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Employing The Unemployable

An acquaintance of mine on Twitter, a friend of a friend actually who I speak to on occasion, lost her job recently.  She had always tweeted about various job frustrations, as we all do, but it seemed clear that she wasn’t appreciated or acknowledged for the work she did.  On January 20th, after 4 years of employment, she was told how awesome she was and was let go from the company.  A few days after being fired, she sent a letter to her former employer expressing her true feelings about being let go.  Since then, she’s been scrambling to get her resume out there and to work with the unemployment office so she isn’t in trouble financially while looking for work.  Her time line has unfortunately been filled with frustrated comments on dealing with the unemployment office while waiting for the phone to ring and an interview to be offered.

Simply put, there are too many people who are currently in this situation.  At the health clinic I was employed at before coming to the National Guard, people were fired at the drop of a hat.  Our office manager was let go because they had to make cut backs and she was the most disposable and unnecessary employee there, even though she was also a loyal person who had been there for nearly five years.  The entire office went day to day with a fear in the back of their mind that our time was up and we would be greeted by the COO and told to gather our belongings.  Some of the newly unemployed deserved to be removed from their positions, but sadly many are let go because it makes financial sense to the company to do so.  Other times it’s petty personal issues; higher management just doesn’t like one of their subordinates and searches for any reason in existence to get them fired.  I was let go from a cashier position because the head cashier didn’t appreciate the fact that I did my job better than she did.  Shit happens to good people for bad reasons.

Meanwhile, as good people go without work, great jobs are filled with people who are, to put it nicely, less than deserving of them.  I work with a woman, I’ll call her Sandra, who has been passed around the office from job to job as her supervisor struggles to find work that she can actually manage not to be horrible at.  Every time she is set to be reprimanded for something, she magically comes up with a doctor’s note demanding three days of bed rest and manages to side step the conversation entirely.  She is the queen of excuses when it comes to doing any actual work while she is in the office and I honestly don’t see why she hasn’t been fired at least three dozen times already.  My husband works with a man, Coffee Guy, who spends the majority of his work day doing errands over the phone for his wife, taking care of personal issues on the phone, and socializing with people who probably don’t want to speak to him.  90% of the time I see him, he is doing something completely unrelated to his job.  These are the people who should be unemployed, not those who are willing to bust their ass and get their job done in the most efficient and accurate possible way.

I would love the ability to get rid of the dead weight in my office and throughout this country, replacing those unwilling to do their job with those people out there who can and will do it, but haven’t been offered the opportunity.  If we could strip away the red tape, outdated or unrealistic job requirements, personal vendettas, and popularity contests, this problem would probably sort itself out.  I had an employer who hired people as a temporary employee on a strictly trial basis to allow them 6 months to prove themselves as worthy of the position and to protect the company in the event that the employee turned out to be a waste of space.  I’ve worked for a couple of places that understand people can’t claim extensive experience in an area if no one gives them the chance, and I’m grateful for the chances I’ve been given.  Having had to hire and fire people in the past, I understand how hard both processes can be but I also know that if both are done properly from the beginning, you cut down on the frequency you need to do them.

I’m wishing my Twitter friend the best of luck and I hope she is close to finding employment and escaping the rut her former employer put her in.  I’m curious to know, have you been unjustly let go from a job before?  Was it difficult to find new work?  I’ve been rather blessed and have never gone for longer than two weeks without a job, but I’m also the type of person to jump on waiting tables during those interim periods between jobs with 9-5 hours.  I’ve expressed my views on collecting unemployment in a previous blog, but I’m also curious to hear your thoughts.  And finally, do you work with (or have you) someone who doesn’t deserve to be employed?  Share horror stories!

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About Jamie C. Baker

“Long time no see. I only pray the caliber of your questions has improved.” - Kevin Smith

Posted on January 27, 2012, in Fear, Life, Money and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. My wife and I were just talking about this last night. Her office is more “special” than mine, so the “special people” stories tend to come from there.

    A secretary came to her asking how to update an older presentation with newer information. My wife works in Marketing and instructed her that the only way to do it, was to copy and paste the information into the new template, there is no simple solution, and that it would only take about 3 to 4 hours as she had done it before. The Secretary started himming and hawing, saying there was no way she was going to do that and then spent the next 30 minutes complaining to other people in the office how she was not going to do it.

    All her and I could think of was…what ELSE are you going to do for four hours? I mean..you are there for 8 hours, so what difference does it make what you work on? What is work? Work is work. THIS is work.

