Friday, March 15, 2013

Welcome to the working world

My eldest son has had a variety of jobs over the years as most young lads do, but his latest is a gig at a place where they make Fiberglass bathtubs.
Not exactly glamorous work, but it is a steady pay cheque.
The work is manual, the hours are terrifying – he has to get up at 4 a.m to be at work by 5 – and he comes home covered in dust, dirt and grime.
Within the first couple days he declared his desire to quit, but once we pointed out little things like rent, the fact his cellphone bill is not going to magically disappear and unless the car fairy stops by in the middle of the night, it is unlikely he will be getting an automobile without some sort of steady income.
He pondered the situation for a brief while before resigning himself to the fact that, for now anyway, he will have to keep working at a job he really doesn't like.
Good call son, and welcome to the working world.
There is a club for people who don't like their job – it's called everybody.
He would prefer a job where you hardly do any work, the pay is great, the benefits are outstanding and if you don't show up for a day or two or three no one cares. But we can't all be senators, some of us actually have to work for a living.
At 19, he believes he is the first person in the history of the world to be saddled with a job that is just slightly more fun than chewing on a ball of tinfoil.
Do you think the shepherds of biblical times wanted to spend their days and nights sitting around with a bunch of smelly sheep? And how much fun do you think a day on the job is for the guy who cleans out porta-potties? I would rather hang out with the sheep.
I have had my fare share of crappy jobs over the years.
Not necessarily involving farm animals or poop-collecting devices, but crappy jobs nonetheless.
I spent a couple years working in a sawmill, which wasn't a bad job except for the mind-numbing monotony of 'tossing lumber.'
That's what it was called when, for eight hours a day, five days a week I stood next to a huge steel roller chain and moved pieces of wood from the belt to a big metal cart. When the cart was full, a forklift picked up the wood and you started all over again and again and again...
No matter how many pieces of lumber you stacked, there was always more coming. The money was good, but the job was about as thrilling as listening to a political speech. (At least with the speech you could nod off.)
But that was not the worst job I have had. I worked in a nursery for many years, but manual labour outdoors was actually pretty good – except when it was raining or too darn hot out that is, then it was not much fun, so it was not even close to being the worst.
Delivering auto parts was not a great job, but it was still not the worst either.
No, the worst job I ever had to deal with was when I worked at a convenience store.
I worked straight graveyard shifts with Monday/Tuesday off. I learned quickly people think they can treat the lowly clerk like total garbage, and that was just company management.
Some of the customers were major jerks as well and were verbally abusive and at times threatening. During those late nights I saw more drunk people than I would ever want to.
Low pay, lousy hours, abusive management and intoxicated, occassional threatening customers – not exactly a good time, but I had bills to pay. I did not have a cellphone – no one did way back then – but I had rent and a motorcycle to pay for, so I gritted my teeth and did what I had to do, just like Junior is now.
“Never be afraid of an honest day's work,” my dad told me and I tell my son.

Mind you, with that attitude, we will never make it into the Senate.

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