After being separated from the U.S. Army on November 2, 1971 I began my long and futile search for viable employment. It was but a few months afterward that I’d heard American Motors was doing some hiring. I went down to the AMC plant on East Capitol Drive and North Richards Street (Don’t bother searching, it’s not there anymore). Word was, AMC was hiring a few hundred people.
Arriving on time, I found myself queued up behind several hundred earlybirds – and with the late arrivals, the line, snaking through the courtyard of the building complex, totalled about 1,500 men. The line shuffled glacially towards a nondescript, windowless door out of which an office worker appeared. He announced loudly that they’d only printed up 1,000 Job Applications and they were already running low. He went back inside and quickly shut the door.
Of course, this left the Johnny-Come-Lately tail-end-of-the-line five-hundred or so group with no chance whatsoever of becoming one of The Chosen.
Some time later a hotel was built downtown; the Hyatt Regency as I recall. There were jobs to be had and when they started the hiring process it was estimated that a crowd of more then 5000 people showed up. I regret to this day not keeping the newspaper article about it. A spokeswoman for the hotel was quoted as saying something to the effect of:
“It’s wonderful to have so many good people to choose from.”
Not so wonderful to be just another face in the crowd. Naturally most of them were not among The Chosen.
Perhaps the reader has or had a good job; and held it for many, many years – even decades. But hark back to that fateful day when you first filled out your Job Application and, from a stack of a thousand Applications, or even five-thousand Applications – your’s was among the few that were chosen.
Does anyone know; does anyone even understand; the thought process behind choosing an Application from a tall stack of a thousand Applications and deciding “this is the one.”? For the vast majority – probably not.
Does anyone even think about that stack of Job Applications? Does anyone think about all those Job Applications that, along with the people they represent, were simply tossed away? Probably not.
The person or persons who chose you – what were they thinking? Were they hungry, tired, or even sick? Were they in a hurry or having a bad day? Were they distracted, bored, indifferent; and in a moment of high caprice, arbitrarily snatched your Job Application from the middle of the stack, OK’d it and went off to lunch? Do you know? Probably not.
No matter who you are; no matter how smart and ambitious you are; so long as the Democrats and Republicans collude to maintain a surplus of labor – keeping the Labor Market forever locked in Buyer’s Mode; there remains a statistical probability that some of us will never be among The Chosen.
So what happens to those who are never among The Chosen? Like that sad little bruised apple at the bottom of the bin – the one everyone passes over – they rot.
Don’t be too proud if you are lucky enough to be one of The Chosen. So long as you do not choose but are chosen; your life was never fully in your own hands. You did not choose, but were among The Chosen.