Monday, July 28, 2014

Greff Fabrics Blues, 1971 (xxv)

If I remember correctly, in 1971 Snelling and Snelling still required the aplicants it placed in permanent jobs at firms like Greff Fabrics to continue working at the job for at least 3 months, in order to avoid being charged some kind of fee for having quit the job before 3 months were up.

So although I was ready to quit once Mr. Hamilton unfairly gave Rob, the African-American supervisor, the axe, I waited until my 3 months at Greff Fabrics were up at the end of December 1971 to give my notice that I was quitting. But by New Year's Eve, I was on a passenger train heading for some campus town in the Midwest with the money I had saved from my Greff Fabrics job in my wallet; and with my only luggage being a duffel bag and a cheap guitar.I then spent most of the train ride conversing with another long-haired hippie who was heading for the University of Kansas's campus in Lawrence, Kansas.

By the end of 1971, the New Left aboveground political scene and Movement scene in New York City seemed completely dead again; and the campuses around New York City's five boroughs seemed to once again resemble the silent campuses of the 1950s McCarthy era from a political point of view. Neither at Greff Fabrics nor at the other 9-to-5 "real world" workplace scenes was there any evidence that any significant group of 1960s New Left revolutionary activists were going to be able to radicalize the 9-to-5 New York City workers politically during the 1970s, so that they would come to reject U.S. capitalism and 9-to-5 slavery enmasse, and also support a Black Panther Party-led or revolutionary feminist women-led anti-imperialist revolution in the United States.

Yet by the Spring of 1972, some buildings at Columbia University would again be re-occupied by anti-war students after the Nixon administration resumed the Pentagon's bombing of North Vietnam; and it was becoming evident that the FBI was unable to capture most of the anti-war New Left Movement people who had gone underground and become 1970s weatherfugitives.

But, in retrospect, my post-Greff Fabrics work experience-based late 1971 impression fear that the New Left would continue to make no significant political impact on the continued "business-as-usual" functioning of the 9-to-5 Death Culture world of capitalist wage slavery during the rest of the 20th-century and early 21st-century ended up being a fairly realistic fear. Without the kind of daily U.S. mass media tv news show access that Abbie Hoffman and the seven other Chicago Conspiracy 8 Trial defendants had been given in late 1969 and early 1970 (or that Columbia SDS people had enjoyed in late April and May of 1968), New Left revolutionaries--whether male, female, African-American or white--would be unable to develop a mass base of working-class support for a Revolution in the United States during the rest of the 20th-century.

And the plastic Greff Fabrics pattern of  manager-employee power and economic relations of 1971 would continue to be replicated year-after-year in most other plastic, authoritarian U.S. Death Culture workplaces--regardless of how much the technology that was utilized at these for-profit or tax-exempt non-profit workplaces would be changed or modernized.

Plutocratis, oligarchs, capitalists, bankers and their ass-licking managers--not the New Left revolutionaries and anti-capitalist U.S. workers of all racial and ethnic backgrounds--would continue to rule the 9-to-5 "real world" work scene; and institutional classism and economic inequality in the United States would begin to intensify during the next 45 years.

(the end)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Greff Fabrics Blues, 1971 (xxiv)

I also left New York City by bus on at least two other Fall 1971 weekends while I was working at Greff Fabrics: once to check out the Douglas College and Rutgers University campuses in New Brunswick, New Jersey and once to walk around the Penn State University campus in State College, Pennsylvania.

On weekends, the Douglas College and Rutgers University campus seemed more dead and empty of students walking around than did the Penn State University campus. Perhaps because New Brunswick was much closer to a big city like New York City than was Penn State University, which seemed far from Harrisburg and even further from Philadelphia, and was also located in a more scenic rural area than were Douglas and Rutgers's campus.

But, on a political level, Penn State University seemed politically dead in the Fall of 1971. Walking around the campus of Penn State University in the Fall of 1971 reinforced my feeling that, for the early 1970s U.S. students, what had happened at places like Berkeley, Columbia, Harvard, SF State, Kent State and Jackson State during the late 1960s and in early 1970 was ancient history and of no relevence to their current lives.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Greff Fabrics Blues, 1971 (xxiii)

Besides spending the last months of 1971 working at Greff Fabric, I also left the United States for the first time one weekend in the Fall of 1971, when I hopped on a Greyhound bus at the New York Port Authority's terminal, which was heading for Montreal on a Saturday.

