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Monday, November 8, 2010

Do You Dream Hal?

We have entered an age of the automated job search, where most of our job search is done by computer, without the aid of human contact. We search job boards, Work Source office lists, online want ads and company web sites for jobs to apply for and apply not in person, over even over the phone, but by internet or email.
In entering the application process  for a prospective employer we made be told that the application process will take fifteen minutes.  Then for a job that pays less than ten dollars an hour, we have filled out an online application, attached our resume and references, take a quiz as to our ethnic identity and gender, as though any restoration of equality was intended, fill check off proof ability to work in the United States, okay a credit check, fill out a questionnaire about every place we have lived in the last ten years, and then take a half hour personality test designed to ensure our suitability for the job, weed out quitters and covertly weed out those inclined to unionize.And also to weed out older applications by asking questions about high school.   At the end we receive and automated acknowledgement  that we have endured the obstacle course, and are told not to call, and we wait in isolation from the human encounter for word of a job interview.
We have encountered a process that, while actually making our job search process longer and more difficult shields managers and HR employees from unwanted human encounter.  Shields them from having to look into the face of someone that reminds them of the person they fired or laid off the month before.  We look at the prospective employer through the glaring face of the computer, and they look at us only through it.
Do computers dream, Hal? There are dreams on the other side of the computer.  The dream of the unemployed worker who seeks his daily bread and validation of self in a glaring computer screen.  On the other side of him is someone dreaming of a economic world without challenge or hardship, one in which his company prospers, so he does.   We are no longer able to reach across to touch each other and begin to turn the economic wheels again.  We have to find ways around the computer screens.
Maybe when we look into these glaring screens, we need to search for the face of Christ, bloody and suffering for us on the cross, wearing his crown of thorns  We need to see the suffering of humanity were we are not seeing humanity at all. .

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