Wednesday, March 28, 2012

ACA? Not OK!

So there’s no doubt that we need some sort of healthcare reform in this country.  When prices are so high that ten minutes with a doctor costs more than double what the average person makes in a day, we have a major problem.  Our politicians are scrambling to figure this issue out, but as usual, politics get in the way of a real solution.  So they ‘compromise’ to make a plan they think their opponents will agree with, and you know what, the American people suffer as a consequence.

Right now, the ‘solution’ we have to the healthcare problem is this Affordable Care Act.  Which basically says that all Americans are legally required to have their own insurance, or they are punished.  So we’re being forced to buy into the system that already doesn’t work.  Add in the fact that businesses are responsible for subsidizing this, and you can see how this act is going to collapse our economy even further.  We need to change the system, to repair it, not put more money behind it. 

Insurance companies have been ripping off the American people for decades.  Whether they deny a claim due to pre-existing conditions or just trying to say you’re not covered for a random ailment.  Or just that they won’t cover you for the one pill that will actually best help your condition.  So why are we creating a system that will reward these companies with more clients?  In a supply and demand economy, we can seek alternatives to this corruption. But with this bill, we are forced to go with the companies that have screwed us in the past. 

So the bill does say that insurance companies will be forbidden from denying you because of pre-existing conditions.  But what if you’re not covered for a certain ailment?  The bill doesn’t make insurance companies cover every last thing.  We’re not doctors, we can’t always tell what we need and what we don’t need.   Insurance companies, like they have, are still going to try to find loopholes and exceptions in order to deny your claim.

What about deductibles?  The act doesn’t make any provisions about these.  Just because you have insurance doesn’t mean it kicks in right away.  You first have to pay off the deductible amount.  Some of these insurance plans have deductibles in the tens-of-thousands range.  Who says the insurance holder is going to be able to pay for that?  Even if it’s a few hundred dollars, there’s no guarantee one can afford the deductible.  And what about the otherwise healthy person who gets sick once?  Are they going to go to the doctor, knowing they have to still pay the full bill because they haven’t covered their deductible yet?  At this point, you’re better off holding onto the cash you’d spend on insurance to go to the doctor once or twice a year.

Our economy works on supply and demand.  Which, in essence, says that if prices are too high, people will not buy the products, and if the company wants to stay in business they will need to lower prices. Insurance is like an endless bank account that circumvents this rule.  Instead of pricing medical services or medicine at a price point people can afford, doctors/pharma can lift the price to whatever they feel like.  After all, consumers aren’t paying for it.  A billion dollar company is.  So why not price it to what the bottomless piggybank can cover?

And who’s to say what is affordable?  The bill says healthcare will be subsidized for those who make under $44k.  What about those who make just over that?  Should people cap their own salaries to make sure they don’t go over this amount?  This kind of goes against our economic system of opportunity and capitalism…

For those who won’t be covered, how can everyone afford this additional amount?  Average health insurance is over $400 a month for an individual, and it keeps going up.  It’s even more in cities that already have overwhelming rent costs.  Kinda sucks for those who live in San Francisco or New York, or one of the other many overpriced cities in the US.

So maybe you’ve cut back all your expenses so you can actually pay insurance and not have to move.  How does this help our economy?  Instead of spending on normal purchases, now this money gets funneled into the insurance industry.  Want to watch your city die?  Take away people’s ability to spend at local establishments.  Shouldn’t we be in charge of where our money goes?

This bill will kill entrepreneurship in this country.  Entrepreneurs need months, if not years, to put together their businesses.  How can they afford coverage for themselves during this time?  Force them into government assistance?  And to start the business, they now need to raise even more capital to subsidize their employees’ coverage.  Not easy, especially for those trying to start a business from their personal savings.  What’s an entrepreneur to do?  Either understaff or go bankrupt.  Or just say screw it since the costs won’t be worth the risk.  

My name is ACA.  I have come for you, entrepreneurs...
Granted, if the business is very small, they get around the mandate.  But then they’ll have to face the threat of turnover.  Why would someone stay with this company (or get a job there in the first place) if they first have to get their own insurance?  This bill is going to make the hiring process very difficult for entrepreneurs…  the job creators… the people our government is trying to push right now. 

You might be thinking, well, I have a job with a big company and I’ll be covered.  Well, I hope that stays true.  Because you better believe there will be massive layoffs once this bill is passed.  Trust me, your employer wants to keep costs as low as possible.  Now that salary expenses have risen, they’re going to be stingy with hiring.  And very likely, they’re going to look to cut workers to make up for this new expense.  Or cut you down to part time.  I hope your job is one they decide to keep.

