tried to better themselves that they logically decided to give up? The only reason to assume that they are not trying is that It's easier and more comforting to assume they "deserve" it somehow.
I have considered that! And considered including it my post, but all my posts are too long anyway.

I don't consider a person who has been crushed by life to be a loser. My description of 'loser' is just that, a description, which depends upon knowledge of the subject to accurately apply.
  #103  
Old 08-28-2018, 02:29 PM
phouka phouka is offline
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I think we all struggle with the Fair World fallacy, the idea that if we work hard, follow the right steps, and make the right decisions, we will be successful. The problem, of course, being that we can do everything right and still fail. Itís all too easy to get worn down and decide not to bother because itís never going to work out. What we forget, though, is that while itís possible to do everything right and still fail, itís nearly impossible to succeed if you donít work hard, take the correct steps, and make the right decisions.

Thirteen years ago, I left an excellent job thinking I could move halfway across the country and find another job just as good. I didnít. I fell into a series of worse and worse jobs which destroyed my mental and physical health, depleted my savings, and left me worse off, by far, than I had been. I would beat myself up for my bad decision except that excellent place I worked had a change of upper management and disintegrated just after I left, so I would have been in the same situation, just without paying to move.

At the age of 46, I have bouts of severe depression, an unidentified autoimmune illness, ADHD, morbid obesity. Iím so broke I qualify for Medicaid, which is the best thing thatís happened to me in years, because it means that I can finally get weight loss surgery. Once Iím at a healthier weight, I can take the medication for my ADHD, making it possible for me to reliably accomplish any number of things (I canít take it right now because I have a mild heart arrhythmia which contraindicates stimulant medication but which will resolve when I get my weight below 225). Once my ADHD is under control and Iím physically healthier, itíll be far easier to find and perform meaningful work, reinforcing my mental health and bringing in a decent wage.

But this is a road which will take 2-3 years to accomplish and a major disaster or series of minor ones could destroy the progress Iíve made, and before I got to this, I spent the last six years just surviving, trying not to get fired for absenteeism from being constantly sick, damage myself further while trying to self-medicate the constant grinding ache of depression, and not lose friends when all I ever seemed to do was take instead of give. For six damn years, all I did was survive. I didnít even hope it would get better, because hope required a strengthI no longer possessed. I just existed, and when things got better I was able to do a little thing here and a little thing there, and eventually those little things added up to the possibility that my efforts will make a difference in my life.

So I guess the extraordinary length of this post comes down to following advice:

1. Keep existing. Donít die.
2. When youíve got that down, take care of yourself.
3. When youíve got that down, do something that will make things better.
4. When youíve got that down, do something to help others.
5. If something bad happens and you have to start back at the beginning, donít die, and remember, weíre all somewhere on this list, and sooner or later, we all struggle.
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  #104  
Old 08-28-2018, 02:37 PM
phouka phouka is offline
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I should also add that the biggest thing to get me this far was completely out of my control: I had a bout of flu in January that put my severe depression into remission. That respite allowed me to get my shit together and move from Texas to California, where the Medicaid expansion means I get the treatment I need to become a contributing member of society again. So, in fact, it was three things that broke my way: my depression went into remission, my mom was happy to have me move in with her, and California took advantage of the Medicaid expansion offered under the ACA. So I did the work necessary to take advantage of these opportunities, but the opportunities were completely unearned.
  #105  
Old 08-28-2018, 03:18 PM
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Omar Little Omar Little is offline
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I think being at the right place and time is a help.
I agree with this to a certain extent. But will add that being willing to take the risk to seize those opportunities when they arise, is a much bigger part of it.

