Thursday, June 18, 2009

Jobs and Illegals: The Motivation Factor

C. W. Nevius has a clever piece up at SFGate about the travails of an Oakland retailer trying to find good help. I particularly like the bit about the guy who can't show up for a job interview on Saturday before 2 p.m. because "I go out on Friday nights." The point point of the piece is, of course, that there is one source of potential employees ready, eager and unavailable: illegal aliens. "They come in here with great personalities; they're on time, ready to go," Nevius' source reports.

No reason to doubt him, but I'm not sure the inquiry goes far enough. There is one very good reason why the illegals are so eager: they've got no options. The guy who likes to sleep so long figures he does have options--maybe another job, or maybe public assistance programs for which he may be eligible while the illegals are not.

The catch is that if you snapped your fingers and legalized all the illegals, it wouldn't be long before they found they that they, too, could take a capacious view of their alternatives. Granted there maybe a "character" factor here with a certain inertial force, but it's unlikely to be long before they find themselves thinking like the natives (and complaining about all the new upstarts who succeed them).

But it doesn't mean that all the job-hunger will instantly vanish. The number of jobs will stay constant; the number of employees will (depending on how you count the illegals) increase or at worst remains the same. So while the newly legalized might experience a decline in motivation, the formerly protected might discover an unfamiliar twinge of motivation. Who knows, they might even decide they have to get up at noon.

1 comment:

jonathan said...

Whether it is legal or not, they have the motivation to earn much money for better living.