From the invasive looks into our online lives, to credit checks, to downright nosey interview questions it’s a wonder anyone gets a job in the first place. In some ways your damned if you don’t have a Facebook, LinkedIn or other online profile; by that same token you can be equally or more harshly damned for what’s on it, going beyond the risqè, inappropriate, questionable material to making sure your profile picture includes a smile, projecting confidence and likeability, assuring it shows you well groomed all factors in something called hire-ability. People now have to be concerned with what their kids post about them online, as if that has anything whatsoever to do with your job performance. Those who follow my work regularly have no doubt noticed the number of disconcerting trends in employment as it relates to ideas put forth in Washington regarding dealing with the debt, growing the economy as well as addressing the would be political candidates for office. But recent research drives home the point of just how bad it’s gotten even more; companies doing credit checks have gone up by staggering percentages. However now people are being told not to use credit cards at all due to how it can affect their career, ironically not because bad credit, lots of debt and poor finances can lead people to steal, embezzle or otherwise defraud a company for their own ends, but rather because it is a distraction, having multiple cards, even if you pay the balance off monthly, just signed up for a new card, somehow indicates a lack of control. Long term unemployment increasingly means no job for you all perfectly legal practices currently.
Somehow everyone running a business seems to be incapable of watching the basic national news, of digesting unemployment percentages, seem incapable of understanding that other businesses, like themselves, are doing more with less have downsized, laid off and let go workers to meet their bottom line, yet are still ignoring the long term, even recently unemployed. Often times because they are too busy, i.e. lazy, to put in a call to that former employer and ask about job performance or skimming applications too quickly to notice the reason for leaving is listed as company cut backs, reorganization, downsizing, to do a simple Google search and find out if the company listed on an application, rèsumè really did go out of business. Apparently hiring managers have never been down on their luck, known anyone who was or is, otherwise they would at least comprehend bad credit may be due to a lack of job, particularly for an extended period of time. It could be due to outstanding medical bills for them or their family because their former employer did not offer benefits; hey neither do you. Perhaps their child was diagnosed with a disease; the person got sick and was dropped from their insurance. But companies are still judging character on a person’s credit score. Creating, perpetuating a vicious cycle of I can’t get a job because of my debt, credit score can’t pay off debt, thus improving my score, without a job. How is that different from debtors’ prison, throwing people behind bars for unpaid debts, removing any chance they could pay them back? Most people would be pleased with themselves and considered financially responsible if they had a plan to pay of a large credit card purchase or accumulated card amounts in 6 months, forget those who pay them monthly. Likewise how many cards you take out and when is your personal business and should have no bearing on your ability to get a job, particularly jobs that have little or no financial component.
While no one has made the correlation nationally or on the state level that more people working means more revenue for states, the national government to work with; no one has connected the dots between unfair hiring policies and the strain on social, entitlement programs. At the same time Washington’s up and comings, those hoping to boast the title, leader of the free world, are befuddled on their history; Michele Bachmann stating the shot that began the revolutionary war was in New Hampshire instead of Massachusetts, who doggedly defended her claim that the founding fathers worked tirelessly to end slavery saying she was referring to Adams, despite that work beginning years after the constitution was ratified and President Lincoln’s emancipation proclamation came nearly 100 years after that. Popular wish list candidate Sara Palin on her sightseeing bus tour across America saying Paul Revere’s ride was to warn the British, rather than to warn American colonists the British were coming. These are the same caliber of people challenging the constitutionality of social security, Medicare, Medicaid, the income tax system, the department of education. The same no nonsense, hard times politicians running states with supposed success whose brilliant idea on medical costs consists of forcing people to pay for their own healthcare bought from any state, paid for with their own money and are championing a new reality saying government was never meant to be all things to all people. They forget people who don’t have jobs can’t pay for anything. People who have jobs but are only working part time, can’t get more hours from their employer, are working minimum wage, can’t afford basics and if they can, have no money left over to put into retirement or healthcare expenses, premiums, co-pays, don’t have the means to buy healthcare independently or with government subsidy. Neither should people fall below, further below, the poverty line paying for medical coverage; case in point one middle age man taking a leave of absence from his factory job to care for an ailing family member forced to pay $80 a month to maintain his health coverage, regardless of whether or not he used it, likewise forced to pawn limited valuables to come up with said amount along with daily expenses. And again how is this different than an evolved debtor’s prison putting individuals, families under debt they likely will not be able to pay back for lifesaving, quality of life ensuring care for them, their spouses, their children? Government ends up being all things to all people when said people can’t get it anywhere else.
Coming back to businesses, our supposed new breed of politician running states with an iron fist and the motto of doing what needs to be done to hell with reelection’s idea on job creation, decreasing unemployment benefits, decreasing over all business taxes, while employers large or small refuse to connect the dots between overworked, over multitasked employees and the growing number of errors, safety issues and other hazards in the workplace. Yet feel free to exclude smokers from their workforce based on potential healthcare costs and the lost productivity of smoke breaks. Completely disregarding the research proven effect of stress on the immune system, psychologically toxic work environments and the increased amount of sick days taken, the higher rates of turnover, employers once again target lifestyle choices. Another factor employers stick their head in the sand about, relating to errors, safety issues is the utter lack of training they repeatedly claim not to be able to afford simultaneously sitting on billions in cash. Speaking of which, our government shows an astounding lack of business acumen having yet to realize that if business operators can’t funnel their cash into offshore accounts thus avoiding taxes, can’t buy foreign commodities like European sewer parts for the tax write off, and were going to be charged for excess profits above average for their industry, they might invest it, be that in stocks or equipment even more employees. ABC News did some startling research and determined that if every medium sized business hired just one additional worker, upwards of 10,000 workers would be put back on the job; however congress has implemented none of the above opting instead to gouge social programs, ensuring more people are held over a barrel, more people are in an invisible debtor’s prison they can’t get out of.
An estimated 300 million US jobs remain unfilled do to a lack of workers possessing the skill to do so yet it does nothing to change companies attitudes toward training nor our government’s, independent of what so many millions working would do to the American economy forget the American psyche. No government spearheaded initiatives are going forth to ensure college degree programs are keeping up with the increasingly multifaceted job descriptions, that career training/retraining programs keep pace with employer demands, contrarily politicians are secure in their jobs, still doing them badly. Republicans walking out of negotiations, practically having adult temper tantrums, speaker Boehner utterly abandoning a large deal that would have solved the debt ceiling issue at for a minimum of 5 years, perhaps a decade or more, unwilling to say millionaires and billionaires should pay their fair share in taxes, however eager to gouge social security, Medicare and Medicaid because they are so called entitlement programs. Things that can be done right now to increase jobs, ease the burden on citizens are getting marred in this too; projects for infrastructure employing hundreds perhaps thousands are caught between the two sides who can’t agree on how much to spend. Rewriting contracts and such to allow more exports is lost in democrats who want to include job retraining, republicans who don’t; extending the payroll tax cut for small businesses another year has gotten swallowed in the larger feud over the debt. An executive order that could fast track energy and other permits rather than them sitting around, sometimes for decades, is a pipe dream as long as the president has to play referee between feuding governmental bodies.
Meanwhile the American dream is no longer a dream, no longer a thing of hope and possibility but a thing of disillusionment and despair; downsizing isn’t just happening in business, in the grocery store or the type and size of car they choose to drive. Anymore it’s can I even afford a car; dozens of working poor traverse dangerous streets, highways to run needed errands, report to a job. Home ownership is the lowest since the great depression, no longer even a goal. Most are content to rent just happy to have a roof over their head. Careers are a wanted luxury of the past, many just focusing on getting a job, any work to pay their bills, feed their family, people encapsulated in a debtor’s prison those in power are content to ignore. Everyone should have the right to work; where you work may depend on level of skill education and years of experience but not the trivial things listed here. Persons who work have the right to a living wage to be able to care for themselves and their families. Ironically it’s the America we all thought we had.
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