    Also yesterday, my wife tried to call another executive to finalize some marketing materials but he did not answer. He is on the perfectly opposite side of the office from her. She called his secretary and she said he was on the phone and about to leave so she should hurry. My wife calls the Receptionist and asks her to page him to call her extension. The Receptionist argues with her saying she should email him instead. My wife insists. So the Receptionist says she should just walk there instead. So my wife, thoroughly pissed off, hangs up on her and goes to the Office Manager to find out what the problem is. The Office Manager tells my wife the Receptionist won’t do pages because she doesn’t like how her voice sounds over the speakers. So my wife says, “So fire her” and the Office Manager says, “We can’t. She just reported that she is taking anti-depression medications because of her job so now we’re afraid of a lawsuit.”

    Here’s another…two weeks ago the Western Regional Manager, very powerful guy, only about 3 from the top of a multi-billion dollar company, was in the local office. My wife happened to be standing next to the reception area when he came out of the boardroom where he was meeting with another executive, and asked the receptionist if she could find two bottles of water for them. This is a powerful man. He is your boss nine times over. So what did she do? Came up with excuses why she could not get him water…she didn’t have the key, she’s not sure if they keep it anywhere else, the person with the key wasn’t there, etc… His face started getting red. My wife, whose job THIS IS NOT, said she would bring them some water, walked to her office, grabbed her wallet, bought two bottles from the soda machine, and delivered it. Problem solved.

    I remember one from a few years ago. Her company hired a girl with a Master’s degree in Music. That was mistake #1 since her company has ZERO to do with music, but hey, everyone rolls over for a Master’s degree, now matter how irrelevant, right? Anyway, she asked my wife if she could help her in the copy room because the copier was not working. My wife, not wanting to be rude to the new girl, followed her to the copier and when the girl showed her what she was doing, my wife realized why it was not working. The girl was trying to feed the paper she wanted to copy into the output tray of the fax machine. True story. So yeah…Master’s degree….doesn’t mean shit to me. Most of the people I’ve met with a Master’s can’t tie their shoes.

    Every week my wife has new material from her office and we explode in laughter and disgust about these people every Friday at the local Happy Hour.

    The truth is, a lot of companies cannot get rid of certain employees because they are a government-imposed protected class. I know from personal experience companies that would not fire black people, older people and people that were “sick” but were all horrible at their jobs, simply out of fear from a lawsuit. I knew some of these protected people and they actually joked about how they were protected…they KNEW it and abused it. The companies just shuffled them around to squeeze out whatever work they could from them. The Progressives have created such a raft of laws to prevent discrimination, that discrimination is worse than its ever been, because the threat of a lawsuit from these protected classes is so real, so likely, so common, that people who hire other people can not help but consider the implications if someone they are thinking about hiring who is a member of one of these protected classes, should turn out to be a horrible employee and can not be terminated. As a result, in the back of their minds, where no Progressive Liberal can pass a law to reach, they make hiring decisions with this fact in mind. And so the laws end up hurting the same people they are trying to protect, as well as everyone else due to horrible employees that have to be kept on the books because it’s cheaper than a settlement.

    I’ve just come to accept that there are more people that are stupid, than are smart. There are more people that are lazy, than are ambitious. There are more people that are “lifers” and believe that loyalty in any particular company somehow protects you, than there are people that know corporate loyalty is worthless and are willing to take risks and chances in order to advance…and by advance I mean in position, in salary, and in experience, training and education.

    But I do find solace in these facts, because that means the pool I have to compete with for jobs is pretty putrid, so even on my worst day an employer will always consider my ambition, varied experience, work ethic, honesty, integrity and ability to work with others as a shining star in a sea of some obnoxious worthless employee garbage.

  2. Hope you don’t mind a link to post yesterday…your friend might find it helpful as she job-hunts in the horrible recession…It has a bunch of tips…

    I was canned from my staff newspaper job in 2006 — two weeks after my story ran on the the front page. Long loud bitter laugh. You basically have to be prepared at all times to lose your job, and income, with little to no warning. (i.e. have savings!)

    “Loyal” doesn’t mean a thing to anyone but the wounded employee. Employers expect loyalty but will not give it and why would they — in a country where almost no one gets severance even after decades of service?

    http://broadsideblog.wordpress.com/2012/01/27/talent-is-not-enough/

  3. People are afraid of people more competent than themselves. They do whatever they can to hold back the competent. As there are more incompetents than competents, the competents are in big trouble.

    Who is mature enough to admit that someone else is better at a job than they are? Supervisors hold back their best employees; to keep them looking good and not be replaced by the employee.

    It is these losers that are holding back America and the rest of the world.

    Censorship is evil.

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