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Gender: Female
Hometown: South East Michigan
Home country: United States
Member since: Tue Jul 27, 2004, 01:19 PM
Number of posts: 10,559

Journal Archives

On Being Useful & Employed (long, blunt)

There is currently a great deal of angst floating around about the revelation "the government is tracking the communication of its citizens." The camps are divided amongst "yeah, whatever, it has been going on since Bush Junior" and "heavens to betsy, it is time for an uprising because our civil liberties are being trampled!" Throw in some common sense paranoia - "a high profile journalist dead in an odd car crash" and those of us able to wrap our heads around "The Bourne Conspiracy" or the plot lines of "Covert Affairs" or the politics of "The Network" (or Aaron Sorkin's "West Wing" series - remember how politics was played there?) get ... nervous.

Not that we are going to do anything except talk, of course. We are very busy people. Plus, what can we really do?

Realistically, people should be nervous. Money was funneled into employing people into "anti-terrorist" jobs, and if the "terrorists" go away, so do the jobs.

Think that one through folks: most people have ZERO incentive to work themselves out of a job. Do you really think this surveillance is going to go away? Or ever *NOT* be "necessary"?

That is not how life works in the United States. Everyone from social workers (who are chronically over worked and underpaid), to police officers, to prison guards, to physicians, to federal agents, to anti-terrorist folks -- ALL of these people want something called "job security" and the best way to get it is to make sure your skills are "needed and necessary."

The United States has declared failed wars on everything from Poverty to Drugs to Terrorists -- and smart people might notice none of those things has really gone away. Why?

There is no incentive to work yourself out of a job. There is plenty of incentive to be doing something "necessary" and "important" (like deal with hunger, poverty, drugs, poor health, and the ravages of age); we *need* those things, and the people who are "helping" with them. NOTE: I am not talking about normal life cycle things like teachers who get a new crop of children every year, or folks who deliver babies - I am talking about the "never ending jobs" that simply don't go away, even though we spend tons of money trying to make positive things happen, and yet FAIL every time, for "unexplainable" reasons.

Have you ever noticed people spend their lives in their careers, and apparently, those careers are so blazingly unsuccessful they keep getting paid to do the same things over and over again?

Let us use simple examples: has your local town/city/village ever hit a point where they said, "you know, this is a really safe neighborhood, so we really don't need all of these folks working in law enforcement - maybe just three or four to handle the occasional cat stuck in a tree, and pick up a few drunks/remind the neighborhood kids to be careful when they are playing kick the can in the street?"

Odds are good you've never spoken to a law enforcement person who said, "man, we are so bored out of our minds - we offered a couple of guys early retirement!" Instead, these folks keep *very* busy, and oddly enough, the more crime they look for, the more they find.

Their paychecks depend on it.

I am not picking on law enforcement; the same thing can be said of the need for fire departments. Seriously, this is the 21st century, and for some reason, we still don't know how to build "fire proof houses" -- don't even go with the "it is too expensive" because this doesn't look like it is that complicated, so why isn't it available at your local paint store as part of every paint can we sell? http://www.onecoatfireproofpaint.com/ -- and I adore fire fighters, for the record, but I would prefer they NOT be as busy as so many of them are.

Let's talk poverty: the people who "help" poverty stricken people have been "helping" for decades. Education has been blamed, laziness has been blamed, a lack of child care, a culture of dependence, blah, blah, blah -- and we still have homeless and hungry children, and a whole army of people filling out forms trying to get them services. To the despair of the helpers, they have permanent job security: it looks like there will *always* be poor people needing help, and people filling out paperwork to get it to them.

Have you ever been involved with a "big charity"? A tremendous number of them - March of Dimes is a pet peeve of mine, but there are others, including those affiliated with Heart Disease, Muscular Dystrophy, Cerebral Palsy, and ten types of Cancer -- raise A TON of money, most of which goes for employee salaries. Bluntly, if any of these folks actually *solved* the problems they purport to be raising funds for, their would be *a lot* of unemployed people. And don't even get me started on the researchers who depend on grants from these organizations - seriously, the squabbling that goes on in the scientific community, while entertaining, is really about scrambling for the limited dollars which equal wages/salaries for the people working on the never ending list of problems associated with the health of this nation.

Disclaimer: The Shriners. Those guys who work for free managed to help eradicate polio, and when they didn't need to raise funds to help children stricken with it, they expanded into burn care and free health care for children. I kind of adore them.

Now take our armed forces - we need them to "be ready" to defend us -- but against what? The armies of other countries, of course, and the space aliens who might be attacking on the Fourth of July (per the movies). Will the need for armed forces ever go away?

Here is a clue: if it does, then people will lose their paychecks. The people who wear the uniforms and fire the weapons are supported by a whole host of other jobs (and yours might be one of them): if you never fire bullets, then no one needs to make new ones, which means the factory workers won't stay employed....seriously, how many people were killed by our military forces with bullets last year - two hundred? three hundred? - and how much money did we spend on guns and bullets, and how much money was spent on training/firing those weapons so that it was NORMAL at a psychological level? Tens of thousands to train to "kill" a couple of hundred?

Seriously, if you have mice in your house, do you buy one or two containers of mouse d-con, or a hundred? If we use the same level of math: (250 people killed) / 10,000 bullets bought = 97.5% bullets "wasted just in case" -- does it make sense to you, if you were paying the bill personally? (And NO, I don't want them to bring up the "kill" ratio to justify more bullets - in a sensible world, bullets would be a rare thing!)

The people in the FBI, CIA, TSA, HSA, and a whole bunch of other acronyms I can't be bothered to learn about, are filled with people who want to keep collecting a paycheck. To justify their jobs, they are going to have to both "look busy" and be able to report results (which will explain to anyone interested why they shouldn't be laid off). There will *NEVER* be a point where someone is going to say, "you know, I've spent the day here playing solitaire on my computer - maybe my position isn't really necessary" because that is NOT how people work.

We want to be useful. We want our employment to make a positive difference in the world. And we also want to be able to take care of our families by providing them food, clothing and shelter courtesy of the contributions we are making in society, and the rewards we are given as a result.

Very few people work themselves out of a job, and then go on to another one/problem to solve.

So, yes - when it comes to "spying" on Americans, I join the ranks of the "duh!" and shake my head at the foolish folks who think it is going to end. We have created an endless war, and the soldiers in the ranks must be paid. They are good people, and they will find things to fuss about, because there is *always* something to find and fuss about if you look hard enough.

There is no incentive for any of these people to want to join the ranks of the unemployed. They are hard workers, and they are doing the best they can. Most depend on people "up the chain of command" to evaluate whether or not they are doing something wrong, and trust their managers when they say "push this button, and then do this" because that is how it works in the American work place.

None of us are really different than the workers in the garment factories who noticed the doors to the fire exits were blocked everyday, and didn't raise a fuss because they didn't want to lose their jobs. After a while, it becomes normal. Your mission, after all, isn't to "solve a problem" but to do your job. What are the odds the building will catch fire, right? Isn't somebody else paid to worry about stuff like that? Don't you have enough to do with your work load, instead of looking for "more work"?

One hundred years ago most of us were working on farms to make sure their was enough food to feed the country. Those jobs aren't necessary anymore, and we are creating new ones to keep busy.

What you do is important: it defines who you are, and how you take care of your family. But if you cure cancer, a lot of people will be out of work - you don't really want to do that, do you?

Now, stop playing on the internet, and get back to work. What you are doing is super important - people depend on you.

And so it goes....
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