Submitted by David Anderson.
“Eighty-two tasks to complete for each apartment. Push the coat hangers to the left side of the sliding closet. Make sure the shower head isn’t set to ‘massage’ mode. Set the TV to input 2. She does the same 82 things all day every day. Monday through Friday, 410 tasks in 8 hours every day.”
Martha Judelson cleans corporate housing.
Alina Vrabie tells Judelson’s story to make this profound pronouncement: “Don’t underestimate the power of menial tasks.”
Among the reasons rote routines are so important? Vrabie writes, “you can harness those times for thinking.”
Menial tasks – like picking apples or picking up litter – as opposed say to holding a cardboard sign for endless, mindless hours – are opportunities, not adversaries, to harness not only your own brainpower (mentally cataloging and creatively processing this ‘downtime’ into a plan for your future) but also give evidence to those with brains – and the power, as potential employers – that if you excel in the menial, what might you accomplish in a job more meaningful?
And just like that, a career is born.
Janice Gordon says
Which is all well and fine if the particular homeless individual has the physical and/or mental ability to even do menial labor. Offer work. Absolutely. But even if they refuse the offer of work, they still need a place to safely sleep, and food, and restroom and hygiene facilities. Those should be basic human rights.
A pretty consistent attitude I see from a lot of folks, is that the homeless are all essentially lazy, or drug addicts. That they chose to be homeless. This simply isn’t true. And I find myself wondering about the folks who have these attitudes, proclaiming that if they aren’t willing to work they shouldn’t receive any assistance is …have they ever been homeless, or under the very real threat of eviction and resulting homelessness?
And, what is the longest they’d ever gone without eating?
Chas. Ames says
Homelessness affects people who can’t get good mental health counseling, people who have had their pensions raided, solitary individuals, veterans and so many others. None of them asked to be homeless. You can bet they fought it despite this increasingly hostile conservative mindset; don’t tax me and my corporate entitlements AND don’t give entitlements to anyone else. The people that can fix this are pro-life up until the second you are actually alive.
We can’t shame the people who are powerless to fix resources that have had funding cut, have children turn their backs on them, or who have an eviction on their record and now cannot get housing.
Anybody who has worked with the homeless can clearly see circumstances are completely beyond their control. America is not founded on ‘yer on yer own, bud’. God’s sake, we are 911 to the world. We’ll turn our back on our brother?
Janice Gordon says
Thank you. That was my take on it.
Really. A career is born from doing menial tasks? It’s that easy, huh?