Friday, February 6, 2009

Employment and the Social Contract

When I wrote “Going Dutch, Trials of a Wage Slave” my intentions were twofold; give some guidance via my experiences and make some funny comments about my former employers.

Almost everyone who has been laid-off/down-sized/out-sourced/right-sized or any of those other palliative terms for getting fired has probably had some negative thoughts about their former employer. They might have even got mad about it.

You know what they say about the road to Hell, right? Paved with good intentions. So far, I’ve been successful with only one of the two mentioned intentions. Most of the people who have read the book didn’t need to, they already had enough experience in the world of work to know what to look for and how to avoid getting to into bad situations. For them, it was light entertainment.

On the other hand, I’ve not quite succeeded with being funny about my former bosses. You can only be so humorous about losing a job, even if the boss is completely clueless. Some of my friends and former work colleagues questioned my spending time on the book.

They think that I should just forget about how much headache, time and money my former employers have cost me. Many have counseled me to ‘move on’ with my life. Easy thing to say, when it’s not your life. You lie down and let them run over you, they’ll get used to doing it and try to do it to everyone.

Those who seek justice in this world never have an easy time of it. That’s what I’m seeking, as ordered by a court, in compliance with the contract that was signed by me and my former company, called “Ordeals” in my book.
The truth is about to come out.

In future posts, I’m going name the company, how they have treated not only me, but other employees and how they work with their clients. I’ve had seven years to gather information about this company and the way they do business.

You will be reading my opinion. Which is based on my knowledge of the company. All based on facts, which I can prove. As I have done in court on three different occasions.

When a company gives you a contract, breaks it, loses in court, then refuses to honor the court judgment, do you know what you are dealing with?

Why would you want to work for them, much less do business with them?

Our country is based on a social contract. You get my labor in exchange for the security and income from the profits of our work. When a company decides to override or ignore this, then you have a lack of respect, not only for the individual, but for the law.

If you don’t respect me, why should I respect you? You break the law, I should let you?

That, in the long run, leads to the breakdown and collapse of society.

Which is where we are now.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Listen to Your Body

It’s not obvious. You can hear what the interviewer is saying, but when they ask you the questions or answer your queries, something doesn’t feel right.

A job interview is much more than just a question and answer session about wages, benefits and qualifications. It’s a chance for you to get a feeling about how the company you are about to join affects you. In more ways than one.

It’s normal to be nervous, especially if you haven’t done an interview in a long time or if it’s your first one. Anxiety is part of the game. Your body though may pick up on things that your eyes and ears might miss. Those subliminal messages could be the most important of all.

I’ve been through my share of interviews. Quite a few more than the average person. One of the best jobs I ever had, the interview went well, even though I wasn’t completely ‘smooth’ in my responses, at least from my point of view. No one is perfect and you won’t be either. If you do come across as if you’re replies are a pre-recorded tape, someone might wonder if you’re faking it.

My ‘dream job’ interview is another example, at the other end of the spectrum. I’ve always wanted to write for a living. An opportunity to interview for a technical writer position came up. At the time, my body was screaming at me, but I was too enthralled with the idea of getting the job to notice.

Rather than the typical nervousness, I was literally sweating bullets. So much so, that the personnel manager asked me if I was OK while we were walking around the cubicles where my future co-workers were laboring away. I assured him that I was fine, just a bit nervous. Talk about ‘fight or flight’ response, I should have been running out the door.

Although I loved doing the work, the company and the job turned out to be one of the biggest headaches of my life. I learned a great deal, but the downside was just as steep. When they terminated me, I was a physical wreck over worrying about the job. They could have cared less.They had another body filling my position in no time. Who was ready to quit in two months.

Which is why you have to look for the signs. If few people, if anyone at all is smiling and in a good mood, you should wonder about the atmosphere.

It might be toxic. Take a deep breath and get out of there.

It’s not the only job in the world.

It is though, the only life you have right now.