According to a CNN report, an employer in Ohio cannot find enough workers who can pass a drug test. Four out of ten welders, crane operators and machinists fail the employment drug test. Blue-collar jobs such as welding, operating cranes and machining involve the application of energy and if used incorrectly can be very dangerous, so testing whether these employees might be under the influence of drugs is important. Having lost a lot of good employees to failed drug tests, I can understand how frustrating it is to lose employees and potential employees to drugs. I even had an employee say that for what he was getting paid, he wasn’t about to give up drugs.
One of the often-used phrases of the millennials is the “work-life balance,” something older Baby-Boomer candidates for employment aren’t granted the ability to understand. From personal experience, “work-life balance” meant that the younger employees were doing nine-to-five and I was doing all of the nights, weekends and holidays. The “work-life balance” was important for specific people, but, hey, someone had to work the graveyard shift and the holidays and the weekends, but the young people had some important partying to do, so the “work-life balance” applied to the people who needed to party. That’s one of the things I love about some of the mantras of business people, where it sounds really good but is only applicable to a certain select group of people.
But now the “buzz term” (pun intended) should be “work-party balance,” where the use of illegal drugs should be tolerated, or, at least that’s what seems to be the new mantra. After all, the millennials needs some time to party after all of the stress that the older generation has put them through. Let’s look at the unrelenting stress that the millennials are facing and why they have to take illegal drugs to deal with the stress. They are bombarded by the incessant text messages of their friends and feel an obligation to respond. The millennials are in dilemmas about what to post next on their Facebook page, how to respond to the latest posting by their friends, plus all of the Tweets (is that capitalized?) that they have to read since if they don’t they might miss a life-changing update by Miley Cyrus, Justin Timberlake or Kim Kardashian. We burdened the millennials with all of the trophies that everyone on the team received, since everyone contributed equally to the team, and the parents couldn’t leave anyone out, insisted that they understand how to play all of the computer games, another cause of great anxiety for them, since the new version will be coming out soon, and they will have to invest the time and money to master the newer version of “Grand Theft Battleground” or whatever the name of the latest game. I quit playing them after “Asteroids.”
Yes, the millennials are facing more stress than any other generation, and they need some time to take some drugs and slow down. They have Tweets (capitalized?) to respond to, Facebook updates to review, computer games to catch up with, text messages to read and respond to, the latest version of “Game of Thongs” to watch on Netflix (on their portable display platform, of course), all the while watching for things on Amazon to go on sale. We, the Baby-Boomers, are responsible for the millennials taking the illegal drugs because of all of the stress that we have put them through, and I for one, feel not the slightest bit ashamed.
There has to be a party-work balance, where the millennials can take some drugs, relax with friends, and try to shrug off all of the technology that the Baby-Boomers so maliciously piled upon them. Employers are just going to have to get used to the work-party balance and make accommodations if they want employees. Employers have come to accept that if the work is done on a computer, there will be some surfing while the work is being done; that is the ethic of the millennials. A working millennial (or one in a classroom) must be allowed to view their text messages every 30 minutes, or the emotional scarring of their fragile psyche will be irreparable. We, the older generation, did it to them, we foisted all of this technology and now we’re lamenting that they are using it in ways we never dreamed, and wasting away their lives, along with hindering the economic progress of this nation by taking drugs and then failing to get work because they cannot pass a drug test. It’s not their fault, you know.
I thought that we educated them about taking drugs in school, about how drugs would hurt their careers. (By the way, I have been taking drug tests since 1988, long before this mess.) But 40% of the applicants can’t pass a drug test and get a job. The work needs someone to do it, but I guess the qualified blue-collar workers are too busy getting stoned on the weekends and the failing the drug tests. Just when we got the economy somewhat turned around, now we can’t get skilled trade jobs filled. Like my employee told me, the pay wasn’t worth giving up the fun he was having with drugs.
One of the amazing character attributes of the millennials is their ability to insist that they have the correct way of addressing problems and the older people never knew how to properly address the issues of work, family, the economy, or government. The millennials are speaking out, and it seems, or 40% of them anyway, are saying no to work and yes to drugs. We’re going to have to accept that, as some of us know that the changes the millennials are insisting upon will not be compromised. In the meantime, if no indigenous workers can be found, more jobs will go outsourced.
They are a very smart generation, to hear them tell it. Their self-admiration is only exceeded by their disrespect for the previous generations who just didn’t “get it.” Never mind the addiction to technology, which, somehow, the generations before managed to survive without, but is now is essential if not existential. Never mind what hardships any previous generation went through to give them the life they have today, they were owed that, the millennials deserve it and much more. The work-party balance will have to be taken into consideration; the millennials will insist. They aren’t giving up drugs for employment, and their position will be just as stalwart on this as it is on so many other things they insist upon changing in society. Employers, seek a work-party balance, and if you can’t find an answer, ask the geniuses, the millennials; I’m sure they’ll have an answer where you give up something for their lifestyle.
Maybe Charles Murray is right. They just might be a spoiled bunch of tech-devoted minions who value recreation far more than work, and thus euphemized by the rubric “work-life balance” which, from my experience, means “we’re going home to party, you stay and get the work done” because our lifestyle is more important than work. Not all of the millennials are like this, but certainly enough, and a substantial portion of the blue-collar workers. Welcome to the future of employment, and we’re wondering why employers are choosing the robot option. Given the options, I know which way they should be going. I’m sure the robots will pass the drug tests.