(Let's also not forget that companies will begin raising their prices to cover new healthcare costs...)

The ACA will end up destroying our economy.  Instead on trying to work on a system, why don’t we focus on cutting costs in healthcare?  This way, a person can afford to go to a doctor, or get surgery, without spending their life savings.  This needs to be where we start if we truly want to reform our healthcare system.  

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Diary of the Unemployed: Common Courtesy

I know I’ve written in the past about common courtesy in the world of business communications, but it seems like things are just getting worse.  Especially when it comes to applying for jobs.  Are things so bad in our economy that all the power is with the HR people and they can dick around whoever they want?  Apparently so.

Let’s get this straight.  I put in the time and effort to look up your company.  Customize my resume.  Write a specific cover letter that addresses every need you have in the job description.  At least an hour of work on my part, often more.  All this for the 1% chance that you actually get back to me.  And it seems like it’s only about one in every hundred applications that does get back to me, whether it be yes or no.  Thank you to those companies, you’re obviously run better than those who can’t take five seconds to say “Sorry you’re not what we’re looking for” just so I’m not hanging on to that bit of faith that I might actually be your wage slave one day.  Hell, send me an automessage.  Just something to justify the careful work I put into honoring your company with my application.

What makes it worse is when these companies blow you off for an interview.  Especially without notice.  What, just because I’m unemployed means my time is worthless?  What the hell!?!  These days it’s imperative to spend hours of preparation for these interviews so you seem competent and actually know what the inner workings of the company are like.  Otherwise you’re going to be unprepared and seem like an idiot, especially when your competition has done this research.   What about the time it takes me to put on my suit and drive to your place, let alone the price of gas and dry cleaning these days?  It seems like this doesn’t concern the HR goons from these businesses.  They already have jobs, so why even give you a call to reschedule?

It would be one thing if an emergency came up, or they gave you advanced notice.  But that’s too much work for them.  Chances are they will not even call you until after the appointment, and you most likely have to call them first to find out what the fuck is going on. 

If they do reschedule, that’s still a disadvantage to me.  The research and preparation I have done is no longer fresh in my head.  Even if I re-study everything I have done, the momentum and energy I had is gone.  Now I have to move things aside, often at times inconvenient to me, just to fit them in for a second block of time.  On their end they could care less.

Don’t forget the emotional toll this has on the applicant.  I’m obviously not worth your time, even five seconds of it for a heads up that things need to be moved.  So that’s the mindset I am now going into the interview with…  I am not worth your time and you don’t care about me.  You’re basically giving me a pity interview at this point.  How do I take this seriously?  Why should I care about the company if this is how you treat people?

And you know what the worst part is?  I have to pretend like it didn’t happen.  I have to just be happy that I have the interview.  I have to be all nice and friendly about it and have the attitude that ‘oh, accidents happen, it’s not a big deal’.  I don’t even get so much as a ‘sorry’ when this happens, but they expect me to laugh it off and kiss their ass for the opportunity to interview with them.  I want to tell them that I demand an apology and a thank-you for my patience, but I’m pretty sure that will end the interview right there. 

And I also have to pretend that it doesn’t bother me when you can’t accommodate me to reschedule.  I actually had someone tell me “I can’t do it then, that’s my lunch time”.  Your lunch time?  You blew me off, made me waste an entire day of my life expecting this interview, and you can’t eat your fucking lunch an hour later?

Oh, and that in that case it was the second time they blew me off.  The first time the interviewer was in a meeting, and this time they simply put the wrong day on the calendar.  How the fuck do these HR idiots have jobs when they can’t even schedule people properly, and I can’t find shit for work?  FML, or better yet, fuck them…

So now I have an appointment with them at a future date.  Who knows if they’re going to actually go through with it this time…  I’m sick and tired of the lack of respect these companies show their applicants.  It’s rubbing it into our faces that companies have all the power in this economy and we mean nothing to them.  I’m thinking about using this interview to curse them out and show them just how upset we are when we get fucked over like this.  I mean, they already blew me off twice, I have to assume that I’m not being seriously considered for the job anyway…


Monday, February 13, 2012

Republicans, Wise Up!

Are Republicans just fucking crazy? It’s almost like they go out of their way to not make sense. Right now the hot debate is on whether birth control need be covered by health insurance. Now, I could see if their point was something like “as little should be covered as possible”… that would be a logical point that aligns with Republican philosophies. But that’s not the argument in this case. Instead, they’ve gone right to the big guns… that’s right… religion.

