Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

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Dangerman
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Re: Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

Post by Dangerman » 18 May 2017, 11:13

Number 6 wrote:
D.A. Ridgely wrote:because some life paths or callings or ambitions have always been dicey and, in any case, no one is a fucking statistic, they're persons. It's always the journey, never the destination; always the trying, never the succeeding that really matters, because life isn't a game or a business. If you're keeping score against anyone other than yourself, you're in the wrong business and playing the wrong game.
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Re: Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

Post by Hugh Akston » 18 May 2017, 11:42

JasonL wrote:If that is your situation, you might need to switch careers. You can't be a writer with any expectations of success. Saturated market bad economics. You can do other things. You get the paid vacation by entering career paths where it is common. You don't if you don't enter those professions. It can eventually be too late yes, which is why I'd like the young folk to think hard about the total sense of options.
JasonL wrote:The flip side of the perspective others have expressed here is everyone seems to be saying that the sacrifices and choices and attitudes I've seen work time and again gin my whole life simply don't work because something. Life is impossible. Moving is impossible. New career is impossible. Paying off $19k (not $50k or whatever number gets tossed around) is impossible. Basic life is impossibly nor, and yet .... it's in the numbers. Employment, salary growth, benefits .. all of it. You just have to do the things that have value where those things exist.
Forget about applying for jobs that you're qualified for in the city where you live. Saturated market, bad economics. Sad! Just apply for jobs you're not qualified for in an industry where you have no experience in a distant city where they're desperately seeking past-their-prime losers with spotty job histories. You have infinite hours a day, so put them to good use by having value where the things you want exist. Why does everyone seem to think this is so hard? It's just numbers!
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Re: Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

Post by JasonL » 18 May 2017, 12:09

Keep tracing that backward from job decision to job decision and there's a point after initial job and before current state where it's not snark but the most sensible thing n the world.

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Jennifer
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Re: Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

Post by Jennifer » 18 May 2017, 18:00

If it were just a relative handful of Millennials (or younger Gen Xers) who were failing to meet the "adult milestones" set by previous generations, or if the people with stories like Painboy's "seven post-education years of contract work and living with roommates and no end in sight" mostly tended to be those trying to make it in the "lottery" careers of my childhood (such as wanting to be an actor, musician or the like), I'd figure the "adult milestones" were as attainable as ever, and those failing to meet the milestones were outliers. That does not appear to be the case, though.
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Re: Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

Post by Jennifer » 18 May 2017, 19:03

JasonL wrote:The flip side of the perspective others have expressed here is everyone seems to be saying that the sacrifices and choices and attitudes I've seen work time and again gin my whole life simply don't work because something. Life is impossible. Moving is impossible. New career is impossible. Paying off $19k (not $50k or whatever number gets tossed around) is impossible. Basic life is impossibly nor, and yet .... it's in the numbers. Employment, salary growth, benefits .. all of it. You just have to do the things that have value where those things exist.
Given your oft-stated dislike of hyperbole, I'll point out as gently as I can that nobody here (except you when countering such claims) is saying such things are "impossible," merely that the odds are a lot tougher than they used to be.

And frankly -- this is not directed at you or anyone here, more a generalized rant -- the excuses coming out from people denying those long odds and insisting the problem is just a whole bunch of individual people being fuckups are getting more and more ridiculous. I'm guessing Nicole chose this thread title as a riff on the idiot who claimed a few days ago that the reason Millennials can't afford to buy houses is because they're blowing all their money on avocados? Or Jason Chaffetz from a couple of months ago, sneering that the reason so many Americans can't afford healthcare is because they bought an iPhone. For fuck's sake, do such people lack the basic mathematical skill of looking at two numbers (such as the cost of avocados versus the cost of housing, or a smartphone versus a single month's health insurance premium) and identifying which is bigger, or are they so determined to ignore any possibility "Maybe there's a bigger-picture reason people can't afford these things" that they'll pounce on any excuse no matter how ludicrous?

