Wednesday, June 11, 2008

How I got my “cushy” job…

OSM readers, you know who you are. In the states and abroad…I am going off the reservation on this one, but I wanted to tell you all a story. My story. Why? Well, a recent exchange with LaDawn on her blog led me to ask a question. Something she said and a word she used in particular, “Cushy” referring to my job made me ask the question… Am I snobby? Do I have a “Cushy” job and look down on others? Do I mistakenly consider myself a normal, everyday person despite the fact that I get to travel the world and see some interesting things. Do my posts, which I mostly ridicule what I consider crazy policies in the world and the US, lead you to believe I am a rich snob detached from reality? Well of course my answer to that question is… I don’t see myself that way at all. Do I sound like a complainer? Absolutely NOT! That’s easy for a Snobby Complainer to say… Do cushy jobs requires you to spend about 2 months per year away from your family? That's part of the price I pay.

I know who I am and where I came from. I don’t consider myself to have a silver spoon in my mouth now and never have. If most people were presented with, and took advantage of, the opportunities I’ve had, would they make the most of it? That’s all I am doing, so why impugn me for it? As most everyone, especially those of you reading this, I worked very hard for what I have. I’ve had a little luck along the way, but I met that luck with good preparation. That being said, I thought it best to let you judge for yourself who I am. The 20 questions intro post was fun, but I feel the need to share with you where I came from and essentially what I am made of. I’ll try not to hold anything back. I’ll have to do this in several parts. You may or may not find this interesting, so sorry if I am boring you.

1. Family Background and Early Childhood
I was born on Feb 8th, 1973 to Joseph and Maria Barabas. My father fought in WWII (was drafted to the German Army in 1944). He was in the Austrian Ski Patrol, was wounded and captured by the US and sat the last 9 months of the war as a US POW. 1945 – 1950 was not clear, but I know he joined the US Army in 1951 and went straight to Korea to fight for the US in order to become a US citizen. My mother was born a very poor peasant (for lack of a better term) in Honduras near the Capital of La Ceiba. If you can believe it, my mother is one of 22 (you read right). Several of her sisters and brothers died as infants or at birth. To this day, I have uncles and cousins in Honduras I never met.

My parents have been divorced since I was three (don’t know exact date). I have one sister of both my parents all together I have 6 sisters and a brother. In order Sari, Kathy, Julie, Lisi, Myself, Danny, Karen and Neri.

I grew up in the inner city of Cleveland. My father worked two factory jobs and lived on the East Side of Cleveland. His day job as a machinist was at the Weldon Tool Company on evenings he cleaned offices at another factory. He retired in 1991 and made about 31k the year he retired. My mother also worked, but supported us mostly through child support and welfare. I was in my mother’s custody and visited with my father on weekends. We lived in a housing project on the west side of Cleveland. I love my mother very much, but we were never close.

Like most boys, I idolized my father, I still do to some extent. At the age of 13 I had the ability to make a choice. I chose to live with my father who was never home rather than live with my mother, little brother and 2 little sisters. My older sister, Lisi (who I now call First Sergeant Annaliz Shy) chose to stay with my mother til she was 16. During the summer I had the house to myself, at 13! I would hang out during the day, wait for my dad to come home from work (he got off @ 2:30 pm) and he’d cook a nice dinner (he is a great cook). The @ 5:30 he’d be off to work his part time cleaning job at night. He usually got home at midnight. I always stayed up to wait for him, to this day I am a night owl and don’t sleep much. That is the one thing I learned well from my dad, without him teaching me, is to work hard. I used to always ask him, aren’t you going to sleep? He’d always say.. “I’ll sleep plenty when I die” After coming home @ midnight and having to be at work, we’d spend about a half hour together and I’d go to bed and he sometimes went back out to a bar. So I was home a lot, but I didn’t mind and quickly got over the fear.

Of my six sisters and Brother, 4 actually graduated HS. 4 got their GED’s. 1 got an associates in Nursing and I am the one with college degree(s). Of my siblings, we have 1 Army Seargant, 1 small business owner, a nurse, school bus driver, a receptionist and a TBD (Neri is only 23). Our ages range from 48 to 23.

It was a little rough growing, I enjoyed living with my father (although I lived with neither parent by the time I graduated Highschool) and looked forward to rare quality time together changing the oil, fixing a toilet cleaning the yard together, anything. Every Sunday after church, we did a shot of whiskey together. This started when I was five and continued til I moved away. We still do shots everytime we are together.

I often wonder how my decision to not live with my mother affected the lives of my younger siblings. Especially my brother. I know he idolized me along with my little sisters, I know I was the worst big Brother in the world! That is one of the few regrets I have in my life. Despite how bad and good I was, could I have made their lives better by staying around or was I just lucky to “break out” (will explain this later). This I will never know.
Part two coming soon... Do I sound like a cushy job snob now? Be honest..


Janell said...

Joe - I consider this glimpse into your past a real treat. Can't wait to read more! Thanks for sharing this. And I don't think you're a cushy snob. If you were, I don't think you'd bother developing a friendship and sharing a blog with an old redneck cowgirl.

Jamie Dawn said...

Uh... I thought I was reading a post by Janell UNTIL I got to the part that said, "Like most boys, I idolized my father."


You don't sound like a cushy snob to me.

Mary Connealy said...

I don't think you sound like you've got a cushy job. I agree with you completely. but then you are very scary so I might be agreeing out of fear!

Joe B said...

Thank Janell, Jamie Dawn and Mary!

Mary, do I specifically scare you somehow or am scary in general?

Mary Connealy said...

Oh, I didn't think I'd need to specify. I figured you were doing it on purpose and would immediately grasp my reaction.

I'll have to consider the exact source of my fear. I'll get back to you. :)