Tuesday, August 21, 2007


The Big Boot: College degree is now more important than experience and integrity.

During my later working years, some of my fellow workers and I often discussed, and sometimes joked about, our “degree of obsolescence." We considered ourselves "dinosaurs just waiting for the Ice Age." We all felt certain that we would be the last non-college-trained people to hold our positions, or jobs of a similar grade level.
Most of us had the same background. We were farm boys who had "worked our way up through the ranks." We had all slogged through the mud and heat
detasseling corn. We had shoveled tons of ear corn, processed, and piled warehouses full of bagged seed corn back in the days when forklifts were
still unheard of. And we'd driven trucks over many miles of roads, both paved and unpaved, to deliver our finished product to farmer dealers. Our job qualifications consisted mostly of experience, integrity, the willingness to take on a job, and the ability to get it done."
My younger friends, all insisted that I was the "lucky one." Being the oldest of the group, they always assured me that I would make
retirement before the ax would' drop. In the future we could see nothing but changes, mergers, downsizing, and the dropping of our beloved old "Pride" trademark.
A few of the younger fellows are still working for our parent company. Quite a few of the rest of us were fortunate enough to stay with that company until retirement. And, I'm happy to say, most of those who didn't, landed on their feet and found jobs as good or better with other employers.
I've crossed paths with quite a few unhappy people, though, who were terminated or forced to take early retirement long before they were prepared to face it. For some, this is often a crushing blow financially or to their self-esteem, or both.


His boss said, "Duke,
I know I'll miss
'You, but time must move on.
What I mean is .
You're out of here .
We've downsized, Duke, you're gone!"

Poor old Duke's head
Began to spin;
His mind was in a fog.
He couldn't help
But feel that he'd
Been treated like a dog.

The loyalty
He'd given to
His employers, and boss –
Forgotten now –
The book showed Duke
As not "profit, "but "loss.”

He'd done his best,
Worked hard and dreamed
America's Great Dream,
But now he found.
His paycheck gone,
Worse yet, his self-esteem.

The promises,
The pension plan,
Were more things sure to go?
Dreams of happy .
Retirement, now,
Something he'd never know.

Duke thought, "I guess
Life ain't quite fair.
No matter where you're at.
There's always some
Guy primed to kick
You when you're down and flat.

"I've slaved and worked,
My poor fingers
Down to the bone, and yet,
Now too old to
Dig ditches, that's
The one job I can get!”

Perhaps old Pap
Was right when he
Told young Duke, years ago,
"Always guard well
Your backside. Be
Alert. Watch where you go.

"And turning 'round
Too quick’s much like
The flipping of a coin.
That big boot aimed
At your backside.
Will nail you in the groin!"

No comments: