Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Freewheelin' In The Bronx 1971 (xxv)

The second catch and problem with the night clerical job (that I quickly discovered by the second night of work there) was that the apparent reason why the couple who were the night supervisors had requested the wholesale firm owner to hire another night clerk was that they were looking for someone to eventually replace an older white male night clerk that they also supervised, whom they were eager to fire.

Not surprisingly, however, by the end of the work break of my second night at work, I had quickly picked up on the fact that the older white guy at work--whom they were apparently hoping I would soon replace—was a lot more intellectually interesting to talk to than were the supervisors.

The older night clerk seemed to be in his early 50’s and was originally from one of the Southwestern states. Before U.S. AM radio stations mostly switched to playing rock’n’roll hit records in the mid-1950s, he apparently had been some kind of radio announcer at some small, independently-owned, non-media conglomerate-owned radio station after World War II, during his late 20’s and early 30’s. And between the late 1950s and 1971, he apparently had been forced by economic necessity to drift around from one menial clerical job to another in New York City and elsewhere in the United States; since there was no longer any need in the U.S. AM or FM radio world for the type of radio announcer that he had been. And by the Spring of 1971, he was already counting the days when he could start collecting his social security checks and finally escape from the wage slavery world that held little interest for him, intellectually.

The night shift supervisors, however, expected him to work each night as rapidly as they did and as if he was a machine. And they weren’t hip or intellectual enough to appreciate how interesting a conversationalist he was, whenever he would pause from coding and batching the orders for a few minutes, and attempt to engage them in some conversation in order to break up the monotony of the night work shift.

All the night shift supervisors could apparently think, with regard to the older guy who was an ex-radio announcer, was “he’s slowing down the work,” “he’s too slow,” or “he thinks he’s better than us;” and “we have to get somebody else who will work faster than him and never complain that we’re pressuring him to go too fast,” etc.

Of course, in the eyes of the former radio station announcer, the night supervisors were “crazy” for being so wrapped up in their coding and batching process during the night shift that they were willing to work like machines—and expected all the workers they supervised to also work like machines for the low wages the wholesale firm owner was paying them.