image On page six of “The Week” July 30th 2010 issue, in the “Controversy of the Week” you’ll find the title “Why Aren’t Company’s Hiring?”

There is a VERY simple answer to this question.

Medium and large size companies are not hiring back their company morons and do-nothings. And they never will. The recent economic downturn gave every company that wanted it the opportunity to let go of persons who did absolutely nothing for them.

If you could go into most offices with a truth serum and forcibly inject everyone in the room, and then ask them to point at the person who did no work all day every day, they would all do it. Or at least they would have done it in the past. The people those “forcibly truthful” employees would have pointed out are now gone. They are not coming back.

Every company above a certain size used to have within it at least a few employees who had mastered the art of doing everything-but-work. In the company I used to work for, one of those people was Cubicle Oprah. This person managed to spend seven of every eight hours talking to her fellow employees in the office or to her children over the phone. If one had put a camera next to her desk and reviewed the tape of any given work day, the compilation of her actual working time would have been shorter than a typical American situation comedy television show.

I’ve been told by former workmates that the second the economy turned sour, Cubicle Oprah was laid off. And that is no surprise. The managers of the office knew just as well as the employees that Cubicle Oprah did no work every day. Of course, with labor laws the likes of which are common in America, no one in the company had the balls to just walk up and tell Cubicle Oprah to get to work. But when the economy tanked and everyone else started to do it, the managers gladly let Cubicle Oprah go.

Another person who had mastered this incredible “no-work” talent was Mr. Phone. Again, almost every medium or large working group will have a person like Mr. Phone. Of any given eight hour day, Mr. Phone manages to spend 6 to 7 hours talking on his cell. Everyone in the office knows this. Mr. Phone does not actually work for the company or with the group, he spends time in the company’s space and talks on the phone. When the economy provided the company with an opportunity, they let Mr. Phone go. And he is not coming back.

NPR Economics correspondent Paul Solman, quoted in Newshour, Sep. 2009:

“No wonder productivity soared in the second quarter of the year, fewer workers, more output, higher productivity.”

Oh, you bet, Mr. Solman. Those people who actually have jobs, and actually work while they are at their jobs, are being more productive than ever. For two decades (or more) no one worried too much about being perceived as the office’s Cubicle Oprah or Mr. Phone. Not so with the present time and most likely not in the future.

The age of getting paid to do nothing is over, and it may never come again.

Now get back to work – before you get laid off.