Sunday, July 5, 2009

You want fries with that?


(by R.P.Edwards)

“Trust,” said the wise old man,
“is like a bridge’s span.
At first a simple walkway,
Enough for just one man.
But then, with time, and steady steel
The weighty things may come.
Until, at last, the world itself
May pass…when ’trust’ is done.”

“I’m sorry, Mr. Edwards, you didn’t pass.” “Wha…what do you mean, I didn’t pass? You mean the drug…” “No, no, nothing like that. Your breath, blood, urine, hair and toenail samples…all fine.” “Then what? What else is there?” “Well, to be honest, it’s not so much what you have or haven’t done --in fact, your FBI background check, credit report, DNA profile, Interpol file--well, these all checked out. It’s just that your neuroscan…” “My neuro what?” “Your Neuroscan--that wired helmet thing we had you wear while watching Fox News--well, it showed some disturbing tendencies. I’m afraid we can’t take a chance.” “Wait a minute! Are you telling me you can’t hire me because of my …thoughts!?” “Well, no. Actually it’s your potential thoughts. Your current thinking is mundane enough--no offense--but when you watched that segment on the economy, well, let’s just say…it sent up a red flag. Sorry, Mr. Edwards. Better luck next time.” “That’s it? After all I’ve been through? All the preparation, training, expense, sacrifice…and that’s it?!” “I’m afraid so. Now, please exit to your left. There are a lot more applicants to disappoint.” “But…I…I!” “I’m sorry, Mr. Edwards, you’ll have to go. (phone rings) Excuse me a moment. ‘Yes, Cindy, I am having a little trouble here. Please send in security. Yes, I’m grabbing the tazer, right now.’”

Had my pre-go back to work physical the other day. It kind of reminded me of fast food: A drug test, with a side of exam. It was also a bit like elementary school science… “Now, class, we’re going to discuss the three states of matter…gas, liquid, and solid.” Well, that’s what was required of me, and all the rest of the returnees. The company wanted to make sure I wasn’t on drugs…now…recently…or months ago. And, oh yeah, we’ll check a few vitals since you’re in the neighborhood.

Now, you need to understand, I don’t begrudge a huge corporation--an industry that involves not only millions of dollars in assets, but also equipment that can be deadly--I don’t begrudge them from using the layoff to finally screen the old timers. I just mourn the death…of trust. Perhaps there was a time when working with someone, watching someone, “knowing” someone…for years! counted for something. Alas, those times are gone (at least in my industry). Now we lean on chemical indicators and soulless stats. We put our trust in things…not people. So be it.

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