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About Work

January 9, 2016

I have to be very careful in a blog entry about work so that I don’t get fired for saying the wrong things, but I thought I’d provide a few insights.  First, I make $12.60 an hour, which is not enough to live on in New York City, but the shelter staff wants me to move out, even if paying for a room might make paying for my storage unfeasible, and my stuff is not going to fit inside a little room.  I’ve been told that the staffing service makes as much at the job as we do, so it’s really a $25 an hour job, and there have been people temping there for four and a half years, so the prospect of becoming a full employee with benefits seems nil.

My immediate supervisor is really nice, but if you try to bring anomalies to her attention, she repeats it back to you, but re-configuring it as if the situation is normal.  I don’t know if this is a language barrier, but I know it isn’t me, because other people have had the same problem with her.  Her supervisors favorite thing to say is “Do it however you want, just get it done.”  This is a sensitive area, so I’ll let the reader interpret my feelings about this without stating more than that the way he says things with an air that reminds me of Stan Freberg’s “Green Christmas.”

I don’t want to reveal their names without their consent, but among my fellow temps are an aerospace engineer and a comic book artist (some of whose work is in my collection, but he was not credited for colorist work while at Valiant doing Nintendo comics).  The aerospace engineer’s story is almost identical to mine–a very low rate of responses to job applications, relocation for a job that didn’t pan out (in fact, because it took him three days to get from New York to Mesa, Arizona, his job was given to the second choice, a Navajo who was local.  This is reminiscent of the YouTube story about the engineer who traveled to Boston for a job only to find that it had been given to someone else, and he ended up homeless (and plenty of commentators have insisted his is a substance abuser because they know nothing about homelessness except stereotypes).  This engineer is not homeless, but he says he’s a paycheck away.

The comic book artist has dealings with HRA being in breach of contract, as they continue to be with me.  He kept showing them a document that shows that people of a certain age are entitled to SNAP benefits, and they kept saying that their income was too high even though his wife, who is a little older than he is, was eligible for the benefits based on what was stated in writing.  They’ve always been financially struggling, and SNAP benefits would help them eat better.

He has story after story about incompetent supervisors and employed people.  For example, the High Society publisher who made all his employees wear suits into the building for a job at a skin rage and who accused him of not being a team player for not playing sports on a company trip when he has a heart murmur.  He also had horror stories about incompetent paramedics who claimed that his neighbor, who died as a result, was saying “incoherent numbers,” which were his address and the phone number of an emergency contact after he slipped and fell when he was dropped at the wrong building.  Another time, he was picking up his wife at the train station and saw an old lady slip and fall and bust her head open.  The only way he got emergency responders to the scene was by having a kid tell the fire department he thought she was dead.  When the cops arrive, the idiots kept asking him who she was, and he didn’t know.  The cop said he should have gone through her purse to get her ID.  The artist told the cop that was an idiot, that that was the cop’s job and a very foolish thing for him to do with the cops coming for a woman bleeding from her head.  I responded to his story by saying he probably would have wound up dead faster than Tamir Rice if she had done what the cop wanted him to have done.  He sees my supervisor’s supervisor as indicative of the Peter Principle, as one might guess by his own admission not knowing the best way to organize what he asks us to organize.

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