Child labor death spiral

Intersectional Mother-in-Law/Ditzney Princess workplace culture has sure been grand. As they say on the internet, it’s tfw ur homeschooled autism-spectrum daughter wd rly benefit from a summer job w ur cray-cray cuz from church. Take me, Mr. Hozier.

Of course it hasn’t benefited the rest of us. That, I assume, was never the point. I don’t think the employment of the Ditzney Princess was even supposed to benefit the company. Probably half the crew can’t stand her, doing what she did before, which is what she was still doing when I threw in the towel on this never-ending fairy tale. Liturgical Steely Dan references aren’t much, but they’ll momentarily dull the pain and the sheer aggravation.

My involvement with these people as their colleague speaks to a number of things, not all of them encouraging. My main targets here are, once again, MiL and the Ditzney Princess. One or two of the other pickers get amped up by the DP’s childish bullshit, but they aren’t noteworthy trouble on their own. MiL and DP alone are enough to confirm that I am (was?) working for a surreally unprofessional operation staffed by children. We’ve got a co-owner who is grossly unfit to hold supervisory authority personally recruiting and, by some accounts, giving unacceptable latitude to, an exceptionally immature child who is functionally unemployable. It occurs to me that MiL may have lashed out at all of us as a group because doing so was easier and more harmonious in her family context than targeting the Ditzney Princess specifically for her wanton failure to comport herself appropriately in the workplace.

Poo-Poo Splatter, our friend from Laguna Niguel who literally went out on a limb and took a shit, benefited from this neighborly MILF discretion: her friends (possibly sic; most certainly sickened) were of a mind to fun the shit out of her for shitting before them for fun, but their mothers were uncomfortable with the prospect of justifying their own children to Poo-Poo Splatter’s mother for making fun of her precious snowflake just because she took a shit from a tree with company present. The Ditzney Princess would not really surprise me if she did likewise. Her parents are at once restrictive enough to order her not to read from their broad Index of non-Christian literature and permissive enough to send her to work acting as I’ve been chronicling. It’s easy to imagine MiL having some splaining to do to the Ditzney Princess’s mother for hurting the poor brat’s feels. If MiL alienates me, I leave; if she alienates the DP, she probably gets shit at the next family reunion for her grievous harshing of the mellow, which would reciprocally harsh her own mellow. The Ditzney Princess is the one with the high-power family back channel of adult authority to Mother-in-Law. This dynamic is pathological enough that it has already resulted in one of the extended family’s socialization problems being babysat at my workplace.

Advising me to just get another job makes sense from a perspective of abject ignorance and wishful thinking about the menial job market. It’s brutal, guys. The rub is that this dysfunctional berry farm is the best thing I’ve got going professionally. I know the lay of the land and the characters I have to navigate, and they take me back. That is, I did understand the cast of characters until the Ditzney Princess showed up. She’s worse than the ADHD spazz kid, who was too hey wanna ride bikes to glom onto anyone in particular other than his sister. She’s worse than the 4-F racist soldier-fluffer who gave us updates of his discoveries on Niggermania; his social skills were better and he was less obnoxious. Come to think of it, he was a strong candidate for membership on the Spectrum (many such cases!), but the thing about interacting with other autists is that one comes to realize that the Ditzney Princess has more going on than just autism. There are low-functioning, throw-the-cat-at-the-wall autists who are less obnoxious if they’re left alone and kept away from cats. They may still smear their shit all over the toilet seat because that’s funny, but according to relatives who take care of some (to bar the guest bedroom door against two confirmed unmarried siblings, including a likely sperg), the pay for fostering them is an order of magnitude or two better than what I’ve earned for putting up with the Ditzney Princess. Socialism FTW, fam.