I can't recall much of what happened on the bus ride, except for the fact that when the bus arrived at the U.S.-Canadian border, the Canadian border patrol guards didn't like my hippie/freak looks and assumed I was trying to smuggle some drugs into Canada.

So when the Greyhound bus was stopped at the border and the Canadian border patrol guards got on the bus to examine its passengers, I was the only passenger that was ordered to leave the bus. And, once I was outside, the Canadian border patrol guards asked me to empty my pockets and searched me, to see if I was personally carrying any drugs--after I told them I was traveling with no knapsack or any baggage. They also apparently checked my name against whatever list they consulted, before allowing me to return to the Greyhound bus and enter Canada.

Once out of the United States, off the Greyhound bs and inside Montreal's Greyhound bus station, I initially felt good about, for the first time, being in a country which was not directly governed by the Republican Nixon administration's government. And since I hadn't studied any French in either junior high school, high school or college, I did feel that being in Quebec was being in a foreign country, since everyone there was speaking a language I did not understand. And when I walked outside the Greyhound bus station, I, coincidentally, encountered a march of about 150 supporters of Quebec independence and Quebecois nationalists that looked impressive.

But after I had walked around Montreal for about an hour, the sun began to set and it began to get dark. So I randomly walked to one of the cheap hotels near the bus station and asked if if had a vacant room for the night. Although the clerk at the front desk of the first place I went to looked  suspiciously at me because I had no luggage and looked like a long-haired hippie/freak from the USA, once I agreed to pay for the room for the night in advance and in cash, he gave me the key to one of his vacant rooms and I quickly undressed and fell asleep on the bed.

Waking up early the next morning, I spent most of the day continuing to randomly walk around Montreal's streets and eventually found myself in Mount Royal Park, looking down from its heights on the city streets below. Then, noting that it was now going to be the time for one of the last Sunday afternoon buses that would take me back to New York City to leave, I hurried back down the hill to the Montreal bus station; and I eventually arrived at New York City's Port Authority bus station very late Saturday night.

Visiting Montreal for a day had been interesting. But it also made me realize that--unless I learned some French first--it would likely not be that easy for me to survive as an exile in Montreal in the 1970s.  So living in the USA where it was still easier for me to find at least some kind of menial clerical work when I needed bread seemed to remain a much more realistic economic option than trying to figure out a way to eventually move to a French-speaking Quebec that then seemed on the road to eventually political independence and national liberation, and full national self-determination.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Greff Fabrics Blues 1971 (xxii)

One reason I quit Greff Fabrics in late December 1971 was because of the shabby way its white executives/owners treated it African-American sample room supervisor, Rob, in early December 1971. The culturally straight white owner, Mr. Hamilton-- on the few occasions when he came downstairs to the sample room basement from his main floor Greff Fabrics office and showroom--had noticed that we sample clerks were laughing and talking to each other as we worked. In addition, Mr. Hamilton--who smelled heavily of cologne and deodorant--apparently didn't like my more natural, hippie-like smell--which was free of any cologne scent or strong deodorant scent.

So Mr. Hamilton concluded that the sample room supervisor, Rob, was being too lenient with the sample clerks he was supposed to be supervising. And, without any warning, Rob was suddenly informed by Mr. Hamilton that he was being fired and replaced by some culturally-straight, country-club golfing partner or friend, in his late 50s or early 60s of Mr. Hamilton--who apparently wanted to earn some additional money at some job again for awhile--named Mr. Garrison.

Since Rob's plans to get married in a few weeks had been based on his assumption that his job as sample room clerk supervisor at Greff Fabrics and his weekly wages were secure, being suddenly fired by the white boss, Mr. Hamilton, seemed like a quite shabby move to both Rob and the sample room clerks he supervised.

But since all the sample room clerks needed our jobs and were not in any kind of union, we did not walk or refuse to accept Mr. Garrison's supervision after Rob was given the axe. Instead, we just grumbled among ourselves about the injustice of Rob being given the axe in a way that would disrupt his marriage plans; and we accepted Mr. Garrison--who was an elderly corporate-type in a penguin suit and tie who--unlike Rob--wouldn't even allow us to work with a radio that played jazz and music softly in the background--sullenly.

