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Thursday, September 27, 2007

All Jokes Aside

My twenties were fun. In fact I would not change a thing.

I do regret dropping out of school but I had to live, I had to survive I did not see the options I can now clearly see.

I was young smart and employed. AT&T the global communications giant took full advantage of my cable running and installation skills. No one can untangle a jumbled mess of cable as fast or as good as I can.

I'll also dress it up(organize and label it) and punch it down. It's one of the things I can do. I clearly remember getting in a zone and when I would look up two-three hours had passed by.

My work on display.

I was proud of my work.

I put the date I completed, my name and number on all my work in case anyone had any questions. I knew how it was to trouble shoot a problem when everything wasn't labeled well. I took extra care to do just that.

Before I was laid off for the second time I was well trained in powerplant back-up, voice/data and long distance switch installation. The alien world of fiber optics was just that, an alien concept. I remember the fiber guys working the central office, the prima donnas would set up cones and caution tape wherever they worked.

"Get away from there that stuff is sensitive"

I became a Union steward I remember clearly informing all the newhires one-by-one about the two tier payment system the union sold us out on. Informing them to the fact we will never make as much as the guys who had been there for twenty years now and where planning their escapes through buy outs and retirement.

I was suddenly on the radar, docked for coming back a minute late after break, there was no time clocks and everyone came back a minute late ; some didn't come back at all, they stayed at the bar.

They knew how it worked.

The minutae of central office contracts, billable hours, what needs to be done by when even how much AT&T got paid per hour for our labor. We (new hires )were paid between $5.78 and $10.00 in 1991, we billed the central office Baby Bells $48.00. The company invited the loyal workers to join them in this prosperous era of telecommunications and make some real money before you retire. You just have to agree on this two tier contract; this new generation doesn't care about anything anyway. The job I was hired for, associate communications equipment installer started at 12.00 an hour before the new contract.

What a shame.

I vowed to never work for a large corporation again.

Jaded and still very young I decided to go back to college. I attended Columbia College in Chicago. it happened to be right up the street from a comedy club I walked by everyday.

All Jokes Aside.

Before I knew it, I was a waiter there. I thought waiters were lowly people and I considered my needing to work there an indication of my failure in life so far. My first night, in summer of 1992 I made $300.00 for four hours work.

I thought I stole something.

My naivete was amazing then. There were many self serving situations that I routinely passed up. I think I was rather aloof and simply unaware of all the hoity toity black glitterati around me.

Cedric the Entertainer was an accountant in St. Louis and he would come up to Chicago on short notice to host for the oft absent but very talented house M.C., George Wilborn.

Cedric was a classy guy it is not an accident he has reached the top of pop culture mountain.
Bernie Mac, Chris Rock, Tommy Davidson, Dave Chappelle( Who told jokes that sailed over and above the heads of our crowd), D.L. Hughley, Steve Harvey, and many more African American talents. The jokes where real and the truth in their humor could make anyone forget about there bills, the kids, the ex-wife whatever it was in life that ate away at piece of mind.

I grew to love my job again and that is why I would not change a thing.

1 comment:

luminaria said...

You've sure worked a lot of interesting jobs so far, and I'm with you. I'd rather be freaking homeless than work for a corporation again.

There's nothing on earth like stand-up comedy. Comedians are some of the sharpest knives in the drawer.