Confession: I looove working at UWI. It's a part-time gig, meaning I make my own hours. I have a great rapport with my boss. The work is challenging and rewarding. I can stroll to my classes on Mondays and Thursdays. I have an air-conditioned office with really fast Internet access and an abundance of stationery. I have my own key for the staff bathroom, which has hand-soap and paper towels, and is always open. Life is good at UWI.
Except, I haven't been paid for the past two months.
I did the job application process online, sent in all my documents, the whole shebang, since May. We’re in October, and I am yet to receive a contract; at UWI, no contract means no salary.
Calls to the relevant bodies in charge of processing said contract have gone unanswered nine-out-of-ten times. When they do answer, the Resident Hog replies with more run-around and unhelpful suggestions to “check the system”.
I've asked questions. I've been very patient. I’ve channeled my frustration into unbridled enthusiasm. I’ve hoped and hoped and asked more questions. All to no avail.
Meanwhile, my bank account is on its last. I’m maxed out on borrowing money. I mean, let’s face it, no one wants to lend a 26-year old, technically employed, “functioning adult” money, especially when you can’t give a date of repayment.
I’m honestly at my wits’ end.
I fantasize about asking a friend that lives close to campus to get me a tyre. Entering through the gate closest to the Bus Route (the guards never ask questions), I’d roll the tyre on campus all the way to the lawn in front of the Staff (Old) Admin Building.
I’d douse the tyre in kerosene and set it ablaze with the Bic lighter in my bag. I’d sing Negro spirituals into a bull-horn. When employees peer from the windows above, I’d chant: “Ah want meh money right now!”, repeatedly. The wind would carry my plea to the heavens. Students would update their Facebook and Instagram accounts about the crazy, high-voiced boy in orange and royal blue, staging a one-man protest against the system.
|That's how I see it in my mind's eye|
Khamal would show up, cameraman in tow, and interview me. I'd lambaste the poor administration at UWI. I'd convince him that those in charge of approving contracts don’t give a damn; they have their contracts; they were paid last Thursday; they drive off campus in their nice cars to their cushy lives.
I’d point out that when anyone has money for UWI, is deadlines and late fee and shit. The efficiency is lost as soon as UWI has to do the paying. I’d, then, run off campus before the security guards catch up with me.
I feel like the general sentiment is: “When UWI pay yuh, is ah lump sum yuh gettin’!” And!?!? I am on the ground NOW, working. My needs are in the NOW.
I don’t get up on a morning, clap my hands and appear on campus in a puff of fluorescent-orange smoke, dressed and ready to work. Transportation, clothes and shoes, personal care items, lunch, activities to de-stress, photocopying chapters for my courses, Internet access at home etc, etc, ALL come at a cost.
Believe it or not, smiles and giggles and a somewhat winning personality are not accepted forms of payment.
I just wanna scream: “CARE, DAMN IT! I’M A PERSON WITH NEEDS AND WANTS! APPROVE MEH FACKIN’ CONTRACT AND BE DONE WITH IT!”
I work, UWI pays me at the end of the month. It. Is. That. Simple. Or not. Ugh.
The way forward is clear. More waiting. More calls. More run-around. Maybe, November month-end will be it. Maybe, I should write a scathing letter or two. Maybe, I turn to prostitution. Anything’s possible at this point.
Basically: #UWIOnShit #EwwWI #ApproveMehContract #PayMe #PovertyIsHell.
So yeah, gonna channel my ire into my midterm essay.
Until the next post. Ugh!