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I'm right there with you. I went to a music festival a few weeks ago and never once felt uncomfortable. I was even able to talk/hang with people without any problem (probably because I knew I would never see them again). But then I go back to work and school I'm terrified of everyone around me. I think I'm more afraid of how others perceive me than of other people in general. Being around coworkers and classmates on a daily basis gives them ample time to develop an opinion of me, but being at a music festival for a few days doesn't really give anyone time to truly learn about the other person.
I don't care that much about pay differences on the team. It's only mildly annoying to me because a third of the team doesn't really do much. If seeing them get a pay bump means I get a pay bump as well (even if it's smaller) so be it. But yes, I'm happy to see all my coworkers getting a pay increase as well (I'm not that much of an asshole). Some of them have families they're supporting and quite a few (myself included) are college students who need all the money we can get.
As for how I value myself against my coworkers, I guess it comes down to how management treats me. I'm part-time, but I routinely get 35-40 hours per week. Only 2-3 others on flow get those kind of hours. When shit hits the fan, we're the people management asks to stay past our scheduled time and help (or come in on our days off). Management has a limited number of hours to give out each month, they give them to those of us who are reliable, hard workers.
As you say, it doesn't take long to learn the skills that flow requires, but the one thing no company can train you for is a work ethic. As I told my boss, I'm not there to have fun or enjoy myself, I'm there to earn a paycheck. I stay focused, keep the chit chat to a minimum, and work as fast as I can. It's not that a third of the team doesn't know the skills, it's that they get distracted, begin talking with one another, or smoke weed while on their break.
Target employee here. While I'm happy for the pay increase, I just hope this incentivizes management to fire bad employees. I'm on the flow team (truck unload followed by stocking), and a third of the team could be fired tomorrow and I wouldn't even notice.
The only shitty part about the pay increase is anyone making under $11.00/hour loses any yearly pay increases they have received in the past. So my coworkers who started last month will be making the same amount as I am even though I've been there over a year. I'm not too disgruntled about it, but I'm am mildly annoyed.
Also, fuck investors.
We're about to see a shit-ton of legislative filibusters. The Democrats will hold up every piece Trump's agenda. Democrats will claim they are resisting Trump, Republicans will claim Democrats are being obstructionists. Same old politics as usual.
The problem is that the Democrats don't have much to lose, they don't control either chamber and will most likely emerge from the 2018 midterm with enough seats to continue filibustering everything. The Republicans on the other hand got elected on certain promises (repeal Obamacare, tax reform, border wall, etc), and now all of them are effectively dead on arrival in the Senate. If Republicans can't give their base something to come out for in November 2018, they stand to lose a number of seats in the House. The Democrats need to gain 24 seats to win a majority. Its a long shot, but larger swings have happened before and if Trump remains this unpopular, such a swing becomes more likely.
This puts McConnell in a tight spot, there are a lot of programs which Democrats have been pushing for that a) Republicans strongly oppose and b) will be almost impossible to repeal once implemented. Think single-payer healthcare, amnesty, free college tuition, etc. McConnell's not an idiot, he knows that politics goes in cycles and that the Democrats will one day hold the majority. If the filibuster goes away, all of those programs will be implemented and his party will be powerless to stop them. One the other hand, if he keeps the filibuster around, literally nothing will be accomplished for the next few years.
The lack of a filibuster for legislation will require members of congress to put up or shut up, they won't be able to hide behind the obstruction of the minority party. I'm fairly certain it will be abolished before the midterms, the Democrats will most likely filibuster most (all?) of the Republican agenda to keep their base happy and punish McConnell. McConnell will respond with another nuke.
The only concern I have left is the effect the lack of a filibuster (both legislative and non-legislative) will have on the Supreme Court. The size of the Court is defined by statute, not constitutional law. It seems to me that one wrong ruling will lead to another court packing scheme (let's call this the Tsar Bomba option) and without a filibuster, the majority party will have no problems getting it passed. Given the stakes, I find it hard to believe that either party's base would be opposed if their guys were in power.
On the other hand, there are supreme courts in the world larger than ours. The Supreme Court of Sweden has 16 members, Israel has 15, and Norway has a staggering 20. A larger court would probably lead to less dramatic confirmation hearings since the impact that any one justice has would be lessened. Not to mention that there would be a more regular supply of dying/retiring justices in need of replacing.
Republicans have won their last two presidencies because of the Electoral College. I highly doubt the Republican Party establishment will want to abolish it. Our best bet to abolish the Electoral College is the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, and that's a long shot in and of itself.
The venom hurts, but isn't lethal. The Sateré-Mawé tribe in Brazil actually use bullet ants as a rite of passage. The bullet ant is number 1 on Schmidt's scale and some say it actually feels like being shot (hence the name).