Saturday, March 1, 2008


Link above is to The Smallest Minority.

I work with people on the low end of the employment ladder. Either young people just out of school who are just getting started, or older people who are winding down, and those who just can't do better for themselves. There are also some of us in the middle who for whatever reasons have to take a job below what our education and work history would suggest.

I started last December with a group of 26. We went through orientation together and started working 3 days later. Now, remember, about a third of applicants are sent packing before they even start, not being able to pass the drug test.

It wasn't long before people started dropping out. The work is tough, physically demanding. The pattern is similar, first someone misses a day, then comes back. Then they miss another day, or two, and come back. Then they miss again and come back long enough to be told not to bother coming in again.

Why? Excuses range from being in jail to having to go to Chicago to see their kids to being sick. All legitimate excuses. If it happens once.

But the people who come to work and do their jobs do it in spite of problems. The people who take time off always seem to have one more reason to take time off.

The difference is in attitude. I can see it day by day on the job. It isn't hard to figure out, working alongside someone, if he is going to stick it out or just quit.

This job is no piece of cake. The pay is not high and the work is hard. But the benefits are what you expect of any large, successful American company. Not too bad, with insurance, dental, vision etc. A man can make a decent living here for his family, if not a really high-class one. And chances to move on to less demanding work, and higher-paid positions are plentiful, if you can just get through the first six-month trial period.

The difference is mental. I see guys in their 50s working along side young bucks just out of high school. I see skinny young women doing the work. Some people just don't want to work hard, even knowing that six months they can get out and move up to better pay and easier (physically) work.

The cold reality is that there are people who would work even if they were not paid, and their are those who won't work even if paid.

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