By Vernon A. Williams
In this country, there are more jobs than surnames – in terms of the variety of occupational fields available. Some require little or no education, but specific training. Others are academically intensive whether requiring a diploma, bachelors, or advanced degree.
The one common denominator for each of these jobs is a simple tool used in the selection process of hiring. It is called a job description. It sets out the particular expectations, qualifications and metrics by which to assess competency.
At your leisure, explore www.indeed.com and examine myriad vocations through which Americans contribute to the well-being of our great society with goods and services that accommodate our wide range of needs and desires.
There you will find a job description for administrative assistants, bartenders, biomedical engineers, cashiers, caseworkers, computer operators, data entry clerks, ER nurses, dermatologists, fire fighters, food services workers and attorneys – to name a few.
In each option, the job descriptions include a few common elements. They are:
- Job Title
- Job Summary
- Responsibilities and Duties
- Qualifications and Skills
- Company Mission, Culture and Benefits
While the details of job descriptions may vary tremendously, the essence of what characterizes expectation and performance provides a foundation.
Most Americans were shocked and greatly disappointed to discover in 2016 that there was no formal job description for the prestigious position of Leader of the Free World, President of the United States of America. That absence of criteria resulted in someone eminently UNQUALIFIED assuming the position, desecrating much that people of this country hold sacred and dear. It is the irony of all ironies in our national workforce.
Imagine, there are job descriptions for cosmetologists, fry cooks, custodians and dog walkers – but not the U.S. president; for truck drivers, hotel housekeeping staff, nuclear physicists and computer technicians – but not the president.
It is hard to imagine that a dry cleaning operator or pizza delivery person would have qualifiers and measurements for competency, when the person who literally is the push of a button away from casting the world into nuclear destruction, can just walk in off the street.
Never has this absence of standards been more blatant than in the current administration. The background of the occupant of the White House is that he was given $200 million as a child by his wealthy father and six times went bankrupt in his ensuing adulthood. Other than failing in business, he hosted a television reality show, “The Apprentice.”
That’s it. No previous public life as an elected or appointed authority on any subject. No record of paid or unpaid community service. His meteoric rise was unfathomable, fueled largely by a national white backlash rebutting the first Black presidency, growing frustration with the federal government, intense disdain for the Clintons, and inappropriate distractions by rogue FBI decision-making, and cyber-interference by Russia.
With all that, Agent Orange still mustered only a questionable Electoral College victory, losing the popular vote by more than 3 million. Doesn’t it feel a little undemocratic to marinate on that abysmal reality – that with all the stars aligned his way, in a perfect storm – 45 could only win by the implementation of devious measures.
Voters must be knowledgeable of, and adhere to higher standards for the presidency. As a public service, in an effort to avoid repeating this debacle, I present a template:
TITLE: President of the United States of America. Not dictator or emperor.
JOB SUMMARY: Enforce laws, treaties and court rulings – even the ones that upset your “base” or your sense of values. It’s not about you. Prepare the national budget with an eye on the needy – not the greedy. Serve as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces with recognition that you are NOT smarter than Generals and Admirals (when you never even served in the armed forces).
RESPONSIBILITIES AND DUTIES: Oversee the Executive Branch of government rather than campaigning for local causes and candidates. Act as Chief Foreign Policy Official without cozying up to autocratic foes of democracy while alienating traditional allies. Fulfill ceremonial duties – even when it is raining or when activities involve non-white cultures. Nominate qualified public servants and not cronies who wind up indicted or shamed.
QUALIFICATIONS: Preferably an advanced degree from a respected university. Experience in public office – preferably governor, Congress, or cabinet-level appointee. Such experience does not include, “…building really big buildings.”
WORK SKILLS & CHARACTERISTICS: Thorough knowledge and understanding of the Constitution – which requires actually reading it. Knowing the governmental pro- cess, strategic military tactics and foreign affairs and not running the three like your failed businesses. Demonstrate dynamic public speaking skills – avoiding name calling and using at least a high school-level vocabulary.
The President must be capable of accepting and overcoming negativity and rejection without tantrums or tweets; skilled at making tough and fair decisions in a timely manner. Most be even-tempered in highly-adversarial environments and capable of bridging ideological differences for the greater good. He or she must assume the mantle of leadership being a moral compass for society and the world; respectful of all people.
Next time around, we have to weigh the same considerations for the presidency that would apply to any executive position.
Standards must be high and include character, track records of behavior and demonstrated capacity for equity, diversity and inclusion.
This is a nation of immigrants and our leadership should reflect and not reject that principle.