Occupy vs. An Occupation


The other day I posted a fairly brief statement about why I am fed up with the Occupy movement.  A few old high school friends and I got into a debate then about whether the movement had legitimacy, and one of them asked me why it made me so frustrated.  So here goes.

I work at a business where I am the guy.  I hire, fire, take care of all the hr, including scheduling, forms, etc.  I’ve been doing this for six years, and I’ve learned a few things about the type of people in America.  First of all, there are a ton of pussies in our country.

The jobs I hire people for are some of the easiest jobs they will ever have in the world.  I mean basic things.  Mop floors.  Monitor guests.  Pick up.  Push a mower.  Easy and the pay is pretty good.  Plus, I’m super flexible with their schedules.  Yet, probably only one out of ten people I hire actually is worth the money I pay them.  More often than not, employees miss shifts, complain nonstop about having to do anything, steal, and are generally lazy and untrustworthy.  This is after a pretty thorough screening process.  I haven’t decided if I have higher standards, or if everyone else just tolerates it, but it is infuriating sometimes to have a kid or an adult employee come to work day in and day out and just suck.  No pride, no work ethic, and wants a check for doing nothing, and wants a ton of free stuff.  That’s part one.

Second, no one wants to take responsibility for their actions.  A large percentage of people I meet in my daily travels have a strong desire to blame others for their shortcomings.  I’ve fired three people who I know beyond a shadow of a doubt have damaged equipment, and yet they lied, thinking it would just go away.  One of them actually threw away a job for an eleven dollar part.  I wouldn’t even have been upset in the least if he would have just admitted it.  Things break.  It’s a business and equipment gets used hard.  Don’t be shady. Own up, get it fixed, move on.

Third, more people than not have a “fuck ‘em” attitude about stuff.  There is very little loyalty to not just their employer, but also to businesses in general.  In fact, mostly their only loyalty is to themselves and to name brand items.

Fourth, everyone wants to tell you how hard of a worker they are, but when the dick is in the dirt, no one wants to lift a hand.  I put it best, I think, when I said everyone wants clean toilets but no one wants to get shit on their hands.  It’s an epidemic.  An example is the guy I hired who constantly told me how hard of a worker he was and how hard of a worker he would be.  Yet when I gave him simple jobs to complete like pulling weeds and weed eating he would constantly be off task, either horsing around or trying to insert himself into some other person’s jobs.  Also, this person would habitually try to reinvent the wheel.  If he would have just gotten down to business he would have saved me countless man hours by completing a job correctly and on time.  Instead, I refused a raise to him because he continually milked the clock, whether intentionally or unintentionally, and because of my unwillingness to increase his pay, quit without a two-week notice.  (See number three above.)

UPDATE:  I want to clarify that this issue with not staying on task and not completing assigned work isn’t a single issue with this one example.  This is an across the board problem and this is but one example of which I could cite literally hundreds.

This is the type of people I deal with daily.

Next, to explain how this ties together, I want to mention an article one of the people I was debating with sent me.  You can view the whole article here.  In the article, it shows several graphs and lists four reasons why protesters are upset.  I want to say first that I agree with the facts in each graph.  The first graph details the last 60 years of unemployment.  Currently, we are in a time of great difficulty, judging from this graph.  This unemployment thing is very misleading though, and here is why.

First, I looked in this last week’s local paper, which for me is the Des Moines Register.  There were 116 job listings, and many of these, especially in the auto/driving and sales sections were for multiple positions.  So we can conservatively say that there are 200 job openings in the Des Moines market, and that’s just jobs that are spending money advertising in the paper.  A quick search on Careerbuilder.com and on Indeed.com shows 1883 and 7711 jobs listed, respectively.  So if you take out some of the MLM and scammy stuff, you are looking at potentially 4-5000 jobs.  Not all of them are glamorous, but they are jobs that are available.  I know that doesn’t fill every lay off and dissolved job, but we never hear about the jobs no one wants.  We only hear about the jobs people have lost.  Draw your own conclusions.  If times where really tough, people would get CDLs and drive trucks.  Bad driving record?  Make better choices.  Drug charges?  Make better choices.  Lost your other job due to conduct or poor performance?  Show up and make better choices.  I have no sympathy for people who have been trimmed because of performance and/or lack of talent or skill.  Survival of the fittest.