And there's a lot of cause-and-effect reversal, too: it's not "people are doing contract gigs because they can't get a steady full-time job," but "people can't get steady full-time work because they're too busy doing contract gigs." You're not driving for Uber because you can't find a better job; you can't find a better job because you're driving for Uber. If housing is too expensive in the cities where the jobs are, go where the jobs aren't and get a cheap house there. Conversely, if you're living in a cheap area with no job opportunities, just pack up and haul ass someplace more expensive where you can find a job (and don't complain about housing costs).
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Re: Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

Post by Jennifer » 18 May 2017, 20:12

JasonL wrote:PBs situation is not for several reasons the new normal. He too works in a saturated market. As for the impossibility of moving ... I don't know what to tell you. You look for work online in the national market. You work with placement companies. I googled paid relocation job: http://www.indeed.com/m/jobs?q=Paid+Relocation
Those listings include jobs with the words "paid" and "relocation" somewhere in the copy, not necessarily those offering "paid relocation." The listing for a door person at a Trump hotel in Hawaii, for example, does contain the words "PTO and paid holidays," and later says "Relocation is not provided for this position from another location." Ditto for the cemetery caretaker position in upstate New York: "Relocation expenses are not authorized" but "Experience refers to paid and unpaid experience."

IOW, the mere fact that the words "paid" and "relocation" both exist in a given job listing does not mean said job offers paid relocation. Thus, the fact that Googling paid+relocation brings up a lot of job listings does not mean there exist lots of job listings offering paid relocation. (I have something similar showing up with my various job-alert ads: I see LOTS of listings for things like day-care worker or home-health aide -- not because I am applying for such positions, but because these are mandated reporter jobs. I also get lots of automotive-repair ads which mention a 'service writer' somewhere. Lots of broadcast/video production jobs I'm not qualified for because they have the word "edit" or "editor" somewhere. And so forth.)

As I mentioned upthread: when Jeff and I were stranded, jobless, in fuckballs-expensive Loudoun, and wanted to move to a cheaper part of the country (after Jeff's unemployment had run out, and then I lost my job, and our savings account was shrinking by enormous sums every month just to pay bare-bones basic bills), we did not have the option of going someplace where we could stay with family or friends, and search from there. But we did have the HYOOOOGE advantage of having a bit over $90k cash savings (by the time I thought "We need to GTFO of here") and no debt. Surely, relocation should be easy-peasy under such circumstances, no? No. Reputable landlords in the places I/we checked would not offer us a lease, not even when we offered to pay a whole fucking year's rent in advance; they didn't want to rent to a jobless couple with near-zero income.

Granted: we did not check every single apartment complex in every single region of the country, but focused on a few areas (including greater metro Atlanta, where we now live), which met the dual criteria of "decent COL" and "lots of jobs, especially in Jeff's field." I've no doubt one could counter "Gee, Jen, the reason y'all couldn't leave Loudoun without a job is because you neglected to talk to the manager of the Walnut Grove Garden Apartments in Ames, Iowa; they would've been happy to take your money and give you a lease, or even let you go month-to-month." (Of course, if we lived in Ames I dunno how likely it is he or we could've found a decent job there. Presumably he still would eventually have been offered the position he has now -- and in retrospect, it would've turned out that moving to Ames and then to Atlanta cost more money than what we actually spent to stay put in Loudoun and then move to Atlanta from there.)

Luckily, after two long years of being out of work, Jeff did get a job offer, in Atlanta, before our money ran out or even came close to it. But had he not ... (shudder). Then, once we were destitute, we could've been criticized because "Gee, the reason y'all are broke is because you stayed in fuckballs-expensive Loudoun County after Jeff lost the job which was the only reason you moved to that overpriced yuppie hellscape in the first place. Why the hell didn't y'all leave and go someplace cheaper when you still had the means to do so?" Because even with relatively enormous resources that put us far, far ahead of most unemployed couples, it's not remotely as easy as just "Pack up and move." Not even when you have the funds to do so, and many people do not.

And Jeff, unlike me, works in the sort of field where hiring from out of area is the norm. (We had to pay our own relocation costs, though fortunately we still had money enough to do that, and could deduct those moving expenses off our taxes -- which we could not have done, had we moved for any reason other than "We have to move to take this-here job offer." Moving expenses to Atlanta were deductible, but moving expenses to Ames, Iowa would not have been.)

EDIT: Plus, in my own personal case, my complaint is not "Out-of-area jobs in my field don't offer paid relocation," but "out of area jobs in my field don't want anyone who needs to relocate, even at their own expense; they want to hire someone already local." That's true for various gigs in my field, which is "skilled" and requires an actual college degree and experience and etc.; no doubt it's even worse for someone doing "unskilled" or "low-skilled" work. If you're someone who's looking for a job as a waitress or a receptionist or a filing clerk, or even someone looking to sign on with a temping agency to make some cash while looking for something more permanent -- good freaking luck trying to find a job in a given area while you live someplace far, far away. I doubt it is "impossible," but it's very difficult even if you have money to cover moving expenses and rent and other living costs until you get your first paycheck.
Last edited by Jennifer on 18 May 2017, 21:19, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

Post by JasonL » 18 May 2017, 21:19

I'm just telling you that job growth is much higher in some places than others and you can totally do it. The southwest is exploding. Google region of greatest job growth. Google industry in that region hiring most people. Google best places to work. But the contingency here is you have to be willing / able to switch careers. Which is why this particular thing is in the avocado thread. It's something millennials did at historically low rates and it hurt them.

