The race for the jobs

But the South!

race-and-ethnicity-main-imageIn the many jobs that I’ve had, I never thought my race was a factor. Some of them were affected by previous relationships. Being a page at Binghamton Public Library, doing bookkeeping at the Schenectady Arts Council, managing at FantaCo, for instance. In each case, there were people I knew, one black, two white, who undoubtedly helped me secure employment.

Then there was a slew of jobs where the employer just wanted a competent person for the position. my two stints as a janitor qualify. And BTW, I was pretty good at it, especially in Binghamton City Hall in 1975.

I graduated from library school in May 1992 and applied for several positions. The State Library offered me an interview in July of that year, but I was unsuccessful. Then I heard about this job at the New York Small Business Development Center. My friend Jennifer was interning there. They had just gotten a grant to provide library reference services, not just for the NYSBDC but for the whole country.

Michele, who had started the library as a half-time position became the director. Jennifer was the second librarian hired for what was dubbed the Research Network. I was interviewed and became the third librarian on October 19. Lynne was hired on October 22 and was the fourth. Since the program ostensibly began on October 1, we had a lot of work to do from the get-go, including getting the materials from the Georgia SBDC, which had the gig before New York.

How would they deal with it?

It was only five or seven years later that a person who would be in the know and impeccably reputable told me a story I found rather unsettling. I shan’t reveal who they are except to say they were most definitely in the know.

I had interviewed well enough. But apparently, there were one or more persons on the committee who were concerned about my race. Specifically, the job required that the librarian in that position create liaisons with the state directors and other staff in the other states’ lead centers. Many of them were in the South, of course. The search committee was afraid that these folks wouldn’t cotton to working with a black person. So I was rejected for that reason.

Then, someone up the State University of New York food chain told them, “You can’t do that!” SUNY is the host institution of the NY SBDC. I ended up getting the job after all.

The news, a half dozen years after the fact, was initially jaw-dropping. Then, thinking back on who was on the search committee, not so much. If a certain party hadn’t intervened, I would not have gotten the job. I would not have known why, either.

Of course, it got me to wonder about all the other people who didn’t get the job because of bias. Despite the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which specifically prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, I have no doubt that racism has crept into the employment mix.

Exiting my jobs over the years

I have no idea about these things

exitingSince I am about to leave my job of 26 years plus, I thought I’d mention exiting my jobs in the past.

IBM, Endicott, NY, 03-09/1971: I was working the evening shift, 5:12 p.m.-2 a.m., though it was usually until 4 a.m. I worked on putting this laminated gel on computer boards, then heating these boards in ovens, then attaching plastic plates to the board.

I was very good. Too good, in fact, because the first process was so easy that the job quota went from 60 items/hour to 80/hour. The day shift had been slacking off. In retaliation, the day shift did a ton of the first process, leaving the more precise second task for me.

When I left, my manager was disappointed, but I needed to go to college.

Some box factory, 2 weeks in the summer of 1973, described here. After they gave me grief about my productivity, they begged me to stay.

Albany Savings Bank, teller, 02/1978 – two days after my training was over, and I was on the window by myself, spending an hour trying to find a five cent overage, I quit with two days notice. They weren’t happy but they were only paying me $6000 a year, less than what I had in my drawer every day.

Schenectady Arts Council, 03/1978-01/1979 – I took this job, which, BTW, paid $8200. It was a lot more fun and interesting.

Ostensibly, I was the bookkeeper, but I solicited ads for a fundraiser to fix Proctors Theatre, I was a dance partner for the choreographer when she taught disco to school, and most regularly, I ran the biweekly Artisans’ Arcade in the Proctors’ walkway.

When the federal funding was suddenly cut, a bunch of us went out drinking. I’m fairly sure I called my girlfriend to come pick me up.

Empire Blue Cross, 02/1979-03/1980 – described here.

FantaCo, 05/1980-11/1988 – the comic book store/publisher/mail order place. It was a great job for a long time. But as I wrote here, I was just burned out.

