My last post was written on May 15 – over a month ago. At that stage I had been unemployed for one week, acquired two beautiful cats as well as written and submited a resume. On May 20th I had my phone interview, on Tuesday 26th my first face to face interview and on Friday 29th my second face to face interview. Late that afternoon, I was offered the position. Big sigh of relief.
Losing my position, after I had worked there so many years, left me feeling disconnected from many things. I was no longer employed at a place which had been part of my life for 10 years. I was no longer part of a team. I was metaphorically homeless.
I purchased a second hand copy of Howard Schatz’s Homeless during the time I had off work. I bought it as I love collecting art books and photographic books of either portraits or prominently featuring people within the shot. It had not occurred to me at the time that I was buying a book depicting homelessness while at the same time applying for a position at an Organisation providing services to Australia’s homeless.
I started my job 4 days ago. My desk does not feel like it is mine. I have to stop and think to navigate my way around the building. I remember a dozen names at most, rather than the many dozen I knew at my old job. Instead of opening directories and flicking through folders; I try two or three pathways before I find the folder. It’s like when I first moved out of home and sometimes I would wake up disorientated because I thought I was in my old room and suddenly there was no window and the wall from the bed was on the other side. Instead of having a wealth of knowledge, I know so little I have to ask how to pick up voicemail.
Work had arranged some visits early in the week so I could gain an understanding of the services provided. Much like Howard Schatz’s book Homeless, I quickly discovered that there was indeed such variety among the homeless. I met someone who was intoxicated and filthy, someone who I believe had a severe mental illness, someone who had been on drugs, a lady living in temporary accommodation who could hardly walk but was very bright and cheerful and lastly a quiet, polite, obviously well educated man who – for whatever reason – now lives on the street. And much like in the introduction of Howard Schatz’s book I realised that homelessness is not necessarily those who sleep out on the street or in hostels at night. It includes those in temporary accommodation or those who move from place to place frequently, with nowhere to call home.
In the meantime Saffron and Licorice have been making themselves at home. Saffron likes to remind me that she is 3 years younger than Licorice and still is up for a little bit of play. The pom pom on the scratching post is ultra fun after it has been sprayed with catnip and chasing the measuring tape is rather enjoyable as well. (It has tiny holes caused by excessive biting!)
The other picture featured in this post is the front cover of Crowns: Portrai of Black Women in Church Hats. This was a gift from my mother. It contains some magnificent photographs with hats from elegant, striking, stunning, to just darn ugly. It also includes some very funny quotes. My favorite being “My husband said… “You don’t need another hat. You don’t have but one head.”
Lastly, I’ll include a link to a photograph of two homeless men in Sydney. This was taken by my new colleague who is studying photography. (Yes, we have managed to get some work done in between ‘art’ discussions!). Link is here.
Posted on June 13, 2009, in Art, Waffle and Nonsense and tagged employment, homeless, homelessness, Howard Schatz, licorice, photographer, redundancy, saffron, Sydney, unemployment. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.