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Re: Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

Post by Jennifer » 18 May 2017, 21:38

JasonL wrote:I'm just telling you that job growth is much higher in some places than others and you can totally do it. The southwest is exploding. Google region of greatest job growth. Google industry in that region hiring most people. Google best places to work. But the contingency here is you have to be willing / able to switch careers. Which is why this particular thing is in the avocado thread. It's something millennials did at historically low rates and it hurt them.
But are Millennials doing this at historically low rates because they have historically high rates of personal individual fuckuppery compared to previous generations -- "Socrates was right, today's young'uns really are worse than their elders!" -- or because something about the social or economic landscape they must navigate is different? You seem to cling to the idea that it's the former; I'm saying it's most likely the latter.

IIRC, there were a couple of southwestern areas Jeff and I looked at, when trying to leave Loudoun sans job but with a big chunk of cash which most people who want or need to relocate do not have. "Move to where the jobs are and switch careers if you have to" is not as simple as you're making it out to be, even for someone who has resources and is not merely willing but eager to GTFO of the region they're currently in.

Incidentally, when I Googled "industry hiring most people" (sans quotation marks) just now, I found this list which shows item number 4 as "software." Which IIRC is Painboy's field -- the one you said was saturated, thus presumably explaining why he's still doing contract work and living with roommates after seven years?

Top three items on the list were "healthcare industry" -- specifically registered nurses, which require a specialized college degree; "retail sales" (jobs easy to find, but not steady jobs with decent pay and regular schedules and paid vacations and etc.); and "trucking." Also on the top ten list are accounting and engineering, which require education and credentials specific enough that someone with a college degree other than accounting or engineering -- even an intelligent someone with more money than average -- needs more than mere "willingness" to switch to that career.

Again, I am not saying your prescription is impossible; I am saying it is much more difficult than you are willing or able to admit. Yes, there are people who beat the odds and do it -- but they have to beat the odds to do it.
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Re: Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

Post by JasonL » 18 May 2017, 23:03

Ugh not software, game design and development - try that.

Yes healthcare. Fucking healthcare. Financial services in the southwest. Start at sub RN and do the things to get the certification. Wife was Spanish and International Relations major at lib arts schools. Now holds series 7, 63, CFP and CFA certifications. Started on phones. Kept plugging.

My own company opened a nearly 4,000 person campus in Albuquerque 6 years ago. 3-4 major insurance companies moved to Arizona. DFW has a shit ton of healthcare jobs. Large audit firms. Accounting. Marketing research. Sales.

We are not going to agree on this.

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Re: Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

Post by D.A. Ridgely » 18 May 2017, 23:06

DFW has a shit ton of pretty much every sort of job. It takes a great deal of effort on my part to avoid going back to work.

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Re: Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

Post by Jennifer » 18 May 2017, 23:12

JasonL wrote:We are not going to agree on this.
So, just to make sure I understand what, specifically, we don't agree on: given the options "It's because more of today's young'uns are worse than previous generations" or "Because today's young'uns face different circumstances than previous generations," your take is that the first option is correct? Or perhaps you lean toward a third option I'm overlooking here -- it's not that more people today have loserish tendencies, not that the social or economic landscape is more difficult to navigate, but because [option three]?
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Re: Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

Post by dhex » 19 May 2017, 06:47

i had to google what avotoast was. gross.
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Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

Post by JasonL » 19 May 2017, 08:31

I think cultural norms have shifted in a way that kept lots of young people from getting started as soon as they could have. Low tolerance for risk taking including relocation, low motivation to leave home if it's suboptimal, low willingness to accept an entry wage that's below what they imagined, limited career path flexibility to do things in healthcare or higher demand. I think it is part financial crisis (for 2008-9 grads more so), part parental wealth effect, part helicopter parenting, and a general set of unrealistic expectations.

There are lots of difficult cases where people were trying to start a career in some field with demand, but there was a lot of people not really trying very hard holding out for the steak and bj job to lure them out of high free time supported existence.

