Tuesday, August 26, 2008

"Dead End" Jobs, A Slight Return

CD in Play: Joy Division, The Best of...

Today was an incredibly horrible day weather-wise. Having grown up in the Pacific Northwest, I am used to overcast weather and heavy rain. Today, though, was something special and deserves some mention before getting on with the two happy points of my post. It didn't just rain, it hammered down. It was an extended thundershower without the thunder and lightening. People were hammered by by heavy gauge nails of H2O. The city was blanketed in sheets of rain. Cats and dogs, etc. And it just didn't let up. Sewer lines (they just had to be) were overflowing and foul, brown water was running in the street in some areas. Eventually it slackened, but the rain didn't let up and the down pour would return. All that was missing was a guy and his family herding in all the animals into some big boat two by two.

It was in this weather that I proceeded to the apartment I was applying for. I was dropping off my application and deposit. Little did I know, that the manger had already decided to rent me the suite. It is a bachelor suite on the 4th floor of a building from the 1920's or 1930's. Hard wood floors, huge tub, no shower and a ceiling fan. (a necessity here in summer) So I finally get to live that bohemian lifestyle I wanted when I was in my 20's.

The added bonus is that it is just north of the city centre and a five minute (or less if they let me take a short cut through Emergency) from my new job at City Hospital. I am now a probationary employee of the Health Region working as a Diener. The word "diener", as I just found out, is German for "servant" and is an abbreviation of the German term "Leichendiener". Leichendiener literally means, corpse servant. Other regions use the terms Morgue Attendant, Pathologists Assistant or Autopsy Technician to describe my job. As such it is my job to assist around the morgue and the Pathology Department in a number of ways - and yes that includes cleaning the "client" and prepping him or her for viewing by relatives.

Can I really do this job? I hope so, but truthfully I am not 100%. I have never been the kind of person who actually hunts down autopsy photos to view, I'm just not that morbid. The woman who hired me was a bit ambivalent on the phone and deservedly so. It isn't easy work. Despite a decent enough wage, I am being underpaid. But then the way I see it is that the majority of us are being underpaid today, skilled labour or not. However, I am running out of options and need this job to pay down my loans in order to return to school full time and get my teaching certificate.

However, I have always been interested and fascinated with human anatomy and am excited by the fact that I can actually see our inner workings, well, in the flesh. Aside from some potentially grizzly and saddening things that I will see, we are flesh, blood, hair, bone and organs. We will all die and potentially end up on the slab to be dissected if our deaths' warrant it. Death is a part of life, I will just get to see it very up close and personal. At least this how I am trying to steel myself before starting the job. (after the criminal check)

My jobs in security have led me to work around the living dead, with people who have given up. It is pretty hard on a person to walk in on a mother (about 45) with her two adult children (mid and early twenties) chopping up heroin to smoke in a parkade stairwell. Or to walk in on a junkie, stark naked and masturbating with a dildo after having shot up. Or to have to arrest and detain some guy who has been wanking in the change rooms while spying on people as the they try on clothes. Watching a person deteriorate over time, losing more of their mind and their soul as their addiction grows. Watching them wither away from Hep. C and AIDs. Or to have those same people threaten you with a needle just because. Some of these people are actually quite likeable and you develop a raport with them, making it that much harder because you can't just simply write them off as a scum. They are no longer just the "other".

I had other aspirations, other aims. They never worked out. So I am here. I don't regret it at this time, though. I have never been afraid of difficult jobs, just unrewarding, unsatisfying and pointless jobs - jobs that only seem to exist to keep people employed. Hopefully I am not writing here in a few weeks stating that I couldn't handle it. However, my friend Elijah made a good point when I called him today - "Well as long they aren't talking to you or eating brains, it should be okay." Amen to that.


Anonymous geodeodeooooo said...


29 August, 2008 10:52  

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