Thursday, April 30, 2009

you want me to what?!?

this may be old hat to some of you gainfully employed big corporation type sons of bitches, but i just had to submit to my first ever drug test and frankly i'd like to know how in the world this qualifies as acceptable and legal behaviour? i know, i know, nobody wants a drug-addled freak making their cheeseburger and whatnot, but since when is my urine a thing that can be traded for a job? i'm confused. shouldn't things like, oh say, marketable skills, literacy, and a record of reliability and intelligence be prerequisites for employment as opposed to what i may or may not do in my spare time? actually, upon greater reflection, i should know from my experiences as a consumer that intelligence is clearly NOT a factor for holding down a job in this country...

don't get me wrong, my outrage is not related to any personal drug habit i have that i fear may keep me from passing...unless there is such a thing as an illegal amount of caffeine in your urine (in which case i'm totally fucked) there is no way i didn't pass the thing. i just have never been asked to pee into a plastic cup under tight security and then hand the open container of urine to a waiting attendant. frankly, it was humiliating (without being overly specific, it was the only time i have ever wished for a penis...well, and this time) and i felt extraordinarily bad offering my piss to another human being, whether or not that person was being paid to take it from my hand. and who gets into that line of work anyway? pee fetishists? germans, perhaps?

my issue with this process has more to do with privacy than anything else. when i'm at work my ass belongs to whoever is paying me to be there, and i take it very seriously and earn my paycheck like a good little worker bee. but as soon as i clock out, i belong to myself again, and what i do in those few hours of freedom should not be subject to scrutiny...right?

in my particular case, i am in the process of being hired as a pharmacy technician, so i DO understand that having a drug user in that area would be a big no-no. i'll be handling narcotics and opioids all day long and for someone with an addiction problem that would be the wrong (or right, if you look at it from another angle) line of work to get into. but i have an interesting observation to point out - i have been applying for many positions as a dental assistant in the past month (after all, that IS what my degree is in) and not one dental office has expected me to drug test. pardon? you mean medical professionals who can easily kill you with one tiny error aren't subject to drug screens, but a 7-11 employee isn't allowed to sell me cheetos unless he's a teetotaler? how does THAT make sense?

this whole little experience was very orwellian for me, and i am still sorting out exactly how i feel about it. on one hand, i have to have a job so taking some noble stance about not submitting to tyranny and privacy invasion would most likely do nothing except leave me sans job and starving in the street somewhere. and besides, getting all rosa parks and trying to change the system is probably an exercise in futility. but doing something i disagree with on a very intrinsic level for what amounts to money has left me with the distasteful feeling of being a prostitute. a creepy pee fetish serving prostitute. which actually probably pays a hell of a lot better than a pharm tech job. hmmmm.........