Saturday, October 22, 2011

No. You can't have a job, and other rants

This one's political.
After my desultory attempts at finding some form of supplementary employment, I've come across all kinds of corporate strategies to reduce all people to something resembling a cockroach immediately after molting, and to treat them accordingly. Then I sometimes have flashes of insight on other issues, like the tax structure. So, here they are, my comments and recipes for moving everything a micron closer to utopia.

I tried to send a message to President Obama via the White House web page, but all I got was a bunch of nonsense error messages, an endless "connecting" message and finally the message above. In other words, I got the electronic runaround. Isn't it great that politicians can make their web sites act just like real politicians?

All I tried to say is why don't you tax the rich when things aren't going so well, and lower their taxes when they are? In other words, create some incentive.

Maybe it was too simple an idea for a political computer server to understand. Maybe they just don't want to hear about taxes. I would think that some index exists out there that gives the current pulse of the economy, and could be used as a tax index. I mean, there are all those fancy PhD economists out there who constantly create indexes for this, indexes for that.

The way I see it, giving money to the rich won't help anyone. When is the last time a Wall Street mogul bought you a drink or your bank gave you real interest? Yeah, that's what I thought. The rich just invest their money offshore where they get a high yield. Maybe they'll buy a company and outsource everything except highly paid executive positions to a far-away land where workers are paid in some currency with an exchange rate measured in peanuts.

But if by helping the common man, elevating the middle class to a livable position, they can save on their taxes, maybe it will be like giving them a heart. Like virtual caring. Like Robin Hood's spirit really does live on, somewhere, instead of the current "steal from the poor and give to the rich". 

Applying for employment
While I'm being political might as well throw some well-deserved rotten end-of-season tomatoes at the inhuman, degrading policies of Corporate America when it comes to the hiring process.

Once company brags about being a Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For. Perhaps, once you're hired this could be true. However, their hiring process leaves a lot to be desired. Like their fifty question psychobabble personality-id-ego screening test that applicants must take online. I suppose some squinty-eyed human resources cyborg considers this to be the best, most accurate way to eliminate everyone who will not fit into their corporate culture. No matter if they're applying to be a janitor, serve cheese, shoot photographs, bake bread or cut meat. It's obvious that all these people will have identical personality profiles. Isn't it? Yes, the HR people say so! The strange thing is that it seems like this barrier comes up even before questions like can you really cut a slab of beef into recognizable (and sellable) steaks and roasts? Or do you know an f/stop from a unsharp mask? Nah. What matters is your karakteristika, comrade. Skills are nothing next to a personality that scores 85% or better on their little Turing test.

Feedback, now you want feedback?
Most application processes are online, automated, unseen by actual humans, never pondered by human brains. I imagine that there's some kind of filter algorithm that searches for key words, correlations and Spock's brain to determine if you're fit to enter into the ranks of their poorly paid part-time seasonal minions. So, they are very good at checking everything as you apply, moving data from page to page and finally, when the SUBMIT button has sent your entire life flashing through the ether to their server, sending a APPLICATION RECEIVED message to your e-mail. After that, unless some wannabe AI found you intriguing, apt and compatible, you may hear nothing. Ever. Or, you may receive an impersonal, passive voice message that gives you no information on where you failed to measure up, but leaves no doubt that applying to their company again would be a tragic waste of time.

Strangely enough, right after I posted this I got a rejection notice written in Corporatespeak, basically saying to get lost and stay that way.

It seems that the people who have found jobs typically knew someone in the company who could get them around the system. I wonder how they scored on their karakteristika.

How do I know you're not...
Some companies assume you're guilty until proven innocent. They want to know you pay your taxes, aren't some kind of criminal, haven't plotted against a government (except perhaps some enemy of the USA), that you feed your fish and are kind to stray cats. All this before you're even considered for a job. No investigation of your entire background by a company who can't even guarantee that their data will be safe from hackers. I want to investigate them, too. Can I see if the people looking at my social security number, address, driver's license, etc won't run off and sell the data to identity thieves? No? Why not? It's not like these corporations really hold the moral high ground here. They do hold lots of lawyers, though. So you hope that your information is safe and that if it isn't that someone will make things right. Yes, I'm dreaming. It probably isn't and no, they won't.

Your information is safe with us!
Some companies are small and do things the old-fashioned way. They accept your application on a standard form that's somehow different for every place I've applied to. Then they toss it into a drawer. Safe. Secure. Don't think about what could happen late at night when you can't sleep. Maybe I'm wrong, and they shred it as soon as I walk out the door. From all the calls I've received, this may indeed be the case.

Immigration status for sale
I just read that some senators want to give some kind of residential visa to anyone who comes in with cash and buys a home over $500,000. Yep, half a million bucks. Once again, handing something to the real estate industry on a platter.

Actually, this is a good idea. Except for the "buy" part. I'd much rather see "build" than buy, since that would employ a lot more people and not just give more gravy to the real estate industry. Building a home means new permits, so local governments get some money. It hopefully uses designers, architects, landscape architects, engineers, interior designers to determine its form and function. Then there are all the materials - and these could be required to be from the USA. Then there's the small army of people who will pound those nails, lift those trusses and polish off the new American dream home.

You're not corporate
You've done everything the qualifications list, or better. You know the software. You know the processes. You'd be great at this job... except... you're not corporate. You never did these things while working in the bowels of a large company. You never managed corporate people. You didn't do what you did in the corporate way. You're not one of us, your resume is non-standard. You know too much, yet you know too little. We're not talking to you. So what if the qualifications demand you know 27 technical computer programs, speak 12 different languages, are able to pilot a hovercraft, can prepare sauce béarnaise with five variations, have experience working with naked mole rats in their native habitat and can type 178 words per minute? You're not qualified unless you're corporate.

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