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Nov 14, 2009
Nice strip... BTW, I didn't know there is no word limit on the comment section...That reminds me of one long story I want to tell everybody...sit up and listen.. ;-)
Nov 14, 2009
When I was in the Navy, a common excuse by my shipmates was "My wife, she (fill in the blank)", but yes I agree kids are a more worthy work avoidance maneuver. Although raising a child might be more work than the work Wally is trying to avoid...
-11 Rank Up Rank Down
Nov 14, 2009
This leads into one of my favorite ignored issues in society: the effect of size of family networks on accomplishment.

Family members can take up a lot of time and resources per member. (Some extremely high maintenance members of course can be nearly infinitely draining: those are the ones we should avoid. :) )

This in itself is of course a reasonable situation. The symbiosis of family (and friends) makes it easier to accomplish many things that would otherwise be impossible. We *do* receive a positive payback (in general) for the trouble we have from our relationships. (In crasser terms: Nepotism is natural.)

The problems for society and the workplace, though, are intensified by large family or large nets of "best friends".

For example, if I am married, have two children, and have a father and mother and two siblings, both married with two children each, I have a core family of 13 people whose needs are going to impinge on my time and mental health.

If I don't care about my siblings or their kids, suddenly I have only about 60% as many people that I worry about and whose sickness, behavioral disorders, and problems will impact my ability to accomplish what I wish to in life. (Of course, I am able to depend on only about 60% as many people who can be helpful to me in a difficulty.)

On the other hand, if I have three kids and four siblings, each of whom is married and has three kids: I am concerned with twice as many people's needs. And if my culture requires that I treat my cousins as if they were my siblings, I could easily have 50 people who expect me to take them to the doctor, listen to their whining on the phone at night, pull them out of a jam, or go to a funeral.

Now, if I am a moderately capable person, I can almost always cope with my own annual one major and five large difficulties and those of my immediate family. With more effort, I will able to cope with a tragedy and maybe even with the troubles of a slightly larger group of intimates.

But if I am undereducated, maybe not the brightest guy, and in addition am pressured by a huge family... I may be under such immense stress that I am unable to move. My productivity suffers, my family feels that I'm not doing enough for them emotionally, I might even lose my job. Because (extra) cousin Jack is in jail, (extra) sister Jill is having a nasty divorce, (extra) niece Anne is terminally ill and needed someone to sit up with her last night.

Of course, that "(extra)" looks pretty cold. But if we look at the effect of large family, we see that it hurts (and often completely vitiates) the abilities of an otherwise capable and content person.

Too many families grow like Topsy. Too many people feel that they have to carry the problems of stupid relatives. Real problems are indeed real problems: but voluntarily assumed problems are to be avoided. (Be kind to the person who will be helped by the kindness?)


Obviously, birth control is one. Sane contracting of marriage partners is another. Education at least will strengthen one's abilities. "Discarding" the drug-dependent or "trouble-prone" brother/niece/uncle is another solution.

Thank goodness employment interviewers cannot legally ask about family. Otherwise, lots of people would not have a job today. And they'd be in even deeper trouble.
Nov 14, 2009
If this is a job interview, PHB is asking illegal questions, but I suppose that we shouldn't expect anything different from him.
Nov 14, 2009
Surely Catbert should be pulling the strings.
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