More fun with Adobe Illustrator

I suppose I’m stating the obvious but to me greed and wanton lust for cash has gotten a bit out of hand today. As much as I hope it will not happen, I see foreboding clouds of an economic bubble about to burst. In many cities in North America, housing prices have reached levels unheard of. What young family can hope to own a home today? Yet, the stock markets have continued to roar into the stratosphere. Many companies making little or no profits yet their stock prices are astronomical. What about the wages for typical worker, whether in high tech or industry? It’s common knowledge that wages have stagnated for years. I made this graphic using Adobe Illustrator over 20 years ago yet it seems so relevant if not more so today.

Study in magazine covers by Glenn J. Lea

Study in magazine covers by Glenn J. Lea. Copyright GJL 2020,

Stagnant Salaries and rising cost of living

Young people out of university with amazing degrees in technology and engineering work for great salaries, yet they need to share apartments to pay rent. Home ownership? Forget it. They don’t even bother thinking about it.

How is this possible?

It is an imbalance that can’t be sustained. Soon, young people are going to ask - “how is it I spent years learning the latest and greatest technology, yet my parents live better lives than I do and they just did old fashioned factory work or farming.”

So, there it is.

I suppose we could say, it has always been that way. Yet, I can attest that since I graduated from university in 1993, little has changed for the technology professional. Programming languages have changed. We now work with better computers and the monitors are absolutely amazing. Everyone works with laptops now.

Yet, what has really improved? My office space at Citibank in 1994 was amazing. We didn’t have all the perks like snacks and drinks and a pool table. We worked. We didn’t spend our day in a kindergarten where the workers need toys to keep them loyal to a company.

Now, companies hiring technology workers need to attract talent by keeping hyperactive and giving them all the toys grown up kids need.

Companies are no longer just companies. They are cults. Or at least they try to engender loyalty by giving them a “privileged access” to being part of the greatest project in history. We are not just making quality software. We are “changing the world”.

What is going on?

Do people no longer have their own lives and goals and dreams? Are we now in an age of lack of personal life that the only meaningful purpose in life is to become part of Company X?

Honestly, I am sure workers in the past were proud of being a GM worker or an IBM employee. But work was work. Home was home. The goal was to work to raise a family. The goal now is to make the company your family.

Come on, wake up and smell the burnt coffee pot in the snack room.

Companies are created to make profits. Period. All this gobbledegoop about being a good corporate citizen, doing “good”, being a “doer”, helping out in society is all part of the deal. Make workers feel that they are part of saving the world, not just making a product.

Just look at the ownership of these companies. Follow the money. If the trail leads to Saudi Arabia, well, what does that mean? If the trail leads to a massive home in the suburbs of a city weighed down by equally massive poverty, what does that mean?

I have worked in my career since 1994. Yet, I can command a salary which in real terms is less than what I was making when I graduated. What does that mean? It just doesn’t make sense.

I am no longer enamored by the great new corporations of technology. It only tells me that a new generation of workers no longer see meaning in life and see their purpose as being part of a company producing mediocre to average software or perhaps finding an innovative niche to fill with their software.

But what of society?

Is all this really improving society?

The jury is still out on that. The last great period of innovation around industrialization and the automobile has created global warming. And the kids just told us we are f**cked if we don’t do something about it.

So, us humans just don’t have a great track record of making life better. It’s always two steps forward and one step back. Has all this new technology made us as a society any better? My answer is that graphic I made many years ago with Adobe Illustrator.