I thought I would never have a job with a tenure more than the 8.5 years I worked at FantaCo. Yet I was at the NY SBDC greater than thrice as long, proving I have no idea about these things.

Listen to I Quit – Blotto

For ABC Wednesday

March rambling #1: Platypus Controlling Me

The Toxic Attraction Between An Empath And A Narcissist


What Is Your Name? Where Are We? Who Is President? Oh God

Trump(Doesn’t)Care cartoon

Poor People Need BETTER Health Insurance than the Rest of Us, Not Worse

The lessons we fail to learn: Warren G. Harding

American ‘Christianity’ Has Failed and I don’t want to preach a faith that can be so easily adapted to self-hatred and self-harm

How the baby boomers destroyed everything

The 1862 Binghamton (NY) Race Riot – something I did not know about my hometown

After Slavery, Searching For Loved Ones In Wanted Ads

Coins of the Rebellion: The Civil War currency of Albany merchants

Jobs, Income, and the Future

A brief history of men getting credit for women’s accomplishments

The Weight of The Last Straw

7 Lies About Welfare That Many People Believe Are Fact

Albany, NY Plane Crashes Into Houses On Landing Attempt, March 1972

Contractor sues for $2 million in unpaid bills on Drumpf’s D.C. hotel

Kellyanne Conway’s interview tricks, explained, and her boss’s 10 steps for turning lies into half-truths

A college course on calling out scientific crap

The adult children of him will ditch Secret Service protection once he leaves office

Sen. Gillibrand Has Perfect Response To Regime Misspelling Her Name

‘Where I come from’ we claim universal generalities as our peculiar virtues

Some ‘snowflakes’ can take the heat

The biggest threat facing middle-age men isn’t smoking or obesity, it’s loneliness

About Robert Osborne

Amy Biancolli: woman walks into a sandwich shop

The Toxic Attraction Between An Empath And A Narcissist

You May Want to Marry My Husband

This 75-Year Harvard Study Found the 1 Secret to Leading a Fulfilling Life

David Kalish: I am my dog’s seeing-eye person

Coke: Global ad campaign celebrates inclusion and diversity

Alphabetizing Books

Ruben Bolling won the 2017 Herblock Prize

Now I Know: The Boy Who Captured the Wind and How to Claim Antarctica and The Park at the Bottom of the Lake

MEET APRIL THE GIRAFFE, formerly from Catskill Game Farm!

Sammy Davis Jr. Oscar blunder

Cush Jumbo

Lawyer’s Pants Catch Fire During Closing Argument

Garter snakes can be super deadly

Music

Divenire – Composer Ludovico Einaudi

There’s a Platypus Controlling Me (from Phineus and Ferb)

What are the songs that best capture our moment?

K-Chuck Radio: A dose of Northern Soul

Don’t Let Me Down – The Beatles

10 Beatles Covers You Really Need to Hear

Songs about the moon

My first seven jobs

No, I never worked in a coal mine.

coalmineThe meme My First Seven Jobs has been showing up on social media a lot in the last couple months. I had avoided it until I read an article about what your first seven jobs say about you, and then the exercise intrigued me. And hey, I need a Labor Day weekend post.

I am a little bit fuzzy on what constitutes a job. When your father drags you on some task, for which you are not being paid, I’m not counting that. Continue reading “My first seven jobs”

The poor tellers

I ended up five cents under, and spent nearly a half hour not finding the error.

Of all the recent stories about economic inequality in America I’ve read lately, this one jumped out at me: 1 out of 3 Bank Tellers in New York on Public Assistance. I’ve never worked in food service in any capacity, or in a large retail store, but I was a bank teller, for a month.

It was the winter of 1977-1978, at the end of a not great year, in which I lived in Charlotte, NC; Binghamton, NY briefly; Jackson Heights, Queens, NYC, NY; and New Paltz, NY, before drifting up the Hudson River to crash with friend Uthaclena and his first wife, and their two dogs (his I loved, hers, not so much).

After a year of being underemployed Continue reading “The poor tellers”