The Urban Hunter: In Search of the Illusive Job Opening

Looking for employment is probably one of the most dehumanizing and demoralizing endeavors ever. The whole employment system is set up to undermine your worth as a laborer and to make you feel like a beggar rather than a prospective company asset. If you are unfamiliar with the modern employment safari (lucky you!), let me direct your attention to a few aspects that really grind my gears…

1. Pre-Employment Drug Screening: Fucking stupid & invasive practice! I understand the necessity in jobs that involve heavy machinery, aviation, medicine, or law enforcement. But a drug test for a McJob? Or a clerical position? WTF? The only users really caught up by the piss test baloney are the pot heads, since nearly everything else is easily flushed out of the system in a matter of days, and who the fuck wants to go to work stoned? Talk about a buzz kill & a waste of ganja! So, employers attempt to judge your merits as a prospective employee by screening for recreational marijuana use, enjoyed on your own time! Bullshit. I am morally opposed to this practice & frankly, I think it reflects badly on a prospective employer.


2. Pre-Employment Personality Assessments: This is the biggest waste of time for all those involved. The idea is that by answering a shit-load of multiple choice questions, an employer can determine the degree to which an applicant has certain traits or dispositions. The main problem is that the “right” answers are so obvious, any dipshit can come out smelling like a perfect candidate. Also, the questions allow for no gray areas in ethical dilemmas, so they don’t accurately reflect any real-life experiences the applicant may face. For example, if the question was “Is it acceptable for an employee to be late for work?”, the obvious answer is “No” but the question doesn’t specify the conditions of acceptable tardiness. In my opinion, these assessments are used to determine whether an applicant can mimic company-approved behavior and buy into the idea that the company is doing your ethically-challenged ass a favor for hiring you. Bullshit. Until I get to dole out employer assessments that will filter out all the deadbeats, the idiots, the perverts, the sexist bastards, and the infrequent raise givers… they can shove this crap down someone else's throat. 


3. Pre-Employment Credit Check: I can understand the need for an employer to be aware of a person’s financial situation if the job deals with classified government information or sensitive product development shit that might attract corporate espionage. Otherwise, there is no reason for your boss to need this info. Late utilities payments or maxed out credit cards do not indicate a person is unemployable. Their character and work ethic are not reflected in their credit score. If anything, an employer should be presenting their financial statements and personal tax records to their employees. After all, it is their financial situation & ability to cover payroll costs that would be relevant to employment. 


4. Requests for Salary History: Employers like to pretend that salary history helps them determine an applicant’s experience level and value as an employee. Really, they use the information to see how cheaply you’ll work for them. Salary should be based on what the job the employer wants done is worth, quite apart from who you are, what you've done, or what you've been paid before. Then, during the interview, the employer can factor in their assessments about how you would contribute to the success of that job. When an applicant is forced to reveal their salary history, they give up any negotiating leverage they may have had.


5. Requests for Salary Requirements: This is a trick to weed out the folks that want more money than the company is willing to pay. It is also used to highlight those applicants willing to work for dog-shit wages. Once again, wages and salaries should be determined by the company, based on the position’s importance to the employer. They should not be based on what the employer thinks they can get away with on a case-by-case basis. That allows bosses to pay men & women different wages for the same job, thus keeping us at the same 75 cents to a dollar ratio that our grandmothers were bitching about back in the day. It lets employers set wages based on age (not experience. I’ve been fucked by this many a time), race, perceived cultural background, or any other trait that is completely unrelated to the position in question. I hate that shit.


It’s like this, y’all: The more bullshit hoops the employer makes you jump through, the more likely you are to think you suck. You will rationalize accepting a low salary offer. You will internalize the message that the company is doing you a favor, rather than the other way around. You will over-value the position & under-value your labor, which just makes it easier for an employer to do the same. Behavioral psychologists refer to this phenomenon as "cognitive dissonance”.

On that note, I’ll leave you with a few thoughts from people much smarter than myself…


“All paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind.”    --- Aristotle


“When a man tells you that he got rich through hard work, ask him ‘Whose?’ “        --- Don Marquis


“Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if Labor had not first existed. Labor is superior to capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”    ----- Abraham Lincoln


“If hard work were such a wonderful thing, surely the rich would have kept it all to themselves.”      ------ Lane Kirkland


“One thing that corporations do not do is give out money out of the goodness of their hearts.”    ------ Molly Ivins


“The incognito of lower class employment is an effective cloak for any dagger one might wish to hide. These are those who we do not think of, look at, talk to, yet these are those who have made vast differences and shaped the world, at least their part of it, immensely.”   --- Margaret Cho

1 comment:

  1. Yes, it all amounts to nothing. But the system used to perform this "necessary" evaluation process employs many people... who otherwise would do, uh, still nothing very use-full.
    Just another one of life's little irony's.