Saturday, July 07, 2007

jobs i would never want: overnight truck unloader at huckabees

after a extended drought of almost 3 months my clients have finally begun to find competitive employment. since "empowering clients by helping them find competitive employment" would be part of my personal mission statement* this development has been most welcome. however, since 5 of my clients have secured positions within the past three weeks, and i am obliged to provide free job coaching for every job offered, my life has been a little crazy lately.

since i cannot divulge information about my clients due to nitpicky little issues such as the American Disabilities Act i cannot tell you anything specific about either my clients or the crazy, alternative universe** i inhabit over at rectangle. however, i think i can legally tell you a little about my off-site job coaching experiences. thus, this series, "jobs i would never want."

now that i've lost all my readers, i guess i can continue.

on thursday night, after gathering with our newly christened s & s small group, i made my way to huckabees*** where i was scheduled to job coach my client on a 10 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. truck unloader shift. when we arrived the manager quickly escorted us to the back of the store where about 25 members from a wide assortment of individuals from united nations affiliated countries was preparing to unload two trucks. before we really knew what to do with ourselves the manager was clipping the seal on the semis and immediately standing aside as an overwhelming assortment of bikes, dvds, cosmetics and a truly ridiculous amount of kitty litter came cascading out of the truck.**** over the next hour we "carefully" loaded all of the product onto specific pallets and then wheeled the pallets out into specific sections of the store.

then, just as we prepared to open the boxes and stock the inventory the manager called "first break" over the intercom, we wearily wound our way to the break room and, i shit you not, feasted on a delectable assortment of haitian food.***** at that point, i noticed that the white bread manager was walking table to table and speaking to everyone in their own native tongue. when he pressed enough flesh to make it over to my table, i asked him how many languages he spoke and he quickly replied: "spanish, portuguese and i'm learning bosnian." at that moment, and throughout the night, i was impressed by his both his ability to contextualize every instruction and interaction with his workers and the overwhelming generosity he showed towards myself and my client.

of course, there were things i hated about the evening such as the horrible, sappy, coldplay inspired bitch pop that played over the speakers all night and the utterly mind numbing process of sorting and stocking trivial shit like confetti colored ribbon, spiderman 3 branded speedo goggles and "so hot," "you're hot" and "stay hot" colors of maybelliene lipstick. but after i left for the evening, barely survived the sleep deprived hour drive home and reflected on my experience the next afternoon i found it nothing short of remarkable.

i was amazed by the amount of man hours it takes to receive, stock and display the incredible assortment of trivial shit that we buy on a weekly basis. further, i was enriched by the overwhelming diversity and generosity of huckabees' multi-cultural staff****** and impressive management. finally, this experience helped confirm my suspicion that there are a number of people within every corporate behemoth who really want to do something good, beautiful and true with their work day. thus, by encouraging my client to apply, accompanying that person through the interview and assisting through the job coaching process i'm not simply serving my client's interests, but also empowering a well intentioned corporate worker or two to do something beautiful.

so, in the future i would like to balance my bitching about corporate behemoths by actively seeking to assist those within the corporate structure who long to live out a life that is more beautiful, good and true. moreover, i would like to thank my client and huckabees for providing a night to remember.

* if i was lame enough to have one.
** when i say alternative universe i mean it. we feature handicapped look-a-likes of most major celebrities, a steamy relationship scene and offer abba themed summer dance parties to boot.
*** ok, so i didn't really put in hours at huckabees, but you get the idea.
**** the next time you wonder why your new dvd player doesn't work or your caked out maybelleine compact is cracked remember this post.
***** minus the chicken heads.
****** though there were a few passing moments, late in the evening, when i felt like i was living out the script for dirty pretty things II.

Friday, July 06, 2007

on the lighter side

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

an overdue update

since i try to write regularly, my recent lack of posts frustrates me. over the past several weeks our little family has navigated a number of major transitions that i would like to discuss more fully, but at this point a simple update will have to do.

as i just announced in a mass email to family and friends, sinners and saints is no longer self-identifying as a church but is continuing to journey forward as a community. fortunately this transition is not the result of major conflict within the church, a significant moral lapse among our leadership or our failure to fully embrace the forty days of purpose as a primary church program. rather,
after almost five years together, most of our members have been dispersed around the country where they are expressing the Kingdom of God in manifold and marvelous ways. Moreover, our remaining Beverly contingent has decided to partner with existing, missional communities such as the gathering in salem, park street church in boston or st. mary's orthodox church in cambridge and invest our lives in any additional number of innovative incarnations of God's mission. for my part, i'm simply glad that up to this point, to the best of my knowledge, none of us have made shipwreck of our faith and i'm looking forward to the unexpected ways that God is going to utilize our members and our quirky little community in the future.

i always thought that saying goodbye to the s & s church would feel like failure. fortunately, up to this point anyway, it absolutely does not feel like that at all. rest assured that i'll compensate by failing in other ways.

in lighter news, a little over a week ago dr. j and i finally sold our jetta tdi and disbanded our little car co-op. although our car co-op never saved us the amount of money we hoped, we forswore bio-diesel months ago and we're still trying to find "creative" ways to dispose of the resulting, completely bio-degradable, bi-products on the aforementioned alternative fuel, i'd have to say that our co-op was still a success. for my part, car co-oping taught me that i can live interdependently with people other than my wife,* i don't need to travel as often as i thought and volkswagens are completely worthless pieces of euro-trash that reasonable people should not purchase. in sum, i'd have to say, yeah for car co-oping, woo-hoo for wise resource management and fuck you volkswagen.

due to the arrival of our absolutely amazing son and our resultant childcare needs, i have been working a second job with our remarkably inefficient, customer unfriendly mass-transit system. i think it's safe to say that this job has put undue stress upon pretty much everyone and everything that is important to me and, as a result, i'm desperately hoping that God provides me with an offer of sustainable employment in the near future. there are a couple of decent options resting right over the horizon right now. let's pray that one of those options is realized and my sixty five hour work weeks** quickly become a thing of the past.

in other news, things have been going incredibly well at my day job. over the past several weeks i've placed four or five clients and as a result i now know the core values of target, inc., how to efficiently clean a u-haul storage unit and a few ways that one can circumvent the security cameras at tj maxx. brilliant. in all seriousness, empowering disabled men and women by helping them find sustainable employment is usually a deeply meaningful and utterly fulfilling task. on the best days the job makes me want to be both a better man and a better pastor. moreover, on my worst days, i can take a few moments to observe the afternoon break dance class. so i'm not complaining.

* granted, i am talking about the wilcox's here, but still.
** i realize that i'm wallering in self pity here. please feel free to pick up a hammer and nails.



ramos weighs in on the commencement of s & s church.