According to the current GOP candidates, this whole thing is about religious oppression. That’s right, OPPRESSION. They’re saying it almost as if the point of the mandate is to go out of our way to overthrow a religion. It’s the exact opposite. Denying people this service would be religious oppression. It’s like saying “my religion doesn’t allow this, so you can’t do it either”.

And just because your insurance covers birth control, doesn’t mean you have to take it. It’s as simple as not asking for it when you go to the doctor. Wow, that seems really hard. This law isn’t going to force pills down your throat, it just makes it easier for those who want it to get it.

Do you support coverage for AIDS? Herpes? Syphillis? Other STDs? You do? Good for you. Because that means you've been supporting FORNICATORS!!!  Last I checked that was against your religion too.  And those medications make your insurance costs skyrocket.  So why is it such a big deal to include one more inexpensive pill? Is being a hypocrite part of your religion too?

It’s funny, the same people who denounce insurance companies for offering birth control are the same people who demand that Viagra is covered. Well, I just hope every time you have old man sex it is for procreation. Sinner…

So you know what? Make it optional for insurance to cover birth control. After all, there won’t be any consequences. Like abortions. Yes, I’m sure there will be fewer abortions if women can’t just take a pill or a shot to prevent their pregnancy. Come on Republicans, pick one, birth control or abortion. You can’t get rid of them both.

Republicans, it’s time you start making sense. Really, a lot of people have lost respect for your party because of bullshit like this. Stop making things a religious agenda. We have religious freedom here in America, which means yours doesn’t get to make the rules. No religion does. So stop trying to force everyone else to live by it. If you spent more time coming up with logical explanations than faith-based proclamations, people might begin taking your politics seriously again…


Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Well, I have to say, after reporting on the failures of higher education, my Alma (beta?) Mater is making me proud.  The hot topic this week is this whole discrimination debate at Vanderbilt.  To make the story short, the school put in writing the rule that any school-funded club must be open to anyone within the student body, and that leadership positions are open to all.  This includes religious and cultural clubs.  

Yes, Vanderbilt actually had to make this a rule.  You’d think this would be something that would be understood, especially at one of the most prestigious colleges in the nation.  But now, these clubs are in an uproar, calling it religious discrimination.

Discrimination?!?  How?  The school is saying that their clubs are open to all.  So if anything, this prevents discrimination.  Religious clubs are saying it interferes with their ability to practice their religion.  So how does this interfere?  If someone from outside your religion wants to know more about your culture, why exclude them?  Isn’t teaching others about your religion considered a good thing?  In fact, don’t many religions require it?  Preach the Gospel! Convert the heathens!  Now they argue that they should exclude people from discovering their religion and improving themselves through it… I mean, haven’t some religions gone so far as declaring war in order to convert people? 

One of my favorite things about Vanderbilt is the diverse mix of cultures of the student body.  We had students and faculty from all inhabited continents, with a number of clubs catering to each.  Any time there was a meeting, it was open to anyone and everyone interested in learning or participating.  White students showed up to lectures held by the Black Students Association.  Christians attended seminars comparing modern ethics to Jewish Talmudic law, just for the intrigue of history.  In fact, we had clubs for the specific purpose of matching us up with other students to learn about each others’ culture.  We stressed diversity in our classes and made sure our groups were ethnically diverse whenever possible.  The faculty encouraged us to travel abroad and attend career fairs aimed towards minorities.  Maybe things are different in the graduate program, but I never felt that there was an air of discrimination when it came to activities.   

Discrimination does not represent Vanderbilt, and these religious clubs crying ‘religious oppression’ should be ashamed of themselves.  Are they afraid that they’re going to be taken over?  They can kick people out if they are being disruptive.  Are they worried that ‘non-believers’ are going to work their way into their leadership?  No, because they still need to be voted in by the members.  If they’re worried about ceremonies being led by an outsider, the individuals need not vote them in.  Why automatically disqualify someone who is offering to help promote your beliefs?  Hopefully the members will pick the most qualified person, not base things on the line of creed or color.

I have heard the theory that these clubs are just trying to exclude gay students, and under this rule they will not be able to.  Fuck these hatemongers if they are.  Regardless of whether this is their main agenda, if this rule is something that bothers the groups that much, they are more than welcome to leave the school.  And if you say that’s being discriminatory, it’s not, because we’re holding these clubs to the same ideals and regulations of the dozens of other clubs, including the 32 of 36 cultural-based clubs not protesting this matter.  We want to be associated with a culture of tolerance, not hatred. 

If these clubs want to be able to ban certain students, they should think about this…  How would they feel if, perhaps, the school newspaper and radio station clubs started excluding Republicans?  Yeah, don’t think they’d like that very much.  So why is it ok for them to discriminate?  

