Old Diary

Who’s ruining the job market?

I don’t think much about looking for a job anymore.  Oh, when we walk through Walmart, which isn’t all that often, I see the greeters and give thanks that I don’t ‘need’ a job to survive.  About the only thing I ever buy from McDonalds is a senior coffee when we’re on the road, and I see plenty of seniors schlepping orders over the counter. Our grand-kid has her job, the family are employed as much as they want, the job market isn’t big on my radar.

So it came as an interesting surprise when I came across an article on CNN about U.S. companies hiring immigrant workers when they had U.S. workers applying for the same jobs. It stopped me long enough to click on the article and read it.  (If you click on the photo it will take you to the article.

CNN Photo

What I learned was that this is a good example of where U.S. workers want to blame someone else for problems they have caused themselves.  It seems that the number of U.S. applicants for jobs that are FAILING standard drug screening is at an all time high.  U.S. companies are finding it harder and harder to qualified applicants who can pass a drug test.  From Marijuana all the way  up to the hardest opiates we’re using them all — or so it seems.

The immigrants, coming from cultures where recreational drugs are not part of the culture may have problems with English, but at least they can do their job — and English is something they can learn as they do.

Living in a developed nation is it’s own kind of trial.  We have problems people in developing countries haven’t yet discovered.  They don’t have the time, or the resources to do so.

I hear a lot about wages and benefits — old people milling around in a swimming pool will talk about anything you know.  It’s easy to complain that businesses are outsourcing manufacturing, but the fact of the matter is that no one wants to spend more for a product than they have to, and many U.S. manufacturing jobs price the product out of the park.  — Don’t get me wrong — I am not blind to the fact that in too many U.S. companies that management is making salaries 1000 times that of the workers — and that is wrong. It’s terrible.  It’s horrible.  On the short term I don’t know how we’ll ever manage to change that — we are a capitalist country and it’s a “good” thing to make a profit.  But I also know that U.S. wages are often multiple times the foreign competition and if a company can afford to move the plant, hire workers, and then transport the completed product back to the U.S. all for less than it would cost to hire U.S. labor — then I don’t see the U.S. consumer ever changing their purchasing habits. After all — Walmart grew to be what it is today because the Walmart store had ‘better’, cheaper product in their stores than the once-local small town independent could offer.  American buyers decided that cheaper was better than keeping their neighbors in business.  We all had a role in putting the little guy out of business and we really don’t have a leg to stand on when we complain — we collectively did it to ourselves.

Understandably, I don’t talk a lot at the pool.  I listen a lot.  And I don’t like to argue, and so often when you raise an objection people don’t want to discuss the topic, they immediately switch into confrontation mode and commence to argue.  I don’t have any interest in arguing.  My parents didn’t argue.  My wife and I don’t argue.  I don’t argue with our family.  That’s not my thing, so I’m not going to argue with strangers.

Is it possible to reverse a social trend?  I wonder.

The government decided — way back there in the 20th Century — to prohibit alcohol.  Prohibition was a dreadful mis-step.  It didn’t last long.  People will have their vices.

Fashion used to be more rigid than it is now.  Hemlines went up and down.  Collars grew longer points or shorter points while neckties went skinny or fat.  There were the colors of the season, and the boots of the year. But in 2017 it pretty much seems that dress codes are out the window and hemlines do whatever they want at the moment and no one cares.

I keep wondering if people will ever tire of Facebook.  When it came out there were predictions of how soon people would tire of social media — those forecasters have surely crawled under a rock in embarrassment.

Time moves on, and it seems as if you can’t return to the good old days — which might not have been all that good in the first place.  What we remember of them might have been good, but perhaps we don’t remember all the details.

When I entered the job market it was possible to consider that you would start with one company and spend your entire career there.  In fact, I know one guy that did just that.  He retired from the first company he worked at post-graduation.

Those days are pretty much gone. The workers of today will face not just changing jobs, but changing careers multiple times in their working life.  Entire industries will be born, grow, decline, and die in less than a human lifespan.  How many Hula Hoops do you see around today?

This world is hard enough to survive in when we are doing everything right, when we catch all the lights, when we’re going with the flow.  But when we set up our own challenges it doesn’t pay to blame someone else for the hurdle in our path.

In this particular RV park there hasn’t been any overt conversation that I’ve been privy to about recreational marijuana — that might just be because we aren’t part of the social set — but I know a bunch of Facebook folks who are adamant about legalization.  I wonder to myself whether any of them have had to deal with random drug testing.  Or how they would feel about legalization if a random drug test left them without a job.  I suspect that the rise in drug use the CNN article talked about isn’t going to change anytime soon.  It’s been on the rise for a decade and with the downsizing of government I suspect that rise will only accelerate.  What happens when too many people in this country can’t stay employed.

If you’re still working, I hope you read the article.  I think it’s worth a few minutes of your time.  And maybe a conversation with workers in your family.

As for me… recreational drugs aren’t my thing whether or not I need a job.  No one has started testing for the meds I take by prescription, so I’m safe there.  And I have my bottle of beer or glass of wine daily and I stop right there because I have very little tolerance for alcohol.  I get high on ideas and life and nature.




4 thoughts on “Who’s ruining the job market?

  1. One of the reasons Amazon started the Camperforce program in Campbellsville, Kentucky is because they had so much trouble with the locals not being able to pass the drug test…and that’s rural Kentucky! Retirees don’t have those issues, for the most part. In my management days, we had a heckuva time hiring and keeping workers, for those same reasons. Our most stable workers were either older guys or Hispanic. We aren’t going to make America great again by electing someone…anyone…and having them do the work of saveing our way of life. We need to be the ones who do that….one individual at a time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • AGREED! 100%

      There are so many levels when we (as a culture) talk about things that ‘ought to be.’ but simultaneously ignore the real costs of getting them that way or the real deterrents to getting them that way.

      To be frank — only once in my life did I ever find myself subjected to a drug test. When and where I was working it wasn’t an issue — but there are so many places where it’s a huge issue today. I wish people would think about the consequences of their desires (private and to society).


      Liked by 2 people

  2. Linda Sand says:

    We’re among the lucky ones. Once discharged from the Army Dave took a job with a company he stayed with until retirement. He changed careers within that company, though. They recognized his value most of those years. Then management changed which made retiring easier. Win, win.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda, I loved your last line…. about making retiring easier. That was exactly the situation Peggy was in when the hospital corporation changed software and she was facing the prospect of having to train a dozen employees on a program she knew nothing about. So that made retiring easier. 🙂

      I’v always been a restless soul. Fortunately I married a lady who is not only good with that, but also encourages me. For me, the idea of working for one company for my entire career would seem like torture. For that matter I thought I might enjoy teaching and I quickly realized while still in college that being in one ROOM for almost all of my career would drive me batty. Which gave rise to a chain reaction of thoughts and the life I ultimately lived. I’m glad there are all sorts of people in this world … One meets so many different ones and wonders how they could live like they do, and they wonder the same thing about us. It’s phenomenal! I often think when I see different animal species — or birds — in close proximity to each other who they are happy to just let the others be, no fuss, no bother, just let them be. And then I hear stories about how humans behave and it’s painful to realize that we can’t seem to let each other be who we are.

      Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.