Saturday, March 1, 2008

Where Do You Work, Mr. Delano?

A girl I'm talking to online was asking me about my work, which has been affecting the nurghal* stream here, as previously noted. The nurghal must flow! So, I get multiple uses out of the same bricks of text explaining my recent activities. Frugal!

Huh? My story? Okay. It was never easy for me. I was born a poor black child. No wait-- that's Steve Martin from "The Jerk." I don't think we need to go back that far, anyway. Let's just say it's been a hard knock life. My nomadic upbringing was hell on my education, so I'm not degreed, and therefore my options have been limited to sales and drudgery. After I spent 11 years in sales, and found myself burnt out, so I began temping in the field of serfdom. After a couple of years I'd had enough, and committed to taking a couple of months off to become a Certified Nurse Aide. However, I soon realized this wasn't much of an accomplishment, as getting a CNA is maybe a hair more difficult than a GED. Also, during clinicals, I realized the work was more soul crushing than serfdom, due to maintaining the imitation of life at nursing homes. I still thought I could stick it out while going for an LVN, but only experienced Aides can make the "top money" of 25-30K a year, and I'd be stuck with a lousy $8 an hour with no likelihood of overtime. I could make more than that sitting on a phone as a debt collector, which is what I was hired to do at a job fair.

Working in a tall building while wearing nice clothes was a change of pace, though I felt disdain for a good many of my coworkers. I never had the heart to shake down cancer patients for money do to Zales Jewelers or Home Depot, but could have scraped by indefinitely with the lotto system in place at the agency (x hundred calls a day is bound to score at least y money per the law of averages.) I hated the physical inactivity and, y'know, the loathsome circumstances, so when another job fair was being advertised, I felt a pull. January is a good month to "motivate" employees with panic over money not collected over the holidays, and my turn happened to come up on the afternoon right before the end of shift and the day before the job fair. "You have to ask yourself, 'am I a debt collector?'" I said, "honestly, you know, I'm not." We then began a process of my director employing every manipulative trick we were taught to use on debtors to keep me from quitting, and my steadfastly arguing that it would be best that I pack it in. I won.

However, I forgot my cell phone, and I had some DVDs I'd promised to burn for my now ex-coworkers, so I returned the next morning. I wanted to just run in and out, so I parked my car at a Jack In The Box, and it was likely towed before I'd made it to the elevator. I relied on the kindness of strangers to get to a bank and pay the cash fee to the towing company for my car. This turned out to be an issue, because while my credit is great, I was a tad cash poor before losing the car, and now had to scrounge up bread to pay my roommate rent before the end of the month. I was less than pleased with my prospects at the fair (selling funeral plots/Green Mountain energy/etc.) I did run into the VP of the collection agency, who called out to me to tell me about my forgotten cell phone and express regret at my departure. That was nice, but it wouldn't pay the rent, unless I wanted to crawl back to debt collection. Instead, I crawled back to temporary serfdom.

So now I'm working 12+ hour days, 5-6 days a week, helping in the construction of cylinders and tubing for use in Slushee machines. After the first week of standing for 95% of that time, my legs didn't ache so much. I'm constantly cutting myself, as the shop is pretty low rent, and doesn't seem concerned about meeting any OSHA standards (nor several Texas state mandated employment benefits, sadly.) I don't hate myself for doing it, and it'll help replenish my bank account until I figure out my next step. My stepfather was an Al Bundy type, returning home every day to cry, cuss and moan about his day. I always swore I wouldn't do that, and I don't, but relating my general circumstances seems like a good idea. Hopefully, it had some entertainment value, as well. I'm struggling to be brief, as I'm fond of tangents and color commentary. Some stories tell better than they read, and I expect this is one of them, but this is the medium I'm working in right now. I'm just trying to make the best of it in the time available.

* I actually tried several variations of "nurgle/nurghle/etc." and found various oddities associated with those terms on Google. I'm afraid the Tiny Titan blog is covered in nurgh sauce, per the image search.

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