So, not surprisingly, only a few weeks after Rob was fired, I ended up quitting my Greff Fabrics sample room job just before my sample room co-workers and I went out together for drinks after work, on the day before Christmas Eve, in some Mid-Manhattan bar.

During the last week of working at Greff Fabrics--after I had decided that I would move out of New York City and away from the East Coast by January 1972--I, coincidentally, bumped into Eileen again--in the Midtown Manhattan bookstore, Gotham Books, where we were both browsing between the book shelves after work one evening after work for awhile.

I had written a love song for Eileen, "Ms. Eileen," in the Spring of 1971--after first connecting with her in a spontaneous way in the Lehman College cafeteria one afternoon in April or May, when I noticed she was reading the Village Voice, after she just happened to sit down on the other side of the cafeteria table where I  happened to be sitting--and getting emotionally and physically close to each other for a few weeks.

But once Eileen realized how embittered I had become by my economic survival difficulties, poverty and pre-1971 anti-imperialist left activist experiences, she saw that it made neither economic nor emotional sense for her to leave the boyfriend she was then living with--who, given her recently acquired radical feminist consciousness, she felt she had outgrown-- and move in with me; despite the fact that I was more of a male feminist and less of a male chauvinist than was her current boyfriend. And in the Spring of 1971, I pretty much agreed with her that--given my growing economic desperation and growing anger at being denied access to welfare benefits, at my failure to find a new job and my falling deeper and deeper into poverty--it would, indeed, make no sense for her to leave her boyfriend--who had a good-paying straight job--for someone in my jobless, economically impoverished situation--even if I was less male-chauvinist, more emotionally open, more intellectual and more of a male feminist than was her current boyfriend.

When we bumped into each other again at the Gotham Books bookstore in December 1971, Eileen was still living with the same guy and still working part-time for some social welfare service agency. But now our emotional intimacy and closeness of 7 months ago seemed like ancient history, especially since Eileen now seemed to feel more appreciative of the emotionally and economically positive aspects of her love relationship with her boyfriend than she had seemed to feel 7 months before.

But since I had never played for Eileen the "Ms. Eileen" love song I had written for her, I invited Eileen, in a spontaneous way, to have dinner with me in the apartment in Queens I was crashing in that week, so that I could sing the "Ms. Eileen" song for her. And, surprisingly, Eileen spontaneously accepted my invitation, although it was clear to both of us that she no longer had any possible romantic interest in me, because her love relationship with the boyfriend she still lived with had become more satisfying; and because I was moving away from New York City and the East Coast in less than a week.

I no longer remember much of what we talked about on the subway and bus ride together from Manhattan to the Queens apartment where I was staying, although I recall that the time flew by fast, because we conversed the whole time in an animated way. I also don't remember what we ended up eating for dinner, although I don't think we each ate very much food.

What I do remember, though, is that I took out my guitar and sang the "Ms. Eileen" love song to Eileen. And that, after I finished singing the song, Eileen said: "You know, it's like you're a different person when you're singing than when you're talking."

And then, since it was getting near 8:30 or 9 o'clock, I can vaguely recall next taking the Q17 bus with Eileen back to the Flushing Main Street IRT station and quickly kissing her goodbye before she went downstairs into the station to take the subway back into Manhattan and then uptown towards the Bronx, to where she still lived with her boyfriend.

And because I never saw or spoke with Eileen (or bumped into Eileen) ever again, my memory of the last time I ever saw or spoke with Eileen is still associated with my memory of the last few days in which I worked for Greff Fabrics.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Greff Fabrics Blues, 1971 (xxi)

I also no longer remember the name of a fourth co-worker in the Greff Fabrics sample room basement in the Fall of 1971. The fourth co-worker was a short white woman in her early 20's, with medium-length black hair, who probably was considered neither particularly unattractive nor particularly attractive on a physical level by most men of the early 1970s. Like me, she stopped dressing-up in a culturally straight way after a week on the job; and by the second week of her work at Greff Fabrics she began wearing jean and slacks to work every day.

Like the Asian-American co-worker, she was pretty much uninterested in current events or counter-cultural politics, although--unlike the Asian-American co-worker--she expressed some anti-war sentiments and some dissatisfaction with having to work in the 9-to-5 straight corporate world in order to obtain a paycheck and some spending money.

