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Oh for the Days.

Oh for the days when an employee was hired for a job, quit it, or was fired from the job. Things were short, sweet, and simple. In the year 2000, especially in large corporations, the process of hiring on or terminating employment has become a complex, lengthy, time consuming ordeal.

Hiring on, what a mess that’s become. First the two day long new hire orientation and indoctrination classes. Then comes the two week long prospective employee training period. Kind of like giving you a promise ring. The firm and trainee are making a commitment to make a commitment to each other, but they can break up with no harm done. Next is the ninety day employee probationary period which corresponds to the engagement ring. They’ve taken you home to meet mom and dad. Now you are a real employee and whoever catches the bouquet of flowers will be the next new hire.

Termination, another long multi step adventure. Let’s say your employer is down sizing or right sizing or whatever term is currently politically correct for laying your ass off. At Dano’s aerospace employer, we went to surplus employee career skills assessment meetings to see if our skills could be utilized anywhere else within the company. Surplus employee, love that one.

My next career stop must be at the garage sale auction barn. "Honey, look what I got at the flea market today." Whatta you mean junk. This here is a collectors item, a self portrait of Elvis, see signed by the king himself and it was only $28.50. Hey baby, I traded my old set of gold clubs plus $12.99 for this surplus aerospace company bean counter. He can do budgets, inventory analysis, and labor forecasts, I figure we’ll breed him with that cute surplus lawyer your daddy got at the county swap meet last summer. They ought to have a litter of politicians. If there’s a cute one we’ll let the kids keep it, we’ll put an ad in the paper and sell the rest, make ourselves a nice little profit."

Next, surplus employees not recycled, went to an eight hour transition training session where you were taught how to fill out unemployment forms, to compose a resume, how to use want ads and other sources to search for a job, and finally you are given a list of agencies, everything from soup kitchens to support hot lines.

Then we have the exit interview with management followed by the exit interview with personnel the next day. Finally, Monday at noon we receive our official termination papers from corporate legal and are escorted from the building by security. Please, next time just shoot me and get it over with quick.

Remember the days when your new boss said, "Thanks for filling out the application, your references are in order, we’ll see you Thursday at 8:00 am. Welcome aboard Sally." I remember my first job. "I think you’ve got what we’re looking for Dano, a strong back and weak mind. You’re hired. Grab that shovel and follow me." Quitting was also easy. "Here’s the key to the truck and the tool shed. Take this job and shove it. Today is my last day Mr. Arnold or I’ve had it, screw you and the white horse you rode in on, or hey, I’m outta here."

Firing an employee was a simple affair. " Janet, I told you not to be late again, Friday is your last day. How about that’s enough foul ups for you, Leonard, you’ve got thirty minutes to clean out your desk and get out. We’ll mail you your last pay check."

So, why is accepting employment and leaving employment so complicated? One word, personnel. Even outfits with fifty employees have a human resources department. What’s up with that? One reason is our sue happy society. A one armed man applies for a truck driver position and you don’t hire him. Hell no, I wouldn’t want him driving Dano’s truck. You can get sued for discrimination against the handicapped. You fire a female clerk for being lazy and stupid. Look out for sexual discrimination, or what’s worse, she gets together with two or her lazy and stupid coworkers (birds of a feather, flock together) and make up a sexual harassment story and get you fired too.

There is another reason for this intricate human resources labyrinth that pervades every area of the modern work place of which you are probably unaware. Tells us Dano, please tell us what it is. But of course Dano tells us all. This detailed network of personnel provides thousands of jobs for people from well to do, connected families who are incompetent to do anything else. They’ve been sent to prestigious colleges, joined the right preppie fraternities and sororities, and networked to make the right social contacts and business relationships. Yet these people are not capable of running the cash register at pizza hut, performing the janitors job at the local bank, or even being a bagger at a slow grocery store. I think they could take tickets at the movie theater. These individuals can always do something in personnel. Hey, even if they screw up on a daily basis it doesn’t really matter. Just redo it next week or the week after, it’s not like you’re breaking anything or losing money because of poor service. Think hard now you know some of these people.

One of my high school mates was Harold Rector III. His dad was a high up V.P. for Bank of America in the city and owner of the local country club golf course. Be wary or anyone named the III. The first person with this name didn’t work out so he gave it to his son, who also didn’t make it, who in turn tried it out on his son. We have number three in line of human being failures, the more it goes, the worse it gets. King Henry VIII of England killed his wives and did other bad things. Not as bad as it sounds if you read your history book you’ll see at least one of the wives had it coming. King Louis XIV of France was so terrible the people had to kill him and his whole royal court. They called it the French revolution because they were too ashamed to call it what it really was, making sure there was no Louis XV. Sorry for the digression. Another one of lifes little mysteries revealed by Dano. No need to thank me, that’s what I’m here for. Harold got a new Camero for his sixteenth birthday which he totaled along with two other new cars before high school graduation. He attended Drake University and after six years of hard work attained a four year business degree. I guess he graduated suma cum laude later than never. Hey, I’m not a Latin expert. I caught up with Harold at my twenty year high school reunion. He had finally arrived. Harold Rector III had been through at least a dozen prestigious careers (none of which suited him), alcohol addiction, one failed suicide attempt, and was married to his third wife. You know, I believe he did that so that she could truly be called Mrs. Harold Rector III. As I say, Harold had finally found his station in life. Thanks to daddy’s influence Harold was now Director of Human Resources at the Bank of America in the city. If they didn’t have so much money, many of the Kennedies would be working in personnel departments. If Nancy hadn’t married Ronald Reagan she would have retired from human resources from some large Hollywood firm.

At last, the real story is revealed. Next time you are being frustrated by the system for hiring into a large corporation or leaving the same organization, just think of it as doing charity work. After all it’s kinda like welfare for the needy blue bloods of America.

See future topics on "Oh for the Days", next week


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