business news in context, analysis with attitude

On the subject of young people having trouble getting started in their careers, one MNB user wrote:

For the younger generation that’s struggling to find careers one has to ask – what have they done to EARN a career or even a good job?

Are they aggressive in their pursuit of knowledge? Did they learn the content of their major field of studies or did they just pass the test and move on?

Do they network aggressively in the areas they can control? Are they offering something unique and different and BETTER than others seeking the same position?

Sure, everyone wants you to come with experience…but how many job applications have you filled out and indicated your starting salary should be in excess of $50K?

I have endless respect for younger workers..but only the ones willing to make some sacrifice or bring some special talent to the party!!

It’s a global job market. What have YOU done to be the best available candidate – in the world – for the career you desire?

Well, an honest assessment of that may clue you in to some opportunities to compete better and get the position you feel you deserve.

And yes just like NAFTA generated U.S. wage depression so has the recession depressed job opportunity for younger people as older workers want (maybe have) to work longer and are willing to do so for less than ever

… and they already have experience. Offering a better product (you) at a better value is the only way to get the job…it’s the free market at work.

MNB offered what I thought was a pretty good idea yesterday - “Imagine what it might do for traffic and sales if a retailer chose a usually slow night of the week and said that for 3-4 hours, anyone with a driver’s license clearly establishing that they are under 30 is eligible for q 5-10 percent discount on all food products (excluding alcohol).” As opposed to - or in addition to - offering discounts to senior citizens one morning a week.

“Think that might generate some traffic and sales? And then, if the retailer is smart, it would then create programs that would build on this burgeoning traffic, with samples and meal selections that are seen as relevant to this generation.”

MNB user Neil Brown responded:

This is a splendid idea.  I turn 60 in two weeks, and cannot comprehend why that should automatically qualify me to pay less than normal prices.  My generation owes it to the next one (or two) to pass along at least as good of an opportunity as we were given, and we are failing miserably in that respect.  Plus, I have many fewer years of spending ahead of me than does the bulk of Millennials, so why not try to secure their brand loyalty instead of mine?

This last point is absolutely correct. Give a senior citizen a discount, and you maybe earn loyalty for a few years of declining transaction sizes before they die.

Give a Millennial a discount, and maybe you earn loyalty for 20-30 years, during which they’ll be feeding families.

MNB user Bev Bennett wrote:

As a parent to a Millennial, I think the discounts are a great idea. We live in Evanston, IL, home to Northwestern University. Several businesses near campus offer 15 percent discounts to students with NU IDs.

MNB user Deborah Feld wrote:

Just wanted to let you know that J.Crew offers a 15% College Discount. You just need to present your college id and have a valid .edu email address. Some complaints about the discount- it's not advertised and you can't apply it to your purchase online. Some perks is that they accept it at all J.Crews including factory and outlet stores, and I haven't really been questioned on my college id that is starting to look very dated since I've been a "senior" for a couple years now. Overall, it's a word of mouth discount that seems to circulate around interview season and has caused most of my work wardrobe to be exclusively J.Crew and will probably remain that way.

I think college student discounts are great. But I’m talking about a bigger idea here - which is to incentivize and motivate people out of college but just starting out.

MNB user Ron Pizur had some issues with the idea, though:

I'm sort of in the middle of the pack, chronologically speaking, with regards to this topic. When I was in my early 20s I would have loved to have received a discount like the senior citizens were getting. I was scrimping and saving to make ends meet like they were yet I had to pay full price and sort of resented it. I'm not sure if it would have made me more loyal to any one retailer, but I'm sure I would have patronized them as long as I was getting a discount. However, now that I'm getting older and more financially secure I'm not sure that receiving a discount once I become a senior will make me any more loyal to a retailer. As a savings fanatic I'm sure I will take advantage of the discount, but if everyone is offering it to me then what do I care where I shop.

Regarding what we here viewed as the ludicrous idea of bankrupt Kodak paying retention bonuses to the very executives who helped drive it into a ditch, one MNB user wrote:

These "valuable" executives would not be difficult to replace.  I teach college sophomores who have more intelligence and foresight, and who have a better perspective on their own value to the world.

And from MNB user Bob McCaffrey:

I agree with you that the people should go who drove the company into bankruptcy.  Where does the bonus money come from?  If the company doesn't need it to revitalize itself then it should be paid out to shareholders.

On the subject of Canada’s cultural protectionism, one MNB user wrote:

Canada has for many years with the support of the electorate taken measures to prevent the Canadian culture from being overwhelmed by our neighbours (see we even spell differently)  to the south.

Radio stations as an example have to play 38% CDN music, there a variety of factors that define it as Canadian such as writer, producer, band, etc. Bryan Adams often does not qualify. That said a few years back Canada probably had 6 of the biggest female stars in the world if you include, Celine, Alanis, Shania, Avril Lavigne, Diana Krall, and the incomparable Sarah Maclachlan. One of the worlds current male stars Drake came from a Canadian TV show.

Finally, I just finished reading the second Joseph Boyle book called Through Black Spruce. Start with Three Day Road, it’s a fictional story based on the story of Native Canadians and their role in World War 1 as snipers in the trenches. Tremendous is a word that comes to mind.

To me, you sink your whole argument with the radio station reference.

Sure, the government can require that a certain percentage of songs played by radio stations be Canadian, or feature a Canadian artist.

Precisely how is that relevant to a young population that gets most of their music via the internet, which does not have any such restrictions?

We live in a global world. I don’t care how you spell “neighbours.” Or, in the case of the story above, “yogourt.”

It just strikes me that such protectionism is an outmoded approach to culture and business that has little use in a global environment.

Finally, from another MNB user:

Mike Wallace was a great journalist. Harry Reasoner and Mike set the bar high for “60 Minutes” – a bar that is still in place today.

One of the best interviews I recall was the one he did with Roger Clemens, who at the time was being pretty animated about the betrayal from his trainer over steroid abuse. Wallace did an excellent job using the Mitchell Report facts to keep Clemens focused on the questions.

Wallace believed his job was to find the truth. He pushed the envelope in asking questions. I always wondered if it was because he had to ask himself some pretty tough questions when he considered suicide in his personal life.

Here’s the remarkable thing about the Clemens interview.

It was Mike Wallace’s last appearance on “60 Minutes.” It aired in January which point Wallace was 89 years old.

And he threw fastballs and curves that Clemens could not handle.

That’s how I want to be when I grow up.
KC's View: