I'm Unemployed Again.....Or Maybe Not

As you scroll through the videos in my blog, you'll come to the April 7th video of me conversing with my now former boss, Yvette. I began working for her on April 21st of this year. A friend actually stumbled upon the job and told me about it. The same friend had given me a cell phone with 200 minutes a week or so earlier and told me that he couldn't keep buying me minutes. I would have to find a way to pay for the minutes myself. He was surprised when I accepted the job, with me having not held a steady job in the 11 months that he had known me at that time. He'd given me the phone so that I could step up my homeless advocacy by being easier to contact and had now found a way for me to keep up the payments.

I would end up working for Yvette's cleaning service -- Housewarming, LLC -- for four and a half months. Housewarming, LLC which was contracted to clean the Developing Families Center in NE Washington, DC. Though I only made $7/hour and worked 20 hours/week, it paid for the phone and a few other modest expenses like public transportation. Other people and I have become accustomed to me being easier to reach now. I don't know if I'll be able to adjust to not having a phone again, if that should ever be the case.

I was known to work hard. Some might even argue that I gave Yvette more than her money's worth. Being that the company doesn't use time cards, most employees were assumed to have worked 4 hours per night. In actuality, we often went slightly over the four-hour mark; because, no part of the job could be left undone. Other employees and I have done work that we didn't get paid for. One might ask "why?" Well, in most cases, it only amounted to about 15 minutes per night or $1.75. In addition to that, the job fell into a time slot that worked perfectly for me -- 6 to 10 PM, M-F. I guess you can say that I was brown-nosing because of the fact that the job was a perfect fit. It allowed me to do my homeless advocacy during the day and earn enough money to support my efforts in the evening.

However, there was a particular employee named Darryl whom I just couldn't stand. He was the type to always have a chip on his shoulder. No matter what a person might ask of him, he had an attitude. Well, after four and a half months, he and I finally had some words when I confronted him about his attitude and we both got fired. Others at DFC thought that the firings were beyond reason and that we should've received write-ups at most. Se la vie. I'd actually only asked him for the keys, being that I was coming into work and he was preparing to leave in 30 minutes. He got an attitude about it and I decided not to let him get away with his ways anymore. I never get along with his type. That's my undoing. If people push me long enough, I give them what they're looking for.

Our argument took place on Thursday, September 3rd. I worked on September 4th and returned on Tuesday the 8th only to find out that Friday had been my last day. I was fired on my day off. I turned in my uniforms on the 18th and have yet to get my week-in-the-hole payment.

This, of course, raises questions about what I plan to do now and if I'll ever come to accept the type of behavior that Darryl exhibited if and when I find another job. well, I will take some time off and enjoy the money that I was smart enough to save. I'll probably look for work beginning in October. I'll re-contact people about jobs that were offered to me when I was still working. I'll catch up on some of my homeless advocacy -- especially my backlog of e-mails. I've already begun to revisit people that I haven't seen in months and to re-involve myself in certain social justice issues where the groups generally meet in the evening. As for putting up with bad behavior, I'm not sure that I'll ever develop a knack for doing that.

As a point of interest, I have reason to believe that the job might not have been entirely legit. I always got paid in cash. (One time I was paid with a counterfeit $100 bill, which Yvette blamed on the Bank of America. BoA is no angel either.) I was always given carbon copies of the pay slip. I was charged $10/wk to have my uniforms washed by the uniform company. No taxes were taken out. (I probably would've been tax-empt anyway.) I'm not sure that I was ever reported to the IRS as having been her employee. In my spare time, I might look into these matters and consider litigation. Ironically, the person who found this job for me works for the Dept. of Employment Services, which is part of DC Government.

I'd be remiss if I didn't address the issue of the employability of homeless people as a whole. Fact of the matter is that homeless people develop a mentality of their own. The same can be said about cops, politicians, lawyers, gays, immigrants and many other groups. However, one of the most common elements of the homeless mentality is their unwillingness to take any mess. Having learned to live with little or nothing, the homeless are often not afraid of losing a job. This enables them to tell the boss to "take this job and shove it up.....sideways!!!!!" In this matter, I'm no exception to the rule. I actually consider myself to have good conflict-resolution skills; but, Darryl was not one for much conversation. That rendered my conflict-resolution skills useless.

It may turn out that homeless advocacy and other forms of social justice are the only things that I'm suited for, since they involve getting upset with the powers that be about various injustices that are being perpetrated against the poor and the voiceless. This is a use of anger that few would disagree with. It makes sense for me to choose a profession that makes use of my natural abilities and getting angry at wrong-doing comes naturally to me. It is with this truth in mind that I say,"I'm unemployed again.....OR MAYBE NOT!!!!!"

Finally, I'd like to remind people that DC Mayor Adrian Fenty was a no-show at a community meeting that was held at the Developing Families Center on September 4th, though he'd promised to attend. He had several reasons for not wanting to be there. The Trinidad community where it is located was put on lock-down by the police twice last year, about which people are still upset. The poor of DC generally hate this bourgeois, capitalist mayor anyway. And he knew that I was working there, since he gets my e-mails in four of his accounts. Maybe now that I no longer work there, he'll go to the next community meeting. If he does, that'll give me something to laugh about insomuch as it will make it look as though he was avoiding me.

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