I Never Thought I'd Become a Welfare Queen

First, let me fully admit that I am a County HHSA employee. I am one of “those” people. I do not have long fake nails or bright red lipstick or consider myself mannish so I guess that makes me a more qualified employee. If it had been I who had met you at the security checkpoint I would surely have rolled out the red carpet (usually reserved for the employee’s) and led you back to a room filled with all the coffee and cookies you could imagine. Why should you have to go through the checkpoint? I mean when you’re flying they usually let you go right around right? Maybe you just didn’t flash your enormous engagement ring enough, next time try flapping it around a lot and I’ll make sure to greet you at the door and escort you to the front of the line but don’t expect the “behooded Muslim woman” or “cornrows” to congratulate you, I mean they are obviously so beneath you anyway so who cares. It’s not any secret that the County of San Diego has consistently had the reputation for having the most underpaid staff but then again we have not yet had to have the luxury of every other Friday off without pay so I guess we should be thankful for that. The underpayment I can deal with it’s the underemployment, which is detrimental to both clients and employees. We are each being asked to do the work of at least 2 people; due to budget cuts we are on a hiring freeze with no end in sight. We haven’t had a cost of living increase in 2 years and paid overtime is something archaic to us, paid overtime what’s that? But we should be thankful we have a job, right? I mean we are on the right side of the window? What the writer might not also be aware of is that HHSA has recently decided to undergo a complete change in business practice which in writing promised a more equal workload for the employee’s and a more customer friendly system. In practice neither of this is happening. Again we are returned to the understaffing. I know this means nothing to the people applying for aid but it directly affects their experience in our office. Imagine if you were checking out at a grocery store and the clerk had to ring your order, answer the phone and ring a second checkout all at once, this is equitable to what County employees are being asked to daily. In a time when applications for aid are increasing does it make sense that the employees being asked to process them is going down? The only thing I would apologize to the writer for is the lack of customer service, although I do question how much of this was blown out of proportion. Even with the everyday stress of a never ending workload I still try to manage a smile and speak to each person with respect, after all my only satisfaction is when I can manage to help someone really in need. No matter how horrible that one day was out of your entire life let’s not forget that you are insured which is more than can be said for a large percentage of Americans.
— January 9, 2010 10:56 a.m.

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