But in the Fall of 1971, her biggest concern was that the boyfriend with whom she had been sleeping with during the previous year--and whom she was still hung-up on--had recently broken up with her. So most of the talk during work breaks that I had with her were about the possible reasons why her relationship with her boyfriend seemed to be falling apart; and the more we talked with each other day-after-day, the more I began to feel that--if she ceased to still be hung-up on her boyfriend--she might be someone with whom I might want to get involved romantically, myself.

But after a few months of breaking up with her, her boyfriend eventually decided he wanted to get back together again with her. So after eventually quitting my job at Greff Fabrics in late December 1971, I never saw this co-worker again.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Greff Fabrics Blues, 1971 (xx)

A third co-worker in the Greff Fabrics sample room basement in the Fall of 1971 was a young Asian-American guy in his early 20's who had been born in the United States, had grown up in the States and who spoke English like most other Americanized white children or grandchildren of immigrants like me. But he generally wore a suit and tie to work each day, dressed-up in a culturally straight way and was beardless, and kept his hair short and culturally straight-looking all the time. Like the name of the former Kent State anti-war student who worked at Greff Fabrics, the name of the Asian-American co-worker I also can't recall over 40 years later.

What I do remember about him, however, is that he was pretty uninterested and unconcerned about current events or things like the Nixon Administration's continued war against people who lived in Southeast Asia, despite the fact that he was Asian-American in his ethnic background. As long as he had a job, he seemed satisfied with U.S. society; and since he seemed to assume that if he continued to conform to white middle-class values and played it straight he would eventually find some job within the 9-to-5 world that paid more and was more interesting than the Greff Fabrics sample room clerk job as he got older, he did not seem to feel himself particularly enslaved by the 9-to-5 world of U.S. capitalism as did I.

What I remember the Asian-American co-worker did seem to enjoy most talking with me about was how he enjoyed having sex with the womanfriend he had met a few months before, while waiting at a bus stop near where he lived, on his way to work at the job he had before being hired by Greff Fabrics. When he and I were both assigned to take a New Haven line commuter train from  Manhattan to Greff Fabric's warehouse in Port Chester for a few days to do some work taking an inventory of what  fabric goods were in the Greff Fabrics warehouse up there, we ended up filling u the few hours we had to spare after we had finished out assigned work--before heading back home on the commuter train to Manhattan--by discussing the ways women were most able to excite the men they loved.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Greff Fabrics Blues, 1971 (xix)

After graduating from Kent State, my Greff Fabrics sample room co-worker had apparently moved to New York City with the Kent State woman student he had fallen in love with while they both attended Kent State. And following the Kent State Massacre, he seemed to have completely retreated from any further involvement in U.S. anti-war movement or New Left politics: Both because he seemed to realize from what he had witnessed at Kent State that personal involvement in anti-war U.S. protests in the 1970s could, in fact, get you killed in your 20's; and because he seemed to also feel some regret about having played a role in the destruction of the Kent State ROTC building, given how the ROTC building's destruction had been exploited as the pretext for the deadly Ohio National Guard attack on Kent State's students.

So after he was lucky enough to receive a draft lottery number that enabled him to no longer be at risk of being drafted into the U.S. military for 1970s military service in Vietnam, the Greff Fabrics co-worker who had attended Kent State in 1970, by the Fall of 1971, seemed completely divorced from any connection to the early 1970s anti-war counter-culture; and completely re-assimilated into the straight 9-to-5 world of work, in which he soon moved away from Greff Fabrics and into a higher-paying straight corporate job that his woman friend's family connection had apparently reserved for him.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Greff Fabrics Blues, 1971 (xviii)

Before this Greff Fabrics co-worker told me about his involvement in destroying the Kent State ROTC building prior to the Kent State Massacre, I had considered it conceivable that the Kent State ROTC building's destruction might have just been the work of some government agent-provocateur, in order to create a pretext for ordering the Ohio National Guardsmen onto the Kent State University campus to carry out some kind of pre-planned "show the anti-war white middle-class students that the U.S. government is willing to kill them if they keep showing mass support for anti-war celebrity activists like Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin and the other convicted Chicago 8 Conspiracy defendants" mission.