Are we forgetting that this is a private school, and all clubs are subject to the rules of the school?  The school is enforcing the rules of fairness and equality.  They are giving you the right to organize to practice your religion – as a school approved entity.  One that receives funding or uses facilities paid for by all students.  Isn’t that a good thing?  You just have to accept all interested students and let them run for position if they feel so inclined.  Vanderbilt doesn’t have to support any cultural clubs.  So take their generous offer and run with it.  Spread the words of your culture and let everybody grow from them.  Love thy neighbor.  And do onto others as you’d have done to you.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Why drug testing is bad, mmkay...

So I was going through my backlogs and found this article from my previous site "". The site has since gone down, but I wanted to salvage this passage because it is a very important issue, especially for those of us looking for jobs. Soon enough, local governments are going to try to drug test even those collecting welfare, a measure which would seem fair, if it wasn't for testing being unethical in the first place. This was written to appeal to both employers and employees, so don't mind the conservative tone. The following is my report:

Imagine this... you're a college senior who spent the last 16 years of life studying hard, getting good grades, and trying to be successful in your upcoming career. Like the vast majority of college students, you make time to enjoy the social aspects of college. You have the qualifications to get a job at your #1 company and get through several rounds of interviews. But in the end, you get rejected... Why? Because at a party a few weeks before, you smoked a joint with some friends.

This happens every day in our business world where companies have the right to test employees for drug use whenever they want.Often it is a condition of employment, but at times could be random, for no reason, and at a moment's notice.

We are not and in no way condoning on the job drug use. Your company is paying you for your time, and deserves your full unadulterated attention. But when the work day is done, your time should be yours and yours alone... Your company does not own you and should not be making decisions for you.

This creates an ethical grey area in workplace relations. The purpose of the site is to allow companies and employees alike the ability to announce whether an applicant should expect to be tested. We serve both as a caution to employees and as a way for companies to prevent unwanted applications from users who do not fit their culture. Until legislation prevents unwarranted testing, the best people can do is stay informed.


Some of the reasons why employment drug testing is unethical, and why this site exists:

  • Just as your company has the legal right to drug test you, you have a right to know if they are going to invade your privacy. The 4th Amendment of the Constitution protects against random and unprovoked search and seizure. However, this right does not extend into the workplace.

  • Drug tests do not test for intoxication, rather past usage at an arbitrary time.  

  • Should recreational users be kept out of jobs, only to have more time, unproductive time, on their hands to do more drugs?  

  • These rules were set in place during an era of propaganda, before we had enough true information make judgments about how drugs affect one's health behavior when not under the influence.  

  • Making responsible users second-class citizens. While companies push for open, diverse cultures, they isolate a major one. One that could potentially open additional markets. Usage is tolerated and accepted in some areas despite its illegality.  

  • Laws are changing to make certain drugs legal. Drug tests, especially random tests, prevent prominent people from speaking up for reformation, thus keeping them taboo and illegal.

  • Some drugs tested for are legal in certain areas. A vacation in Amsterdam where one does as the locals do could potentially cost you your job.

  • These tests do not discriminate between recreational users and medicinal users. And yes, people CAN be denied hire, or even fired for taking medication under doctor's orders.

  • Your medical history is not the business of your company. We have strict HIPPA laws that prevent any communication about one's medical history outside of the doctor-patient bond. Employment drug screening defies this law.  

  • Drug tests can reveal other medical conditions (i.e. pregnancy) and legal medications for common disorders (i.e. depression), things that could secretly prevent an otherwise perfect candidate from getting hired

  • Random tests can be a mask for terminating someone for alternate reasons. Don't like a co-worker (for example, say, the black one) who you know partakes once in a while outside of work? Make an accusation and watch them get fired for drugs instead!

  • Marijuana, the most commonly used and least dangerous of intoxicants legal or illegal stays in your system the longest. Harsher drugs are out of one's system within 2-3 days. So these tests typically just uncover pot users, which should rationally be of no concern to a company. Alcohol is significantly worse for one's health than most drugs, and can cause obvious after effects at work even 24 hours after consumption. Yet almost no companies have a policy saying an employee can't drink on their free time.

  • False positives can ruin a person. Food one eats, medicine one takes, and elemental exposure can all cause a clean sample to test positive.

  • Signs of intoxication are obvious and effect performance. If one is not performing to standards, they shouldn't keep their job. But if performance is not affected, why test?


