Saturday, February 21, 2015

Finding Opportunities

After years of being in and out of the so-called employment business, my only regret is that I did not stay where I belonged, but the fact is, I had lost all of the momentum I had created in the previous twenty-five years.  It had all started with an opportunity to become a file clerk in the Personnel office at the USAF base in Southern part of Japan.  I was a raw recruit, had just turned 18 after the first year of my enlistment.  I was hired because I knew the alphabet and my predecessor did not.  Max Miller was impressed and offered me his job when he would be returnig to the States.

I had gone from being what we called Privates in those days to Staff Sergeant because Miller knew that I could do the job and real opportunities were coming my way.  The first was the fact we were going from being a part of the Army and became the United States Air force.  Then, we were part of the move to become a integrated force; accepting blacks into our ranks and I was to be assigned the responsibility of making certain our men were integrated without any problems.  There were no problems and then I went sent back to the States to learn about our new USAF classification system and supervise its implementation when I returned.  All the while, I had developed relationships with locals and was enjoying life, learning more and more about their culture.  I was about to return to the States when the Korean War broke out.

They decided to form an all volunteer group to be based in Korea and when they decided to assemble it on our base, I was selected to coordinate the organization of the enlisted personnel assigned to the task and was awarded the USAF Commendation Medal as a result of my efforts.  On my return to the States, I had a number of assignments including the development of a new Armament Career field, a investigative assignment interviewing enlisted personnel improperly called to duty in the Korean War and finally, teaching a basic management class for senior Sergeants.

Realizing an opportunity to leave the USAF and enter college in September, 1953 , I chose to do so and graduated with a BBA Degree in Business Management from Georgia State University in May, 1956.  It had been my intention to return to the USAF upon graduation, but my wife at the time changed her mind about being a military wife and we were eventually divorced.  After two jobs in the Atlanta that had become more boring than I had envisioned, I moved to  California and would join an employment agency that I thought was more to my liking.  I did like the job, but disliked the attitudes towards their applicants.  It took me three different agencies to realize, there was no future for me, but they led to a much better opportunity in the "temporary" help business.

There is where I thrived as a salesman and confidant in many of the people working for us.  It was here I learned of the futility that so many of our "temps" faced in securing profitable jobs without possessing formal education credentials that were becoming a essential for people seeking permanent employment.  We gave them a opportunity to work 90 days on a job, while being paid, and as they proved their ability to do the work and the employer chose to hire them as permanent employees, they were released from our rolls.  I saw hundreds of people get permanent jobs on this basis, people who otherwise would probably been been rejected by the HR offices.

It changed my attitude as to what makes a good potential employee.  There may be social factors, the ability to get along with management and co-workers that cause many employers to restrict their hiring to certain classes of people, but profits are developed by production and people who are willing to work and show up every day become the most consistent factor in the creation of profits.  I readily admit that as technology is developed, the need for such "workers" lessens with every day. But as long as there are need for the semi-skilled among us, the plan that we developed proved to be a God send for many who could not even find full-time opportunities elsewhere.  

Unfortunately, for me and others, the top management of our company were caught manipulating the Federal taxes they had withheld from our employees and our own opportunities came to a end.

As did my marriage as while I was busy working, often 50-60 hour work weeks, our marriage came to a end and I moved out of State, eventually deciding against returning to California.

More to follow, stay tuned....

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