Weekend Fun: Saving "Some" Jobs


Obama Promises To Stop America's S***ty Jobs From Going Overseas | The Onion – America's Finest News Source

Replace “some” in my post headline with a word that rhymes with “witty” but starts with an “sh.”

OK, by now, you realize that you shouldn't click on the satirical news video below if you can't bear the “S word.” By the way, The Onion News Network is just brilliant…. all of the details of a fake news network, including their “War for the White House” graphics (and attitude) and the running ticker at the bottom of the screen (with ridiculous fake news). It's often laugh out loud funny.

The video below is, I think, about as funny as a video can be about saving jobs from global competition.

Obama Promises To Stop America's Sh**ty Jobs From Going Overseas

Among the fake quotes in the video: “We must stop the outsourcing of our most tedious and dangerous jobs to other countries.” A fake political ad says “Yes, We Can” get workers back “standing over molten lead in a steel factory,” as generations before have done.

Beyond the humor, it raises a few good real-world points. Many manufacturing jobs have traditionally been dirty, dangerous jobs. New technologies, improved safety practices, and employee engagement (such as through Lean and “kaizen”) can be strategies for making these jobs less “bad.” The implication, in The Onion video and in the real news, is that trying to “save manufacturing jobs” means saving bad jobs. As with many media pieces, this misses the point that not all manufacturing jobs are the type that drain the life out of you as you work your fingers to the bone.

If you believe in Toyota's “respect for humanity” principle, no workers, anywhere, deserve horrible, unsafe working conditions. Pushing those jobs to another country so we can have safe, clean “service sector” jobs here isn't really solving a root cause, I think. But yes, a “crappy” job might be better than “no job.” That shouldn't be an excuse to not improve working conditions, both physical and mental, however.

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


  1. In addition, I think that a nation’s manufacturing capacity is key to its strength. Many would say that the USA won World War II through it’s great manufacturing capacity.

    Also, the manufacturing sector provides good paying jobs for citizen who can’t get a college degree.

    Overall, I think there may a link between the weakening of the manufacturing sector and the wage gap in our society. Many service sector jobs don’t pay that well. There’s a huge gap between the pay of a front-line factory worker and a Walmart employee.

  2. “There’s a huge gap between the pay of a front-line factory worker and a Walmart employee”….I’d hypothesize that this is true for two reasons:

    1)More capital can be effectively deployed to support that factory worker than the WMT worker. If a worker is operating a $500K piece of machinery, his pay becomes less important in the overall scheme of things, because the machine itself is so expensive and so productive.

    2)The nature of manufacturing work, especially where assembly lines are involved, makes the company very vulnerable to strikes; hence, the workers are able to negotiate a higher share of the total production than they typically are in retail.

  3. It’s not just work that’s physically shitty.

    Any job can be a “shit job” if you’re not respected by, listened to, or treated well by your boss.

    Nursing is, I think, a classic example of work that should be highly rewarding. But it’s often considered “shit work” because of all the frustrations and mistreatment that goes on, even in highly skilled environments like hospitals.

    And teachers complaining about their “shit jobs.”

    Yes, these are modern, highly paid “shit jobs”. We need to do better job of managing, whether you call it LEAN or not.

  4. Goodbye shitty jobs from Hanes:


    Funny how the company press release, I mean MarketWatch article, gives it different spin, the headline reads:

    Hanesbrands Inc. Announces Latest Progress in Supply Chain Strategy to Balance Global Production and Further Improve Cost Competitiveness



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