In Bureaucracy, Business, Law, Politics on May 16, 2011 at 12:42 am

In the 1983 political thriller, Gorky Park, Detective Arkardy Renko seeks the aid of Professor Andreev, a brilliant forensics expert, to solve a triple murder. But the expert wants nothing to do with the case–until this exchange:

RENKO: Professor, too many people in our society disappear without trace.


RENKO: They fall into a chasm.

PROFESSOR ANDREEV: What sort of chasm?

RENKO: The one between what is said and what is done.

What was true for the Soviet Union remains equally true for the United States–at least where major corporate employers are concerned.

Millions of highly-qualified, willing-to-work Americans continue to fall into an unemployment chasm–a chasm between what employers claim to value in an applicant and the actual reasons why they hire.

Thousands of non-hiring employers continue to blame the unemployed for the nation’s high unemployment rate:

“You just don’t have enough experience for us.”

“You’re too experienced for the level we’re hiring at.”

“We’re looking for someone with a more specialized background.”

“We’re looking for someone we don’t have to re-train to do this job our way.”

“Your resume could use more work.”

If you add the number of unemployed

14.5 million

to the number of those who are under-employed (part-time workers who can’t find fulltime work or are overqualified)

11.2 million

the total of Americans who are looking for work is:

25.7 million

or 1 in 6 workers.

At the same time, U.S. corporations sit on nearly $2 trillion in cash.

Among the monies they sit upon are those that could be used to hire those millions of qualified, willing-to-work Americans who can’t find fulltime, permanent work.

An article in the March, 2011 issue of Reader’s Digest gives the lie to the excuses so many employers use for refusing to hire.

Entitled “22 Secrets HR Won’t Tell You About Getting a Job,” it lays bare many of the reasons why America needs to legally force employers to demonstrate as much responsibility for hiring as job-seekers are expected to show toward searching for work.

Among the truths it reveals:

TRUTH NO: 1: Once you’re unemployed more than six months, you’re considered unemployable.

TRUTH NO. 2: As you’ve always suspected: It’s not what but who you know that counts.

TRUTH NO. 3: If you can, avoid HR entirely and seek out someone in the company you know. If you don’t know anyone, go straight to the hiring manager.

TRUTH NO. 4: Don’t assume that someone will read your cover letter. Many of them go straight into the garbage can.

TRUTH NO. 5: You will be judged on the basis of your email address–especially if it’s something like “Igetwasted@aol.com.”

TRUTH NO. 6: Don’t assume you’re protected against age discrimination just because it’s against the law. If you’re in your 50s or 60s, leave your year of graduation off your resume.

TRUTH NO: 7: Don’t assume you’re protected from unemployment just because it’s illegal to discriminate against applicants who have children. Many managers don’t want to hire people with children, and will go to illegal lengths to find out their parental status–like checking an applicant’s car for child safety seats.

TRUTH NO. 8: It’s harder to get a job if you’re fat. Hiring managers make quick judgments based on stereotypes.

TRUTH NO. 9: Many managers will assume you’re a loser if you give them a weak handshake.

TRUTH NO. 10: Encourage the interviewer to talk–especially about himself. Ego-driven interviewers love hearing the sound of their own voices and will assume you’re better-qualified than someone who doesn’t want to listen to them prattle.

Polls indicate that Americans continue to blame President Obama for the nation’s high unemployment rate. But no President can hope to turn unemployment around until employers are forced to start living up to their responsibilities.

And those responsibilities should encompass more than simply fattening their own pocketbooks and/or egos at the expense of their fellow Americans.

For more than 50 years, Republicans have hurled the charge of “treason!” at anyone who runs against them or disagrees with them. In short: at anyone who dares to exercise their Constitutionally-given rights to vote and speak and believe as they choose.

It is past time for “treason” to be re-defined–as a deliberate action that harms the nation.

Employers who enrich themselves by weakening their country–by throwing millions of qualified workers into the street and moving their plants to other countries–are traitors.

Employers who set up offshore accounts to claim their American companies are foreign-owned–and thus exempt from taxes–are traitors.

Employers who systematically violate Federal immigration laws–to hire illegal aliens instead of willing-to-work Americans–are traitors.

America is currently at war with Afghanistan and Iraq–and may soon be at war with Pakistan. Traditionally, in times of war, the penalty for treason has been death.

If that seems a heavy price for those who sell out their fellow Americans, there is an alternative: Mandatory minimum prison sentences of at least ten years for those who engage in such behavior.

As Niccolo Machiavelli, the father of modern politics, warns in his masterwork, The Discourses:

All those who have written upon civil institutions demonstrate…that whoever desires to found a state and give it laws, must start with assuming that all men are bad and ever ready to display their vicious nature, whenever they may find occasion for it.

If their evil disposition remains concealed for a time, it must be attributed to some unknown reason; and we must assume that it lacked occasion to show itself. But time, which has been said to be the father of all truth, does not fail to bring it to light.

Where the crimes of corporate employers are concerned, we do not have to wait for their evil disposition to reveal itself. It has been fully revealed for decades. We need only find the courage to redress the costly outrages we see every day in the workplace.

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