Thursday, February 13, 2014

Days of Our Work Lives: An unvarnished look at work today: Part II: Susan's Saga. Episode 7: Luck

Part II: Susan's Saga  

Episode 7: Luck

In the previous episode, Susan's bravery in inviting her tutor to dinner didn't pay off. He "still" had a girlfriend, he lived too far away, blah, blah, blah. 

So she was back to the starting line, except that she was enjoying her after-school volunteer gig directing Rent at that gritty middle school. Those same kids who wouldn't sit still for geometric theorems and Shakespeare's intricacies were, in rehearsal, as focused as a dog on a bone.

Alas, Susan's bad luck continued. During one of those rare moments the kids were acting up between acts of the brush-up rehearsal before the final performance, the principal, Linda Wright, walked in.

Susan thought, "Oh God. I'm going to get fired. Then I'll have nothing. Absolutely nothing." And when Linda said, "Would you step outside a moment, Ms. Sapian?," Susan was sure she was a goner. The principal wouldn't want to embarrass Susan in front of her students. She was going to tell Susan that today is her last day.

But sometimes, only when it's darkest do we see light. When they got outside, Susan said, "I'm so sorry Ms. Wright, they're usually quite good. I..."

Linda interrupted "Don't worry. It happens to all of us. That wasn't why I came by. You've done a great job with Rent. Very impressive with a tough group of kids. How'd you like a paying job? We need a attendance officer for the rest of the school year. Ours just got into a car accident and will be out until next September and I thought of you. $44,000 a year plus full benefits."

Susan couldn't help herself: She started to cry. "Yes, oh yes, Oh thank you!"

Susan thought, "So the career counselor was right! Volunteer and do a good job and you may get a job!"

"Can you start tomorrow?"  

"Yes, oh yes!"

The next episode is HERE.


Anonymous said...

First off: "Sapien family"? No, no, no, Marty---that's just silly.

Second off: Car wreck? The "attendance officer" is in a random car wreck and this leads to the moral of the story? Do you really think that's how they hire government workers?

Third off: Please work on dialogue.

Marty Nemko said...

Thank you. Really.

I had thought homo sapian had been spelled that way, not sapien, otherwise I never would have been that cheesy last name. Indeed, I googled "Sapian" and it came up as a correct spelling of Homo Sapian, so I assumed Sapien would be okay. I chose 'Sapien' because of the word "Sapient,' which is an arcane synonym for sagacious. I will now change their last name.

I view my use of the car wreck as irrelevant to any core issue in the scene or saga. I used that to explain why there would be a sudden need for a replacement, yet the person would be back next September. That will be needed for an element I'll bring in in the next episode.

And yes, even government, in an emergency can quickly make a temp hire. For example,, schools hire a sub on a daily basis. Do remember that I mentioned earlier that Susan had a teaching license, which would make her eligible for such emergency hiring. Of course, I could have written, "Could you start next month," and perhaps avoided your concern but the dramatic advantage of having her start the next day outweighed that.

Regarding my dialogue, yes, that is a weakness of mine. Candidly, I've long tried to improve it as I was writing my four screenplays but it remains inadequate. I've actually read chapters of books on how to write better dialogue and listen for it when I go to the movies or plays but mine still sucks. For that I apologize. I assuage my guilt by reminding myself that, as I wrote in the Saga's first installment, I'm using the vehicle of the (to be named) Family Saga not as a work of literature but simply to try an alternative to a how-to article and public-policy essay. Hopefully, that will make most readers will lower their literary bar of judgment of my dialogue and other literary characteristics of the Saga. My dialogue is worse even than usual because its purpose is mainly educational: to present lots of ideas. That leads it to sound preachier than dialogue in movies, plays, and print fiction.

Do know that I do try my best and am sorry I continue to disappoint you.

Rex said...

I think the story is freakin awesome...keep it going...


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