Quote of the day

From the Independent in the UK, in an article titled ‘Remove smartphones from the hands of under-18s and maybe they will grow up to be less dumb‘:

More than half of our young people who are classified as Neets (not in education, employment or training) are not the slightest bit interested in working. They have no qualifications. They are illiterate and innumerate. They can’t hold a conversation and they are unemployable. Each one can be saved. But they have to give up their phones during the hours it is going to take for someone to sort them out. They should be assigned an adult mentor, nurtured and helped to re-enter the real world of work. These Neets are the human detritus washed up by the smartphone epidemic. They can play idiot computer games and can use all manner of apps, but they can’t actually form a sentence.


It doesn’t apply to everyone, of course – I know plenty of smart kids with smartphones – but there’s an element that seems to regard their smartphone and its apps as a replacement for reality.  I know, too, that several employers around here who look every year to hire hundreds, even thousands of temporary staff for peak season, and then select the best for permanent employment, complain that they simply can’t find enough people with both an active, engaged intelligence and the willingness to work hard.  The sense of entitlement, of “I can do what I like!”, appears to be overwhelming – and yes, even when they’re not allowed to take their smartphones into the workplace, they’ll still try to do so, then spend half the working day texting and apping.  Then they wonder why they’re fired.



  1. The best compliment I ever received was, "He's a hard worker."

    That was in the mid nineties, and though I've heard it a time or two since, that's one that has stuck with me over the years. I don't much like cell phones, though I can see the use of them, and I've never owned a "smart" phone. It's a distraction I don't need, absent minded as I am some days.

    Around here, there's a few that try to sneak cell phone use at work. Maybe it's the small-town culture that's nudging things in the right direction, maybe its the bosses who say "I catch you wasting my money talking or playing when you should be working, you're fired."

    Maybe instead it's Mommas and Poppas that raise their children right. Kids will be kids, and Lord knows I did my share of time in the "young, stupid male" clan, and somehow managed to get out the other side alive with most of my bits and pieces intact. Sarah Hoyt wrote the other day about "lines" in folks heads that they won't cross, things they won't do. Parents put those lines there, more so than any other (if they are doing their job right).

    It's easy to see the bad. There's enough of it, and some quirk of human nature seems to make it stick in our memories easier than the good stuff. There's one guy where I work, probably in his early twenties. Full sleeve tattoos, scarred knuckles, multiply broken nose. But he shows up every day on time, helps out anyone he can whenever he can, and says "Yes Sir, Yes Ma'am."

    Maybe he's had a bit of adventure at some point. But he's doing right, right now. I never see him on a cell phone at work. He's even caught one of the girls he works with doing it, and asked her to put the device away.

    Stuff like that makes me smile. There's always going to be those that will try and get away with anything they can. I don't think that will ever change. But people *can* change. And there's always a few, maybe more than you'd think, that go through life quieter, and try to leave it a better place than they found it. It's worthwhile to remember those folks.

  2. We don't get a lot of special snowflakes on my boat, at least at entry level. We DO get licensed officers, fresh out of the maritime academies who are about as useful as a bow tie on a trout, quite indignant when forced to work. The entitlement runs high, then. Seeing them make love to their iphones with their eyes (no cell use when on watch) is like putting a bottle of Jim Beam on the dais at an AA meeting.

    It wasn't too long ago that an experienced but complacent tugboat captain rain over an amphibious tour boat in the Delaware river with his barge, 40-something people underwater waiting for the 300+foot barge to pass by overhead so they could pop up to the surface. Several obviously died.
    Death by cell phone.

  3. I wish cell phone yakkers and "video game connoisseurs" would stay the hell out of public libraries
    …especially when I'm on one of the computers trying to read an online script.

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