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Some observations on the American character … or the lack thereof … and where it is taking us.

A  (sort-of) well-meaning Del Taco®

Start: Let me share with you an observation of an all-too-American trait.

News outlets delight in serving up horror stories about the disgusting things that fast food restaurant employees can do to a customer’s order and about inappropriate acts done by them (oh, say, like this one) but let me turn the tables for a moment. What about the things the customers do to them?

(If you had the inkling that I was some kind of health food nut, I will lay waste to that illusion this very moment.)

A few weeks ago I walked into a Del Taco® unit with the intent of grabbing a quick lunch, and at the counter was a lanky, mid-thirtyish white guy with wild, dirty blonde hair wearing jeans and a blue plaid shirt, a guy I took to be some kind of mechanic, asking the cashier questions about the menu and trying to decide what to order. What caught my attention first was that this … what should I say … idiot was bleeding from his hands onto the counter, and that he was handing the cashier freshly bloodstained bills as he went back and forth about what he was ordering. The cashier had handed him some napkins, which this guy was using in a completely ineffectual way to clean up the unconscionable mess he was creating.

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Start: I have been prowling Craigslist for a few weeks now, and for whatever reason a dispatcher job ad caught my attention.

When I opened it, this simply jumped out at me:

Start:

“Compensative”?

(I roll my eyes …)

You can see in the top right of the image a little box, where one can “flag” a post as miscategorized, spam, etc. I really wish there had been a category for this one, such as “Inept.” I would have cleared my browser cookies and flagged it over and over again 40 times or so.

Beyond the dismissive attitude this demonstrates on the part of the job poster (let alone his/her tortured use of English), this seems indicative of something I find more troubling.

Euphemisms and Euphemizers

What I’ve been seeing are quite a few ads for jobs or “gigs” where the compensation isn’t even remotely “compensative.” Even, in some cases, jobs that actually aren’t being compensated at all, working under the euphemism of “internship,” and calling the compensation a “stipend.”

Horse hockey.

Ladies and gentlemen, let’s be honest. Posters calling their jobs “internships” are simply expecting something for nothing. It’s not the fine, upstanding work-ethic-infused individual who will respond to this ad. It’s a damned fool.

And I’ve seen responses posted to ads crying foul, both where this is apparent in the content (or lack of content) of the ad, or where the responder has obviously interacted with the job poster, and discovered the truth behind the euphemisms. And usually I sympathize.

It seems to me that this is simply an expression of what our society has become … maybe always has been. We all want something for nothing. I can imagine this is what people who do direct sales run into all the time, assuming they get a foot in the door.

With the prevalence of the internet, we have it in our faces more obviously … and more easily.

Blame, Like Fertilizer, is Best Spread Around

You could argue that the people seeking work are equally as selfish, and I think in a lot of cases this is probably a true statement. One of my Facebook contacts made the quip that arrogance really doesn’t become a job applicant, and went on to describe another applicant, this one apparently from the third or fourth level of Perdition, who not only brought her children along but allowed them to terrorize the business while she was filling out her application.

The times are aggravating this, obviously. Companies are feeling the pinch, too, though it’s hard to tell which ones have the integrity to want to pay people what they’re worth, rather than exploit the desperate so they can later jump off with their gold or silver parachutes. Or are doing their level best to try to.

The Craigslist School of Enlightenment

I had a lightbulb moment with this one … maybe not a megawatt searchlight beacon, but definitely better than a Wal-Mart glass tube Blessed Virgin Mary candle at 100 paces.

It seems to me that the intelligent employer and the intelligent employee (or prospective employee) understand that the business relationship could actually benefit both of them.

Oh. My. God.

To all you folks on Craigslist who post responses to job or gig ads and call them like you see them, “ah feel yore pain.”

I really do.

 

Copyright © 2009, by Daniel Brenton. All Rights Reserved.

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