Friday, April 1, 2011
To Labor is to Pray
This is the motto of the Benedictine Order of monks; I find it an interesting philosophy since I've never felt very spiritual while pushing the vacuum cleaner or pulling weeds, but... Yet I hear a great deal about the need for jobs here in Trenton. Whenever a contract is before council, someone asks if the contractor will be hiring Trentonians. Usually, the contractor dodges the question; I'm waiting for the answer to be, "We are fully staffed which is why we can bid on this contract." That's the answer. Any company applying for a city contract most likely has a qualified staff. There is also the problem that very few of Trenton's unemployed have anything to offer an employer. They lack skills. Many are functionally illiterate. When I was working, I would ask my, "clients," what sort of work they were looking for; the typical answer was, "Anything." There was also the problem of not having a work ethic. One of my clients (I was a probation officer handling cases of welfare fraud) landed a job at Water's Edge Nursing Home. She started on Monday; Thursday morning she was in my office sobbing because she had been fired. She told me she had been fired because her supervisor didn't like her. On my way home, I stopped off at Water's Edge and spoke to the supervisor who showed me her time card. She had been late Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. And Tuesday she left early. Friday morning I called her to explain why she had been fired. My client was upset because she had three children to get ready every morning and she was doing the best she could. At least she got there so what was his problem? This young woman could not accept the fact that she agreed to work 8AM to 4PM; her supervisor had the right to expect her to be there at 8AM. Yes, many Trentonians need jobs, but many Trentonians needs skills and they also need an understanding how the job market works.