Monday, February 9, 2009

Of Counting Beans

I have thought and thought about my work situation of last week. And what I have come to is this: None of this is so much about the way I perceive my co-worker responding to me now. It is more about the fact that what my job really wants and needs is a good bean counter. And I am not always the best bean counter. Oh, I can count the beans, and speedily! And I have a great memory which is a huge asset in my line of work. And I can get beans, er people, to talk openly for some reason which is an asset when one is deciding which beans would be the most suitable candidates.

. . . but it is that "getting the beans spilled" as it were that is the crux of my dilemma. The reality of my job is that people talk to me a lot. And not really about things that just pertain to my role as a landlord. They talk to me sometimes because they don't know the area and don't have a friend and I am a reasonably approachable person. Sometimes they talk to me because they are afraid and they have no one to share their fear with. Or their joy. I like when people share their joys. Sometimes it is because I can speak their mother tongue and many other people can't and they are lonely. I have had people speak to me in portugese because they know i speak spanish. If I try really hard and they try really hard, we can usually make it work. I once had someone from Haiti speak to me in French. I hadn't used french in 25 yrs. I told him I didn't remember my french. He smiled and said "yes you do" and continued speaking in french. Somehow we managed to understand each other.

But being that open to people means they share a lot of stuff. The details of their operation. (don't even ask how many incisions I've seen!) Their marital woes, their pregnancies, their child rearing questions. People know i have 4 kids and if they don't have a happy relationship with their parents, or are adults who aged out of foster care, they look to me for parenting tips. Ideas for family friendly cheap times out. Shopping and cooking tips. You name it. And in there too are the "big" things. The people who share their issues of abuse. Their addictions. Or residency. Their stories of why they left their country of origin and risked things in a particular way.

I don't imagine really good bean counters hear those stories. Because they are too busy counting the dang beans.

I also know that if I wanted to, I could probably do something else with my life that would allow the skills that are such a double edged sword at my present job, to be an asset in a new career. I also know that many of the careers that this could translate to would never pay what a decent bean counter gets. Sigh.

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