Today –two days before Thanksgiving and three days before the start of Hell Month- I finally uncovered a major contributing factor to my hatred of the holiday season.
We do more business during December than any month of any year that doesn’t have a Potter in it, and more business necessitates more employees. It’s a simple calculation; no algebra required (thank God, because temporary workers don’t seem to have a grasp of mathematics more complex than counting to ten [twenty if they’re not wearing shoes or twenty-one if they’re male and naked]). With unemployment as prevalent as it is, one would think the labor pool would be as deep and wide as the Atlantic Ocean, but one would be mistaken. The Workforce Sea has the circumference of a thimble and the depth of a shot glass.
And that’s being kind.
Maybe it’s the Welfare Culture. Maybe people are so accustomed to receiving a check that the idea of actually earning their check is an alien concept. Showing up ought to be enough to satisfy the employer/employee covenant, except when regular and prompt attendance interferes with the vital minutiae of everyday life.
Showing up when you’re scheduled is so much to ask.
Interviewing potential employees for suitability, reliability and responsibility is a noble effort, but ultimately futile, because A) The legal/politically correctness combo plate restricts any probative inquiry and B) Interviewees have a tendency to be deceptive during that initial screening. Former employers aren’t permitted to divulge any negative information about their former employees because –GOSH!- that might hurt their former employee’s feelings, let alone prevent them from finding a new company to exploit –I mean work for. And nobody’s going to cop to their personal shortcomings during an interview, just like nobody ever farts during a first date.
You save that shit for after the wedding.
Every once in a while, you find a golden nugget among the worthless rocks, but those discoveries are few and far between. For the most part, you resign yourself to choosing the lesser of many evils and pray your hires don’t rob you blind or decide not to return from their lunch break. Most of the time, you can thin the herd with a well-timed criticism, a request for actual labor or –and this is the only benefit of temporary personnel- the END OF THE SEASON. So sorry, it’s January now and you’ve been a marvelous addition to our merry band and of course we’ll keep you in mind if something opens up and certainly you can use me as a personal reference and now it’s time for you to go home before I reach down your throat and rip your lungs out through your nostrils. . .
Sorry, I was having a Fantasy Island moment.
My revelation concerning the impact of provisional employees on my emotional stability occurred today when one of my temps called to tell me “I quit” (I’m calling this employee Hurley because of his uncanny resemblance to the character on the TV series Lost, if one were to subtract 25 percent of actor Jorge Garcia’s body mass, 50 percent of his personality and 75 percent of his work ethic). Hurley mentioned his inability to stick with things for very long, his anger over being asked to work eight consecutive hours on Friday with only one half-hour lunch and one ten-minute break, his desire to spend quality time with an aunt whose birthday happened to coincide with Black Friday (the official name for the day after Thanksgiving in the retail world), and his general dissatisfaction with the overall direction of his existence. He might have also mentioned rising interest rates, political unrest and moral indifference, but I’m not certain because I stopped listening three seconds after hearing the words “I quit.”
I do remember Hurley going on and on about needing to “find himself” and I was tempted to mention that the journey to self-discovery is much easier when you’ve got enough money to pay for room and board, but I didn’t.
After all, it’s considered inappropriate to comment on the inequity of an employee’s behavior, even when the employee is cornholing you with a steel rod as big as a Saturn 5 rocket.
But Then Again, You’ll Have This. . .