(Jobs! Jobs! Part 2, cont.)




Jobs!  Jobs Everywhere!

September 11, 2001

Real Estate!

The Candy Factory

The General Store

The Post Office 

The Home Depot


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Related links: 

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Service Employees' International Union

Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York

Center for Law & Social Policy

CLASP Article: "When Workers Get Sick"


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 


Public School Issues:

Principals' Joint Statement to Legislature

American Federation of Teachers: salary survey


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Gambling info links:

Tribal Casino Worker Safety

Casino Workers Unionize

National Council on Problem Gambling

Gamblers' Anonymous 

Gambling Addictions on Rise

Gambling and Suicide

Boston NPR on Science of Addiction

Harvard-Cambridge Research on Addictions



Lotteries and Addiction

CBC on Lottery Addiction

Teacher's eminently successful daughter put it best when she exclaimed, "mOMmm! I would NEVER think of moving somewhere without first having a really good JOB lined up!" She was correct, of course, but Teach was dealing with some messy logistics. How does one body empty a 2400 sq. ft. house crammed with fourteen years' accumulation, sell it, and haul the remnants nearly 100 miles, WHILE employed 100 miles away? It was a conundrum. The little teacher opted to take her chances on the One-Thing-At-A-Time approach. A good idea. Laboring seven days a week, the undertaking took up the better part of two months.

But Mom WAS right in the end, wasn't she? Once the grueling move was over...La voila! Not only was she hired instantly by the homiest, most popular restaurant in the new area, but several piano students also materialized from out of nowhere. And the School District hired her (again instantly) for sub work, as well. She really was going to be fine.

Wasn't she.

Well, let us commence with the restaurant, Diesel's American Kitchen (not its real name, keep reading). "Hired instantly"-- everybody's dream--does carry a few hazards. Teach had the last part of Friday rush-hour to drive twenty-five miles to the nearest shopping center, in order to buy the black slacks and non-slip shoes required for the job. Mission accomplished, she arrived at work the next day to find no training manager on duty. Not to worry. A master at public relations, our little maitre d' muddled through her Gracious Hostess duties with the help of a few hard-pressed employees. She was a little surprised to learn that Vivian, her primary coach and a Diesel's employee of six years, was still earning the same $7.50/hr wage that Teacher would be earning. But that wasn't what led Teacher to make a fast exit, after just three days. Neither was the clientele, which comprised every level of the social stratum, going heavy on Pillars of the Community. No.

  It was the famously yummy-making kitchen.  And galley. Non-slip shoes didn't even WORK, there. Teacher had waitressed in decades past, so it wasn't as though she'd been expecting a hospital. (She might have thought twice, however, when the hiring manager walked in to the interview on crutches.) But she had never seen anything like this.

Gooey, ketchup-soaked napkins and dishes slathered in grease mingled cozily with newly washed glassware. The walls, cupboards, floors, counters and stove of the kitchen lay barely visible under bloody meat scraps, splattered egg, fresh produce, dough, and grease--above all, GREASE--all blended in an outstanding display of combustive creativity. Neither breaks nor lunches were allowed for the prisoners incarcerated therein (unless they docked their hours), so one exhausted waitress, eight months pregnant, took her break on the floor behind the pies display. After pulling herself up to her feet, she wearily plopped a piece of cheesecake onto her customer's desert plate with grimy bare mitts that had been everywhere we don't want to think about.

The question wasn't whether, but WHEN hepatitis would strike.

Our Teacher held out for three days, in hopes that the manager's return would improve conditions somewhat. It didn't. It worsened them. The lady was of the "Shout School," wherein all communications are delivered into the ear of the recipient at zffff volume from just one inch away, so that actual information ricochets.

Fortunately for the community, Diesel's Family Kitchen burned down, the following year.

Nor did the piano students pan out. A pity, as the parents were quite prominent in the School District, and would have led to more students in time. But they turned out to be duds... "Dud" being defined as: a) Non-practicing b) Non-present c) Non-paying.

And as for the School District itself, our heroine filled out her gizzillion forms, submitted to fingerprinting, and even tried to pay up front for the drug test that they took...but she was told, "No, you'd better wait and have the $50 deducted from your paychecks, later." She soon found out why. Warned in breathless tones that she would be called "as soon as tomorrow," she went home fully stoked and feeling respectable again.

They never called.

