Thursday, November 16, 2006

Yesterday I was lying in bed and heard someone scream. I couldn't tell if it was a woman or a child, but I was half awake so I just lay there, staring at my ceiling. Having yelled in my sleep before, I thought nothing of it. About five minutes later, there was another scream, just like it. However, this one sounded like it came from a different place. Another five minutes, and another scream. This one sounded muffled. It wasn't someone playing, but it wasn't someone being attacked either. It was a clean, shrill scream, not one of struggle or full blown awake terror. At that time, I made up my mind that it was someone who was dreaming. On the third scream, I heard footsteps running to the person's aid. That, or it was the screamer running in her sleep, certain to soon collide into a wall. After that, it stopped. I never found out who was screaming or why. Or, where it was coming from.

The day before I'd been to a temp agency which does strictly office work, to register and take tests to prove I was viable. I've been so bored lately, but more important am in the firm belief that job karma is more likely to happen when one is working. The holiday doldrums are here, so hiring will be slow. In the meantime, temping may pick up. I've also re-established contact with a company that does content work. After I took the MS Office, math and spelling tests (which I aced, thank you), I realized I'd not brought my paperwork. It's been a long time since I've registered at a temp agency and therefore forgot that you bring your passport or social security card when you register, just like it's your first day of work at a new job.

No big deal. The next day, I brought it in and filled out the paperwork. While I was there, a man had just finished his tests and was told that he'd scored low on spelling and grammar, as well as the computer tests. He was in his late fifties, and I cringed while hearing it. The office there is open and therefore there isn't much privacy. The woman wasn't being critical, just matter of fact. The man was surprised, saying he'd always considered himself a good speller. Having just taken the test, I knew it didn't consist of what the kids are made to spell during the national spelling bee.

It was sad. I'm sure the man could do a good day's work. And, they offer training and tutorials so a person can improve their scores. However, I could see the defeat and embarrassment on his face, being told by someone thirty years younger than he was that he'd failed the tests. I don't know his circumstances that brought him to this agency. I can't imagine what that must have felt like at his age. I thought of my dad, who was able to very comfortably retire at about his age, and would never have to walk into a temp agency like that. I wondered what this man would be thinking about on his way home, if he would catch his reflection in a window and see himself as less than when he walked in. Would he pass affluent looking men dressed in suits and ponder his life? Would he feel that his entire worth of living for sixty years had just been summed up by a math, computer, and spelling test? I hope not. Sure, in the context of a temp agency who looks for certain skills, but not his worth as a human being or even as someone in the job market. The question is, will he know the difference when the mean voices set in?

For every sullen kid thinks education isn't important or parents who think their kids' education isn't something to fight for, I wish they could have seen this man in his bleak moment. But, no one ever thinks that will be them.

And speaking of job karma, sure enough, I received a check in the mail today for a freelance job I did ages ago. What a great surprise that was. Thanks, Ron. That's what I mean about the job karma. I've been putting the mojo out there all week, actually getting my ass into professional clothing and to a temp agency for work that I'm way over qualified to do, but I didn't care. I had to shake up some mojo, and boom, check in the mail that I didn't even know was coming. It was a nice ego booster, that's for sure.

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