But after speaking to my Greff Fabrics co-worker, it now seemed that the destruction of the Kent State ROTC building a few nights prior to the Kent State Massacre had, indeed, been an authentic act of anti-war protest/resistance by a group of Kent State University anti-war students (although, of course, there's always the outside-but unlikely, perhaps, in this case-possibility that the anti-war student group at Kent State University that planned or carried out the destruction of the Kent State ROTC building may have been infiltrated by some student agent-provocateur).

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Greff Fabrics Blues, 1971 (xvii)

Besides sending Louis to work alongside me in the Greff Fabrics sample room basement during the Fall of 1971, Snelling and Snelling also placed in a sample room clerk job a white guy in his early 20's (whose name I no longer recall) who was a student at Kent State University in Ohio in May 1970--when four Kent State students were shot and killed by Ohio National Guard troops and at least one other student was wounded and permanently paralyzed.

In the Fall of 1971, this former Kent State University student looked pretty straight culturally, had short hair and was beardless, wore glasses, and came to work every day wearing a suit and tie and dress shirt during the three or four weeks he spent working in the Greff Fabrics sample room--before he left for some higher-paying job.

So I was surprised when he quietly revealed to me late one afternoon--a few days before he moved to his new job elsewhere--that, when he was a Kent State University student in 1970, he was part of the small group of Kent State anti-war student radicals that--following Nixon's speech which announced the U.S. military invasion of Cambodia--destroyed the Kent State University ROTC building--a few nights before the Ohio State National Guard troops shot live bullets at students on the Kent State campus in the afternoon; after previously being ordered to occupy the town of Kent by Ohio's then-governor.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Greff Fabrics Blues, 1971 (xvi)

Since the sample clerk job at Greff Fabrics was not that complicated a job to learn, by the end of the first day I pretty much had learned to do what was required for me to fulfill the daily work requirements. And by the end of the second day, I had found that the other sample clerks and I could make the 9-to-5 workday pass by faster if we talked to each other, both while we were pulling the requested textile samples from the shelves and during the lull periods in-between the time when we had filled all the salesman requests and near the end of the day, when the salesmen telephoned in new requests for more textile samples to be pulled and sent out.

Besides Bob, the only other sample room clerk co-worker whose name I can stil recall over 42 years later was named Louis. He was a recent African-American college graduate of CUNY in his early 20's who had grown-up in New York City and was more into individually making as much money as he could from the racist capitalist system that he, personally, despised than into working to build a Black Liberation Movement in the 1970s that would radically change the racist capitalist system.

When I mentioned SNCC and Stokely Carmichael once in one of our conversations about U.S. politics, Louis lauged, in a cynical way, and indicated that he felt that Stokely may have spoken in an entertaining style in the 1960s, but was now passe' and "out-of-date" in the early 1970s; and Stokely and SNCC's 1960's rap no longer reflected the now cynical, individualistic mood of the early 1970's Black community. Louis also seemed to indicate that he and his friends who were also in their early 20's now saw SNCC and Stokely Carmichael as being irrelevant to their off-campus early 1970's lives.

Unlike me, Louis was careful to continue to come to work in the Greff Fabrics sample room basement dressed up in a suit and tie and dress shrit--and looking culturally straight--because he was hoping to be quickly promoted to be some kind of Greff Fabrics salesperson upstairs or outside the store, since that was "where more money could be quickly earned" by him. Louis also seemed to regard our African-American sample room clerk supervisor Bob as being not ambitious enough and being too satisfied with just being the sample room clerk supervisor within the 9-to-5 work world, instead of pushing to get Greff Fabrics to promote him to some more lucrative salesman job--although Louis felt Bob was still a personally nice guy.

Since Louis--despite our political/philosophical differences--seemed the hippest of my co-workers at Greff Fabrics, I ate lunch out with him once in the Fall of 1971. And after work one weekday, I even went down to the Lower East Side with him to visit the affluent, bearded white guy in his 30's who apparently sold hashish and pot for Louis's own personal recreational use; and Louis, the white hashish and weed distributor and I spent a few hours sampling the hashish that Louis then purchased.

