Massive cuts have left staggering job creation opportunities in an overlooked sector of the economy: Quality. Opportunities for increased profit abound in manufacturing and service industries, from headhunting to rental cars, through quality improvement.
Remember the old adage; it's the tortoise, not the hare, who wins the race. To create jobs in a win-win profit scenario, corporations need to take the long-term view and rebuild soiled international reputations. If we have to be married to big business, it's time to honor the marriage rather than prostituting our companies through 'switch outs'.
How do 'switch outs' degrade employment?
A 'switch out' is a term used in the rental car industry. Akin to online dating, 'switching out' occurs when the rental agent takes a broken-down car back from a dissatisfied customer and switches it onto a new and unsuspecting custy, no value added. The problem with the online dating model is, one day, we'll all be old customers.
It happened to me like this.
We rented a mid-sized car at the airport, and promptly received two tickets from the police for tags that had expired three months earlier. In the good old days, a mechanic would have checked the car, a cleaner would have cleaned it out, and a quality control inspector would have found the expired tags. Now these people are still on unemployment if they're lucky.
I began to fear the rental car company was not maintaining its cars between rentals. We took the car back to the nearest branch where we were admittedly switched out.
A day later when we were scheduled to drive through the desert, our second rental car's oil light went on. We took the second car back to the Hollywood branch of said rental company, where the manager said, "I understand," but that there was no time to have the oil checked that day. The truth is, there was no time for the manager to think, the company was so understaffed. I confess that we let him switch us into a smaller car.
Motoring along in our small third rental car, I realized I'd left my glasses in the second car at the nearest branch. I called the manager immediately, but he'd just rented the car out: my glasses were on their way to Vegas! The company didn't bother to check the oil or the interior of the car. No one had bothered to look in the compartment next to the driver's seat where my glasses were. Proof. No maintenance. My nose is pressed to the computer screen as I write. I had to order new glasses, cost $853.
Our third rental makes the sound of shifting tectonic plates when it brakes. We couldn't have anyone sitting in the passenger seat on our way down a desert mountain. I'm sure they're not interested in taking the car to a mechanic. If we have to do it ourselves, next time, I'll take my BMW. Surely hiring an extra mechanic to quality control the cars is cheaper than running them into the ground, and the corporate reputation with it. Might I suggest that the cost of giving quality service by maintaining cars and is less than the cost of healthcare after accidents have occurred?
The same tomfoolery goes on in headhunting. Human resources are churned and trashed through inefficiencies such as random relocation and reskilling. I know offices where ICT employees laugh their way through the afternoon making fun of recruiters who assume that everyone must suck up to them as they bombard the ICT employees with job opportunities.
One ICT professional I know claims to have discovered that recruiters actually respect you more if you exhaust them with silly questions about the opportunity they are presenting. He continued to get job offers after committing every faux pas, from asking if his mother could help him with a phone interview to cursing the recruiter out when asked to move to the other side of the world.
It's a simple formula. Why not hire people to listen to customers and maintain the database or merchandise? Not only would companies strengthen their reputations and become more competitive, but also the resulting full employment would make life more enjoyable for everyone.
J.L. Morin is the author of Trading Dreams, a humorous novel that unmasks prevailing hypocrisy and tosses misogyny onto the horns of the Wall Street Bull.
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