Random Acts of Ismael:

Bone to the Grind

            Hello once again residents of the only truly free, melting pot societyóthe internetóIím back with yet another piss and moan rant about things Iíve observed throughout the course of my life to prove to you all that I apparently have not done much with my life if this is all I can think to complain about.  Youíll never read anything from me complaining about my recent trip to the moon or some new thing or another that I discovered or invented or charted.  No.  You get me complaining about things that I know about.  And what do I know about?  Today, itís working like a slave to get just enough money to not go bankrupt.  Yeah!

A few months ago, I got a letter in the mail informing me that, due to my having been at my current job for ten years, I was invited to a celebratory function honoring all the grunts who have been loyal to the hospital for ten, fifteen, twenty or more years.  I was going to get a pin.  It probably would have had a cute number ten stamped on it, and it probably would have matched perfectly with the uniform they make me wear at work.  It probably wouldnít have had my name on it, or even my job titleóas it has changed three times since I started working there.  It probably would have been made of plastic and not lasted very long if I had actually had the lack of shame to wear it like a scarlet letter on my lapel as I worked. 

I say probably, because I never went to the stupid function, nor did I write a letter to them requesting the pin, nor did I inform my supervisors that I would not be showing up for this function in myóand two dozen other gruntsóhonor.  Hell, I practically quit on the spot.  And if I hadnít already been enrolled in college and hopefully, on the track to maybe salvaging the rest of my life, I probably would have done just that.  I would have been foolish, but I really would not have cared if I didnít have anything to look forward to, career-wise.

About this time, youíre all probably wondering what I actually do for a living.  Well Iím not going to tell you, except to say that I work in a hospital, have a union, and I basically do the shit-on-the-bottom-of-your-shoe level work, for the least amount of money. 

Ten years in the same crap of a job; it nearly blew my mind when I thought back to exactly how long that was.  I donít think Iíve done anything, except breath on my own and use the bathroom without diapers, for ten years or more.  I certainly never planned on staying in that job for so long.  It was supposed to be a part time thing; supposed to be temporary until I found something better.  Well, part time became full time back when I thought that the money they offered could actually afford me anything, and temporary became permanent when I realized that I was learning no skills worth a damn to any place else but that hospital or some other hospital.  Sure I could transfer to another hospital under my union, but then Iíd lose my seniority and run the risk of being laid off.  Iíd seen it happen to a lot of people, so much so that I honestly wonder whether management just brought people in from the outside, have them say they were transferred from other hospitals, just so that when theyíre fired, everyone will think twice about trying to transfer out. 

Ten years.  Iíve survived layoffs, cut backs, and a bunch of other things that basically mean someone is looking to save money at your assí expense.  Iíve survived when my old bosses got fired or reassigned or their positions got phased-out.  I survived when they promoted friends of mine to new positions that I was supposed to have applied for only to watch in horror as my friends were quickly laid off due to budget cuts.  I survivedÖand I learned.  I learned that they donít want you to leave.  They want you to stay, and itís best for you to stay where you are as far as theyíre concerned, until they no longer need you.  Then youíre fired or laid off or whatever the hell they call it.  But I did my job and kept my mouth shut and never caused a stir and when the downsizing came around, I ducked my head and hoped that no one noticed me enough to get rid of me. 

Does that sound like a way to work?  I didnít think so.  But thatís the way a lot of people work nowadays; and for what?  All I have to show for my ten years, is a TB exposure, a few bad rashes, two stabs from infected syringes, a bad back, carpal tunnel in my wrist, fu**ed up knees, way too much stress, low self esteem, three sets of ugly-ass uniforms, three title changes, four different bosses, incorrect checks, disappearing vacation time, andÖoh yeahÖa cute little, matching, plastic, ten-year pin waiting for me to claim whenever Iím ready.   



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