The Freedom to Work

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I mentioned before that I am semi-retired; basically that means I’m old and unemployed. Instead of fighting for a full-time employment with a company against the high school and college graduates, I decided to take a job with a temp agency, that
way I could have more time to devote to my writing, gardening and field trips, you know, something extra to back up the social security checks and get me out of the house once in awhile.

The last time I worked with a temp agency was in 1987 when I first moved to the midwest. At that time, I thought it was a good way to find out what company I wanted to seek full-time employment with before committing to a placement. I remember it well. I walked in, smiled, filled out an application, took a typing test and was assigned a placement.

This time was more involved. First I had to fill out the application online, then I went to the agency, filled out the application again in person, smiled, took a test on keyboarding skills, an aptitude test regarding how I would respond in certain situations with co-workers, watched a video on harassments of various kinds, a video on safety in the work place, interviewed, provided my social security card, driver’s license and a birth certificate (to prove I am who I say I am), submitted to a drug test, and hopefully after the credit and background checks come in I’ll be assigned a job next week—stay by the phone.

I celebrated this Memorial Day with the usual parades, visiting the cemetery, flying the flag at my home, and shaking soldier’s hands with a grateful ‘thank you for all you do’. I believe in America, I believe in personal freedoms, and I am humbled by those who give so much to keep it that way, but at times it does seem like we are giving some of our freedoms away. Just to have a part-time, temporary position I had to prove my ability to do the job, my understanding of the job, my dedication to living clean; my right to work.

To the young workers who are not familiar with the hand-shake approach, and your word is your bond, these procedures must seem perfectly normal. I wonder what normal will be ten years from now.