Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Trick or treating in the workplace

Halloween is not a nationally recognized holiday, just a day where children get to dress-up and parade around the neighborhood collecting candy, sometimes after they already had a Halloween party at school. The emphasis should be on children; teenagers in high school have outgrown “trick-or-treating” and content themselves to eating the leftover candy the day after. But not supposed adult office people, not even those working on the public dime. They party like it is 1999, or 1989 or whenever it was when they were children.

Admittedly not all children grow-up, particularly those who are superstars in their own minds, believing the universe revolves around them—when they would be nothing without the contributions of people they give scant notice to, let alone respect. After all, what is the point of living, according to these people, if they are not “better” than someone else? Not that most people placed on the lower rungs of society have the time to notice this; after all, they must work long, hard hours and can only think of recovery when it is over. Others, it seems—particularly those on salary—have all the time in the world to prepare for playtime, even during “work” hours. People who work in warehouses or maintenance positions know the score:  while the adults have to keep the machinery rolling or clean-up the mess, the overgrown children must be allowed the pretense of being “superior” to such lowly pursuits by having all the perks.

Of course I’m being “unfair”; surely someone must have “superior” skills to work in an office, right? In the U.S., having technical skills is no longer a priority in the current workplace; although women are an increasing majority in college admissions and degrees (thanks to the abuse of Title IX, a de facto affirmative action program for which white women principally benefit), they only account for 6.7 percent of STEM degrees. While the supposed shortfall overall is increasingly being met by importing from Asia and India (overlooking their expired visas if necessary), many employers are now telling us that technical skills are no longer a “necessity” for employment in office environments, but “soft” skills are. What the hell are those? Speaking “right,” fitting in and not offending sensitive co-workers, and speaking “right.” All you have to do is to make simple observations of current office environments to discover who applies, and you might assume that not looking “right” is enough to disqualify a person on all of those terms. If they are changing from being all-white, it is not in the way the white nativists believe; having "soft skills" is the new mechanism of discriminating against the traditional targets.

But back to the children. People who work outside offices (or inside after dark) can only be but bemused by the necessity to pamper the children; over at Amazon, while there continues to be massive labor turnover at the gigantic fulfillment centers, office drones are allowed to do-up their workstations like dog kennels, so that their pets can keep them company when there is nothing to do outside the numerous breaks or opportunities to keep “fit for work” by slipping on skin-tights and going out for a jog.

Yes, I am being overly cynical, but it is not a lie to say that only children should be pampered to keep them “happy” and “productive.” Working people, on the other hand, are not only not “pampered,” but they are treated like they are replaceable if they notice the hypocrisy or question the status quo. Is this the way society should be run? I mean, if you are not a Republican or someone only so “progressive” as it only benefits yourself?

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