Omdahl: Let’s go, loafers; North Dakota needs you to work
OK, all of you retired slackers and able-bodied homeless. It’s time to step up to the plate for North Dakota.
We need to quit wasting taxpayer money advertising for tourists. We need workers more than lookers. We should scour the senior centers, nursing homes and homeless shelters with the message that North Dakota needs everyone working at one job, if not two.
Not only that, we should demand the AARP membership list from the National Security Agency so we can recruit those early loafers. Of course, NSA will deny having the list, but we know better.The newspapers are full of desperate calls for help from employers across the state, offering a range of opportunities for all ages and skills. As for me, I’m looking.The North Dakota tax commissioner is advertising for a property tax specialist. It shouldn’t be necessary to advertise this position; North Dakota has thousands of people who believe they are eligible for this job. You can’t walk down the street without meeting a dozen or so. Unfortunately, most of them don’t even know what a mill is.Walsh County is looking for a full-time correctional officer. Ruth says that she already is filling that job at home.Truck driver jobs in Dickinson, Williston and Watford City now are offering $80,000 plus $60,000 for living expenses. Most drivers think the salaries are OK, but the living expenses are a little meager.The restaurant chain called Noodles is hiring for all positions. I applied for all of them with the stipulation that I get to eat free.The Grafton State School is looking for a behavior modification specialist. To be eligible for this position, you must be able to say “No! You can’t do that” in a very authoritative voice. It won’t modify behavior, but it will make you employable.A western North Dakota company is looking for a plant manager. That is my kind of job. I told them I could handle most plants, but the cucumbers gave me trouble.They said that was not the kind of plant they had in mind, and suggested that I check with State Forester Larry Kotchman in the North Dakota Forest Service at Bottineau. The mughos need trimming.One town is advertising for a community manager. Bad advertisement! Manager is not a word we use in North Dakota because it rankles most people raised in our culture. We demand participation, not management.I have noticed that businesses looking for help lean heavily on the old employment rule used in government: the better the title, the lower the pay.For example, one organization is looking for a “building services technician.” It sounds good, but when you show up for work, they will tell you where the mop and pail are, and leave the rest to your initiative. If you can’t get the mop and pail together, you won’t last.Then another employer wants someone for the “culinary team.” That would be the third cook on the midnight shift.Most of the recruiting ads request motivated, energetic, experienced self-starters for $10.50 an hour. Everybody with those qualifications is on Wall Street getting annual bonuses of $12 million or in the state penitentiary for fraud. (Not much difference there.)I haven’t taken any of these positions yet, but I intend to help North Dakota in this job crisis as soon as the right match comes along. I am sure God has a match for me.
Omdahl is former North Dakota lieutenant governor and retired University of North Dakota political science teacher. Email him at email@example.com.