Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Has our job market winnowed down to working in phone banks begging for money?

I get a very large number of landline calls from charities.  Many are identifiable on Comcast Xfinity, and some are repeats (like a clothing pickup service).  Some leave dead air when you pick up the cradle. 
But a number of legitimate charities, ranging from typhoon relief to leukemia and other children’s charities call.  I do my giving through an automated mechanism at a bank, where the charities I prefer (and that were preferred by the estate) receive funds monthly.  A few involve issues I have a longstanding interest in (like gays in the military).

But what happens with the others is that I have to cut them off if I answer the phone at all.  I simply don’t have time for ten of these conversations a day.  I can be more “efficient” by doing this with a trust account at a bank.  More of the money will go to the charity, including to actual victims in the Philippines, or to children in the developing world.  Less will go to overhead or to callers’ commissions.
This does get callous.  After all, I worked in a phone bank, calling for the Minnesota Orchestra for fourteen months (from 2002-2003) while I still lived in downtown Minneapolis.  (The job was still a quick walk from the Churchill Apartments on the Skyway, only a little more time than to get to ING after the end-of-2001 “forced retirement”.)  I didn’t grasp them how many calls people get.  The job was fun as was the staff, despite the comment from one person “they aren't bad people, but this is the only kind of job some people can get”.
And maybe so.  Yesterday, on the movies blog, I reviewed “Death by China”.  Look at how the manufacturing and even white collar jobs have gone overseas.  What is left for a lot of people to do at home amounts to hucksterism.  Am I supposed to waste for such inefficiency – because it’s not really the best way to raise money.

The Amish may have a point when they say that societies destroy human beings when they become obsessed with “efficiency”.  But then there is the twist in the film “Visioneers” (Movies, Oct. 27).   

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