When Teacher called them, finally, to find out the scoop, she was given vague explanations regarding "the computer system." Some months later, Teacher happened to encounter the Custodial Supervisor for the District, an employee of 30-odd years. When she mentioned her baffling experience to him, the kind gentleman informed her that she had been fortunate not to be called. The Superintendent of Schools--the sixth one hired that year--had just fled after two weeks in office. "We're ALL fleeing!" he grinned, looking only mildly hysterical.

And so it happened that Teacher came to rest in a place where she had never trod before: The local

Casinos are everywhere now, of course. Gambling has become The Great American Passion, and one need only cruise the parking lots of a few casinos, on a sunny Sunday afternoon,to understand how effectively the drug has taken. Good luck finding a parking spot. Nor will one see much foot traffic coming or going. The worshippers, locked in a collective trance, never leave the Holy Grail until sated or banished. Or dead.

Teacher knew none of this, when she ventured out into the world. She only knew that she needed a job, or she'd soon be living under cardboard. It was now December. She really wasn't in the mood for cardboard.

Actually, the casino that hired our Miss Priss wasn't a big, Vegas-style operation at all. It was a rather sweet, almost "family-style" place owned by a local tribe, with a restaurant, slot machines, and one circle of gaming tables called The Pit. The unnatural glitter of the lights and the constant, tinny, ear-splitting racket made her a little dizzy and sick at first, but it was nothing Teach couldn't handle, for a buck. She'd never been in a casino before. She would adjust.

And she did. She actually lasted at the little casino for six months, which is a lot better than three days, or zero days. It wasn't pleasant, but it was a job. Teacher rationalized that, by graciously welcoming greedy people addicted to glitter, she was supporting a First Nation that had been swindled of its life by those very people. It isn't that simple...but it worked, for rationale. And despite some of the bizarre things that went on there, Teacher to this day harbors a warm loyalty to the thugs, misfits, and bona fide "criminals" that she worked alongside. Though an indomitable straight-lace, she shared a common bond with them. It's called Hardship. "Criminal" takes on a whole new light, once a country's most respected leaders and institutions have proven themselves masters of the art.

Our protagonist's only advice to anyone seeking work in a casino would be this: Be at least a casual gambler. A fondness for alcohol is also de rigueur, for fitting in. Teacher did neither, and got along fine; but you'll feel more comfortable in a place of gaming if you're an imbiber. (Teacher finally fled for fresher air when the new Marketing Director decided to bring in male strippers, for that Vegas touch.)

The little casino was much stricter about drug testing, background checks, and theft than were any other employers that our heroine served, either before or after. Inebriation on the job resulted in instant firing. For all of its sinners, it really was a pretty decent little operation.

Our heroine's worst experience there involved a very tough Guamian thug with whom she got strapped almost daily in a 10 x 15-foot vault, counting soft money. The woman--hired on the premise that she was an "experienced accountant"--was so slow that four-hour shifts would stretch to eight. Teacher and the Tribal Gaming Supervisor in attendance would generally wait, in silent disbelief. Unfortunately for Teacher, the Guamian proved a lot tougher than she, and oddly determined to bump off all perceived "threats." So she took to physical roughness, by way of showing who was boss. When both Teacher and Supervisor reported the difficulties, Teach was invited to leave if she wished. Sissies with only one 1983 speeding ticket, by way of police record, automatically move to the back of the bus in CasinoLand.

(Thug Lady was last seen working as a cashier at Wal-Mart. The line wasn't moving.)

The best experiencecame after Teacher had been set free of vaulted thugs, to work as a housekeeper. The hilarity all started when Nikos, the gray-haired Greek security guard, turned slowly to greet her, one day. With dull eyes, a vacuous smile, and one arm raised in a stiff, 90-degree side salute, the distinguished elder Nikos was no more. He had been replaced by Saddam Hussein... unmistakable, and quite shocking to our Teacher. So. The cat was out of the bag. Our hapless heroine soon learned that the most notorious of the housekeepers, Andrew, wasn't the feisty 100% Native he was known to be, but Bin Laden Himself. His fellow housekeeper, Lonny, turned out to be none other than the dreaded Chemical Ali. All of this classified intelligence revealed itself only gradually, muttered in crisp Greek accents, ever more grim; and exposure of the plot promised death by assassination for any perpetrator. But for Teacher's irksome tendency to double over laughing, the solemnity of the situation never wavered. Sunglasses would be donned for incognito purposes, despite the casino's dim interior. Binoculars would appear surreptitiously.

It's been said that victims of the Holocaust survived, in the end, on humor.

But HAD she?

The plot thickens...

next -->