Unlike me, Louis did not spend part of his lunch hour each day visiting the nearby Donnell Library at W. 53rd. Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenue. Instead, Louis seemed to spend portions of his lunch hour visiting different private employment agencies or corporate personnel offices, filling out applications or being interviewed for some new job that would pay him more money than what the low-wage sample room clerk position at Greff Fabrics then paid him.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Greff Fabrics Blues, 1971 (xv)

Besides me and Bob, at least two other full-time sample clerk workers generally also worked in the Greff Fabrics sample room each day, as well as one white guy in his mid-to-late 20's who only worked part-time as a sample clerk, as a second job during the hours when he wasn't working at his full-time job as a clerk in a bookstore at the Port of New York Authority bus terminal.

Because the part-time sample clerk was the sample clerk with the most seniority in the non-unionized Greff Fabrics sample room, his main job was assisting Bob in taking the many orders for textile fabrics samples requested by the Greff Fabrics customers and clients that were called into the sample room each day by the Greff Fabrics salesmen; in an historical era before this kind of textile sample order request process hadn't yet been computerized.

Each textile fabric with a different design or color combination that Greff Fabrics sold to its retail customers, own store customers and other wholesalers had an individual code number; and on the 6 rows of shelves-- that reminded me of university library stacks--in the Greff Fabrics sample room basement, there were hundreds of numbered samples. So after being handed by Bob or the part-time sample clerk who had the most seniority an order blank that contained a list of textile fabrics samples that needed to be pulled, it was the job of me and the other sample clerk or clerks who had less seniority to locate the textile sample that corresponded to the listed number. And then pull the textile sample from one of the 6 rows of shelves and bring the textile sample pulled to Bob--who then arranged for it to be shipped or mailed to the appropriate retail store, wholesaler or individual customer.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Greff Fabrics Blues, 1971 (xiv)

In September 1971, Greff Fabrics was located east of Fifth Avenue, on one of the cross streets in the 50's, between 51st Street and 59th Street. After I entered its street-level showroom, in which Greff Fabrics sold drapes and some fabrics to the wealthy white customers who walked into the store, I was soon greeted by a fashionably dressed white woman who looked like she was in her late 50's, who then introduced me to the head bossman, whose name was Mr. Hamilton.

Mr. Hamilton was a beardless white man who dressed in an expensive suit, expensive dress shirt and expensive tie and looked like he was either in his late 50's or early 60s in the Fall of 1971. Something about him made me feel that he was probably a loyal Republican who had voted for Richard Nixon in the 1968 U.S. presidential election. But since I was initially clean-shaven and didn't start growing a beard and stop dressing in my cheap suit, cheap dress shirt and cheap tie until the week after I received my first paycheck, he didn't seem dissastisfied with the latest college graduate sample clerk that Snelling and Snelling had now provided him with. And after briefly introducing himself, Mr. Hamilton then led me from the showroom down the stairs to the basement room in which the Greff Fabrics sample room was located, where he then introduced me to the sample room clerks' immediate supervisor--an African-American guy in his late 20's or early 30's, whose name was also Bob.

Bob didn't seem interested in either talking about current events and politics or the state of the Black Liberation Movement in the early 1970s, but he was an easy-going, friendly guy, who was planning to get married in early 1972; and he was a lenient, but, efficient, immediate supervisor. And after Mr. Hamilton went back upstairs to the Greff Fabrics showroom and his office, Bob showed me what work the sample room clerk job entailed.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Greff Fabrics Blues, 1971 (xiii)

Although the Snelling and Snelling placement counselor was neither an intellectual nor apparently very knowledgeable about many other subjects, on the one subject of how to find some kind of job for anyone who walked into her office, she seemed to know all the ins-and-outs that there was to know about that subject.

And, since she realized she could make just as much money placing job applicants who weren't white as she could placing the job applicants who were white, she did not automatically screen out African-American job applicants, as did many of the placement counselors/flesh peddlers at other private employment agencies.

So even an unemployed, economically desperate African-American high school graduate or African-American college graduate who got interviewed by her in her Snelling and Snelling office would discover that she was able to sell him or her to one of her clients who needed a low-wage job slot to be filled; and the African-American job applicant would discover that she could, indeed, produce some kind of personnel job for him or her in the Fall of 1971.

