All You Zombies

[awl yoo zombees]: Hyman and Bazilian liked this song, but thought is was way too quirky to be a hit. They considered it a throwaway song, and played it in clubs early in their sets when most people weren’t paying attention. They didn’t realize people liked the song until they did a live concert for radio station WMMR in Philadelphia. When they played this, the phones lit up and the station got flooded with requests for it. They released a vinyl 45 of the WMMR performance to satisfy the demand.

The House Has Forgotten Part 6: I wish I had Influenza.

So..the other day I woke up way too early in the morning, the darkness surrounding me as I drove to The House That God Has Forgotten. It was cold. Wind and snow blowing in my face, and as I walked down the passage way to the building I realised one thing.

I don’t want to be here anymore,

I my friends, have been the one that secretly hopes that I am going to catch the influenza bug that everyone in the apartment has gotten, I am the one who hopes I throw up in the middle of the night and ends up sleeping on the bathroom floor.

I am the one that is tired of working sometimes at The House That God Has Forgotten.

If you were to ask me why do I stay? I would tell you it was because I need the schedule. I need the flexibility to be able to work 90% and have it so I can pick my daughter up from school at a reasonable time.

That is what hold me by the chain to The House That God Has Forgotten.

It definitely is not the pay. The pay scares me at how low it is.

In the morning we wake up early to fill thermos as as we walk up and down the corridors we ask the same questions at every door.

“Do you want to go to promenade? Do you want coffee or tea?”

Oh and here is this days breakfast.

Kind of like a flight attendant right? Well a little bit so, but you are so much more than a flight attendant at The House That God Has Forgotten. You are responsible for the needs and care for 24 people in crisis. Not just making someone feel comfortable on the flight.

If you were to google “Hur mycket tjänar en flygvärdinna?” (how much does a flight attendant make) you would find out that they make about the same money that I do, that is 26500 kr a month.

I however think my pay check is low, especially people that have less life experience that I do make almost 3000 kr more than me in a month. They were officers in the army. I was a non commissioned officer in the American Army as a military police for 5 years. The have university education. I have 2 years worth of credits under my belt. Plus I have 9 years experience experience in the same job they just started.

My pay check is a big motivator to want to get up early in the morning to walking through the wind to go to The House That God Has Forgotten.

I am not stupid, I know that anything with the word “care” in the title (Kriminalvården = Criminal Care) means I am definitely in it for the cash. I think we all know that to be true. Usually if you have a job that involves caring about other people, it usually means that you are not going to be rich.

But our job is important, just as much as the police are.

A big part of me gets irritated for all the support that the police get for their awful wages. The Facebook posts that get viral because they are quitting, or the stories that are on the news that they are getting under paid for the job that they do.

What about the job we do in The House That God Has Forgotten? We are the ones that are in it for the long haul. The ones that when the police and courts are finished that bear the weight of it all.

It is we who do not have guns, but pepper spray and batons that have to maintain order of the same people they had problems.

It is we who have to explain to that guy why he cannot speak to his girlfriend, mother, father etc. etc. on the telephone.

It is we who has to ask those same three questions every time someone comes back from a trial:

“Does it feel hopeless?”

“Do you feel like life is not worth living anymore?”

and trying to decipher the last question if that person is really going to hurt himself when the door is locked behind him at night (or all day for that matter).

Our job is not just helping them to get their clothes up to their room from storage, but to making sure they fix all of their paperwork so their kids can come and visit them for one hour a week.

We are the code breakers, the ones that have to watch to see if a prisoner is going to go over the edge, or protect the ones that are on their way to it.

IT is we in the whole department of corrections, not just The House That God Has Forgotten that are ignored and no one listens to.

The old saying goes “If they are locked away, no one cares about it”

And I do not hear the new faces complaining about it like we do. And why should they? My pay raise of a whole 600 kr this year is below the rate of inflation. I do more work that many of my colleagues because I also work as a person that represents the rights of a child (barnombud), but I still am working below people that have less work, less responsibility and less life experience.

I think a big part of us all. It is the ones of us that do that little extra everyday that are the ones that are punished because of the system. The ones that answer all the questions when they are asked (or find the answers for them), the ones that make sure all the clothes ends up in the storage rooms, or even the ones that day in and day out for years have been handing out those thermos and asking the same question for years:

“Do you want coffee or tea?” they say.

What has become of the phrase “We respect those who are loyal?” We are not asking for much. We are asking for the same wages like the newer people have. The newer people we are having to teach how to work at something we have been doing for years.

Those people are not even people to us, they are a pay check.

“He is new and he makes 29100 kr every month,” it is said.

And maybe it shouldn’t be that way… but it is hard not to be.

It is just one of those reasons I wake up too early in the morning and walk with wind and snow in my face and wish silently to myself that I am going to get sick. Too sick to go to work. That feeling physical pain is something to look forward to.

The problem is that even if I was really sick with the influenza I would not be able to relax and get better. I would be instead thinking of how much money I am going to lose. Just like I do when my daughter is sick.

I need the money.

(as with all of my posts feel free to share them, I know we are not alone)

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