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Originally Posted by UCBearcats View Post
The 30-50k figure would get me to the median salary point for my age/degree.
Age and degree doesn't get you squat. I think you need to look at what roles you are qualified for and see what the median salary is for those positions. Then go seek those out.
  #106  
Old 08-28-2018, 06:12 PM
Richard Pearse Richard Pearse is offline
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Age and degree doesn't get you squat. I think you need to look at what roles you are qualified for and see what the median salary is for those positions. Then go seek those out.
Isn't the degree what he's qualified for? Or perhaps he's saying that with the degree he has he should be qualified for better paying positions than he is.
  #107  
Old 08-28-2018, 06:52 PM
monstro monstro is offline
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Isn't the degree what he's qualified for? Or perhaps he's saying that with the degree he has he should be qualified for better paying positions than he is.
If the OP has a degree in civil engineering but for the past 15 years he's been doing only database management, then it doesn't make sense for him to being comparing himself to civil engineers. He needs to be comparing himself to other database managers.

I'm an environmental scientist that works in state government. To determine if I'm underpaid, I don't compare my salary to all environmental scientists, because that's going to include private consultants that make six figures as well as the post-doc earning just above minimum wage. No, I'm going to compare my salary to people that are doing the job I'm doing currently. And to figure out how to increase my salary, I wouldn't take my cues from what the private consultants do, but rather from fellow government workers do.

Last edited by monstro; 08-28-2018 at 06:53 PM.
  #108  
Old 08-28-2018, 11:15 PM
UCBearcats UCBearcats is offline
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At this point I don't know what the hell is going on. Should I be happy that I have a house, when my peer group has summer cabins, boats, and mobile homes?
  #109  
Old 08-29-2018, 01:47 AM
Nava Nava is offline
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No, you should start looking at the world from the inside of your head. You keep looking at yourself from outside. That's the wrong angle.
  #110  
Old 08-29-2018, 06:53 AM
monstro monstro is offline
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Originally Posted by UCBearcats View Post
At this point I don't know what the hell is going on. Should I be happy that I have a house, when my peer group has summer cabins, boats, and mobile homes?
Do you want those things? Or do you just want to look like your peers?
  #111  
Old 08-29-2018, 07:14 AM
Kimstu Kimstu is offline
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Originally Posted by UCBearcats View Post
Should I be happy that I have a house, when my peer group has summer cabins, boats, and mobile homes?
Of course you should. If you really want a summer cabin or a boat or a mobile home as well, nobody's saying you can't aspire to that, or even feel a little dissatisfied about not having it (as long as you do your best to channel that dissatisfaction into constructive effort rather than just sulking or beating up on yourself).

But if you're letting whatever negative feelings you may have about not being part of a wealthy elite obscure your baseline satisfaction and happiness with your reasonable level of middle-class security, that's kind of screwed up. Allowing your frustration about the luxuries you don't have to overwhelm your appreciation of the solid comfort you do have is not a problem with your income or other material success, it's a problem with your beliefs and state of mind.
  #112  
Old 08-29-2018, 10:04 AM
bump bump is offline
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What we forget, though, is that while itís possible to do everything right and still fail, itís nearly impossible to succeed if you donít work hard, take the correct steps, and make the right decisions.
That's absolutely true, and so is the part about everyone struggling at some time, in some way (maybe that's a fair world corollary?).

But here's the thing- absent extraordinarily consistent bad luck or something like that, working hard, laying the groundwork for succcess and making the right decisions will, on the whole, eventually cause improvements in anyone's situation.

I also agree that comparing yourself to others who you perceive as peers and deducing that you are indeed a loser isn't a reasonable or productive course of action.

To use myself as an example, it would be very easy for me to conclude that yes, I'm a loser by that metric, despite all reasonable indicators pointing the opposite direction. I mean, I have a very well paying and stable job, two Master's degrees, a happy healthy family, am a homeowner, etc... But if I go comparing myself to people I know, either from growing up/high school or from college and grad school, I'm comparing myself to a bunch of serious overachievers:
  • At least 10 medical doctors that I can think of.
  • About a dozen lawyers, most of whom are partners at their firms now.
  • A "Special Assistant" to Condoleeza Rice and Hillary Clinton, who has also been a vice Consul and is mentioned by name in "Hard Choices".
  • A whole slew of academics- history, archaeology, engineering, etc... with one guy (a close friend) who is actually interviewed periodically on TV about various POW related topics
  • Several small business owners of varying degrees of success.

