"Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Slavin' Away

Whew. The nursery job is better for the body than a pilates workout... except that you don't get a day of rest between workouts. I'm so stiff that I couldn't even bend over to untie my bootlaces this afternoon!

As I expected, the days are very long and the work is mind-numbingly boring. I can't believe that I am paid 10$ an hour to do such exciting things as:

-line cardboard boxes with plastic bags;
-make up boxes (take box folded flat off the pallet, open it up, bend the end flaps);
-take styrofoam trays that come out of the washing tunnel, flip them, and stack them seven high (while trying to drip as little disgusting water on yourself as you can);
-take styrofoam trays coming off the assembly line, flip them, bang them really hard to get the dirt and leftover trees out, and send them on their merry way to the washing tunnel (my favourite job so far: my blue jeans were earthy brown in about ten minutes of this!)

Being a 'newbie', I get all the grunt work, of course! That said, being a 'spare' isn't so bad as I have been able to do several things during the two days I've been there, rather than specializing.

To think that I once had a job where I was paid minimum wage (then just a bit above) to supervise staff, work with customers, perform rescues, do the bookkeeping at the end of my shift, etc. Or how about the job where I was paid 9 bucks an hour to freeze outside during interminably long shifts in isolated parking lots in the dead of winter?! I was such a SUCKER!!! LOL!!!

I doubt I could do much more than five or six weeks at this sort of job, but I think that I'm going to settle into it and come to look back on it fondly. After having jobs where I had to be present for so long, it's nice to just coast along and have no real responsibility.

Most of the other workers are Greek or Indian and I don't think there is a native English speaker among us!!! When I'm on tray washing duty, I have to communicate in sign language with my team mate. Our favourite sign is the smile, which means everything from 'thank you' to 'would you PLEASE speed up?!', with the eyes conveying the nuance of meaning. :-)

I've decided to be reclusive in this job. I'm cheerful and engage in conversation when directly addressed, but otherwise just go about quietly with my work. I take my breaks in almost absolute silence. Those who know me are laughing right now trying to visualize me not talking. It's just not a job where you can gab and get to know your colleagues, and most of them have been there so long that there are established cliques in the lunchrooms. I'm not going to be there long enough to make it worth my while to try to break into one of them.

Speaking of breaks, we get three. We start at 7AM and break from 9:30 to 9:45. Lunch is from 12 to 12:30. Afternoon break is at 2:00 and we go home at 3:30. I like this spacing of breaks. The morning is interminably long, but the afternoon speeds by. Yesterday, I brought a granola bar for a morning snack and some bread and cheese with juice for lunch. I learned my lesson. Today, I had granola bars for both my snacks, with crudités, soup, bread, and juice for lunch. It still wasn't enough. I forgot that these kind of jobs eat up a lot of calories!

I found out from a colleague here at the park that the retail people pretty much lied to me. As it turns out, they wanted me for grunt work (setting up the store) until December and then possibly for a cashier position starting in December. So, it pretty much amounts to what I'm doing at the nursery and I wouldn't be paid as well or have as good conditions (the nursery being unionized means everyone is treated fairly). I definitely made the right choice!!!

As we slowly settle into 'winter' (and I use the term loosely), I already find myself dreaming of spring and the open road. I pretty much know where I'm going next, unless something else comes up, so I'm trying to focus on being here right now and finding as much joy as I can in days when I get up at 6:10AM and work straight through to 11PM. I'm exhausted, but surprised to find that I am not malcontent. I am happy with the choices I made, and while life isn't as sweet or easy now as it was a few weeks ago, it will be again very soon. I can find a measure of contentment in doing a real day's worth of work. With each tray I handle, I remind myself that it once held a seedling that will soon be planted to replace a tree that was logged. So, while my job might now seem insignificant compared to the one I left behind, I know it is much, much more important.

2 comments:

1001 Petals said...

Ah, so that's where all your time has been going. I actually got a bit worried about you yesterday, lol!

I totally know what you mean about the importance of your work. . part of why I became disillusioned with my career and left it behind. Glad to hear everything is going well. Onward and upward :)

Raven said...

Worried about little ol' me?!

I have had very little real time to myself this week and what I've had, I've used to catch up on my sleep!

I was definitely not made to do a blue collar, assembly-line type of job. I just hope I can hang in there another four or five weeks.