Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Open Thread

     Another age-old mystery solved, courtesy of Welcome Back to Pottersville.
     Today happens to mark the fourth anniversary of the last day I ever worked at a fulltime job. It was on this day in 2009 when I worked on a Friday and when I went back to work on Monday the 27th, I got the axe just before I would've punched in. This seemingly endless skein of joblessness is still largely inexplicable to me, although I have lots of theories as to why this has happened.
     As I've been screaming for years, outsourcing, spearheaded by the US Chamber of Commerce, plays a big part in it. Many hiring companies are going through predatory temp agencies that are now offering minimum wage and no health care benefits for jobs that, until a few years ago, paid in double digits. I'm sure my age has knocked me out of contention for more than one job. Despite the Age Discrimination Act of 1967, we've always been an ageist country and perhaps always will be.
     There's also the latest fetish for responsibility consolidation. Warehousing, Quality Control and so many other jobs now have duties added by companies that discovered how wonderful it is to have 50 people do the job of 75 or 100 so that a person trying to get back in QC as I am a decade later submits a resume and the hiring manager sees that I cannot do 5% of the job. Training, also, is considered a drain on a company's bottom line, which is perhaps the stupidest short-sighted trend I've ever seen.
     Then there's criminal background checks, drug screenings (which I don't have to worry about) and the incredibly invasive credit background check to which I refuse to submit. More and more companies and corporations are using ChoicePoint, the right wing company that assembled Katherine Harris' voter purge list in 2000 and had acquired voter rolls in many Latin American countries to do their data-mining for them. I refuse to give ChoicePoint, of all places, access to my most sensitive information.
     There's also a growing movement of ignoring the unemployed and going instead after shiny happy people who are already employed, which begs the question of why, if they're so happy, they're keeping resumes on CareerBuilder or Monster.com looking for better employment? When called on this despicable practice by the press, these hiring companies then retract their ads that basically tell the unemployed to go fuck themselves and to claim it was just a typo. That, of course, only forces their prejudice against the unemployed to go underground.
     And in my last several job interviews, I've had hiring managers and HR people who had the nerve to ask me, "What have you been doing for the last four years? How come you still can't find work after all these years?" As tempting as it is to respond, "Because of picky-choosy, hemming-and-hawing yuppie assholes like you," I can't say that during a job interview.
     Obviously, this is a very scary way to make a living, if you want to call this a living. It's scarier than working on pure commission, which I used to do during a brief phase in my callow youth when I worked for Electrolux out of the division point in West Springfield, MA. If you haven't already seen my previous pleas this month, please understand that at this point in time, a blog with a dwindling readership is the only thing keeping body and soul together. Whether or not you can help, if you have access to a blog or Twitter or Facebook or Google+ account, please spread the word about our plight and take some of the heat off the very few benefactors that literally represent the difference between living like human beings and living out of our car.
     In the meantime, the job hunt continues because the only true failure is in giving up. Mrs. JP is disabled to the point where, like John McCain, old injuries prevent her from lifting her arms above her shoulders, which would pretty much make her unsuitable for any meaningful, worthwhile labor. So the task of bringing in just enough bill money each month by any legal means possible falls on my shoulders. And it's not a very enviable position to be in, trust me. Every day of my life, I feel like a failure before my fiancee, my kids and even my few remaining readers.
     So onward, into the breach I go searching for that Godot-like individual who may take pity on me and give me the vocational analogue of a mercy fuck. I haven't the time to research and vet a full-fledged article so this open thread will have to do while I continue the job hunt and maybe work on my novel Tatterdemalion with my co-author in my spare time.
     As it is, the only good news I can impart is that I wasn't being investigated by the government of Dubai, after all. It was just some idiot DHL CS rep's bad idea to deflect blame from her company's rare moment of incompetence by scaring the shit out of me and making me think I was the subject of a criminal probe.

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