The thing is, it's all in the choices we made; I chose to have a family and to specifically take an active and engaged role with it, in lieu of career success. A lot of the people on the list above either don't have children, or are essentially absentee fathers because they're working non-stop. Some are independently wealthy. Some aren't married or even in relationships.

My point is that when you compare yourself to others, you can always find someone who's got it better than you do by whatever yardstick you're measuring by. I could just as easily look at the crowd above and flip it around and point out that I nearly never work more than 40 hour weeks and I get to spend a lot of time with my family, and that they don't. I get to play video games, I get to coach kid basketball teams (surprisingly fun!), I get to read a lot, etc...

Ultimately you have to set your own internal priorities and work toward achieving those, instead of looking at others and judging yourself based on that. You don't know the whole story about the others. To use a personal tale, growing up my parents were always the "poor" ones- Dad was unemployed for a few years, and beyond that, we never had the cash to do anything that my neighborhood friends' families did, like vacations, boats, new cars, etc... Turned out that my friends' parents were living at the very edge of their means, and that 30 years later, many of them are still working in their 70s in some capacity to make ends meet, while my parents have been comfortably retired for more than a decade now. So who were the losers in this situation? In 1988 it would have been really easy to peg my parents as the losers, but in 2018 they're the best off of the bunch.
  #113  
Old 08-29-2018, 11:27 AM
monstro monstro is offline
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The thing is, it's all in the choices we made; I chose to have a family and to specifically take an active and engaged role with it, in lieu of career success. A lot of the people on the list above either don't have children, or are essentially absentee fathers because they're working non-stop. Some are independently wealthy. Some aren't married or even in relationships.
It is not all about choices, though. I think to say it all comes down to choices is Just World thinking. Not everyone is endowed with the same talents and abilities. Some people have a golden halo hanging over them because of their looks and family name and swagger, while some people are tainted for the same reasons.

I have a twin. An uncharitable assessment would deem me the "loser" between the two of us, and for a while I believed this. But I didn't get myself out of this funk by comparing our choices, but rather considering that we are totally different people despite our superficial similarities. She has talents and abilities that surpass mine. The converse is also true, but it just happens that her strengths are more marketable and visible.

As little kids, we used to race in everything. Who could get to the top or bottom of the stairs first. Who could put pajamas on the fastest. Who could carry the other on their back the longest. I was always the loser of these competitions. Was I not trying hard enough? Or was I just comparing myself to someone who just has stronger abilities that mine? I think if I had been told that I was outmatched for reasons out of my control, it would have stung initially but at least I wouldn't have internalized the notion that I was a loser because I did not have my sister's winning attitude.

Everyone isn't always going to win the exact same trophies. Some of this is due solely to the choices we make. Some of it comes solely down to luck. A lot of it is a mix of both.

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  #114  
Old 08-29-2018, 11:35 AM
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Omar Little Omar Little is offline
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Isn't the degree what he's qualified for? Or perhaps he's saying that with the degree he has he should be qualified for better paying positions than he is.
A degree qualifies you for an entry level position for the field in which you studied. Beyond that, age makes no difference. It is what you are qualified to do.

Saying that a 40 year old person with a finance degree should earn $350,000 a year is meaningless. It depends on what type of experience and progressive responsibilities that person has, as to what type of role that person is qualified for. Compensation is tied to roles, not age and degree.
  #115  
Old 08-29-2018, 12:01 PM
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"Deserve's got nothin' to do with it." - William Munny, Unforgiven (1992)
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Last edited by Jasmine; 08-29-2018 at 12:02 PM.
  #116  
Old 08-29-2018, 12:34 PM
bump bump is offline
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Originally Posted by monstro View Post
Everyone isn't always going to win the exact same trophies. Some of this is due solely to the choices we make. Some of it comes solely down to luck. A lot of it is a mix of both.