The worst of these losers are tolerable enough until someone like the Ditzney Princess shows up, and then I’m clearing a fifth or a third (nothing so classy as a Fifth Third) of the minimum wage to be a peripheral player in a family drama that I’m hopeless to navigate. It’s pathetic, but these people, for all else that’s wrong with them, keep hiring me. The application process for other employers is a fruitless hellscape. We have noncompete clauses for sandwich flunkies at Jimmy John’s. What’s stopping Venezuela from invading us? Or Mexico? Nah, the Mexicans are familiar with what they’d have to administer. The application form at Wetzel’s Pretzels wanted to know my high school and college GPA.

Great Books for Men GBFM LZOLZOLOLZOZLO etc. was right about getting blacklisted at Starbucks for not doing well enough in school. This shit actually happens. What the fuck does my high school GPA have to do with slinging pretzels at the Fashion Valley Mall? I get that they want someone who is capable and diligent, but what would I have to do at the interview to convince a hiring manager that I’m not a hopeless, useless putz? Maybe I could tell them that I’ve forgotten where I went to school but please to accept this two-thousand-word essay on national decline, featuring pretzel logic.

At the other extreme, I wouldn’t be facing such discrimination if I looked like I’d skipped my English classes to climb into the United States through a storm drain. At that point, it’s basically a matter of not looking loaded like an Indonesian ferry. Being an MS-13 cholo might be a disqualifier, or it might not. As a campesino, the point is to be ablebodied, maybe not look like a current Chino yardie, and not obviously be high as giraffe balls. Show up speaking fluent English, and suddenly you might as well be applying for naturalization as a Japanese citizen. What’s in YOUR fridge, gaijin?

Americans who actually hire other Americans are to be cherished above rubies, but even the Association would have a hard time cherishing Mother-in-Law. Hell, I don’t even dislike her; I just can’t tolerate the way she treated us today. When that horseshit is just about the best thing going in an industry in a 300-mile radius, shit’s fucked up. There are a few other plausible options, but they’re sparse, and the logistics tend to be pretty awful.

The thing about being knocked down again and again is that it stops being an inspiration to get up again and starts being an inspiration to maintain a stabler position with a lower center of gravity. The berry farm is what we might call low. The work blatantly has to be done, but there’s no glory in it, no prestige, and not a hell of a lot of money. But because MiL has a thing against Mexicans, we’re all she’s got left, and we are neither Dutch nor much. Beggars can’t be choosers, and a lot of us are the beggars here. There aren’t a hell of a lot of options when the number of farms openly hiring fruit pickers within commuting distance can be counted on one hand. MiL isn’t even advertising for help, because WTF. Everyone else in fruit production either personally bemoans the wetback shortage or arranges for designated industry ululators to bitch about the tight wetback supply.

Not quite anyone could get a job at this joint, but most could. Not that most would, or that I’d cast blame on the reluctant. It would be fucking absurd for MiL to insist that she has recruiting standards. Well, isn’t that fetching. And I’m the Prince of Wales. My own standards in this business, as I’ve discussed before, are pretty damn low, but don’tcha know, Mother-in-Law has figured out how to fall shamblingly short of them.

I’m not really planning to go to work tomorrow. I’m fresh out of a clusterfuck at a company where I don’t make enough to financially justify my showing up in the first place. I went through the wringer precisely because I give a damn. When I say that I stop feeling like getting back up, one example is trying to explain any of this to hiring managers who haven’t been screwed into the sad margins by their own bosses. Like, I quit the job where I was making four dollars an hour on a really good day because one of my bosses had kept us out of the fields and subjected us to another bipolar rant about how useless we all were instead of letting us work. There are people in this country, especially in management, who don’t believe that such things happen. They damn well do happen. Mother-in-Law actually isn’t that bad by US managerial standards. She was intolerably bad today, but there’s worse.

These horrors aren’t negated by the scandalous impoliteness of discussing them with the craven, sniveling chickenshits who make hiring decisions. The rudeness of admitting that I fled back to a state full of garbage cans in search of deposit bottles as a refuge from an out-of-control boss doesn’t make it any less true that Chaka Can feels for me when the managerial class doesn’t, or that I’ve had bosses feel me almost as I’d expect of J. Denny Dundiddly.

My leg, Chesterfield! My leg!

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