Friday, August 2, 2013
Oh Those Were the Days
Yesterday, I caught up with an old friend I had not seen since I retired 10 ½ years ago. After we exchanged the usual lies (you look the same) and pleasantries, we started comparing our workplace of yesteryear to what it is today. We were in high gear until his wife called and reminded him that he had a dentist appointment in 30 minutes. Wives, what would we do without them? Miss dentist appointments for one.
I reminded my old friend of how our company used to hire and promote within just about every month. Then I told him that for every five promotions a couple of them would be Hispanic. Every single time, someone in the crowd would call it another affirmative action promotion. One day, I approached the person who said that and asked him to tell me the difference between affirmative action and nepotism or the buddy- buddy system. He said one was a government mandate and to that I said, “well the other is a caste system.” He said that the most qualified person should be promoted, and then I reminded him of how many times he said that our white boss was not qualified, and we left it at that. On another occasion, I reminded a co-worker that without government contracts, we wouldn’t have a job.
My old friend then said “Mike, do you remember when we used to sit around in the break room talking about the things we were going to do on the weekend?” I said that some were going to sit around the house and wait for an overtime call, others were going to do chores and still others didn’t have any immediate plans. That’s when he reminded me of several part- time ranchers and full time co-workers, who used to brag of how much money they saved by hiring illegal immigrants (today’s illegal aliens) and how they encouraged them to bring their family because the more cheap labor the better. Those ranchers used to complain of how Americans no longer liked to get their hands dirty and work long hours. We laughed because that’s the reason we took the job we had.
I said that San Diego Mayor Bob Filner’s recent lawsuit against the city because he never got harassment training; reminded me of the classes we had on how to treat women in the workplace. Why does one need training on how to be a respectful human being? We all knew how to act, and if we had any doubts, we could easily ask our wives, daughters or sisters. We knew it was just a way insurance companies could protect themselves from a frivolous lawsuit. I have to admit. I was surprised that some men claimed they didn’t know where the line was that they shouldn’t cross.
We then had to acknowledge of how lucky we were because we were the last groups to get an actual guaranteed pension and not just a 401k which is dependent on the market. We also got health care coverage as employees and retirees. We both agreed the latter is a lot more important than the pension or the 401ks we covered to IRAs.
Yes, they make a lot more money now but I’d rather meet an old friend and talk about how it was, than what it’s going to be.