A few weeks ago I was on the crosstown bus M66 going eastbound (from Lincoln Center to the Upper East Side). Earlier that evening I finished advanced accounting class and decided to see go to the west side to see if there was anything at the Brooks Brothers end of winter sale. Since I had time to kill I came back on the eastbound bus and recognized someone across the aisle. This woman managed the front desk of the swimming po0l I worked at in 2002. When I kicked out of college, my brother and his childhood friend Daryl White convinced the manager to hire me as a swimming instructor for their summer camp. The first few months were the most difficult and I remember the first day of summer camp I went home that night with the chills from being in the water almost a full work day.
The pool manager partnered me with Daryl White, because he was the considered the best swim instructor. After all the pool manager bragged he trained Daryl himself. On numerous occasions my brother and Daryl would wrestle and horse around in the men’s locker room. This includes one incident where they ran around the locker room and rat-tailed each other with towels. According to the front desk manager, a fitness member came out and said to her that there were two lifeguards running around naked and whipping each other with a towel. The front desk manager scolded my brother and Daryl and of course they did not take the criticism too constructively. Since the reception desk was the one who received all the private swim lesson requests eventually Daryl and my brother’s private swim lesson clients started to dwindle. There were even instances where him and Daryl were booked for a single half hour lesson which they did not think it was worth their time to come in. They would either farm out the gig to someone else or not show up altogether.
After summer camp ended, Daryl and my brother went back to college. So the full days of teaching summer camp ended. I did not have anything stable so I asked if I could lifeguard or teach private lessons as a way of making some extra cash. I did not start with much lifeguard or private swim lessons but I took what I was given and did the best I could. Sometimes I would see the notices posted on the bulletin board a colleague requesting a substitute for their shift so I took what I could. I was eventually able to work almost full time simply by subbing other people’s shifts. Even to the point the pool manager pulled me into his office and implemented a new policy. Although he appreciated me covering for the staff who was unavailable to work he felt several employees found me as a scapegoat to not work their assigned shifts because they knew I would do anything. The new policy was any shift coverage needed to be approved by him. Still that did not affect me much.
I started teaching private swim lessons and did not complain much and eventually there was a peak period where I would have up to five or even six lessons a day. Daryl and my brother were sort of envious and wondered how I got booked by so many people. The desk manager told me that sometimes people actually requested me by name. But other times people just want someone who is a quality instructor (or simply just shows up) and since I am nice to the front desk staff they just book clients with me.
One day I was actually called into the director of athletics and aquatics officer, who was the boss of my boss, the pool manager. He said that during a departmental meeting the pool manager mentioned that there was a full-time opening. The director asked if there was anyone on the staff internally they should consider before looking to the outside and my name was mentioned unanimously. I did not take the full-time job offer partially because of the low salary but also because of one reason. I asked the director: “the question remained if you had offered me more money would I have stayed?” He asked would I have? I said that I was going back to that college to prove something.
The embarrassing part is tonight I told the front-desk manager (who is still manager there) my brother became a statistician for the Fire Department of NY and eventually worked on the team that released the 9/11 respiratory study. He is currently finishing his Masters in Public Health degree. Daryl became a programmer and works for no less than six figures, he currently purchases two properties and is considering a third. As for myself, I lost my job the third time last October in financial services tech support and am now unemployed.
There is an old saying that goes whatever job you have, even if it is just janitorial do it well. The moral of the story is you do not have to take any job you do not like seriously, or even succeed at it. In the very end if you get the right breaks and those who are hiring perceive you are qualified you can be making decent money. I used to think earning good grades was essential to getting a job. But if you look at my transcript now, it looks like one of those overachiever international students straight A’s going all the way down and I am no closer to finding a job. Here is a list of former cast members you probably will not be hearing from a long time.
As I mentioned in the November post, one of my friends Renaldo. He went to speed dating that night. For both of us it was our first time. We were going to split a speed dating package because after all it is a law of numbers. However that never materialized. One of the daters the drunk guys pointed out to me eventually picked Renaldo and almost a week later they were in a relationship on Facebook.
Daryl quit the second week he got Dick a job at his former company. Dick spent the next few months trying figure stuff out and asking other colleagues who were equally busy and had no time to help or tolerant him. Eventually the company downsized because they lost a major venture capital partner. Daryl currently is making over an estimated $150K and purchased a motorcycle. When women find out how much money he actually makes his town’s Asian female population will skyrocket because they will be lined up outside the block.
Haywood Katoh former roommate of Dick at the college met a girl his sophomore year of college and dated her for ten years before marrying in 2009. He was able to go to school full-time and earn a masters of finance degree from Johns Hopkins and a law degree while a full-time federal employee. He is now an attorney and had a child February 13th with his wife. After Dick told his mother this news, Dick’s mother said that “You see you are losing out to him, better catch up..” and has also threatened suicide.
Dick’s brother became a statistician for the Fire Department of NY and eventually worked on the team that released the 9/11 respiratory study. He is currently finishing his Masters of Public Health degree and is expected to make six figures also.