This week: Amazon-ish jobs, working hard or hardly working, the almost-highest, elk, opah, and a monkey.
We’re all going to need a new opening line
For 15 years, almost every piece public debate, legislative testimony, and journalist commentary on minimum wage in Washington State has begun with a reference to “the highest statewide minimum wage in the nation”.
Starting January 1, 2016, that will no longer be true. The annual inflation figure is in, and according to the official government data that the state uses, overall prices have not gone up in the past year, so minimum wage won’t automatically go up from $9.47/hour either. Meanwhile, Massachusetts and California both recently passed increases that take their statewide minimums to $10/hour on January 1st.
At least we’re still going to edge out Oregon.
Working a touchscreen register isn’t normally considered a tech job
A top Amazon.com exec recently keynoted a Seattle Chamber of Commerce event, touting the company’s undeniably massive impact on the city’s economy — 24,000 direct employees, plus an additional 28,000 jobs they said were created throughout the region by the magic of the multiplier effect.
But be careful with your math here — and your imagination. Because we’re not talking about 52,000 software developers making 6 figure salaries. We’re also talking about the baristas who serve Amazonians coffee, the childcare providers watching their kids, the fast food workers preparing their tacos, the security guards patrolling the building, the farmworkers harvesting their produce, and on and on. These jobs may be tech-adjacent in today's Seattle, but they don’t require STEM degrees. And despite the halo effect of tech sector prosperity, just because Amazon takes credit for them doesn’t mean they’re going to become good jobs on their own.
We suspect the number of office workers shopping for shoes at their desks also peaks in the middle of the afternoon
A group campaigning against the purchase and sale of sex online is working with employers to turn this into a workplace issue, on the grounds that they’ve “caught guys on the way to work, on the way home from work, in cars full of work materials,” — a range of times that seems to encompass everything but actual time at work.
But they’ve also found that the online purchase & sale of sex seems to bump up around 2:00 pm at offices all across the region, and are enlisting employers to clarify that their personnel policies do not allow for illegal activities to take place on work time with work equipment because duh and icky. Or, more pedantically, to send the message that ‘It doesn’t reflect the values of our business or our company to participate in activities that exploit other human beings.’
Which could be a risky message for some employers, depending on their own main line of business & model of profitability.
More fun than a holding pen of monkeys
- A free-roaming but unnamed Colorado elk tossed a tourist into the air with its antlers when the man attempted to take a selfie with it. Park officials warned that the animals are placid, but not domesticated, and have indicated that “antlered” is in fact an appropriate verb.
- A 35+ pound tropical opah fish fought with an angler for 15 minutes before it succumbed to flesh wounds and eventual suffocation off the coast of Washington. In a twist he seemed desperate make seem like a coincidence by describing it as “weird”, “like the Twilight Zone”, and like “getting struck by lightning twice”, the deckhand who was working this boat was also working the boat which caught the previous state opah record-holder.
- A monkey named Zeek was reported to Florida police for eating mail out a mailbox, and proceeded to jump on a police car and remove some molding from its roof. The first offense was a possible Federal crime and the second a potential felony, but the animal was only cited via amused official Facebook post.