After getting some employment a few weeks ago, I'm back to looking for work again. I was working at the place where my mom works and I pretty much got let go due to my concerns over the nature of the work. I knew going into this what kind of job this was, to put it simply, it's like being an orderly in a mental institution except with more of at-home care giver feel. You pretty much live with them, make sure they take their medicine, take them to doctor appointments, and just keep an eye on them. Like I said, I knew all that going in, my mom talks about it (more like complains about it and the new management) all the time. The problem arose when after a few weeks of training (driving 50 miles for that each way was a bit much just to be given a multiple choice test by a common nurse is a bit much but whatever) and I was meeting with one of the other workers who was showing me what the job was like and introducing me to the "client" I was being set up with and telling me everything there is to know about him. I was already scheduled to work the following weekend even though I still had more training to do and shouldn't be working the job just yet. Turns out the company desperately needed a new worker and as I later found out from my dad and my sister, they ALWAYS need a new worker, yes, just one new worker. And for last month, that new worker was me.
Watching retarded people isn't all that difficult, just boring as you live with them for several days out of the week. For someone like my mom, this job sucks really bad as you can easily find yourself with nothing to do for most of the day as the person you are supposed to keep an eye on watches TV or plays video games or the like. She ended up getting a laptop so she can play Farmville on Facebook for most of the day (which is another topic for another time). Now me, I have hobbies, namely art work (duh), so I would have time to get some art work in and do my job at the same time. My mom's clients that she watches are generally nice and well mannered, the "I liek chocolate milk!" kind of retarded but still easy to get along with. Lol, I had a long list I had to memorize of certain words that I can't say, like retarded, because of political correctness and over-sensitivity. The funny thing with that is that the company management and some of the other orderlies were WAY more obsessed with being all pc than the people they watched after!
Tangent story time! When I was there, I was told a story I found hilarious by one of the other workers about two of the retards there. They were out and about at I believe a McDonald's or something and their handler heard the two talking rather loudly about getting tattoos (they were OBSESSED with them and thought them as a symbol of badassery). The one tattoo that they went on about getting was the most awesome and badass tattoo of all: The flaming hotdog! A hotdog in a bun surrounded by flames. I should also mention that the two of them were both very white but dressed like they were inner-city black ghetto gangsters. You know, pants waist around the knees and the like. So some other guy at McDonald's waiting for his meal hears them and looks to them and says, "Are you guys fucking retarded?". The two flaming hotdog enthusiasts respond back with an enthusiastic and prideful "YEAH, BITCH!". Lol, that story made me laugh and has become a little meme joke for me.
Okay, back to the main story. So I found out there was one particular guy that they were always hiring someone to watch him. I thought I would be watching individuals like mentioned in the story above but turns out that was something that the management kept me in the dark on the whole time up until I was actually in the thick of it. The guy I was hired to watch was the most violent and impulsive client they had and since the company was ran more like a clique than a business (it only survives through government money so it unfortunately doesn't really need to run a tight ship like a regular business), the most well-favored followed by the most experienced and knowledgeable got the easiest clients while avoiding the problematic ones. I put well-favored before most experienced since my mom, who has almost a decade of experience and has some nursing credentials as well was denied a manager-type promotion in favor of a much, much younger, prettier girl, like close to my age, who has only 8 months experience. My mom was told that knowledge isn't everything when she questioned why she wasn't promoted but as it turns out from other inside sources that I was getting to know, the guy who runs the local district was favoring the young girl over all the other, far more experienced workers since he just wanted to get in her pants. After learning all this, I was starting to understand why things seemed topsy turvy.
So instead of giving the most violent client to the best and most experienced workers, they pass him on to the new guy. Me. This guy, Mike, that I was supposed to live with several days out of the week had a very...interesting record. Besides being mentally unstable and kinda retarded but smart enough to understand the system and his own immunity to it (more on that later), he was very impulsive. Most people, generally have inhibitions, they think twice before doing certain things. Like if someone changed the TV channel from the one you had it on, you may be a little angry but you wouldn't go and punch whoever did it, would you? I'd guess probably not as most people don't always act violent impulses, especially towards friends and family. Not Mike, he doesn't have much ability in that area to control his own impulses. One particular story that I learned was that one time he was working with some other retards in a special workshop building simple things. He had a hammer in hand, building, and his handler (the same orderly that was telling me everything I needed to know along with things management wouldn't tell me) noticed that he was eying one of the girls there and started to approach her in an odd, curious, fashion. Following his gut instinct, the handler stopped Mike and took his hammer and asked him what he was doing. Mike replied that he wanted to "see what the inside of her head looked like". The same handler has had Mike assault him several times and has even had knives pulled out on him. The worst stories were the sexual assaults that Mike had done in the past. Having little to no impulse control, he just tried to fuck whatever he felt like when the urge came, male, female, didn't matter. So all this sounds fun, right? Well, unlike the traditional orderly, there was one big rule that was to avoid being broken at all cost: Thou shalt not defend thyself. As one of their workers, they force you to give up your legal ability to defend yourself should you be attacked by one of their "clients".
