Thursday, September 13, 2007

Don't Get Fired!

My Art room at Fairfax once served as an Occupational Studies class. That is, it was a mandatory course for the students that consists of learning the basics of careers. When I first started setting the room up, I found boxes and boxes of textbooks, magazines and pamphlets that focused on this. These texts are more or less written specifically for at-risk youth. As I peruse through their contents, I happen upon sections dedicated primarily to keeping a job, staying out of trouble, and the like. My favorite of all of these is one called Don't Get Fired! The beauty of this specific book is, not just the scenarios that are set-up, but the fact that they are all written in script-form.

I've held onto these books, not only for my own amusement, but so that the students have material to use for their artwork. I encourage them to find photos and drawings that they can turn around and use again in mixed media pieces or collages. The greatest "story" in Don't Get Fired!, by far, is the one presented here. It's called "Don't Talk Back To Your Boss." The piece itself is actually a bit more lengthy and, as I clipped certain highlights out for my sketchbook, I chose to focus more on the reprimanding of the protagonist. Antagonist? You decide.

"Don't Talk Back To Your Boss" is the tale of a young man, Mike, who is comfortably employed by a cleaning company, where he buffs floors during the graveyard shift. Like most young men with no social skills, a bad attitude and barely any G.E.D., Mike likes to do his job and be left alone. Enter Mr. Lee (i.e., "The Man"). Mr. Lee, who is anxious to meet this promising young upstart that
apparently he's heard people speaking of around the water cooler, finally finds the time to visit the job site. As it turns out, Mr. Lee isn't all too impressed with Mike's habit of working topless.

As I read this passage, as a 34-year-old father/former slacker with a thriving career, I can't help but feel empathy for both of them. On the one hand, you have Mr. Lee, who wants things to be done his way. The last thing he wants to deal with is an employee's bad attitude. Then there's Mike. I can certainly relate to the notion of finally getting that dream job. And to make things ever better, I get to work by myself in the middle of the night, so I can strip if need-be. Because who really gives a damn anyway? Well, apparently, Mr. Lee does. This specific scenario hits especially close to home for me as I reminisce of key incidents between myself and a certain owner of a catfish-themed restaurant.

Not only is Don't Get Fired! entertaining as a whole, but it makes me realize just how much heartache I might have saved myself had it fallen into my hands some twenty years ago.


Anonymous JT Cool said...

Wow, that's awesome! What year was this made?

14 September, 2007  
Anonymous Mom said...

20 years ago? Are you referring to the fish place? Surely it hasn't been that long ago, has it? Wow!

14 September, 2007  
Anonymous Sundance said...

Catfish for supper! Catfish for supper! Actually, as I read this fascinating piece, what came to my mind was that it appeared to be chronicling the adventures of a young Big Red.

14 September, 2007  

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