Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Skills training for the newly employed


The Heritage Foundation sent me a fund appeal today. No, I'm not about to contribute to that fount of destructive right wing policies. But their envelope did remind me of one of my all time favorite books, Sabotage in the American Workplace.

Among hundreds of others, Reggie, a Heritage Foundation mailroom clerk in the 80s, told his story.

It's a group of attorneys, columnists, whatever, who crank out - daily or weekly or whatever - information. It's printed downstairs, in the xerox room, and distributed to senators, congressmen, and other influential people. ...My basic duties were to collect mail in the mornings from the post office, sort it, distribute it, and so on. ... I got the job right after high school. I had never heard of the organization, and just found the job through the newspaper. When I was working there, I would occasionally glance at what they were putting out; the more I read, the more I thought about it and realized they were doing fucked-up things ...

They have a big fundraising deal, and when they sent out fundraising requests, people would mail in checks. Sometimes they'd be huge amounts, and sometimes they were piddling. Checks came in from individuals as well as companies. So I'd randomly take an envelope, open it, see how much it was for, and throw it in the shredder. I started doing it more and more. I could tell if it was a check by holding it to the light. If so, I'd toss it, dump it or shred it.

Here's to learning initiative on the job!

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