How would you like to have a fake job, selling fake products, pushing fake paperwork, and even a drawing a fake paycheck? Think I’m kidding? I wish I were. In France, the “employees” of Candelia company, an office furniture “seller,” come into work every day, process “invoices,” deal with “suppliers” and “customers,” type stuff up, shuffle papers, get coffee from the break room, leave exploded food in the microwave, and forget to lower the toilet seat… pretty much all in a day’s “work.”
Except they don’t get paid one red cent.
A May New York Times article describes life at Candelia and thousands of other phantom companies across Europe as just that – real people going to real places to do fake work. It all started as a way to provide job training, then grew and grew into an “elaborate training network that effectively operates as a parallel economic universe.” These are unemployed people with either skills that have been outsourced or become out-of-date, or no skills at all, “working” together in a fake world to apparently learn to become relevant in the real one.
Working at places like Candelia apparently gives some of these long-time unemployed folks more than just basic job training, but a reason to get up in the morning and a purpose for their efforts, even if that purpose is little more than a charade.
We’re told the world economy is supposed to be improving from the Great Recession of 2009, yet the fact that so many people are either unemployed (don’t let the low rates fool you – they no longer count those who have stopped trying to find work), underemployed, or working fake jobs (at least in Europe, but there are a few of these companies in the U.S. as well) led me to harken back to the days of the Great Depression of the 1930’s and our government’s response to it.
Without getting into a debate about the merits and success or failure of government economic intervention, particularly FDR’s socialistic approach to “fixing” what ailed our economy, one can certainly recognize the value of putting people who would otherwise NOT be working to work.
Except this work was far from pretend.
Dams, freeways, bridges, national parks, skyscrapers, stadiums, and hundreds of other projects all were built as part of what was then and perhaps still remains the greatest engineering era of the modern age. Millions of unemployed people who couldn’t find a job in the private sector weren’t given handouts so they could lounge on the couch, hang out on the porch, or wander aimlessly around town, but rather were put to work building the nation’s infrastructure from the ground up.
Was there governmental overreach? Certainly. Could our economic woes have been sorted out eventually via the private sector? Most likely. However, the fact remains that the millions of people who got a hand-up during the Great Depression weren’t given that hand for free, but were actually asked to EARN what they were provided. As critical as some of us on the Right are of FDR and his programs, that fact alone is telling.
Today our roads are falling apart, our bridges could collapse at any moment, our power plants are crumbling, all while millions sit and play video games on the government’s dime (‘cause high speed internet is a human right, don’t you know?) or work “fake” jobs because they either aren’t willing or aren’t incentivized to work the ones that are available.
What is wrong with this picture?
Despite “studies” like this ridiculous Europe-wide survey of 19,000 claiming that the more a country pays to the unemployed, the more likely residents are to want a job (apparently they failed to survey anyone in Greece!), common sense and basic reason paints a far dimmer picture. Anyone in any area of staffing or human resources knows how difficult it is to recruit people when they are drawing a check anywhere near the ballpark of what you can afford to pay. It’s darn near impossible.
The good news is, not only CAN this trend be reversed, but budgets and harsh reality means it WILL be reversed eventually, despite the best efforts of Liberals and social engineers. Austerity is here, folks, and there is no turning back. No longer will governments pay people to sit on their heels or “work” fake jobs. They won’t be able to afford it!
Consider Maine. After instituting a work-for-welfare program in 2015, Maine began the year with 12,000 non-disabled, non-parents of dependent children enrolled in state assistance. Because they now require recipients to either work 20 hours per week, enroll in a vocational program, or volunteer for – gasp – 24 hours per MONTH, rolls have been reduced to around 2,500. Similar programs are in the works around the country, including my home state of Tennessee.
While those folks working the fake jobs at Candelia definitely get a gold star for trying to better themselves, wouldn’t their efforts be better served actually doing something real?
This article originally appeared on Staffing Talk.