October '13

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Last Laugh by Dan Danbom |||| Pre-Screen Screening W hen I took the pre-employment urine test for my job, I naturally thought of Ronald Reagan. You may remember that President Reagan was in ofDan Danbom is a former speech-writer and communication manager fice when these sorts of tests became commonplace. He whose freelance work has been published worldwide. His book reviews took one himself and, going one step further, self-graded for a number of publications have motivated thousands to give up it and declared himself fit for duty. reading. Nonetheless, he continues to write and is also a principal in There followed a groundswell among American busiDanbom & Sons Books, an online bookstore headquartered in Denver. nesses to administer such tests to prospective employees. This led to a rush to train urine-test monitors, where they The search to find employees who are were taught to listen for the sounds of fraudulent urine-giving, which we all would not druggies or criminals is never-endagree is certainly among the lowest forms of criminality. This stuff about training urine ing. A company called Background Bumonitors is true. reau, Inc. puts its logo on clients' doors Trainers played tapes of the natural sounds the monitors could expect to hear, as well to warn job applicants that their backas the sounds created by people who cheated with their specimens by smuggling into grounds will be checked, with special the testing areas sample-substituting agents—such as easily-concealed spider monkeys— attention paid to felons. whose sounds on tape are clearAccording to the president ly discernible to the trained of the company, many job ear. I remember thinking that applicants see this logo and this must have required a walk away in defeat. The "must-see" recording session company may soon want to and wondering what sort of consider narrowing the field pre-employment testing would of applicants even further by be applied to Specimen Listenadding "louts, shirkers and ing Technicians. And what do miscreants" to its warnings. you think they tell people they Some companies use psydo for a living? Maybe, I'm kind chological tests and handof a pathologist? writing analysis to screen I'm the first to say that it is applicants. Once I was given important not to have incompea Rorschach test. I looked tent or unqualified or chemicalat the blob-like figure and ly-debilitated employees. I want said that it reminded me of the people I do business with to stolen office supplies. Then, have all their faculties. For inthey asked me for a handstance, I take great satisfaction writing sample and forwardwhen visiting fast-food restaued it to the Boulder police. rants to notice that the employAnyway, the results of my ees there are constantly held to a urine test were mixed. I did standard of excellence. okay on the physical part If you look into food prepabut, because I was changing ration areas in these restaurants, jobs and insurance plans, the insurance you'll see that there are schematic illustrations to remind employees how to assemble, for company payment for the test was nevexample, hamburgers. They show a floating bun top over a floating meat segment, which, er made. So the testing company turned in turn, floats over a floating bun bottom, in that way ensuring that you can count on not my account over to—this is wondergetting a hamburger with meat on top of two bun parts or a burrito containing french ful—a collection agency. fries. Most fast-food restaurants have assembly instructions for all menu items except packpw ets of ketchup, which, thankfully, come pre-assembled. 112 | Printwear PW_OCT13.indd 112 October 2013 9/17/13 10:47 AM

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