I've written about my employment history on several occasions. It comes in handy because it seems that my personal employment history follows the decline in the esteem which American business, and, frankly, in which Americans hold towards workers. When I began my true career in 1972, businesses and Americans in general were appreciative of the initiative shown by most American workers. At the end of my career, it seemed that businesses lost that appreciation. Just look at the change in the names of the departments which handled labor problems for most businesses. When I started, they were called "personnel" departments. At the end of my career, humans merely became just another "resource", like fuel, metal, bolts, nuts and water. When businesses began to decide upon which resources to cut back, humans were right on top of that list.
I've sort of beaten that truth to death. I hope that at least some people who were sympathetic to the "poor" CEOs and their legal responsibilities were enlightened, at least just a little bit, by some of my articles.
Although I'm, once again, going to give examples from my own employment background in this article, the main object of the article is not about the relationship between employers and the employees who already work for them. I'm going to back up a bit and talk about how I, and I know many, many others, got their jobs in the first place. I'm going to try to contrast that with how people who work in one particular field go about obtaining their employment.
In my case, I wasn't a college graduate. I didn't have head hunters looking at me and my accomplishments either in college or in previous jobs. I had finished three semesters in college and came to the conclusion that, although I didn't flunk out of school, at the rate at which I was going, sex and drugs and rock n' roll became barriers that I placed between college classrooms and me. I may even have somehow made it to graduation, but it would have been very difficult as I didn't care nearly as much about graduation as I did about those other three "courses". So, I quit.
At that particular time, the manufacturing sector in The FUSA was still rather strong and one didn't need a college degree to become an operator or technician in a production plant. In fact, there were some with whom I worked who didn't even have a high school diploma.
I didn't consider myself un-trainable and some of the people without high school diplomas were outright sharp as knives in the areas necessary to be successful production workers.
The first step was to go to a manufacturing facility and fill out a fairly simple application. At Dow Chemical, a mechanical ability test was given and I - I have no idea how - passed it. I was hired.
Let's back up just a bit. I quit school and now needed money to support myself. I got married just as I was applying at Dow and had, at least, one more person to support. I needed the job because I needed the paycheck and whatever "benefits" Dow offered. At that time, they offered quite a few and those "benefits" were solid. I needed Dow, or some other company, to hire me because I needed to begin to make money.
I do know some people who graduated from college with engineering degrees. In those cases, Dow, or other companies, did look at their accomplishments. Whereas I showed up to fill out the application, to take the test and even for the interview in fairly decent looking jeans and a neat T-shirt, Dow invited the college grads out to dinner. I'm sure that there was an application that these engineer wannabes handed to Dow, but it had a different name. It was called a resume (pronounced ra zu ma - the accents don't seem to work here). When Dow met with the grads, the grads probably wore suits and ties if they were men or wore clothes that they thought would impress the Dow representatives if they were women. Actually, in both cases, they tried to look as professional as possible.
Nonetheless, these college grads wanted one of the companies with whom they met to hire them. Why? For the same reason I wanted to be hired. They also needed money to support themselves and any other dependents they had. I'm sure that companies like Dow sweetened deals with these grads if they thought that a particular potential employee would add value to the company. However, in the end, the grads needed Dow much more than Dow needed the grads. In this way, they weren't much different than those of us without a college degree. We needed money and Dow had it.
Whether it's with a manufacturing company, a bank or investment company, a construction company or any other type of employer, those who talked to these companies about the possibility of being hired needed to be hired.
One of the requirements was that there had to be a place for any of us who applied for jobs. There had to be an opening. Even back then, companies didn't just hire people out of some philanthropic urge. The company needed to fill a slot.
Now the contrast. There was going to be an opening that needed to be filled in 2009. Every American should have at least known that. The twenty-second amendment to The Constitution of The United States limited the number of full terms to two that a president could serve. George W. Bush was finishing up his second term in 2008 and, in January of 2009, there was going to be an opening. Nominally, anyone could apply for the job. Of course, if one had name recognition and at least some political or high level leadership experience, it helped. That's what the word "nominally" means in this case. It takes a certain number of signatures on a petition to even qualify to be on the ballot in all of the states. The number is so great that most of us could never be on any ballots. So, we're already narrowing the possibilities of applicants based upon name recognition and on experience.
It's possible that, in some cases, those of us who applied for jobs knew someone who already worked at the places at which we applied and, to that extent, we may have had some name recognition. When we filled out our applications or handed in our resumes, whatever appropriate experience we had became known to those who were hiring.
Here's where it changes a bit. I don't know of anyone, with or without a college degree, who got their job by paying those that were doing the hiring. I'm not saying it never happens. Corruption is one of the biggest reasons why pure communism or pure libertarianism could never work. If people are left to their own devices, many will do whatever it takes to beat out a person who is competing for the same position. Too many people are too corrupt to trust self regulation. But I digress.
The change, as it manifested itself in 2008, and had already manifested itself before that, is that the person who we hired as president in November of 2008 ultimately paid - someone - $700 million to get the job. Barack Obama paid $700 million so that we would hire him to do a job that pays $400,000 a year. Again, no one I know ever paid anyone to get a job. They needed the job so that they could get paid and support themselves. I certainly don't know anyone who paid 95% more than what the job pays. If I did my math right, that's what Obama paid to get the job.