Now I'm not no string bean with no muscle, like Professor Awesome lol, I can hold my own in fight and know a few potent moves taught to me from my dad who learned them in prison guard training. But even with the most violent retards, I was not allowed to defend myself. When I asked then what course of action I should take should I be assaulted, the response was to "make do". Even yelling loudly at them to stop is considered a verbal assault on them by the company's standards! Even at this point, I still haven't finished my training (none of which, of course, was how to defend yourself but it was more important to be politically correct) but they were willing to cut corners anyway. When I learned all this and confronted the management about why they themselves didn't tell me beforehand instead of hiding it, I asked if it was possible to be given a different client to work with but they said that it was not possible which left me back in the market for a job again.
During this whole time, my dad had been really pissy with me working here and I didn't know why. Yeah, he's been a major hindering force with my employment previously so I had my suspicions. My sister ratted him out when I was talking to her. She told me that years ago she took pretty much the same job and and the same experience with the exception that her replacement ended up hurt after getting assaulted by the violent client after she left. My dad knew about it and supported her back then and as it turns out, he knew some of the people where I work and knew exactly what I was in for WAY before I ever learned it. So that explained why he would be pissy about it but he didn't tell me because he what he knew because he wanted to be supportive. I sure wish he would have told me but at least he was thoughtful in a way.
You win some, you lose some, I guess.
So even though this didn't work out, some good might still come out of it yet. I've been feeling more motivated to do art after all this, seeing how it is the one skill, the one thing I have that doesn't end up not working out in the end. Its never failed me and always brings me great comfort and joy to work on and so I have decided to take my life in a different direction, a different focus. I'll be focusing on art, trying to improve my craft, and maybe, if I can get good enough, make a little bit of money on commissions. I never focused on it much and the thought of it always intimidated me to a point, the pressure back then sometimes felt stifling and crushing. I realized a few days ago that all the art I drew for others not only made me happy but also made me draw things that broke my usual routine, curing my occasional art block and making me draw new things from which I learned new things and got better. Locally, I've seen several new business pop up and be successful, like a local sweet shop bakery that has inspired me some as well.
So I will be opening up for commissions and dutifully doing art again, close to levels like they were a few years ago back when I would have new art to show almost every day. I will get better and I now firmly believe that I'll even have some fun doing it even if I no one really cares much for commissioning me for anything. At the very least, there will be new art to enjoy. I've lost with everything else I've tried but I've never seriously tried to make a little profit off my strongest skill until now. Might as well try, even if I don't improve and this whole new direction for me ends in the smoldering wreckage of failure, I'll only be right back where I started again. Nothing to lose.
But like all business ideas, there is always something that proves to be a big thorn in one's side. I encountered this the last time I did commissions: Paypal. I still have my old paypal account and I still have the money in it from the last commissions I did. The problem is, I need a checking account tied to it to even retrieve the money by any means (including by mail) as the checking account is used also for verification. I used to have one for a bit that my dad set up for me when I got out of high school years ago but he didn't tell me about maintenance fees and all the money I had in it got taken by the bank (and they even wanted more after that) since I didn't have $1000 in it at the time. Learned my lesson after losing a nice amount of money that way. So as you can imagine, I don't have the money to set up a checking account AND avoid the maintenance fees at the same time. This makes Paypal utterly worthless to be at the time being.
So what's a poor and unemployed artist to do about it? Well, at that time, not much. But now, there is a nifty tool available for me to use that can, and hopefully will, work! Since that time years ago, deviantART has rolled out a special commission widget that makes commissions really easy and converts deviantART points into much more useful cash! Sure, they take a rather steep 20% cut and then charge an extra $5 processing fee to send you a check but that works for me! I can also work by mail as well, nothing wrong with the old-fashioned as well (besides crap getting lost in the mail but there is risk in all things).
I've been critical of deviantART in the past but with my dilemma, this may prove to be my saving grace. The first hurdle I have is that this commission service is only available to premium members but good thing for me that I already am one...well, for at least another 3 months that is. I need to extend my premium membership to keep this idea viable so I have 3 months to raise the points I need extend my premium membership.
Currently, I have 665
already stockpiled and it costs 2396
to extend my membership by another year. That leaves me needing 1731 more points. I'll start off doing five super cheap sketches, priced at 80
per sketch (that's the equivalent of $1.00 per sketch though after the 20% cut, I only make $0.80 or 64
per sketch). If you'd be interested in me drawing a sketch or two for you for cheap and helping me out big time, just use the special commissions widget box above my journal deviantART journal, I'd really appreciate it!
Thanks everyone for your support in all my endeavors!