ask palinode #12: roving employees

No one is more concerned with the plight of the worker than I am. If I had my Marxist way with the world, all the workers would be sitting in the plutocrats' palaces right now, eating lobster and drinking Grape Nehi, while those fatcat robber barons in their top hats and tails would be pulling carts and cleaning horse dung from the streets. That would dirty up their spats right quick, ha ha!

A recent question from Adrienne has led me to reëxamine* my views on labour relations. From the heart of the Federal District of the United States of Mexico, she asks:

Dearest Palinode,

My question is: Where must I post a Notice of Filing for a permanent labor certification for roving employees?

I look forward to your elucidation.


Well, first let us ask ourselves: what is a roving employee? The Merriam-Webster Wordbook defines an employee as "a person usually below the executive level who is hired by another to perform a service esp. for wages or salary and is under the other's control". Adrienne, you can forget about posting a Notice of Filing - a person who is under the control of another should not be roving. A person under control should be sitting still and minding their own business, not roving around like God's gift to the countryside.

Don't misunderstand me - I remain a strong advocate for worker's rights. But when someone pays you a living wage - provides sustenance for you and your family - is it too much to ask that you just keep still? And stop squirming around? And it's not only money that employers provide; why just today I discovered two packages of candy Rockets on my desk. Each packet contains 7.4 grams of candy, most of which is nutritious sugar. Sneer if you will, you Stalinists, but a 14.8 gram portion of candy is just the thing for my wife and five children. I can even send a bit to my brother, who is currently suffering a term in the workhouse for his displays of sloth and penury.

In today's world, business seems to outpace even the steam locomotive. We live in a chaotic age, when a man in the financial trades may wager the worth of Holland against the fortunes of a Rhodesia-bound packet. Your nest egg and rosy future plans can evaporate in an instant if you've committed your funds unwisely. Then you're broke, unemployed (because who wants to have broke people coming in to the office? Their smell of misery is bad for morale), and forced to find income elsewhere. You "rove" to new employers, new neighbourhoods, new cities. Sometimes you rove all over your country without success. Then you rove over the border in the trunk of a cab, or you rove in a raft to the southern Florida shores.

My feeling is, if you're employed and roving at the same time, you've got a little too much time on your hands. Time that your employer is paying for. Just like the unauthorized reproduction of zoetrope entertainments, stealing time from employers is a crime.

Nonetheless, in today's challenging and flexible business world, it may be necessary for a clerk to deliver a bond to Portsmouth. In time, you may find that the clerk's chief employment is in the delivery and receipt of articles in the field, in which case he is indeed a roving employee and a credit to his firm. I hardly need point out that for such tasks you need a man of unimpeachable character. I can tell you from personal experience that it is one thing to murder a night-soil man, but entirely another to pilfer moments from the workday in a tea-shop or opium den.

In these exceptional cases, it is appropriate to post the Notice of Filing at Head Office, where one can reasonably expect the employee to return. For employees whose roving is undesirable, it is best to post the notice on a heavy wooden board, which is then hung about the neck of the employee as he walks the streets of the downtown, pursued by laughing mobs and stung by whips. Only then will we achieve a fair and balanced solution to the problem of labour relations.

*You see what I did there, with the diaresis? That's soooo cool. I am no nerd, no way, please keep reading me, I'm begging you.

Do you have a question that deserves a sound beating with knowledge? Email me at askpalinode @ gmail . com.