Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Got Poked

Today, I helped set up a classroom for a while. We had an early lunch so that my wife and I could go to the clinic at Barron, WI for a pre-employment checkup. The state of Wisconsin requires people who are involved in childcare to undergo TB testing every year. In the Hidalgo County Head Start program, teachers are tested every three years. I don't remember when my last tetanus shot was, so I got one of those too. There was so much waiting involved at the clinic that I got back to the center to hang out for half an hour before quitting time. My arm is a bit sore from the Tetanus shot. I may develop a slight fever tonight. My other arm itches at the site of the TB test.
The center's buses finally came in. They are longer than I thought they were. I got some tips from one of the drivers for the other schools on how to pass the CDL exam. Currently, everything is in a bit of a chaos. We are one of the far-flung outposts, which makes it really difficult to get things approved in a timely fashion. It protects the center from frequent interference from the regional office, but it also slows down getting things done. Management-wise, I see that more money is spent on payroll than necessary due to the inefficiency of tight central control. Wal-Mart is able to do this by wiring all their centers straight into headquarters in Bentonville. We are not close to that level. There would be a great deal more efficiency with an Outlook or Lotus Notes type of system in place. I think they would also benefit from a document management system like the ones advertised on KURV by Digital Service and Sales.
I am hearing stories from some of the other people from the RGV that they have faced discrimination here in Rice Lake. I have not experienced it, personally. One has to be conscious of the possibility of misunderstandings due to differing cultures and the language barrier. I am not dismissing the claims; I'm being cautious. The Rice Lake area has not had the migrant presence that places like Wautoma have had for decades. I can understand that people here may not be accustomed to migrant workers. I sense a palpable bit of weirdness in my interactions with the locals. St Paul has a a large immigrant population, which eliminates much of the same weirdness. The few people with whom I have interacted have told me that Mexicans are not a common sight around here. Some of the examples of discrimination I am told involve housing where landlords will say they have vacancies over the phone and change the story upon arrival. Most migrants don't really focus on that sort of thing. Their biggest concern is finding a place to stay and getting to work. Ben Stein has a book titled How Successful People Win : Using Bunkhouse Logic to Get What You Want in Life (Hardcover) about the same mentality as shared by cowboys. You don't sit around and feel sorry for yourself; you get things done and move on.

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