Work in the City that Works

The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair was published in 1910, and it's as if time stood still in terms finding work in Chicago, working in Chicago, getting by on nothing when you can't find work in Chicago, and working with a disability in Chicago.
A family of Lithuanians immigrants come to Chicago to work in the stockyards. The novel's subtext is, it's the family gets slaughter very much like the cows and pigs in the slaughter house.
The last job I held down wasn't a slaughter house, but it was as close to one as you could get without bloody guts all over the floor to sweep up. Management style wise, it was around 1910. It was just another routine office job, but 3 weeks into the work, my supervisor marched me down to some icky place in Streeterville for lunch and to read me the riot act. She didn't feel I was good fit. Basically, she didn't like me. All my job consisted of was data entry, managing paperwork, and handling phone calls. In her mind, the job was terrifyingly complicated and beyond a normal person's ability to coordinate. In my mind, she refuse to spill her guts with necessary information so it made it impossible to put the work in order.
I stayed there another year, and when I was finally laid off, I was maimed as much as any character in The Jungle or the photographs of child laborers by Louis Hine in the cotton spinning factors in England. I had an underlying problem, you guessed it, bipolar, unknown to me at the time. But it would be safe to say the job brought out all my symptoms, and then some. Hypo mania, depression, mixed episodes, emotional exhaustion. After that work experience, it became clear I might have to apply for disability. Then all my relations could call me "lazy".
So What Passes for Crazy would say, is it really necessary to brow beat a worker until they were too crazy to work again?
"Full Discloser", that's when you tell your boss upfront you have an emotional problem, basically a disability, and work it out from there, if the boss still wants to work it out with you. Ask if they will accommodate you and your problem. I wonder has that actually ever happen? Not in Chicago, that's for sure. To even ask a boss in Chicago not to yell at you all the time over nothing, is, well, asking a lot. In fact that's a sure way to, 1.get in trouble, 2.get fired 3.get yelled at in front of everybody.
So, "Full Discloser" is a funny thing. Is it better not to say anything and have the boss find out what an emotional wreck you can actually be? Then it's a Boss and Employee meeting where they give a "talk". It's not a pep talk either, although they may try to frame it that way. It's a "what the hell's the matter with you all the time lately?" talk.
Fortunately, I'm glib and have a 100 reasons to explain the way I am, because it's trumped up charges any way, so if you are good at this game, and I am, you can carefully take down all their mystifying brow beating scenarios. Save your job. Go home in a cold sweat. Wait for a miracle.
In my case, the company lost business and I was told at 4:45pm on a Friday, my job eradicated.
And just that morning I was wondering how I would get through another day, week, or month just like they did in the slaughterhouse on the Near South Side in 1910.
In the novel, The Jungle, the nephew had a great job employed to switch cans of animal fat from under a shoot and replace it with an empty can. All day. His uncle would beat him if refused to go to work in the morning. And that was a viable option.

for more on the "working" bipolar person, read

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