By Akosua Albritton

December 12, 2015, 9:24 am

 

Old Gal Doing the Hoochie Kootchie

Old Gal Doing the Hoochie Koochie

It’s not only what you know and how well you do it at work.  It’s who know and how to stroke them also. Thinking job advancement is hinged on working hard work needs rethinking.

Back in October when the CEO led the new employee orientation, Joy didn’t fully grasp the concept of fraternization.  Boss Lady explained it as social relationships between employees and relationships between supervisors and the supervised.  She cautioned staff to be mature in one’s dealings with co-workers.  Some people can manage romances in the workplace while others can’t.  So Joy came away with fraternization having to do with office romances.

“Who at the men’s shelter would I think to get cozy with?  It certainly isn’t the setting for me,” thought Joy.  One co-worker, a Case Manager revealed his interest in Joy but she nipped it in the bud by stating, “I have no interest in any man employed or living in this building.  Please don’t bring this offer to me again!” Being a man, the Case Manager continued his overtures and Joy reported him to the Shift Supervisor so it was on record. It stopped when he was released from duty by the Social Service Director for performance issues.

Fraternization, the process of becoming friendly with others, is more than office romances.  It involves establishing friendships and alliances to safeguard your place within an organization.  When done effectively, people secure their jobs and move up in the organization.  Flo Davis deployed fraternization to create a home away from home at the shelter. 

111024122303-work-clique-horizontal-large-galleryThe previous Program Director was also a pastor of a Protestant church in the area.  Flo greeted her warmly, discussed the Bible, and attended her church.  To this day, Florence is the president of the usher board.  The current Program Director, Big Cheez, is regularly entertained by Florence.  She comes into his office to discuss move-outs and includes much joking.  She frequently leaves his office doing her hoochie koochie dance.  Big Cheez accepts this older woman “shakin’ her thang” because it does temporarily distract him from the concerns of the program.  Besides…it’s not his mother doing it.

Juliet and Flo have evolved in this work space.  Juliet started as a Case Manager; moved up to a Shift Supervisor, and now the Social Service Director.  Flo started as the manager of the Rental Assistance Program.  When the program folded, she was moved into the Housing Specialist spot. Juliet  supported Flo through her challenges in life.  She accepted this quirky  habit of doing the hoochie koochie dance for the guards, custodians, and male case workers.  It’s a way to relieve tension. 

Reflections of the Homeless

Reflections of the Homeless

Flo offers home-cooked samples to Juliet.  When Juliet stays very late at work, rather than wait hours for a commuter train for home, Flo lets Juliet stay at her home.  So…doing the hoochie koochie, offering food, and telling jokes is how Flo fraternizes.  This creates friendly relations between supervisors and the supervised..

When the supervisor is a friend to a subordinate it becomes difficult to objectively assess performance.   Flo is the Housing Specialist whose task is to move out working residents who meet the basic criteria of earning at least $1,000 monthly and have at least $800 in savings.  For clients with substance abuse issues, Flo should be working with Case Managers to get clients to agree to long-term treatment.  For clients with Social Security or SSI/SSD, relocate them to appropriate permanent housing.  Flo opines it is the Case Managers who must present a list of ready clients as well as the various documents to her.  Flo never places her initiative into the move-out equation.

—————–*—————–

Getting Your Own Keys chronicles the professional odyssey of Joy Duggins, a resourceful and encouraging service provider in a Central Brooklyn men’s homeless shelter.  It gives a peek into NYC homeless services procedures and much workplace drama. What’s the goal of providing temporary emergency shelter?  Getting Your Own Keys

Want to write for us? We're looking for interns and experienced writers! Go here for more information.

About The Author

Akosua is a communicator who loves to inform, engage, and enable her fellow New Yorkers. You may find her in a classroom, in an auditorium, or on a city street teaching the social sciences. Her favorite topics are Brooklyn culture & history, consumer technology, edible weeds, and African cinema. She holds a MS in City Planning from Pratt Institute.

Akosua is a communicator who loves to inform, engage, and enable her fellow New Yorkers. You may find her in a classroom, in an auditorium, or on a city street teaching the social sciences. Her favorite topics are Brooklyn culture & history, consumer technology, edible weeds, and African cinema. She holds a MS in City Planning from Pratt Institute.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.