by Doctor Science
It is an exciting week Chez Science, because Sprog the Elder is about to start a FULL TIME JOB. WITH BENEFITS. IN HER CHOSEN FIELD. (Said field being "library and book work". Because "best-selling novelist" isn't something a sensible person *counts* on ...)
It's taken almost a year and half of temporary work, part-time work, and answering ad after ad after ad. And living at home again, because she couldn't afford anything else.
We are *so* relieved and proud of her -- the number of her friends who've found full-time employment is shockingly low. Many have fled to grad school, hoping to ride out the recession without going (further) into debt peonage. It's terribly hard on an entire generation: Sprog read Krugman's End This Depression Now! and it actually *cheered her up*, because "he talks about reality as we know it, instead of brushing it off as Kids These Days whining."
For this job, as for the other full-time (but temporary) job she's had, she had to have a pre-employment drug screening.
I hadn't realized how normal these things had become -- I thought of them as being only for certain jobs, like working in a hospital or operating machinery. My husband and I have just been doing consulting or contract work for the last decade or so, and we haven't encountered anything like this. He has to have a background check every year, because he does part-time work as a coach working with young people, but he's never been tested for drugs.
In googling about for info, I am informed that this practice is because
Alcohol and drug abuse creates significant safety and health hazards and can result in decreased productivity and poor employee morale. It also can lead to additional costs in the form of health care claims, especially short-term disability claims.However, the tests don't screen for alcohol, which in my experience is far more likely to be a problem in the workplace than other, illegal drugs.
So I have some questions for those of you who are more in touch with the workforce than I
- How long has this been going on?
- What do you think are the major forces driving it: pressure from customers or clients? Liability? Pressure from worker's comp or medical insurance companies? Government pressure?
- Do you think it makes any difference? Does it really reduce problems in the workplace?
- Does it actually screen many people out? Is this "Drug Testing Theater", like the TSA's Security Theater? -- and if so, who is the audience?