No Boss Is An Island

| Working | September 2, 2012

(I work in a welfare office where we have to know about citizenship and national origin. My unit is comprised of the Somali boss, a Russian girl, a Filipino girl, an African American girl, a Mexican guy, an Indian girl and me; I’m mixed.)

Boss #1: “Well, [coworker] was doing an intake and asked a Puerto Rican client, “So, are you a naturalized citizen?” I kept trying to tell her that he was born in Puerto Rico, so he’s a US citizen, but she wasn’t getting it.”

Me: “Well it’s a US territory, as is American Samoa, I know there are more, though.”

Indian Coworker: “Well, there’s some I didn’t know either.”

Boss #1: “…and Guam.”

(I walk away and walk back to find my boss relating the story to the rest of my entire unit.)

African American Coworker: “…and the Virgin Islands!”

Boss #1: “…and the problem is a lot of people don’t know the difference between Marshall Islands and Marina Islands.”

Filipino Coworker: “They can work here, but why can’t they get benefits?”

Russian Coworker: “…and it’s different for types of aid! It makes no sense.”

(As multiple conversations go on, Boss #2 shows up.)

Boss #2: “What are you guys talking about?”

Me: “We’re talking about US territories and citizenship implications on benefits. But in all fairness, some people in the US don’t know there are 50 states.”

Another Coworker: “Alabama, Alaska…”

Boss #2: “Alaska? I want to visit that island some day!”

Another Coworker & Me: “…Island?”

Me: “It’s not an island. It’s a peninsula.”

Boss #2: “No! It’s an island. Pull it up on the map!”

Me: “Uhh, [Boss #2], Alaska is connected to Canada.”

Boss #2: “…but on the map…”

Me: “US maps show the continental United States which are contiguous, but shows Alaska and Hawaii off to the side. But Alaska is still a peninsula connected to Canada.”

Boss #2: “Oh, really?! I guess we all have our blonde moments…”

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