Something really odd happened at work yesterday. It borders on insane and I'll tell you this- it makes no sense to me. The company that I work for, deep in the heart of America's first right to work state, gave us a 20% raise. From 10 dollars an hour to 12.
They did not have to do this.
am still in a state of shock. I didn't have to beg anyone, get some
glowing review or show up daily and kiss anyone's ass. This is a company
that will work you 14, 16, 19 hours a day without paying overtime and
does so frequently.
Perhaps they have acquired some
level of corporate shame. I'm not sure. I didn't give our team a 5%
chance against the corporate oligarchy.
One of the
reasons government "work" has become so popular is that it shelters you
from the reality of life in private, corporate America. In Idaho, the
corporate oligarchy is at it's strongest. Not only are we in a right to
work state, but employers in Idaho can fire you without cause,
explanations, or due process. There is no recourse either. Your former
employer will fight tooth and nail at the unemployment hearing also.
how I miss government "work." I can't go back because the great Satan,
the public retirement system here, will stop your checks. PERSI has a
strangle hold on guys like me. You have to leave the state to find
government "work" elsewhere. That option, for family reasons, just isn't
open to me right now.
(I put government "work" in
quotation marks for my father who still maintains that government and work are mutually exclusive terms)
And the good jobs
in Boise, those are the ones that pay 20 bucks an hr. and up, those jobs
are reserved for the insiders. I don't care how well your
qualifications stack up, or that your resume' was written by Tony
Robbins, or that your cover letter was crafted by Ernest Hemingway.
Everyone has some friend or shoestring relative that needs a leg up and
if you know the right people here- that's how you get hired. Ohhh...
they advertise the job and pretend that the hiring process is
competitive- but it isn't. Posting a well paying job in Boise is simply a
legal formality. The hiring or the completion of the short list- that
has already been done well in advance of the job posting.
how the new plantation operates. It is always "who you know" that gets
you hired for the good jobs. On the lower rungs or the jobs that nobody
really wants, you become a part of the employer grist mill. Work your
ass off for chump change and no benefits, allow management to violate
half of the employee manual without ever complaining, and keep your
mouth shut or suffer the consequences. It's like a sheep factory here.
I guarantee you that some smug person out there will think they are
immune to this or "There's no way this could happen to me, I am too
(insert smug adjective here: smart, valuable, ambitious) to have that
happen to me."
Until reality gives you a swift kick in
the ass. If you haven't received this whopping dose of reality yet-
chances are very good that you are simply lucky or too young. Both of those things will change.
I don't need to work and that is something I am truly grateful for.
That is freedom. That's what 25 years worth of government work gets you-
at least for now. Don't think for a second that I am unaware of the
millions of taxpayers who are pissed off at the government sector. When I
signed on back in 1982- it wasn't that way. In fact, I worked most of
my first year for free. Did you?
So walking away from
some nine or ten dollar an hr. job is an option for me and I like to
keep my options open. I am in awe of what I have encountered since I
"retired." We have a corporate mentality in Idaho where the employer is
always right, due process is some ridiculous concept, and management
will can you on a whim.
What corporation would not want
to come here and operate under those conditions? Even if you have an
escalating pay structure to lure employees, you can simply wait until
they all reach the top rung and replace them with cheaper workers. What
robber baron could not exploit that situation? Idaho is a dream come
true for the corporate oligarchy. I am surprised Boise is not the size
of Seattle yet.
I had planned on quitting my job in
the next month or so. Pushing 500 pound gun safes up narrow stairways
for 10 bucks an hr. isn't exactly a dream come true nor is it a job that
50ish type people should probably be doing. Ibuprofen and I have formed
a strong partnership. People aren't exactly beating down the door
trying to get hired here.
But I'll tell you something.
That two bucks an hr. raise just might have bought some goodwill and
loyalty from me- if for no other reason- because they didn't have to do
it. That's the kind of goodwill that makes me think- maybe I should
explore other options with this outfit. Maybe they have developed a
conscience, maybe some corporate shame. On the new plantation, things
like that don't happen every day.