So that's how I ended up getting hired as a low-wage sample room clerk at Greff Fabrics in September 1971.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Greff Fabrics Blues, 1971 (xii)

Unlike the flesh-peddlers/placement counselors at most of the other private employment agencies in Manhattan, the Snelling and Snelling placement counselor/manager realized that screening out from permanent clerical jobs that only required a high school diploma job applicants in their 20's who were economically desperate college graduates--on the grounds that they would be "underemployed" and more likely to quit their jobs sooner than those job applicants who were only high school graduates--made no economic sense, in terms of generating Snelling and Snelling profits and more company-paid fees from her corporate clients.

So, instead of automatically telling the college graduates who walked into Snelling and Snelling's office that they were "overqualified" for the job oopenings she knew of and there were "no jobs for them"--like most of the other counselors at Manhattan's private employment agencies were telling the white liberal arts college graduates by the Fall of 1971--the Snelling and Snelling employment counselor/manager would tell you she could place you in a permanent clerical job--even if you were a liberal arts college grad; and she would then sell you to the business/corporate client who had a permanent clerical job slot to fill, obtain the clerical job for her young college graduate and collect her placement fee from the business firm/corporate client.

Or to put it another way: This experienced career woman in her 40's seemed to know how to place or peddle the flesh of any job applicant who walked into her office within the Fall 1971 labor market in Manhattan better than any other private or public employment placement officer/counselor/manager in New York City at that time.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Greff Fabrics Blues, 1971 (xi)

The Snelling and Snelling placement manager/counselor was a well-dressed, white woman who used lipstick and make-up and who looked like she was approaching her late 40's in the Fall of 1971. And most men would still be likely to consider her to be physically attractive, despite her age. She also looked like somebody who likely lived in some Upper East Side Manhattan apartment rather than in the outer boroughs and--given how many Midtown Manhattan and Upper East Side business firms and corporate accounts apparently relied on her to screen out job applicants or new hires for them--you got the sense that she had been working at Snelling and Snelling for years.

Compared to some of the other placement counselors/flesh-peddlers I had been interviewed by at other Manhattan private employment agencies, she seemed to have the most experience and expertise in knowing how to obtain lucrative fees for herself and her employment agency by fitting the economically desperate job applicants she interviewed into some open job slot that one of her business accounts needed to be filled for the lowest possible wage or salary.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Greff Fabrics Blues, 1971 (x)

By the Fall of 1971, there were few blue-collar factory job openings for male workers being advertised in the want ads section in New York City newspapers; and neither the New York State Employment Agency nor the privately-owned employment agencies in New York City were able to find many permanent blue-collar jobs in any New York City area local factories for people who filled out applications at their offices.

So unless your father or some other family member or a friend already had a blue-collar factory or construction job--or some other kind of blue-collar job--in some New York City-based workplace, and knew of some job-opening at his or her workplace for which he or she could recommend you to be hired for, it was nearly impossible for an unemployed worker to get hired for some permanent blue-collar factory job in New York City in September 1971. Consequently, during that month, my only realistic possibility for finding a new permanent job seemed to be to either find some Manhattan firm that was willing to hire an "underemployed" liberal arts college graduate or try to locate some kind of clerical job in Manhattan; and since my typing speed in the Fall of 1971 did not yet exceed 50 words per minute, I only was then able to apply for clerical, shipping clerk or clerk-typist office jobs--and not straight typist, dictaphone-transciptionist, statistical typist or secretarial jobs--at this time.

But in the Fall of 1971, there were also few Manhattan firms that were willing to directly hire either a liberal arts college graduate or a male clerical worker; and by the Fall of 1971, most Manhattan firms that wished to hire clerical workers were now relying on private, "flesh-peddling" employment agencies in Manhattan, rather than the New York State Employment public agency, to screen out or refer job applicants for them.

So in September 1971, I ended up getting a haircut and shaving off my beard again, dressing up in a suit and tie, taking a bus and subway into Manhattan, and filling out a job application in the Snelling and Snelling "flesh-peddling" employment agency's East Side and Midtown Manhattan office. And after a few minutes of sitting in the reception area next to three or four other dressed-up, culturally straight-looking unemployed job-hunters, I was called to the desk of the Snelling and Snelling placement counselor/flesh-peddler who was an expert at finding some kind of job within the Manhattan business world for high school graduates and college graduates who were still in their early twenties.