The great category error about the job market

One might assume that the job market exists to match employees who need work with employers who need help. LOL. Cool story, bro. I’ve been scouring job boards close to daily, sometimes very aggressively, and I doubt that half of the help wanted ads and application procedures I’m finding are designed to this end. The rest appear to have the filling of vacancies with competent employees as a secondary purpose, their primary purpose being to keep grandiose, passive-aggressive bullshit artists in HR busy humiliating, third-degree interrogating, and generally mistreating the applicant pool for shits and giggles.

I can’t confirm this for a fact across the board, but I’m pretty sure that jobs that truly need to be filled urgently are filled posthaste with the first more or less competent-looking applicants to show up. I’ve personally been hired in this fashion by at least four farm employers. As far as I can tell, this is also generally how Mexicans are hired to do grunt farm work, landscaping, construction, meatpacking, short-order cooking, and so forth. More than a few of them aren’t just functionally illiterate but completely, absolutely illiterate, unable to sign their own names in any language. This doesn’t stop them from getting menial jobs (with I9 documents their employers presume bogus, but it’s all cool) that gringos and acculturated Chicanos can’t get without at least a high school diploma or a GED.

The recruiting process for technically tricky, specialized, high-stakes jobs is less straightforward, but even so, horrifically much of it is sheer waste. This is possible because there is a huge glut of qualified, or at least easily trained, applicants for most STEM positions. If there were a genuine shortage, as opposed to a false shortage contrived by management in order to goad more dupes into STEM training and further depress industry wages, no one with hiring authority would be comfortable rejecting so much talent and letting it go to waste. To the extent that there isn’t enough talent to keep public infrastructure in good working order (a real problem in some sectors and in some areas, a wildly exaggerated moral panic in others), it’s because elected officials choose not to allocate the funds and authorize the personnel strength needed to properly complete construction and maintenance projects.

American elected officials, especially on the starve-the-beast Republican hard right, are champs at misallocating public funds in this fashion. Tax-and-spend Democrats are more inclined to fund some actual public services along with their pet waste projects; Go-Galt lock-em-ups on the Republican side insist on blowing the same money on prisons and corporate tax giveaways. This is the difference between a PennDOT foreman spending half his shift jacking off behind the crew truck and Charles Graner spending his entire shift doing bukkake money shots on shackled prisoners. The American public sector might not hire Graner-grade sadists into living-wage positions of legal authority over the vulnerable and the despised if the hard right elected elements didn’t insist that this is a legitimate exercise of government hiring power and that hiring adrift kids from the ghettos to man trail maintenance crews in public lands is not. The thing is, even the Go Galts are thrilled to put their noisy constituents on the public payroll; it’s just that they insist on doing this as destructively as possible to other, even more vulnerable constituencies, to the extent that they aren’t conspiring to blow up their own white privilege constituencies in godforsaken warlord deserts and implying that this bloodshed is a jobs  program.

We can’t have nice things because we are not a nice people. Or at least because we are not a nice electorate, in which case I don’t mean so much “we” as the fucking Boomers again. The youngsters don’t vote much because, because–Bueller? Jeb Bush is explicitly appealing to the fuck-you-son constituency in primary debates, which wouldn’t be a winning strategy if Gen X and my peeps, the Millennial brats, turned out proportionally to our share of the adult citizenry. The silver lining is that Jeb doesn’t have a winning strategy period, and not a moment too soon. What a goddamn schmuck. And that earnest fool Rubio: I’m afraid we deserve him, too, the useful idiot in all his half-articulate glory. The sorry bastard won’t do his own thinking, but then again, neither will the Republican primary base. Hillary’s crowd is even more disembrained, unless it’s simply evil in a faux-left-of-center way. Qualis regina, talis grex, and regina in this case is nothing but pure will to power. At least Bernie is eating that bitch’s lunch. Theoretically he should be far too eccentric for his country, but his opponents are such a gross national embarrassment that even the dimmer elements of the electorate are catching on to it.

That was a tangent, but not by much. If I recall correctly, the last time the Democratic Party’s platform included a call for full employment was 1988. Did the Big Dog look like he gave a shit? Full employment for his countrywomen meant fewer American broads in the Oval Office mistress pool for him, after all. Plus he had that cool pump-and-dump scam going with the stock market, which he scheduled quite competently to take its dump on the labor market after he had retired to New York to more fully pursue his vocation to thievery.

It must be a lot more appealing to say to hell with full employment when one has lifetime Secret Service protection and has never lived in a marginal part of Rancho Cordova. Unemployed men in particular do bad shit out of pure desperation and pure rage, but the Big Dog drew the long end of that stick and has held onto it for dear life ever since. Unemployment office clerks and HR managers might want to be more deferential to the peons in the interest of their own personal safety, though. Quite a few of them are doing things that will get someone in management fragged in due course of time. CalJobs currently has more resume writing and networking advice workshops scheduled than direct-hire events for the unemployed. It doesn’t bode well.

This is why we maintain all these easily defrauded public assistance programs, like disability insurance for acting too fat and petulant to hold down a job. Remember, Section Eight is cheaper than the Seventh Army. Never forget it. And honestly, mooching off Mama Sugar for decades on end is more honorable than going into HR and cruelly denying willing applicants gainful employment.

Cut the jibba-jabba! We need work! Shit, aren’t we, as Americans, supposed to have a work ethic and be proud of it? How the hell is it a party foul for the gimmedats to demand menial jobs on the public payroll doing something modestly productive instead of demanding a middle- or upper-class birthright to plunder the public treasuries in exchange for nothing useful?

Marco, Jeb, Hillary, Ben: stuff it. Mr. T concurs that your lips are movin’.


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