RE: Writing / Drug Tests

Subject: RE: Writing / Drug Tests
From: "Higgins, Lisa" <LHiggins -at- carrieraccess -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 20 Oct 2000 12:44:52 -0600

> Waste of time. Because technical writing is really only about
> 1/4 writing and 3/4 being able to gather, manipulate, and comprehend
> information. Lots of people have excellent grammar and spelling but are
> technical writers. Sorry, but writing just is not that important.
> Writers who do not have the brainstem power to handle complex information
> make it useful will pass writing tests with flying colors but bomb when it
> to dealing with a complex document.

This is true. Writing tests cover a small percentage of the skills you need
to be a good tech writer. The skills that writing tests look for happen to
be among my stronger points, so I pass them with flying colors. I can easily
feature someone tanking a writing test, but having other abilities that
would make them at least equal in competence.

The only thing I think they may accurately measure is outright, baldfaced

> If you don't do drugs, what the hell do you care? Invasion of privacy?
Give me
> a break. There is no such thing as privacy. It is an illusion people
create to
> make themselves feel "special". If I wanted to I could hijack virtually
> anybody's identity with just a few phone calls and letters. Privacy is a
> in today's world. Ultimately - nobody really cares about you and that is
> keeps your secrets private.

Well, for me, it's a dual issue. First, my employers are just that. They do
not own me, and as such, I don't feel obliged to provide them with my bodily
fluids. It's degrading, dehumanizing, and presumptuous. My personal beliefs
are that the War on Some Drugs is a travesty. It's stupid, it's patronizing,
and it's Unamerican, and I think those who buy into it are naive and easily
swayed--not qualities I look for in an employer. I don't have a problem
passing a drug test, assuming the results are accurate. I do have a problem
with a company that sees fit to treat me like chattel and eye me with
suspicion for no reason. Besides, if those robber barons want to drink my
urine, they can danged well pay for it just like everyone else.

Second, to me, drug testing shows poor judgement and poor money management.
Lab testing is expensive and unreliable, with little real value. And even if
it were 100% reliable, it would still only catch those who were unable to
abstain for the short amount of time drugs stay in the body. I'm guessing
that's a pretty tiny minority of the people who make it through a couple
rounds of interviews. I asked a nurse who administered drug tests for a
large technical company how many positives she'd seen. She'd done literally
thousands of drug tests on potential employees over a couple of years, and
she'd seen exactly *one* positive. One. Even assuming that the guy would
have proved a completely unreliable employee (big assumption), the company
would've saved a lot of money by just hiring him and keeping him on the
payroll. I'd just as soon have a company I work for spending its money
playing craps or something.

> If you do drugs, then don't be surprised when the world rejects you. I
don't want > druggies working at my company either. Take the test or
> get lost. If it wasn't for whacked out loser suing companies for billions,

> you wouldn't have to take such tests.

Wait a minute. People's lives have been ruined by false positives. What
about that guy who couldn't race in the Tour de France because he failed a
drug test after drinking safe, legal herbal tea? He can't exactly call a
Tour de France do-over, can he? He's not the only one, either. Every time
you see these statistics showing that the majority of positives are
accurate, remember that each false positive is some innocent person whose
life was disrupted to some degree. That is not an 'acceptable' loss,
particularly for so nebulous a gain.

Take your own advice, Andrew. "Druggies" and "whacked out losers" are even
easier to detect than bad writers and people with poor work ethics.

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