Saturday, December 15, 2007

the difference between $9/hr and...

well let's just say "significantly more than $9/hr", which for now represents my "normal going rate". anyway, i am at that point where, as long as a temporary job is close by (less than 10 miles, let's say) and parking is free, i'm willing to take a drastic, temporary pay cut so that we have money for things like, i don't know, food.

yes, next month's rent is covered. so are a few other things for the next several weeks, so we're ok, and i'm working very hard, as you might guess, to get a "regular" job. have an interview scheduled next week with someone very Technologically Prominent, so think lots of good thoughts for me. but in the meantime, in order to have a merry - instead of somewhat begruding - christmas, i've procured a temporary gig for a whopping $9/hr.

are you loving the run-on sentence fetish i apparently have tonight? i know i am.

anyway, i'm two days into this (supposed) four day gig and as you might guess, it involves some manual labor so suffice to say, i am tired. why'm i writing then? well apparently i feel a need to write, but also take a break from The Great Moving Escapades of 2007. although in another way, this is part of all that, too.

so. first temporary gig was supposed to be gift wrapping. i really liked the idea of that, because a) it was from 330-midnight, allowing me to interview during the day if i chose, b) i ADORE gift wrapping and c) i am good at it. however, that job was cancelled the next day (way to plan ahead). that same next day (confused?), there was a post for letter stuffing.

amazingly, this is something i have experience with, and no i am not talking about cramming a day's junk mail into one envelope en route to the garbage. a billion (ok, 9) years ago, in november, after we moved to california from montana and were struggling to find regular employment, our temp agency called with a great-sounding opportunity -- good scrilla for letter stuffing.

the job was in santa cruz, in a dark, drafty old barn (right around here, for those of you familiar with the area), and btw drafty is a euphemism for "bone-chillingly cold and persistent gusts of wind".

to add to its charm, this job was accompanied by
- surly employees
- overbearing, nitpicking and even surlier managers
- a dearth of chairs

this last item in particular, plus the poor ergonomic planning overall, was the real killer. i worked my ass -- well, arms, fingers and back -- off for 4 hours and finally had to call it quits. the repetitive motion with the arms, sure that sucks. reaching all the time, yeah that's difficult, too, if you're doing the same thing over and over. but also while standing in a 3 foot space? with no seat or break? and managers hovering constantly in the darkness behind you?

so you can see why i might've approached this job with some trepidation. but i am very happy to say that the only thing these two jobs seem to have in common is that there is letter stuffing-related activities going on. the boss man here, very mellow. there's a plethora of chairs, room -- and time -- to work, we got the tunes going, and for the most part, my cohorts (3 others were hired at the same time) are delightful to work with. i think it's the 'most part' bit that probably has me writing tonight, really, and here's why:

yesterday (day 1), when we came back from lunch, the very nice woman (VNW) i'd been working with asked, 'did i eat?' i was a little startled - i'd told her earlier that i brought my lunch - but replied, 'yep!'

VNW then went and asked the lone male cohort (LMC) if he had eaten over the break.

no, LMC said, shaking his head.

VNW proceeds to offer half her sandwich to LMC. he accepts, and as he munches, i swear his face was sheer gratitude. i then immediately thought of the furniture we still need help moving upstairs (feel free to laugh), and of possibly offering him $20 - when this job ends - to come and serve as moving muscle for a (maximum) hour's worth of work. tried to get someone before but they flaked so - hey, i'll give it to someone who's more desperate, yeah? i mean, he doesn't even have enough food to eat.

this (observing) was my sole interaction with LMC until today, day 2. well, other than observing him being verrry chatty with the other female cohort, all day yesterday. okay, today -- more of the same chattiness until it happens that he and i end up being seated near each other, when he lapses into almost complete silence.

naturally LMC can't match for my capacity for being mute, and ultimately begins talking to me, but even then it's still quite mundane. this results in amiable silence for a couple hours.

now it's 10 minutes before 5 -- quitting time. LMC has finished his activity and goes over to in-charge guy to ask for a quick task, since it's almost time to go. in-charge guy goes, 'well there's this bin that got sorted in reverse, you could switch it around like so (demonstrates) so that this is in descending order.'

i catch the last end of this and, realizing he's talking about a bin that *i* had done (twas the first one i'd done by myself -- i'd been responsible for other parts of the process, previously), walk over to say, 'oh, did i do that one in the wrong order?'

in-charge guy says, 'yeah, it's no big deal, it'll just take a few minutes to fix.' he nods and pushes the bin towards LMC.

LMC immediately turns to me and says, 'well actually, since you screwed this one up, why don't you fix it, and i'll go take over your pasting job.'

i may have smirked, sneered, or even smiled, i don't know. what i said was, 'sure, no problem.' because it was my mistake, and plus, i could care less what letter-related task i'm actually doing -- it's all tedium.

but what i thought was, you ass. you just screwed yourself out of $20. because seriously, if you think that by somehow trying to malign my 'worthiness' as a temporary $9/hr employee, by speaking in a condescending manner to me in front of our junior supervisor, is going to somehow ... affect my employment? make me do better? be extra nice (instead of merely courteous) to you?

i don't think so.

i get sunday off. woo! hopefully there will be a mix of chores and some christmas-related activities. maybe even - dare i say it - books. *swoon*


wen said...

ah, i know the area of red-bariness well. i used to go to the kayak place back in there. :)

sending you prosperous, fantastic job thoughts...

heather said...


Dharma said...

Well at least you scored some work. Me, not so much. I am hoping that as I read, a real job has already appeared.

heather said...

cool, hope that pans out for you!