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When I went live yesterday on July 12 at around 10am, I noticed the feed was dropping intermittently throughout the broadcast. I’d like to take this time to attempt another broadcast and add some insight into the current designation that we’ve all been forced into: that designation is that we are all considered at – will employees.
The definition of an at-will employee in a work environment is an employee who can quit their job without having to give a reason why and an employer can fire an employee without having to give a reason why. There’s more involved in at-will employment but that is the one definition most people know of off the top of their head. Although at-will employment is branded as something that empowers the employee, it actually empowers the employer.
Most of the states in the United States are considered at-will states. Sometimes at-will is also referred to as “right to work.”
Here are some examples of how citizens are being treated as at will employees in the various genres of life:
A friend recently told me she and her husband were escorted out of the cancer treatment clinic where her husband receives monthly treatments for his brain cancer. I’m not exactly sure what led to this but she was horrified and humiliated when the doctor who had been treating her husband all year suddenly instructed the office manager and security to escort the patient and his wife out of the office, announcing loudly that her office didn’t accept patients without insurance. This was embarrassing and humiliating for my friend and her husband who are both fully insured.
This reminded me of what I’d seen in the corporate sector and a scenario many who have worked in Big Business or even retail might be familiar with. You are called in to the office and the HR manager or your direct boss says your employment is severed and you are no longer needed. Then suddenly a security guard appears and escorts you to your desk, where they stand over you to intimidate you and watch you clear out your desk, demand you hand over your employee badges and keys and escort you to the front door. I’ve seen this happen with colleagues in the past and my husband JP mentioned it happened to him years ago. In fact, the company didn’t even let him clear out his desk. They escorted him directly to the front door as if he was some kind of criminal and sent him his personal belongings in the mail.
So when my friend described how she’d been treated by the clinic it made me realize that our lives have now been designated as nothing more than at-will employees.
Another example of how you are considered an at will employee and not a free, autonomous protected citizen is through the implementation of sustainable development projects that you might see popping up in your area. You didn’t vote on these projects. You had no say in how these projects are affecting your personal life, just like employees have no say when company policy is suddenly changed even if that policy makes the employees work more difficult. For instance, in my own neighborhood in a small area of Pittsburgh, PA there is a 60 plus year housing project that is going to be town down and replaced with a surge of more Section 8 housing units.
Section 8 housing, or affordable housing, in and of itself is not a bad thing. But this particular township where I live has the most concentration of section 8 in the entire state. Section 8 housing unfortunately does not contribute to the tax base and without a decent tax base roads don’t get fixed, blighted homes become a pox on the neighborhood and the community itself becomes eroded from the inside out. Naturally the locals are upset about this. The problem is the billionaire who owns the land that the current housing project sits on has already made a deal with Housing and Urban Development. This partnership between a private billionaire who owns the land and the public government program, HUD, renders the voter and the citizens in the community impotent. It’s the equivalent of your job suddenly phasing out a certain department, so you are left out of the process of negotiations to stay employed. The locals are considered at-will employees who are at the mercy of this public private partnership and the place they live will forever be changed and eroded and there’s nothing they can really do about it. There’s no negotiating with the billionaire who knows that the government leasing the land from him will benefit him enormously. He won’t have to invest in the land itself, HUD will take care of building out the new affordable housing. No one, not even the new residents who will be living in the affordable housing units, will benefit from this partnership. Least of all the long term tax base that is slowly watching everything they know erode out from under them.
I think the point I’m trying to make is that many are starting to feel the sting of what has been a slow chipping away of citizen engagement and citizen empowerment when it comes to quality of life. It’s been replaced with corporate deals.
Another example of the at-will employee designation, believe it or not, is the renewal of the public health emergency. The public health emergency will be renewed every 90 days in the same way the 2017 public health emergency we’ve all been living under to address the opioid epidemic has been renewed every 90 days for 5 years and counting. The renewals are always in conjunction with the quarterly budget resets that corporations undergo every January, March, July and October. If you notice, many people are hired and fired within these months and if you notice the National Emergency for the Covid crisis was declared in March 2020. This falls in line with something we have said from the beginning, on this platform, that the American way of life is being designated and whittled down to nothing more than corporate reports, checked boxes and funding schemes.
As a side note when the March 2020 emergency authorization was declared, billions of dollars went into the marketing of this idea that the public was in a crisis situation. Every commercial, every website you visited, every time you turned on the news and every announcement from your state reps, your governors, your mayors , even your local clergy and your social media feed was to remind you that shutting businesses, pulling children from school, sheltering in place, putting a mask over your face and eventually getting a shot were all important ways you could keep the community safe. The money that was thrown into the marketing of these ideas has been exhausted though. Those coffers are empty now. But it doesn’t matter. The funding was put aside to train the community to behave a certain in the same way an employer invests in training of new employees. Now that people have been properly trained they will keep shutting down their small businesses, keep getting tested, keep wearing masks and keep upgrading their covid shots in alignment with public health emergencies. There’s no need for the government to make threats or force people, when naturally after all the investments in training, people will do it all on their own.
This too describes what it means to be an at-will employee.
I’d also like to add that it stands to reason as remote work in the corporate and retail sector becomes normalized, that another reason the public health emergency was extended by the Biden Administration was to put more money into Big Tech, specifically the areas that fund telemedicine.
We can expect more funding schemes to be amply rewarded with each renewal of the national emergency.
The insertion of corporate culture into our every day way of life didn’t just start with the national emergency declared in March 2020. It’s been systemic and longstanding. Corporations are given huge benefits and rarely pay the price when their business practices cause harm to individuals. This has become widely accepted and normalized.
As these emergencies continue to mount, funding will open up for different corporate interests. In 2017, the opoid emergency opened up funding for clinics, non profits, housing facilities and harm reduction schemes to earn funding all under the guise of helping addicts. Yet, despite us living under this emergency to address opioid addiction for the last 5 years, it hasn’t improved. Addiction is worse than ever and yet these facilities keep popping up. It’s starting to look more like money laundering rather than an actual pubic safety measure. We can learn a lot by looking at this ongoing public emergency and apply the same racketeering to the Covid public health emergency schemes.
The emotional response to being designated an at-will employee in every genre of life has been varied. When families make requirements of other family members to attend barbecues then it erodes the social construct of society. When churches make their parishioners follow and pass certain criteria to have entrance into the building it turns the beautiful idea of assembly into something brittle and caustic. Many people have never really worked in a corporate environment so they’re unfamiliar with these tactics. It’s frightening when there is cold indifference coming from the aunt that has required everyone show proof of a negative covid test to attend thanksgiving dinner. Even people who have worked in the corporate world in the past but didn’t understand how the machinery, as malignant as it is, works to influence culture are left befuddled and dazed. How can an office manager and security guard escort a dying patient out of the clinic they might ask. It defies everything we know and understand about the Hippocratic oath to do no harm.
Perhaps an alternate way of viewing the world is necessary in order to emotionally manage this new, alien designation. Life is a benefit. How you live and how you avoid or engage with every genre of life will dictate what you get out of life or what benefits you may lose. Unfortunately, though, as any employee who has been suddenly fired from the benefit of being employed can tell you, sometimes it doesn’t matter how perfect you are. At the end of the day, you’re fired and it’s not because you did something wrong. It’s usually because there’s been an interruption in the company’s budget.
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