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Employers…Shut Up & Listen, Too!

Updated on January 13, 2013

A while back, I wrote a piece in which I gave a dressing-down to employers for some of the counterproductive (read: “idiotic”) practices they engage in, simply as a matter of tradition (See: “Employers…Shut Up & Listen!”). Since then, I have had quite a few responses—mostly positive—from readers who seemed to have some of the same complaints insofar as how many employers engage in labors practices which, by the standards of both logic and the needs of their employees, just don’t make sense by modern standards. Well due to the feedback (and support) I received from that first piece, I thought I’d post something of an addendum…highlighting more questionable practices by modern employers.

1 Requiring Employees To Bring In A Doctor’s Excuse For Calling Off Sick:

Everyone gets ill. We all know this. Employers know this. This issue with this issue is that not everyone responds to illness in the same way. Before completing college, I worked many a job where the pay was minimal, and the benefits were nonexistent! And I worked side-by-side with many others who were in the same boat. Needless to say, during such subsistence circumstances, it takes body and soul just to maintain that semblance of life together financially. With such jobs, many people cannot afford the cost of medical insurance...if it’s even offered as an option. As such, not everyone goes to the doctor for a major cold or the flu. In fact, even with my past semi-professional positions I myself still rarely go to the doctor’s office whenever I contract a major cold or the flu (even as children we colds and flues did not warrant trips to the physician). Some of us were just not raised to go see a doctor for every little paper cut, sniffle, or insect bite…and it’s not because our parents neglected our welfare. It’s because we understood that there is no cure for viral-based sicknesses, and nothing a doctor can do will make a major cold or flu go away any faster than simple rest, fluids, and some TLC from either mom or a significant other. So why force employers to spend hard-to-come-by money just to be told by someone who went to school for 10 years (and who no doubt has more serious maladies to examine) what they already know? True, some people abuse the calling-off-sick option when employed, but not everyone. We shouldn’t be expected to—at our expense—go to a doctor to be treated for illnesses which there are no know cures for anyway; talk about lacking good sense… In addition, there is another problem this causes. The overuse of doctor’s visits for such trivial illnesses drives up insurance costs because of the massive number of reimbursement required just for the visit and the required “doctor’s excuse.” This in turn increases the amount you, the employer have to pay for covering your employees…again, if you even offer coverage. Please lose this require employers. Or, you don’t have to get rid of it. You could just as easily allow people too sick to work—but not severely sick enough to go see a doctor—and infect your other employees with their germs. Then, guess what? You will have multiple employees calling in sick, and affecting your productivity, and indirectly your bottom line.

2 WTF Is “Overqualified?”

During these still lean employment times, many people—unemployed for an extended amount of time—are desperate for a job…any job. All you have to do is read the news, and you will find accounts of highly educated or experienced individuals unfortunate enough to find themselves seeking jobs which are beneath their skill sets and experiences. But nevertheless, they are willing to take the time to apply for, pay the high price of gas, and attend an interview just to be told that they are that they are “overqualified.” I can remember instances of being served with this substitute message for we’re not going to hire you myself a few times. This begs the question, what exactly is being “overqualified” to work? Logically, the only people who are truly “too overqualified” to work are those who don’t need to work, and those willing to do it for free. Does being “overqualified” to work means that people are equally overqualified to eat, to take care of their families, or to simply keep a roof over their heads? Or is being “overqualified” to work means that someone who took the initiative to either complete college or maintain a stable employment history is still willing to accept a level of pay they are not used to being offered for compensation for having to put up with a tyrannical slave driver, obnoxious (and probably irritating) coworkers , and little career advancement? What’s worse is that too many people have accepted this insanity to the point of actually defending it, and using justifications which any mentally challenged person wouldn’t be challenged at all to find gaping logical flaws in. If people are going into a prospective job with their eyes wide open insomuch as expectations, if they are willing to accept a cut in pay, or willing to show that they are not too proud to take a position they had no plans to take, why not let them work? And so what if you HR people or hiring managers are fearful that “overqualified” applicants will “get bored and leave” for better pay or a position which offers career advancement? Like you wouldn’t…! Please don’t hold others to expectations that any of us, given similar circumstances would act on in a similar manner. If you are willing to accept a cut in pay, job prestige, or pride just to feed your families, then acknowledge that others are willing to do so too! It makes more sense to give the job to the better qualified candidate, not the candidate who conforms to your sense of insecurity. Better yet, if you find me (or others) to be too “overqualified,” then please inform us how dumb you want us to act. I’ll gladly dumb myself down and act as stupid as you like if it gets me a position which allows me to keep a roof over my head and survive. Who exactly is too “overqualified” to do that?

3 Mandatory Christmas Parties (or Other Equally Undesirable Company Get-Togethers):

I’m just going to come out and say this…I am no big fan of company get-togethers, festive or otherwise. I’m just not a “party person.” On the other hand, it just seems like a form of torture to force people who spend anywhere from 8 -16 hours a day working around people they don’t want to be around in the first place to spend even more time with them under artificially-created frivolity. During my downtime, I want to spend time reading a book, indulging in a video game, or maybe a trip to the museum. I imagine that many others feel the same way. Many of us can just as easily “unwind” in the comfort of our own homes. Please, please, please…stop the supposedly lighthearted company get-togethers. This includes those get-togethers that require us to engage in that pseudo-psycho new-age scientific management crap about “team-building.” Either we are respectful as adults enough to learn to work together with others in a non-conflicting and drama-free manner, or we are not; you cannot teach people to work together. It’s simply a matter of individual choice and personality, not instruction or compulsion. The outside-of-work swarays/soirees are just not necessary to do one’s job.

I will end this in the same way I ended the prequel to this topic…

If I were an employer trying to choose the best person for the job, what do I care if you don’t like your mother? Are you competent enough to actually do your job, not cause trouble among your fellow employees, educated enough to engage different types of individuals from different backgrounds, and keep my company productive without costing more money? That’s all I’m concerned with, and that’s all you should be concerned with!

(See also: "A Criticism Of Employers In America")


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