Starting Work is Work


It’s not only work to find work, it’s practically a full-time job to fill out the paperwork once you get ready to start.  I realize that I’m supposed to be grateful that I found something in the first place, and indeed I am, grateful enough to put up with 30 minutes of mind-numbing paperwork, all of which was there to satisfy attorneys and government agencies.

I can’t even remember half the forms, but I do remember filling out my name a dozen times, my address at least half a dozen times, my phone number and social security number half a dozen times as well, but on different forms.  Every company re-creates the receipt for the building key and the locker room key in its own warm, friendly, welcoming style.

Now, the government has decided to try to keep track of “new” jobs created, or people who are being hired back, or some such self-congratulatory statistic on what a great job they’re doing pulling us out of this mess, which means three additional forms asking my age and how long I’d been looking.  Naturally, we’ll never know the name of the concrete-tendured overpaid genius who decided to give half the population flashbacks to their days of taking standardized tests, but two of them were bubble-sheets, and one of them required bubbles for my name, address, city, state, zip, phone number, and social security number.  You sort of feel like filling in the letters properly, and then randomly filling in bubbles, just to let them know, but that’s just risking the Wrath of the Bureaucracy of Unreconciled Data, and God only knows what they might decide to do in revenge.

Admittedly, except for these couple of competency tests, the real problem here lies not so much with the government as with the companies themselves.  It ought to be easy enough to put these forms online, and the one form that is online, the I-9, is a government form.  I suspect the reason they don’t is that, well, the don’t have to.  I’ll only fill this form out once, and they’re not paying me when I do, so you can see where the incentives are on their end.  On my end, it goes back to that whole gratitude thing.

And yet, for a contractor, who might have to fill out three or more of these bibles during a year, it’s beyond ridiculous.  And a large company, who might bring in a dozen new employees every week, a couple of dozen right after graduation, is paying these new employees to sign off on the benefits package, note that they received the policy handbook, note that they received the safety instructions, apply for direct deposit, and fill out bubble sheets.  So you’d think they wouldn’t mind getting those new guys through training 30 minutes earlier.

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