It’s so cool to see on the news Mr. NBA/NFL/NHL star going to a school and all the kids pee on themselves because they get to high-five the guy. The teachers don’t even notice the kids pissing everywhere because they are too busy peeing on themselves. Mr. NBA/NFL/NHL star doesn’t notice the pee, because he spends all his time in a locker room smelling piss so it seems natural to him.
Companies have their ‘corporate relations’ departments to send their six-figure-salary employees to plant flowers in a garden with some ‘brown’ kids (African-American, Latino, Dominican… white but dirty, they just HAVE to be brown). Put the kids in a company t-shirt, take a picture, hand the director of “Boys To Men” (isn’t every program in the hood named “Boys to Men” now?) a check for $5,000… get the hell out of there before it gets dark!
Unless you know me or read my earlier blog (you should really read my earlier blog and the one before that… then come back read this one again before going back to my earlier one and call it the circle of life) you would not know I work with kids. You may not know unless you know me or read my earlier blog (HELLO… read my earlier blog bastard!) that I kind of don’t like working in the field. I do like working with kid, but working in the field hurts. Not the kind of “I do not make enough money” hurt, not the “I went to college for this” kind of hurt, but the “If I walk on to the tracks get hit by the Green Line and survive… my life would be better than it is now” kind of hurt.
The hurt comes from the constant reminder that you work with kids. I have noticed that people speak to youth workers like the worker is a child, “does everyone have a copy of the spreadsheet… Robert you can colors your if you wish, we gave you crayons”. I have been in meetings with people from other departments, when someone had something to say they spoke up. When a youth worker had something to say, they had to raise their hand. Really.
People say to me ‘that must be a rewarding job, you’re changing lives’. How is it rewarding? I can’t afford a car! I have never touched a Iphone, the kids I work with hate they don’t have a newer Iphone. It’s humbling to not be able to have all the things you want in life, not to be able to afford the life you wanted, that you went to school for (you should really read my previous blog). Even with the lack of cash flow and my retirement plan consisting of lottery tickets and not buying aspirin so when I do have a massive heart attack I’ll just go ahead and die (Although I am sure I will win the lottery but the shock will cause my heart attack and with no aspirin around…) the worst part of my gig is what I talked about in the beginning, the asses that show up for one day and people act like they just got this kid’s mom off crack.
Some guy in a suit can roll up in an Audi A-8, a little pissed that he promised to ‘do this’. He gives a speech about how great his job is, gets asked the question “how much do you make”, he does not tell the kids but gives the usual “I won’t get into that, but I drive an Audi, live in a condo downtown, and my mama aint got to work no more” think winks at the finest woman in room. He hands his card out to the kids, tells them to call him if they ever need anything (immediately pulls out Iphone and types a reminder: “change #s/order biz cards with new #s) walks out the building with his chest sticking out from pride, he has earned his coke and hooker today!
Then I am left standing there answering questions “Mr. Harris, where is your Audi?”/”Mr. Harris, didn’t you go to college? How come you don’t live in condo downtown?”/”Mr. Harris, you take care of your mama?”… Little bastards, my mama’s dead, I am not even allowed downtown, and I almost got shot walking to the school from the train because I promised to bring you a shirt for a job interview and give you 5 dollars to get there… I would have called off, but I came 4 feet away from being playing the role of the victim on the 6 o’clock news”. Then I had to stand here and watch you jokers stroke off a midget in a tight suit and I also have to watch 5 dollars I COULD USE walk away from me, while holding back tears because my health care does not cover the mental health care I need to cope with my dead mama, thanks for asking.
If I could change one thing about working with kids… it would be the money. I could deal with the disrespect, someone else getting the glory, being talked to like a child, and having to raise my hand to ask a question, if I got paid enough to pay rent AND buy a car. After graduating from college I made the biggest mistake you can make coming out of college, taking a job that did not meet career goals because it locks you in. I sold out my dreams for $19,000/year (you should really read my previous blogs… Yes I do feel perfectly comfortable whoring myself and blogs for clicks. I work with kids, my pride has been crushed for years), now I keep myself going off of ‘moral victories’.
Some people call me bitter, I call those people my family and the people who know and love me best. If this is what I wanted to do with my life, I could deal with people coming in and getting glory for a 20 minute visit one time in a bad neighborhood. If I got paid more I could deal with people getting the glory. Hell if it will get me paid more, I will spend my entire day recruiting rich bastards to steal the glory from people who do all the work. Just once, I would like to say “My Audi A-8? I don’t drive an Audi A-8… That dark blue 6 Series BMW security is watching is mine punk.”