Empty Cereal Box

Views From Inside an Adoptee

April 25, 2006

Vanilla Hops Bukatski

RIP Vanilla Hops Bukatski: Me in a former life.

Earlier this month I wrote a post entitled Unemployable. But I didn't get into what it means to me to feel completely dysfunctional when it comes to getting hired as a reasonably competant employee. Every adult is expected work, right? To help augment family income so that there's food in the fridge, four walls, a roof, a bed, and (most important of all) a toilet and running water? I'm talking the bare minimum that proves to everyone that you aren't living on the streets.

It's true. I've worked for brief periods throughout my life, but just about every job felt like a rape of my time and whatever was left of my tattered personhood. Besides V.H. Bukatski, I've always related to Maynard G. Krebbs. In case you aren't as old as dirt and don't have a clue what I'm talking about, Maynard G. Krebbs was the loose-limbed, goateed beatnik played by Bob Denver (aka Gilligan from Gilligan's Island) on a 1960s television sitcom called Dobie Gillis. Whenever someone mentioned the "w" word around Maynard, he'd cringe in horror and squeak, "Work. Work!?"

Just to prove I'm not a complete deadbeat, some of my jobs since high school included:
  • sales clerk in a florist shop (lasted two days)
  • cashier in variety store (lasted three weeks)
  • gas station attendant (lasted three months)
  • swamp cooler pad maker (piecemeal work) in August in Tucson Arizona
  • factory resin pourer (making fake stained glass windows)
  • fieldwork picking bell peppers with undocumented labor (where's MY document?)
  • pizza cook at Roundtable Pizza
  • cook at Denny's Restaurant (couldn't flip eggs, so never got promotion)
  • taught middle and high school English at two private schools (made about $5 per hour and no benefits)
  • taught adult education in vocational training program (company bellied up)
  • taught high-risk juveniles at a "mental" facility where faculty got physically attacked regularly
  • did a stint as a phone psychic (don't ask me if I'm psychic)
  • typed briefs and answered phones at a large daily newspaper (editor told me I'd never be a reporter, so I quit)
  • freelanced as a reporter for a weekly (but made about $5 per hour)
It's not that I'm allergic to work like Maynard. No, it's more that I never had a support system in place that encouraged me to feel worthy enough to set an alarm clock, squeeze into (blech!) panty hose, a skirt and blouse, spend an hour in front of the mirror, and commute through seas of traffic moving two miles an hour to sit in a cubicle and type briefs and answer phones for some corporation whose CEO and upper management own mega mansions and 15-car garages so that I can make enough money to pay income taxes that support an illegal war, to pay a bank for bloat-valued real estate that I don't really own, and fund two children's WAY over-priced education in a system that trains them to fall into line, rinse and repeat.

No, I've always felt incompetent, short-sighted, unorganized, non-self-starting, confused, clumsy, and downright stupid when it comes to fitting myself into the workplace. I don't know if that comes from being an adoptee or if that's a leftover from my former life as V.H. Bukatski.

May Day is coming up. I spent some time reading up about the Haymarket Riots and learned that May 1 is celebrated as a holiday all over the world EXCEPT in the country where the historic event took place: in the U.S. Why doesn't that surprise me?

Well, okay. Maybe I AM allergic to work. My take on wage work is that it is dehumanizing, unethical, and degrading on every level. Sure, everyone needs money in a system that places it at the center of everything. And as long as everything on earth is valued in terms of money, nothing is going to change and I'm going to continue to break out in a severe phobic-induced rash every time R shoves the classifieds across the table and says, "I found a couple jobs in here you should take a look at." Funny. Ever since we've been married he's always found reasons for me to quit jobs I've held. But now that it's going to cost close to the equivalent of the national debt to pay for two college educations, I'm feeling, well, very squirmy. I think it's time to find some beer and cigarettes and a nice comfy place on the sidewalk.

3 Comments:

Anonymous sam said...

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25.4.06  
Blogger HeatherRainbow said...

I here ya Marie. I just re-entered the job market and have to hold myself back from wanting to do everything they advise. (Like, going back to school to become an RN so I can work for them for 50 hours a week, their exact words.) Suffice it to say, I only want to work Per Diem, so I can take time off whenever I want. No benefits, the pay is crap, so I'm not sure how long this will last...

Anyways, yes, the job market is a devaluement of our whole social relationships in society. They didn't even ask me how much I was expecting to make, they told me. It's nothing. Well, enough bitchin'.... lol...

25.4.06  
Anonymous scotty said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

25.4.06  

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