What Everyone Should Know About…Sanitation/Garbage

If waiters and waitresses refused to serve food… if a doctor botched a surgery because he “wasn’t in the mood…” if a football player stayed off the field and watched the game at home… if a postal worker didn’t deliver the mail… if a journalist didn’t cover the scoop… if a mom didn’t feed her baby… if a police officer didn’t pull over the swerving driver… if a bank teller didn’t give you money… No matter how large or small the task, we all work together to keep on keepin’ on. Everyone has some obligation that adds contribution to our lives.

No matter what the pay.

I wake up daily for a job, that I don’t loathe, but that I really don’t enjoy. We all do. Well, most of is. Those who don’t are the fortunate 500. Back to us job-haters. Some of us get paid an extra zero or two more to do it. I’m not one with zeros all oevr the paycheck. So not only do I really REALLY not enjoy my job, but I’m paid poorly to do it. So it’s not like I can buy myself pretty things to make myself feel better about my otherwise crappy job.

No matter, I still give my 100% when doing my job. With that said, every Monday and Thursday I wake up knowing I will see something a little different than my other morning trips to work. To no fail, I see dozens of knocked over empty trash cans on my mile trek to the train. Sometimes they’re on the street, occupying a parking spot. Sometimes they’re an obstacle in my walking path that I either hop over or walk around.

For months I blamed the kids. The rambunctious brats and the pain in the ass teens that were knocking over trash cans all over the city. You know them, they spraypaint school walls, too. I looked forward to the summer, when they would stay sound asleep snuggled with their Mr. Pillowheads while I walked to work a little quicker and without diversion. Then it happened. I was late to work and sanitation was doing their biweekly pick-up. This is where I got my reality check.

After dumping the contents of one of those plastic bins into the back of the truck, he proceeded to throw the empty can back. Literally, throw! And where did it land? In my walking path, of all places. This could’ve been by chance, had I not run into this several times in weeks following. I’ve seen empty cans sideways on the street, on the sidewalk, I’ve even seen them tap parked cars.

The 2005 hiring salary for sanitation workers is just over $30,000. After five years, sanitation workers make almost $49,000. There are also great perks such as bonus ay for tonnage collected. Oh yeah, and after 20 years, you can retire and get half pay for the rest of your damn lives.

They make more money than journalists, who start in the early to mid 20’s. Not to mention Catholic school teacher who, on average, make $25,000. How often do you see the obituary writer for the newspaper say “hey, you know what… I’m only gonna write HALF of my obits today?” Similarly, how often do you hear of a Catholic school teacher who taught her kindergarteners the AB’s? Both would be fired and collect measily unemployment.

The point of my metaphorical tirade is this… We all have jobs, some that we loathe, but that doesn’t keep us from doing them. If everyone who hated their jobs stopped doing them, the world would not function. Construction workers, fast food employees, doctors, train conductors, plumbers, teachers… everybody adds a little something that makes the world go round.

Hey, without my first grade teacher I wouldn’t be able to tell you sanitation workers this: “Put that back where you found it.”

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