Monday, October 15, 2007

Article on Jobs/Depression

This article (below) appeared int he St. Louis Post Dispatch over the weekend. Basically hit every online source as well. I find it to be interesting, especially with the election coming up. I met with my financial planner this morning and he mentioned how the market might react during the next several months, in anticipation of an administrating change. I tend to hear only certain things that he tells me, the rest goes way over my head. And to tell him this launches him in to even more muffled intake, so early and not enough patience for this brain to succumb.

Anyway, the article outlines the condition of the service industry. Read it yourself below. I have been looking for a reason to spout off at Hillary, she scares me with her plans on health care, other government programing. In a nutshell the article says that if you find yourself in the lower strata, and you are indeed a line level worker in either food service, health care or daycare, you might as well put a gun to you head, 7% of you will suffer from depression. The experience of these kinds of jobs may put you in jeopardy of thinking clearly, finding lifelong fulfillment. These are stats man, no messing around, occupational categorical data.

Let's see. The health care situation is one that I am exposed to quite regularly now. I have come up with some opinions on certain things. I supply employees from a hospitality industry in to what I consider to be the train wreck of health care bureaucracy. Hospitality meets Health care. In other words, my company, a restaurant management company among other things, is in the market to supply upscale value added service to what has otherwise been considered "dietary" or "functional" amenity, caters to the needs of these dietary workers, food service workers, restaurant workers, other service worker categories, all labeled high risk of depression, all future employees of my company. One can assume that it is because these are tough jobs, (hospitality and "dietary")--that they are slow fill--that articles like these are written for a purpose. Let's be real here, there is lots not to like about kissing ass all day. Seniors are especially a temperamental customer base. The reality? It ain't gonna get much better.

I have become good at it though the years, kissing ass. I am proud to say that I am still making a career out of it, launching a business, employing nearly 250 employees in the food service industry. I suppose that a large part of what I do is convince my employees that it is worth it. I don't even want to know how many we have if I am responsible for them being depressed. I am one of them, after all and I get depressed thinking that they are depressed. So I battle the load bearing responsibility--the task of recruitment and attrition with a thing called strategic company culture. It ain't perfect, but it is a must have.

What about if the government can step in and make all the troubles go away? Maybe Hillary has the answer in context with the health care issue? Maybe her plan is one that will fix things for the patient, but most importantly, for the workers who will take care of them; those who will cook for them, serve them, clean up after them? I wonder if the Dem's have thought this through? Can Hillary guarantee a better company culture than that of business, funded by the people? Can Hillary provide competition allowing the market to dictate the costs of labor and the incentives used to recruit and retain employees? Let's face it, the strongest companies out there are the ones emphasising strong company culture, interesting, authentic, rewarding culture that can change lives. And believe it, It is such a hit and miss--a work in progress to have a strong culture. We have a saying in our industry, we are only as good as how our worst manager treats our best employee. Workers and their supervisors are in a constant state of development, always. The service industry is so much more challenged by this than any other traditional workforce.

So let's do this. Add the lack of trench workers; food service and health care employees in to the mix. Let's get ready to get down an dirty. By the way, the workforce as it is now is as volatile as it can get, more so than it has ever been, headed for disaster. Introduce an increased dependence on this group of workers due to the increased calling for health care/service workers to care for an aging population and dude, Hillary, you had better have a plan.

Does Hillary really need to answer to the demand? What will be the shortfall? What types of incentives are to be given our current workers, or better yet, those we need to recruit in to the industry to bear the load. Should it be our tax dollar, a governmental program to feed workers in to the industry? Will there be some sort of health care worker welfare? Lots of questions to think about.

Can't business take care of this?

The day will come when the Dem's will want to provide some sort of crazy system to get workers into the mix. It will come in the form of a tax to business, maybe a credit for income tax for these workers, likely many of them non-resident, giving reason for more workers to fall in to the mindset of mediocrity. All expectation of achievement will be lost because there is no competitive standard, services will fail, more money will be spent and we will end up with more bullshit to deal with. I have seen firsthand the process a health care management company must provide to satisfy current federal billing medicaid regulations. It will take a wing of the white house to determine the need for service workers and the effect the shortfall will have on the entire system.

Business is responsible for creating jobs, the companies who show progress towards achieving employment status of recruitment and satisfaction should be rewarded. Let not let the the Dem's create yet another brainwashing of our service workers, those employees so important to our economy, those much more fulfilled than those surely to be dependent again on handouts.

(10-14) 18:48 PDT WASHINGTON (AP) --
People who tend to the elderly, change diapers and serve up food and drinks have the highest rates of depression among U.S. workers.
Overall, 7 percent of full-time workers battled depression in the past year, according to a government report available Saturday.
Women were more likely than men to have had a major bout of depression, and younger workers had higher rates of depression than their older colleagues.
Almost 11 percent of personal care workers — which includes child care and helping the elderly and severely disabled with their daily needs — reported depression lasting two weeks or longer.
During such episodes there is loss of interest and pleasure, and at least four other symptoms surface, including problems with sleep, eating, energy, concentration and self-image.
Workers who prepare and serve food — cooks, bartenders, waiters and waitresses — had the second highest rate of depression among full-time employees at 10.3 percent.
In a tie for third were health care workers and social workers at 9.6 percent.
The lowest rate of depression, 4.3 percent, occurred in the job category that covers engineers, architects and surveyors.
Government officials tracked depression within 21 major occupational categories. They combined data from 2004 through 2006 to estimate episodes of depression within the past year. That information came from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which registers lifetime and past-year depression bouts.
Depression leads to $30 billion to $44 billion in lost productivity annually, said the report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The report was available Saturday on the agency's Web site at
The various job categories tracked could be quite broad, with employees grouped in the same category seemingly having little in common.
For example, one category included workers in the arts, media, entertainment and sports. In the personal care category, a worker caring for toddlers at a daycare center would have quite a different job from a nursing aide who helps an older person live at home rather than in a nursing home.
Just working full-time would appear to be beneficial in preventing depression. The overall rate of depression for full-time workers, 7 percent, compares with the 12.7 percent rate registered by those who are unemployed.

1 comment:

herekittykitty said...

Having worked in both fields, yea, it can be depressing. But the reward is stellar when you select the perfect bottle of wine to complement a meal, the smile of your alzheimers patient when they have a clear moment and tell you a story about when they were young. You have to take the good where you find and run skipping through the meadow with it or yes you will let depression rule you. Personally I like being the head of state in my own little world.