Friday, June 10, 2011

broke folks spring eternal

Right now I'm watching a documentary called "A Job to Get Work" from the BBC.  I have to say I'm incensed at what I'm seeing.  The program takes an in-depth look at the town of Rhyl in Northern Wales which has a high percentage of people on unemployment insurance.  When asked about 'benefits' (the local term for government assistance), residents called for reform as they didn't want their salaries going to pay for people to stay on benefits.  Fair enough.

Then two former drug addicts, a woman on disability and an able-bodied man were profiled in their quest to get work.  All have completed skill upgrade courses and are actively seeking work yet they can't seem to find any.  One of the drug addicts stated that he would not just find any type of work - he would rather find work that not only he enjoyed but work he could see himself in for a long period of time.

What got me the most was the entrepreneur who lived in the nicer part of town.  You could see her driving to work in her BMW dressed to the nines in designer threads.  She trains people on benefits on how to get jobs.  Talk about an oxymoron (emphasis on the moron).

Straight up, this show pissed me right off and I'll tell you why.  First of all, this documentary had no problem depicting people on benefits as the dregs of society; hideous-looking, no skills and no hope whatsoever for a better life.  This simply isn't true.  I've never been a drug addict.  I've got a university degree and a community college degree.  I know how to use most business information systems better than the people who use them regularly.  Put simply, I'm not an idiot.  Yet, because I'm on assistance, my standing in society is in the toilet.

Next, I plan to stay on assistance to find something that is worth doing.  I am one of those people who refuse to work just for the sake of working.  If this is a measure that the state wants to push, then consider this: For all the people working for the sake of working, they are unhealthy (e.g. stress, high blood pressure, etc).  Unhealthiness costs companies thousands upon thousands of dollars, not to mention the stress on an already-stress public health care system.  One part of government is saving money by not having as many people on assistance yet those savings and much more are eaten up by the millions who are unsatisfied in their work lives; in essence, robbing Peter to pay Paul.  I'm sure even Conservatives wouldn't take too kindly to this kind of preventable government overspending.

Let's talk about job hunting for a minute.  Never mind the fact that the economy is crap.  Employers are increasingly particular about who they want to join their ranks.  I spent 10 years in Human Resources... the things I've seen are nothing short of disgusting.  Nowadays, employers are more concerned about adding members to existing cliques; this is called "fit".  When a potential employer tells you in an interview situation that they're looking for the right "fit", it means they want to know if you'll sit with them at lunch in the break room; if you're a coffee drinker (I drink tea which I do believe is one of the reasons for my career's eventual demise); if you'll party with them during happy hour; if you'll divulge everything and anything about your personal life for all to hear.  Your skills & experience are secondary & tertiary at best.  Ever come out of an interview thinking you've nailed it and the job is yours only to get a call from the crusty HR rep to say they've given the job to someone with more of what they were looking for?  Uh-huh.  I've heard that many times over the last ten years. That's HR-speak for we found a better playmate for our sandbox.  I used to be a recruiter for a large multinational.  I've hired people with exceptional skills & talents only to be told that the candidate I hired brings food that stinks up the lunchroom. *sigh*

Broke folks, we need to rise up.  We need to come together and show the world we are not pieces of shit gathering dust.  We are intelligent, well-spoken individuals merely seeking the right opportunity to show the world what we can do.  Money does not make a person.  Broke folks are an untapped resource who, if given a proper chance, can make a difference.  We are talented, articulate, innovative and resourceful.  May all you broke folks live long and prosper!