bannerImage4Joy finds working at a men’s homeless shelter in an armory  quite taxing psychically.  She looks forward to some reward for all she goes through.  The question is does her idea of reward match the CEO’s

After wheeling back the audiovisual cart to her office, Joy picked up a stack of job notices she printed from and  In the five months she talked to men about their job interests she  learned they had varying talents.  She made a point of finding four employers of the same job.  Her stack had bookkeeper, security guard, auto mechanic, dishwasher, cook, maintenance worker, office clerk, stocking & receiving, sales associate, busboy, waiter, and driver job notices.  There was a radiologist, antenna technician, baker, and two tailors but they told her they could find work on their own.

Walking down the hall with a felt tip pen, tape dispenser, and stapler, Joy’s thoughts went back to yesterday’s brief conversation with smartly dressed Boss Lady.  Boss Lady loves her clothes and keeps an array of chic dresses and pumps. Joy likes the high-powered feminine mystique.  Boss Lady can cross her legs and push back her bangs as she negotiates contracts.  As Joy staples the job notices, her mind hovers between re-reading the notices and re-running the conversation with Boss lady.

Boss Lady walks into the shelter with big boxes of cupcakes to give to all the employees.  The first office is the Shift Supervisor’s Office where Helen, Joy, Ms. Owens, and Flo Davis sit.  The ladies so happily greet Boss Lady, oohing and aahing her recent hair trim. “Hello everyone, Merry Christmas to you! How’s everything going?“, she says.  Joy and the others say the usual “Everything is fine,” instead of expressing what’s pressing their minds.  It’s been years that Davis and Owens have received raises.  Helen got a raise by virtue of getting the promotion to Shift Supervisor.  Joy is a new employee and the salary is low for her.  She didn’t realize how low until she saw the net pay from her first check in July.

Please take a cupcake! This is how I say thank you for all you do throughout the year,” proclaims Boss Lady.  She had explained at the October all staff meeting that “Money isn’t the key motivator for employees”.  Though there was an audible low groan and a singular “Huh?!” heard  in the hall, Boss Lady went on to tell her employees that things like praise and group events had the same impact as raises.  Late October, she had a trainer visit weekly on Wednesdays from 3 pm to 5 pm for aerobics.  The first eight classes  were gratis; thereafter, each staff member had to pay $8 a week to keep it going.  Joy kicked her legs and swung her arms Wednesday afternoons at the main office.  She met employees from the other sites and was away from her scorpion-like co-workers.

I guess Boss Lady took it hard when she had to discontinue the classes from the major fall off”, thought Joy as she stapled a notice to the last empty space on the bulletin board and now pulling and cutting four pieces of tape for the next notice to go directly on the wall.  “How come she didn’t cover the classes?  The way money is deducted from our checks for late arrivals, anyone can suppose there’s money somewhere to cover two hours of a personal trainer’s time.” Joy absentmindedly shakes her head as she continues taping the notices to the wall.  Different clients stop and study the notices.  “If you see a job you want to apply to, tell me so I can make a copy for you to have”, chirps Joy. 

Homelessness Can Happen to Anyone
Homelessness Can Happen to Anyone
Getting Your Own Keys chronicles the professional odyssey of Joy Duggins, a resourceful and encouraging service provider in a Central Brooklyn men’s homeless shelter.  It gives a peek into NYC homeless services procedures and much workplace drama.
What’s the goal of providing temporary emergency shelter?  Getting Your Own Keys

The opinions, content and/or information in this article are those of the author and are independent of BK Reader.

Akosua Albritton

Akosua is a communicator who loves to inform, engage, and enable her fellow New Yorkers. You may find her in a classroom, in an auditorium, or on a city street teaching the social sciences. Her favorite...

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