WORKERS AT THE UNEMPLOYMENT OFFICE
A Short Story
Written By Dr. Rick McGrath, Ph.D.
With unemployment being as high as it is recently, many workers spend hours each day at the unemployment office looking for work. With the economy and the decline in the real estate market that took place several years ago, construction workers, plus many others have gone without work. Everyone trying to pick up a day’s work here and there.
In our area we are seeing signs of some residential track projects getting under way again. A few here and a few there. Most of the Developers are only building smaller houses or finishing the tracks that they had started. In order for them to finish on time they need to have a full crew of workers everyday. Many of the projects underway have full time employees. Sometimes workers call in sick leaving the Project Manager in a bind.
Just the other day six workers called in sick. At the main office the phone rings. “Mr. Randy, this is John your Forman. Listen, we had six call outs today. In order for me to stay on schedule , I am going to need some help out here.”
“Ok, I’ll work on it,” said Mr. Randy. “I will stop by the unemployment office and see what I can do“.
Mr. Randy jumped in his truck and went to the unemployment office over on 4th and Elm street. After entering he saw three men with their utility belts on so he approached them.
“Hey, my name is Mr. Randy and I need some workers for the day. What is your experience in?”
“We are construction workers hoping to pick something up so we can pay our bills“, said one of the workers speaking for all three.
“Great!” said Mr. Randy. “Go over to Heavenly Way and ask for John, the Forman. Tell him I sent you. I will pay you each $200 for the day. How’s that sound?”
All three blurted out at the same time, “perfect and thank you. We’ll work hard for you!” Excited for a day’s work and good pay, they hurried to the job site and went to work.
Knowing his Forman needed a total of six workers, Mr. Randy sat around and waited for more workers to show up at the unemployment office that knew how to swing a hammer. Finally, several hours later around noon time, two fellows wearing utility belts walked in. Mr. Randy wasted no time and greeted them before they barely got in the door.
“Hey guys! I’m Mr. Randy and I have a building project going on a few miles away. I take it you’re here because you’re looking for work right?”
“Yeah“, said one of the men. “We were temporary day workers working for a housing project in Ridgecrest. The full time workers showed up this morning so we’re off the job.”
“No problem”, said Mr. Randy. “ I can sure use some help so go over to Heavenly Way and ask for John, the Forman. Tell him I sent you. I will pay you whatever is fair for your work. How’s that sound to you?”
“Yes Sir”, they both chimed out. Excited to pick up work so quickly they rushed over to their new job for the day trusting Mr. Randy would pay them for their work.
Mr. Randy was starting to worry. Still one short and getting late in the day, he just had to find one more worker to send to his Forman John. Now 2:30 P.M. in the afternoon, he continued to sit and wait. Almost ready to give up, he looked up and saw a short, thin man walking into the unemployment office. He quickly greeted him and asked him what skills and talents he had.
“Well Sir,” said the little fellow, not much really. I use to work at the Post Office sorting undelivered mail.”
“Let me ask you,” said Mr. Randy. “Are you willing to help pick and clean up wood at a construction site?”
“Oh yes” said the man.
By the way, my name is Mr. Randy and your’s is?”
“I’m Stan.” “Nice to meet you Stan. I need you to hurry over to Heavenly Way and ask for my Forman, John. Tell him Mr. Randy sent you. I will pay you whatever is fare. Ok?”
“Ok,” said Stan. With a smile on his face. Stan left walking quickly to his car and hurried to the job site.
Getting to be the end of the work day, now 5:00 P.M., Mr. Randy headed back out to the building site where as customary for him he pays each of his day workers on the spot.
“John,” called out Mr. Randy. “ Tell those six workers to come to my trailer and I will pay them.”
“Yes Sir Mr. Randy. Right away Sir“, said John.
John quickly told each of the six workers to go over to the office located in the trailer so they could pick up their pay. As the six workers gathered at the trailer, Mr. Randy instructed them to line up in this fashion.
“ I want Stan to line up first, then the two that came around noon, and finally the first three I hired to bring up the rear”. Not sure why Mr. Randy had requested them to do it that way, they followed his instruction.
“Stan, here’s two hundred dollars. You did a good job and I appreciate your help“.
Happy with his pay Stan said, “ Thank you Mr. Randy. If you need more help here’s my number.”
Mr. Randy called out, “Next!”
The two fellows that hired in around noon stepped up to the table and they too received two hundred dollars for their work.
Talking amongst themselves, the final three said, “ Wow! Those guys got two hundred dollars for their work and since they only put in a half day or less we should really get paid well!”
Mr. Randy asked the final three to step up to the table and receive their pay. “Thanks for helping out today,” said Mr. Randy. “It’s important that we stay on schedule. Here is the pay I promised you this morning.” Mr. Randy handed each of them two hundred dollars as agreed.
The three workers stood there almost stunned. Each had a very confused look on his face. Sensing something was wrong, Mr. Randy asked, “Something wrong guys?”
“Well, yes actually,” said one of the workers. “ We surely thought you would pay us much more since you paid everyone else the same. They didn’t work nearly as long as we did”.
Mr. Randy replied, “Friends, look I paid you as you agreed. Didn’t you say you were happy this morning with my offer to pay you each two hundred dollars for the day?“
“I didn’t do anything wrong here. Isn’t my money to do with what I want?”
“You shouldn’t think wrong of me because I did a good thing here.” “Go and be happy. I paid each of you more than the going rate for a day’s pay“.
“The last shall be first and the first shall be last.
For many have been called, but few chosen“.
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