I, for some reason, keep an eye on what the hottest job markets are. I admit, I don’t have much interest or talent in either computer sciences or neurosciences which always seem to be at the top of the list, but there’s a new one that has been gaining in popularity recently. It’s in the news all the time and I’m obsessed with it: The “Suspended With Pay” career.
You know sometimes you read online news articles and there are pieces missing?: An important detail or something’s misspelled or a word has been inadvertently omitted. That’s really what I thought was happening the first few times I saw that someone had been: “Suspended WITH Pay”. But it couldn’t possibly be a typo over and over again, news story after news story, could it? It turns out it’s not a typo. It’s a career path.
And I think you have to have a pretty decent job to nab the coveted “Suspended with Pay” status. I mean, if you work at Burger King taking orders and they catch you sticking your hand in the till and shoving cash under your paper crown, you wouldn’t get suspended with pay. You probably wouldn’t even get suspended without pay. They would just “have it their way” and dethrone your ass out the door.
But if you have a more important job… or at least a better paying job or maybe just a more high profile job… and you steal a few million or do something just a little heinous like making a right turn through a family while you were texting a friend that your blood alcohol level was around 12, or moonlighting as the director of a Meth lab, or if your constituents voted for public funds to open a hospital cancer wing and you gave it to your brother-in-law to buy a jet, or if you’re a top linebacker in the NFL and you didn’t like the furniture your wife brought home so you broke it over her face, or you touched somebody’s bathing suit while they were wearing it without them giving you the go-ahead. Apparently the appropriate punishment for all of these crimes is: “Suspension WITH Pay”.
Of course I understand this is all while the accused are presumed innocent until proven guilty. I’m just wondering how they manage to never sign, on the day they’re hired, what I always sign: The “At-Will” policy with the words “At-Will” prominently displayed, circled and highlighted. It basically says what Lou Grant said to Mary Richards on the first episode of the Mary Tyler Moore show: “If I don’t like you, I’ll fire you! If you don’t like me… I’ll fire you!”
So let’s sum up, shall we? I can do some crime so horrific that neither AOL nor TMZ can show the video footage and then, let’s say I’m out on bail… Maybe even on house arrest… I can sit on my couch eating ice cream and watching a Murder She Wrote marathon all day every day with no worries about not being able to afford the ice cream or my cable being turned off because my direct deposit will continue to flow peacefully into my bank, right on time, on the 15th and the 30th of every month. And it will take probably a year before the case comes to trial… Hmmm… I’ve always thought it would take me about a year to write my next book. Perfect… It’s Kismet… It’s Karma. My home can become my very own artist’s retreat. Who needs “Go Fund Me”? My job will bankroll my writing career.
Suspended with pay… Some call it a punishment. I call it a promotion.