Of Course I Know Kevin

I just posted about our decision to stick with the devil we know for our job in China. We don’t really like it a bunch, but there are things we like. The new place would also have things we liked, but new things to dislike too. When we were being toured around the city, the woman in charge of seducing us to come there mentioned a Kevin for a foreign teacher they previously employed. Bella said, “Oh, I know Kevin.”

The woman was certain it was a different person. After all, there are 600,000+ foreigners in China, and 1.3 billion people in China, what are the odds you would know a specific foreign teacher in this ocean of people, 15 hours away from home. The woman started to describe Kevin in order to show it was a different Kevin, “He this, he that, he the other thing.” We said, “Yup, yup, yup.” She continued, “His wife is Chinese,” we said, “yup.” Sure enough, it was the Kevin we were looking for, or at least knew.

She shot a message off to his wife with the picture of me from WeChat. She responded quickly, “Oh yes, we know him!” We made plans with them for the next day to go for some coffee.

It was nice catching up, and having a chat with someone familiar. I don’t know many people in China. We had already made our decision about sticking with our current job before we went out with Kevin, and his wife. When we were out with them, he told me about how he used to work for the company we were interviewing with in the city.

“I used to work with the school you are here to visit. They treat their teachers pretty well. The problem was when they got their new headmaster [the current one] he looked at how much money they were spending on the several foreign teachers at the school. So, he said they were doing away with the foreign English teachers because it isn’t worth the money. They didn’t even wait until the end of the semester, he just fired us all right then, and there.” was the story Kevin had to tell. This story was not meant to scare me away, just making conversation, and answering my question about what it was like to teach for this company.

His story did not make our decision, but it was one more piece of evidence we had made the right choice. If the headmaster killed the program once, there really was nothing stopping him from killing it again without giving us any notice.

What a small world it is though. A random city, chosen from a pile of job offers, and we happen upon one of the 4 people I know in this country.

It’s Time To Lighten Up On The “Little Guy”

When I was 23(24?) years old, I decided to get a job at the movie theatre. There were several reasons for this job, but my top reason was because there was a girl from my university who worked there I wanted to get to know better, and I wanted the free movies which came along with the job. Even though I never made it past getting to know the girl, I did enjoy the free movies, so I enjoyed the job quite a bit.

One day someone I knew from High School came in to see a movie, and I waited on him at the snack counter. We weren’t friends, we were… good acquaintances. When he and his girlfriend got to the cash for snacks I greeted them warmly, and he greeted me with a very sarcastic, “I see things are going well in your life, you get to work at the movie theatre now.” He then went on to tell me something about the “high paying” job I didn’t overly care about, and after a few more digs at my  theatre job, he left with his food. I wasn’t hurt by it, if anything I was annoyed at his pride, and was just left shaking my head wondering what was going so terribly wrong in his life he felt the need to attempt to put down others.

I have been watching the news in the recent past about Fast Food Workers in the USA striking, and the way people are reacting to these strikes. I am not going to go into the financial argument over why they should, or should not be making $12-$15 an hour as a “burger flipper.” These arguments have been made both for/against, giving utopian and distopian outcomes. While this strike was specifically Fast Food Workers, the theory applies to any workers on the minimum wage end of the scale.

The point at which this argument (very quickly) became offensive to me was how many of those against the wage increase started talking about those working in fast food over the age of high school. “These people going on strike are greedy idiots,” “These jobs aren’t meant to be a career, so go out and get a better/another [full time] job,” “Minimum wage at $7.25 already pays a low level employee more than what they are worth.” You don’t need to look very far to hear something derogatory about workers who earn a minimum wage.

My response to any of those giving flack, “Shame. on. you.” How dare you criticize someone for being willing to bust their hump for pennies, and dare to dream of a day where they can exist just above the poverty line while doing it. How dare you shame anyone for putting up with whatever life throws at them with the dignity of not backing down, and not giving up on life. They are not defined, or contained by their jobs, their jobs are what they do to exist, the same as your job is what you do to exist. Some people are lucky to receive a high wage for what they do (difficult or not), and some people receive a low wage for what they do (difficult or not).

People will get so angry they spit over people unable to work, and how they are a, “drain on society.” Then when people do go out and get work, the response is about what a loser they are for the job they are willing to do… It is a lose, lose situation.

What you do for work will never make me impressed, or unimpressed. Who you are is all I care about when viewing other people. The poorest person filled with hate, and condescending tone will gain my pity, and the most loving will have my respect. The most wealthy individual filled with hate, and condescending tone will also receive my pity, and if they are loving will have my respect. The same is obviously true at any point on the scale, regardless of age.

If your conscience guides you to a high horse, and you feel the need to look down on the masses, please forgive me for not joining you. I will keep my focus on individuals, and not social statuses.