This stated, here are the benefits this site can bring to your business:

  • Let people know you test, as a warning. Users will not apply for your jobs, saving the time and expense of interviewing and testing someone who will just fail your drug test
  • It will encourage people who know they want to work for you to NOT partake
  • If you don't test, be proud of it. Announce that you respect your employee's right to privacy when they are on their own time. You are opening yourself up to many qualified candidates another company casts aside for a non-work-related reason.
  • Let your company give a reason for their testing. It wouldn't be fair to list reasons why drug testing is bad without giving the company a reason to voice their side. While we feel most testing is unwarranted, there may be instances where there are legitimate reasons why a company tests employees. Now you can explain why.


Once again, we do not condone the illegal use of drugs while on the job, but if you choose to partake, you have a right to stay safe. Enjoy the site, and best of luck on your job hunt!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Diary of the Unemployed: Part 2

You know when they say if you’re angry about something you should write a letter and never send it? This is one of those times. I would love to be able to go back to school, go to the administrators, and ask them one question… “Why did you set me up to fail?” Or maybe one more… “Why the fuck did you accept me in the first place?”… but common sense has gotten the better of me.

In his recent State of the Union Address, Obama talked about how further education is the keystone to a brighter future, and how important additional schooling is these days. I wish I could agree, because this hasn’t been the case with me. What little feedback I’ve heard from applications and interviews, when I don’t hear “completely not qualified” is “way too overqualified”. There has been no middle ground.

Alas, it would actually seem as if my additional grad schooling is making it harder for me to get a job in this economy. After working for eight years and holding a graduate degree, I have had no luck finding anything, even entry level jobs. Some companies have said “we will not even make you an offer because your experience warrants a higher salary than we can offer”. They could care less when I say I’d be willing to negotiate and accept a low salary. In this economy, companies are going for less educated workers that they can train, instead of experienced and educated workers that are perfect for the job.

The other feedback I get, when I’m not overqualified, is that I’m extremely underqualified. Not that I don’t have the necessary skills or abilities, but often that I lack corporate experience on my resume. As an entrepreneur, I worked years with myself as a manager. But for some reason, this seems to signal to companies that I would refuse to work in a group or under someone else. Yes, this is the feedback I get.

I don’t know how these trained and educated HR “experts” don’t realize that I always ALWAYS had to answer to someone. Yes, maybe I didn’t have a “boss”, but I always had clients. And things had to be done their way or I’d be “fired”. There was no unwillingness or inability on my part to work the standard corporate life, I just found greater success on the freelance, consultant basis. After trying it for a few years, it turned out to not be the lifestyle I wanted, so I put myself in a position to learn about corporate life to make myself more valuable to a company I could achieve more with.

So why is it I can’t find a job? I was one of the top students in both my undergrad and graduate classes (3.5 and 3.7 GPAs respectively). I ran a successful small business that allowed me to live a comfortable lifestyle in New York City. I applied for just about any internship or job I was qualified for, even those that were geographically undesirable. I attended info sessions for just about any company hiring within my skill set. I TAed for professors and held leadership positions in student clubs. I made lots of friends and connections with alumni. Do these sound like traits of someone who has been unemployed for a year and a half? And that doesn’t even count the months of school in which I was applying for jobs.

For one, it should have been a major warning sign that after my first year of grad school that I couldn’t find an internship. I had a lot of interviews but no success. Other students were getting these positions, and were being compensated well. I even started applying to unpaid internships, and got rejected from those. Something should have set off a flag when companies aren’t letting me even volunteer my time to help them. But the school just assured me that the economy was bad and things would turn around the next year.

Which it didn’t. And after a while, reassuring does nothing but make us angrier. A year passed and I was still looking for work. But this time it wasn’t like I had another year of school to look forward to. Nope, I was out on my own. No student loans to pay the rent. In fact, I had to start paying them back, on top of all my expenses. At least I had just enough saved up to support myself, but it really sucks just scraping by when most of your friends have signed six figure contracts. At this point, I’m done with all the self doubt and depression that comes with unemployment. I’ve done everything in my power to find a job. So that leaves me to question, why did my school let me get into this position??? I don’t like to point fingers, but at some point, I feel they need to take their share of the blame. No one told me, or gave me any such indication, that I might not have the right experience for an MBA job. If not having corporate experience is such a big deal to employers, why wasn’t it such a big deal for the school? Is it because I paid them a fuckton to take classes there? Were they struggling to fill seats? One student unemployed isn’t going to kill their rankings, so why not just let an unqualified applicant in? I’m sick of being the victim here, and I feel the school owes me an apology. A very expensive apology. I’m starting to wish they never accepted me in the first place.