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Ok, maybe I was being too absolute.

What I was getting at is that perceiving yourself as a loser when comparing yourself to others is entirely a matter of your own choices - both in comparing yourself like that, and in the choices you made to get where you are. It's basically a long-form version of Eleanor Roosevelt's "Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent" quote.

Financial and social success are definitely a mix of luck, work/good choices and where you started in life, and there's really only one of those three anyone can control.

But judging yourself by what are essentially arbitrary yardsticks based on what you perceive as someone else's success is entirely a choice you make, and that often the choices you've made in other arenas affect those things, as does luck, family standing, etc... Which is why that sort of self-judgment is so godawful- the information you need to make the judgment is dreadfully incomplete, and the criteria for success are so narrow. You literally can't win in most people's cases.
  #117  
Old 08-29-2018, 12:42 PM
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Omar Little Omar Little is offline
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Financial and social success are definitely a mix of luck, work/good choices and where you started in life, and there's really only one of those three anyone can control.
Yes, but they don't have to be equally distributed. In my case, work and good choices has been primarily the key contributor to my personal success. As well as a number of successful people I know. If you don't have "luck" or privileged beginnings, you aren't out of the race.
  #118  
Old 08-29-2018, 01:41 PM
The Police The Police is offline
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What would qualify as social success?

Last edited by The Police; 08-29-2018 at 01:42 PM.
  #119  
Old 08-29-2018, 02:31 PM
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What would qualify as social success?
That's going to differ on who you talk to. It's probably best defined by yourself.
  #120  
Old 08-29-2018, 02:37 PM
monstro monstro is offline
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What would qualify as social success?
Watch the movie "Imitation of Life". The cheesy 1959 version. Annie is a widowed maid. Seemingly her only pride and joy is her daughter--who is embarrassed of her because of her blackness. Annie serves Miss Laura, a famous movie star. Miss Laura lets Annie and her daughter live with her and talks like they are a part of the family. Yet she is always "Miss Laura" to Annie. And even though she is kind to her, Miss Laura never bothers learning anything about her "friend". It is like Annie exists solely to be the wind beneath her wings.

So when Annie dies and hundreds of people turn out to show their respects (even Mahalia Jackson!) at the funeral, Miss Laura is blown away. She realizes that Annie might have been just a housekeeper and may not have had a man on her arm , but she was a pillar in her community and had a rich life. Annie was a social success--probably even moreso than Laura was. But she looked like a loser if you just focus on one or two metrics and only compared her to Laura.

The movie has multiple story lines, but that is the one that has always stayed with me.

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  #121  
Old 08-29-2018, 05:07 PM
bump bump is offline
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So when Annie dies and hundreds of people turn out to show their respects (even Mahalia Jackson!) at the funeral, Miss Laura is blown away. She realizes that Annie might have been just a housekeeper and may not have had a man on her arm , but she was a pillar in her community and had a rich life. Annie was a social success--probably even moreso than Laura was. But she looked like a loser if you just focus on one or two metrics and only compared her to Laura.
And how wrong would Annie have been had she self-appraised herself as a loser because she was a housekeeper and not more occupationally successful?
  #122  
Old 09-01-2018, 12:37 AM
msmith537 msmith537 is offline
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So when Annie dies and hundreds of people turn out to show their respects (even Mahalia Jackson!) at the funeral, Miss Laura is blown away. She realizes that Annie might have been just a housekeeper and may not have had a man on her arm , but she was a pillar in her community and had a rich life. Annie was a social success--probably even moreso than Laura was. But she looked like a loser if you just focus on one or two metrics and only compared her to Laura.
What a loser! I want people to be so jealous of my success, no one shows up to my funeral!
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