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Re: Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

Post by Jennifer » 19 May 2017, 17:14

JasonL wrote:I think cultural norms have shifted in a way that kept lots of young people from getting started as soon as they could have. Low tolerance for risk taking including relocation,
To be fair, though: how much of that lower tolerance for risk is due to socio-economic changes (or, precisely, how much is being risked)? It reminds me of this twit I knew as an undergrad who'd chide me for being too conservative with my money, less willing to do stuff like "hang out with friends at a super-expensive and trendy spot" ... yeah, well, the woman who criticized me thus was supported in full by her parents [tuition, rent and utilities, spending money, etc.], and didn't even have to work to earn pocket money, let alone pay her basic bills and ensure she had a place to live and food to eat. It's one thing for her to have played with risky investment strategies when the only thing she "risked" if they failed was "Bummer, I have no just-for-fun money until my parents' next check comes in"; quite something else for me to have played with risky investment strategies when I'd risk being homeless if I lost that money.

You know how one of the rules for investing in the stock market (or even playing games in a casino, if that's your thing) is "Don't bet money you can't afford to lose?" I'd also advise observers "Don't criticize people for refusing to bet money they can't afford to lose." If you're willing to walk a high wire because you know there's a safety net to catch you if you fall, that's great, but don't sneer at those who refuse to walk that wire because they don't have a safety net to catch them; those people know that if they fall, they're fucked. Yeah, you both risk "falling off the wire," but the consequences of actually falling are not the same, and thus the risks are not identical.
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Re: Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

Post by Jennifer » 19 May 2017, 17:22

Whoops! Hit "submit" too early. But, building on my last post: when you say "Millennials are more risk-averse than previous generations, regarding things like relocation," that still leads straight back to the same dichotomy I posted: are they more risk-averse than previous generations because they're inherently different types of people, or because the risks they actually face (or the consequences for failure) are different? Again, I'm inclined to think it's the latter.
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Re: Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

Post by Rachel » 19 May 2017, 17:42

I can see a lot of different sides of this, but what I think it comes down to is people aren't robots, or numbers, or statistics. A people are also different from each other - wired differently if you will. Not everyone is built to work an 80 hour week and not burn out almost immediately.

But I think on a fundamental level, everyone is just doing the best they can with where they are and what they have, because why wouldn't you? I don't think there's a whole generation of people that isn't trying hard enough. You make the best decisions you can with the circumstances and the information you have at the time. You can't control everything. Things happen, sometimes of your own making, sometimes not, and how you react to them matters, but to pretend that you can decide your fate on sheer willpower alone is just not true.
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Re: Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

Post by JasonL » 19 May 2017, 18:58

I think we may have something with the investment thing. Not precisely, but it gets at some of the key differences. Max conservative mattress stuffing portfolio at age 25 is a terrible idea. Objectively.

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Re: Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

Post by Jennifer » 19 May 2017, 20:03

JasonL wrote:I think we may have something with the investment thing. Not precisely, but it gets at some of the key differences. Max conservative mattress stuffing portfolio at age 25 is a terrible idea. Objectively.
More terrible than risking this month's rent payment in order to put the money into an investment which might fail? Someone with immediate worries about paying the bills due right now will naturally focus on that before worrying about matters ten or twenty or forty years down the road. That's why I keep saying in various ways, before you criticize someone (of any age) for being "too-risk averse," you need to take a look at what they are actually risking.

These Millennials you keep talking about who won't risk relocating, for example -- if they were "only" risking "Eh, I might have to live in an apartment less-nice than where I am now, and work a boring job and be lonely for awhile before I make friends in a new city and work my way up the job ladder," I'd likely agree with you: yeah, people, you really ought to move out of your current comfort zone. That's quite different from the risk of "I spend all the limited money I have, or even go further into debt than I already am, and end up objectively worse off in every way than I am now -- no job, no money, no place to go, no local support network, nothing." Yet you keep dismissing that with hyperbolic strawman complaints about spoiled people who refuse to accept anything less than cushy steak-and-blowjob gigs.

I don't understand why you're so committed to the "younger generation is willfully carrying civilization to hell in a handbasket" narrative rather than consider the possibility "Perhaps the younger generation is facing some challenges our generation did not."
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Re: Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

Post by Highway » 19 May 2017, 20:47

Jennifer, nothing you said in your risks is different at all from any previous generation. How is it worse now? What in the past wasn't a risk of "I spend all the limited money I have, or even go further into debt than I already am, and end up objectively worse off in every way than I am now -- no job, no money, no place to go, no local support network, nothing." You're just as married to your narrative that somehow things are worse now, and you don't even make any argument why this is different now.

