I’m a darned good storyteller, so I had no problem producing stories for Memorial Day, Father’s Day, and the Fourth of July. For some reason, a Labor Day post this year had me stumped. My web consultant told me I shouldn’t get political with my FB posts since I’m trying to sell romance novels, not social revolution.
Normally, I’d agree with my consultant except that my next book, Mr. Jefferson’s Piano & Other Central Harlem Stories, is a workplace memoir about working in a NYC housing agency with the mission of finding and creating affordable housing for low-income folks. I thought it would a fabulous idea to link the release of my workplace memoir with this year’s Labor Day celebration. What better way to celebrate Labor Day than to release a book about working?
While I said my new book, a workplace memoir, isn’t a romance novel, it kind of is. I’ll admit it now. I fell in love with my job in housing. I’d worked a variety of jobs in my adult life, but I’d never found one I truly liked long enough to stay and make a career of it. Whenever I took on a new job, I always vowed I’d stay three years and no more.
At seventeen, I worked during my last year of high school. I was a sales clerk at O’Neil’s, Ohio’s equivalent of Macy’s. I stayed on the job a year and returned to work the holidays for another year. A few years later, I worked as a sales clerk for the real Macy’s at Herald Square after a stint at B Altman’s on their “executive flying squad” training to be a junior executive. I hated being on my feet all day. I hated waiting on rude, annoying folks who never bought anything anyway but wasted plenty of time pretending they would.
I also worked in New York’s other housing agency, the one with the projects, as a housing teller, then as a senior housing teller. My job was applying rent payments to tenant accounts. I also charged additional fees when tenants were late with their rent or when tenants caused stoppages, broke windows, and damaged elevators. I hated explaining new additional charges to people who couldn’t afford pay regular rent. Forty years later, I still remember the abuse I took back then. Thank God the payment windows in the office were bulletproof and doors were reinforced steel with a buzzer access system. I wanted to deal with people in a real way and not the numbers they represented. I couldn’t wait to leave that bean-counting job.
My next job as a real property manager just seemed to fall in my lap. I was working nights at Macy’s when a friend told me how the city needed people to manage their portfolio of distressed properties. Property management was to become the career I hated so much but the career I loved so much too. I found working in the field for city housing to be exciting all the time. I never knew what the next day would bring.
On Monday, I could be evicting drug dealers from a vacant apartment. Tuesday, I could be rescuing a kitten from a sealed-up wall. What I hated was how I couldn’t get things done in a reasonable amount of time so life would be easier for the tenants under my purview. There was always some rule or regulation to follow that I never heard of, which always said I had to get permission from some suit downtown to do what was needed. The same “suits” made it clear they didn’t give a damn about me or my work problems or making life better for tenants.
I’m a stubborn cuss, so at first, I stayed on my real property manager job because I couldn’t admit defeat. I had issues with authority figures who demanded things that didn’t make sense. I wanted to beat the suits at their own game. Funny thing, I started to find my way around the regulations and rules the suits designed to entrap me. I got good at avoiding all the pitfalls and lures. I discovered I could actually help my tenants if I just thought things through and developed a strategy. I started to feel proud of what I did and the job I had with the city of New York.
Read more about my experiences working in the field with my less fortunate brothers and sisters using the below links:
Mr. Jefferson’s Piano & Other Central Harlem Stories:
The links are below for Mr. Jefferson’s Piano & Other Central Harlem Stories:
Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01KTTJYVM
Amazon Kindle UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01KTTJYVM
Amazon Kindle CA: http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B01KTTJYVM
Book trailer: https://youtu.be/hiQj8jzE_3c
Connect with BL Wilson at these links:
Facebook Business Page: https://www.facebook.com/patchworkbluezpress
Smashwords profile page: http://bit.ly/1sUKQYP
Amazon’s Author Page: http://bit.ly/1tY3e27