Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Looking for Work

The US workplace is seriously fucked up. Trying to promote a family friendly (gag) atmosphere here, I tried to tone down the language. I could not, I can think of no other word to describe it.

I got out of corporate America in 2003, not willingly but ultimately for the best and the inevitable. I worked for a company that was seriously fucked up. I had a name for them: The CATS which stood for Crazy Ass Texans. Their antics were comical if not for the fact a lot of people got hurt. People came and went, we had no autonomy, the boss was an egotistical ex-Military fellow who still thought he was the arrogant officer. He had an undistinguished career but still wallowed in his imagined glory years later. They lied, cheated and stole, and still seem to not get caught.

I did HR for the region. Since almost my whole career had been in Long Term Care I knew a bit about it. They ignored me, didn't want me (I came as a package deal with my former boss who had already resigned, she had kinda screwed me once before so I should have known)and finally hired a manager over me who clashed immediately. She was the most stupid person I had ever met, but since she showed her legs and talked shit to the big boy, she was god. I worked for her 6 weeks and all she did was send over 400 emails to me. They thought that was cool. I was made redundant, as the English say, she tried to hire her little girl friend for my job but was stopped and she, to my ever lasting amusement, was eventually canned. This, dear readers, is all too common in the workplace.

It is as if corporate America wants to self destruct. Manufacturing has been turned over to the Japanese and Asians, management is going there as well. Jobs are cut, people are screwed with, managers lack basic skills, revolving doors abound, loyalty is nothing on either side. Top management thinks workers are liabilities and workers feel companies just want to screw them. The only concern of the corporate big wigs: Fatten the pockets of investors who would sell their own mother to make a profit.

There are more unemployed out there than it seems. Along with that we are becoming a nation of underemployed. I am a perfect example. I am doing a job a trained monkey could likely do. But I enjoy it. I have a free apartment, no utilities, no corporate bullshit (I have BS of another kind, but I stay out of it), easy work, and a salary I use as almost 100% discretionary income. I have more to spend on crap than someone making 5 times what I make. My car is paid for, I have a house I could live in paid for if I want to move back to my home town, I owe no one.

But I am lucky. Many in my position want to get back into the work world. They have tons to offer. They could solve some of our workplace problems. But no one wants them, this article in the KC Star (HR Keeping the Skilled Locked Out) shows how deeply messed up the hiring process is. Why people are giving up, why corporations are dying (Ford, GM, Delta Airlines) Wal-Mart is sliding, retail is a shambles, healthcare is bleeding and so on. The talent to do the job is there. The companies are so focused on BS and making $$ for shareholders that they do not care.

The house of cards this country's economy is built on will collapse. Enron will look like a mom and pop shop closing up.

I shudder to think.....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There's a mentality that workers are interchangable warm bodies, so the cheaper they come, the better. Never mind that an experienced worker who is paid a bit more might actually be 10 times more productive!

I've seen many people encouraged by their companies to further their education, often on the company's dime. When they get their degrees, the company won't promote them and especially won't give them any more money. The the company acts shocked and injured that the employee looks elsewhere for work.

You're right, alot of managers are pretty stupid. I think that's another reason they are loathe to hire intelligent and skilled employeees - they might expose the incompetance of management!