In fact, with the access to cheap cell phones / internet / calling plans that you constantly snark on, the isolation of moving far away is significantly less than in, say, the 70s, where long distance phone rates were a thing, where a letter home took a good hour of writing and then 3 days to get there. And even before they go, there's much more opportunity to find out a situation they're moving into, and thereby select the best place to go, rather than just winging it and settling down when you find something.

You're making Jason's point about people being more risk-averse now. You haven't actually pointed out any greater potential downsides, just that people aren't willing to take those risks now.
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Re: Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

Post by Jennifer » 19 May 2017, 21:14

Highway wrote:Jennifer, nothing you said in your risks is different at all from any previous generation. How is it worse now?
Compared even to my generation (X), who in turn had it worse than the Boomers: lower real wages combined with higher real rent/housing costs. Higher student debts (which, of course, are not even dischargeable in bankruptcy). Until O-care recently, "higher cost for health insurance/medical care" -- I think right now that at least has been made easier, but of course there's no knowing what Trumpcare will bring.

Moving to a new city in a situation wherein a shitty job will at least get you a shitty apartment is less risky than moving to a new city in a situation wherein even a good job still won't get you a shitty apartment.

Or, y'know, maybe Socrates wasn't wrong, but merely spoke a couple millennia too soon: today's young people really are lazier and more entitled than their elders. They love luxury, and won't accept anything less than steak-and-blowjob gigs.
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Re: Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

Post by Jennifer » 19 May 2017, 21:21

And, to clarify: I certainly do not dispute that any given individual might be in bad shape due to that individual making bad decisions -- I've certainly known or known of many such individuals myself. But it's not simply one individual, or a relative handful of individuals, in bad circumstances; it's enough that I do indeed think it likely there's something else going on. (And the fact that so many "No, really, it's individuals fucking up" people honestly argue "If you can't afford a house it's because you eat avocados" or "If you can't afford health insurance it's because you own a smartphone" further underscores my belief "JFC, these people will cling to any excuse to avoid considering "Maybe today's landscape really is different.")
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Re: Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

Post by JasonL » 19 May 2017, 21:30

Not carrying civilization to hell, not capitalizing on the range of possibilities and supporting socialism in numbers because life doesn't pay.

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Re: Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

Post by Jennifer » 19 May 2017, 21:55

JasonL wrote:Not carrying civilization to hell, not capitalizing on the range of possibilities and supporting socialism in numbers because life doesn't pay.
There is a wide range of possibilities between "Let's keep the system we have now, but look at some things that aren't working too well and tweak them as necessary" and "Let's all go socialist because life doesn't pay." (And I daresay the large number of people who are supporting socialism would drop, were they not told that "capitalism" can only mean the system they're struggling through, thus meaning their personal struggles are a feature rather than a bug.)

If the modern trend stories were "Millennials in general are doing as well or better than their parents at the same age, but here's some individuals who are not," I'd agree it's most likely those individuals who are doing something wrong. Instead, the trend stories are all variations of "They're earning less money despite equal or greater education," "they're less likely to buy houses or even rent their own apartments" (though, granted, some of them are eating avocados, and almost all of them have a smartphone) -- it's not "here's some individuals doing worse than average for their age cohort" but "the average for their age cohort is worse than it was for previous ones." Which is why I say: either they're the first generation since Socrates' day to overall be genuinely worse people than their parents were, or something's different about the landscape they have to navigate.
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Re: Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

Post by nicole » 22 May 2017, 11:09

JasonL wrote:I can't relate to that view very much. I like experiences. I like to be challenged. I like to learn about the world and myself, both of which feed back in to how i perceive experiences. I don't find that learning more decreases the quality of experiences, it generally runs the other way as I seek nuance.

This oppression you perceive from "on to the next thing" is not oppressive to me. It's fun. I don't really understand the idea that you need a reason in some cosmic sense to do stuff. I don't even know what that would look like.
Well, you don't need a reason in a cosmic sense, you just need a reason -- and in your case, it's that you like it. If you *don't* like it, though, you...don't.
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Re: Fragments of an avotoast anthropology

Post by nicole » 22 May 2017, 11:35

I'm having some issues attaching the picture, but interesting chart here on millennials switching jobs less:
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