A lovely Monday chasing down job leads, with the usual questionable results.
The exercise leads to several pet peeves. One of them is the gradual extinction of the cover letter, which in borderline cases used to be the difference between consideration and the circular file. In many cases now, you can't even offer
a cover letter. If you aren't a perfect 10 the HR whizzes don't want to know what might tip the scales in your favour.
Another is that veteran status is supposed to ring you up a certain amount of brownie points. I've lost count of how many employers pay pious lip service to that principle, then "forget" to include a place to provide the details when you reach the affirmative action page.
All annoying, but it was one of today's prospects that almost made me lose my lunch. This firm actually did remember to ask. Their affirmative action page said:
- Are you a veteran? (note: they forgot to ask of what and when, which in theory makes a legal difference)
- Are you a wounded warrior?
Note to the handful of employers who still remember there were wars before the Gulf War and before collective national guilt about treatment of veterans. Don't ever call me a fuckin' warrior
I'm a screwed-up survivor of one of those wars you're busy forgetting. I was no warrior, and neither were a lot of those whose names appear on a black rock in Washington. Despite that, we signed on the dotted line naively expecting a government and country to live up to commitments it made: to us, not to a surrogate younger generation. Does it make you feel better to know that? Does it justify you in ignoring every veteran but the one who came home last week, because maybe we weren't warrior
enough to live up to your illusions?
I finally connected the dots to explain what it is I find so disgusting about that expression above all others. One could see the first indications in the Gulf War, which had the first of a new generation of technology that totally separated much of the American military from its targets. The "embedded" pimps--excuse me, journalists--of 2003 added to the phenomenon: War is a video game.
War is ugly, nasty, scary, smelly. Oh yes, it's smelly. It smells of excreta when someone wets themselves or shits themselves in fear (and everybody is scared), or when their sphincter muscles relax in death. Even thousands of miles away, in military hospitals, you can smell that, or the roast pork smell that goes with third degree burns, or the butcher-shop odour of open gut wounds, or the petrol smell that lingers in uniform clothes after a vehicle or aircraft blows up. (Christ wept, who among us today even knows what a butcher shop smells like?)
There aren't warriors
, and there never were. That's crap served up by old fools with a grudge to sucker young people into dying for no reason except soothing the egos of the old men.
Listen, be honest. Tell the young people that you're going to promise them a heroic afterlife and, if they live, you'll help them get an education and care for their injuries and wrecked minds. Instead of waiting ten or twenty years, let them sign up and say immediately, "just kidding!
And, if you're an employer, trust me: we prefer it if you just offer the finger on your job applications. We understand that--older veterans have been getting it all their lives. Spare us the phony concern and the wounded warrior
bullshit: the "base alloy of hypocrisy," as Lincoln put it.
I didn't really want to work there anyway.