The next graph deals with corporate profits.  I agree that profits are at an all-time high, but that is American’s choice, not the corporation’s fault.  (Side note:  Corporate leaders with obscene bonuses that they vote to themselves are a bit out of line in some instances, in my opinion.).  Here’s why.  If the corporation is selling things to Americans and Americans are still buying these products and services, despite a shitty economy and tough times, then how is that the corporation’s fault?  And doesn’t that signify that maybe things aren’t that bad?  If Americans have a problem with corporations getting the money, then they should spend the money locally with small businesses. This does two things.  First it keeps the money at home, and second, it encourages more people to start a business.  A second reason companies are making a ton of money is because when the market tanked a few years back they trimmed the fat.  They got rid of people who were dead weight and took away ridiculous perks that more prosperous times had allowed.  Basically, from a business standpoint, they made smart decisions.  Again, a good move.  Any good company should strive to increase profits and eliminate waste.  This was evident where my girlfriend works.  She works in downtown Des Moines at a financial company.  They laid several people off, some of whom were her friends.  But, I had listened to her tell stories about a lot of these people basically screwing off for three years.  Long smoke breaks, unreasonable amounts of time off, discipline issues, production issues, all of these things this company carried, and when they had a chance to get rid of these people, they pulled the trigger.  This in turn led to more of the unemployment everyone is worried about, but, I would challenge these recently unemployed people to A) do better work and B) make better choices.  Fortunately, most of the people let go either got picked up by other companies or found a new line of work.  Realistically these people were lucky the corporations carried their dead weight for as long as they did.  Especially considering every one of them got paid out for vacation time and had reasonable severance pay.  In summation, don’t fall into one of the four categories I listed at the beginning.  And if you do, don’t expect a hand out.

The third graph deals with corporate payout to their employees, and this one I agree with is a problem.  But I firmly believe that if the employees were really pissed off about what they were getting paid, they could organize a walk out and take back the power.  No one is putting a gun to their head to work at these companies.  If they allow themselves to be fucked, they deserve what they get, me included. You have to look out for yourself, and the collective yourself needs to say no, we aren’t going to stand for this, which in this instance, I think the protesters might have some footing, however, if that is the case, I don’t know why they are railing against Wall Street.  Why not protest at the actual headquarters of the very companies they feel are screwing them?

Now I’m going to try to tie this all up.  One thing I haven’t addressed but is a huge problem is fraud with Medicare and also Unemployment Insurance.  I started keeping track two months ago, and I have on average three people per week who come in unsolicited asking for a job, and after I give them an app, they ask if there is a way they could get hired for cash so they could keep drawing unemployment.  That’s a bold question to ask a stranger.  This is around twelve people per month at one business who want to screw the system.  Next, people have lost a lot of money on Wall Street because of corporate greed and corporate illegalities that cost people millions.  No denying that.  However, these people all had the option not to invest their money in Wall Street and not to rely on a pension as their only means to retirement.  As much as they want to blame someone for screwing them, and they may be right in that they got screwed, they still are adults making adult decisions.  Granted, there has to be some sort of good faith system in place, but as with anything in life, there is risk involved, and I know there are options for self-direction and rollovers that people could have taken advantage of to protect themselves and their money from greed and corruption.  I mean, it’s old and cliché, but don’t put all your eggs in one basket.  And don’t count your chickens until they hatch.  You had some say in what you did with money, and you blew it.  That’s not American taxpayer’s responsibility.

UPDATE:  I would like to add here that I feel the biggest mistake of the last ten years is bailing out these giant corporations.  If they would have failed, times would have been very tough at first, but it would have created a surge of small businesses.  And if they would have failed, it would have been their fault, and there would have been some comeuppance for all the crookedness of the previous decade.  This is why I think it is so important to vote for different people each election, and why I feel there should be term limits on Congress and on the Senate.  Serving as a politician should not be a career. It should be a duty and then you move on.  I wanted to note this because there are some seriously messed up issues we as a country need to deal with.  I’m not denying this.

So if we have a large percentage of employable people in America with no loyalties, no work ethic, and no honesty ripping off government programs, passing on jobs that would pay bills, and doing nothing but complain about it, how can I feel sorry for them or sympathize for their cause?  I know that’s a sweeping generalization of this movement in general.  And my anger may be more directed to the people I interact with on a daily basis who sympathize with this cause, who I view as the reason we are in this mess to begin with.  But what the hell do they hope to gain by protesting?  Yes, if some sort of additional, viable option for voters comes out of these movements I may reflect differently on this time period.  But we are in this mess because of our collective choices, and bitching about the companies we continue to spend money with and bitching about the government we elected while not solving the problems of a work force that doesn’t really produce anything (compared to post-war economies in the “good times” shown by the graphs in these articles) how can we expect that occupying Wall Street and protesting our state offices will change anything?  How do we cure the general apathy that America’s workforce seems to be trending toward?

Get out and campaign for a candidate you believe will make a difference, even on a local level.  Run for office.  Stop playing fantasy football and reading gossip websites during work hours and actually take some pride in your profession.  Spend money locally with business owners who care about their products and take an interest in you as a customer.  Open a small business of your own, even if it is out of your house and isn’t full time.  These are the type of things which will change our country for the better.  And maybe I just need some patience and will come around to the movement.  But in the meantime I’ll be doing my best to let my actions be my protest.

~ by maxaverage on October 18, 2011.

3 Responses to “Occupy vs. An Occupation”

  1. don’t agree with all what you say…but a good read!


  2. I added a couple footnotes in yellow. And I proofread for clarity. There were a few typos but in my defense, it was after midnight when I finally posted.


  3. Amen brother. The three evils of the last 100 years are as follows: Entitlement, Taxation, and Over-Regulation. The first cripples our society, the last cripples our economy, and the middle one cripples both.

    I think you are hitting a chord here, and I agree with nearly everything you say. Heck, I may even post some uber-Conservative piece in reply.


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