So, I started seeking work outside my career path. For an eye blink I thought it would be in Retail. I got not one, but two jobs, at major department stores. The first one was an on-call position. Funny thing is -- they never called me! I called them, twice, to ask about hours. Both times that I did, the person who answered was polite, apologetic, and promised a return phone call soon. I went through their training and that was that. I hope to receive a check in the mail for my training time served. We'll see. If not, I have another phone call to make to them. The second Retail job was also for part-time hours much to my chagrin. I am certain that in the interview full time was discussed, but halfway through training I was informed otherwise. So much for that. One week of on-the-job training and I was on the job hunt again. In order to buy food and pay rent, I need at least 40 hours a week.
Around the corner from where I live is a store where I have sent faxes on occasion. The last time I sent a fax was about 2-3 weeks ago. While filling out the cover sheet, I noticed a help wanted sign on the counter. I asked about it and was handed an application. I returned it, completed, the following day.
Long story short, as the saying goes, I was hired a few days later. I am now a packaging, shipping, faxing, copying apprentice. I even have a logo shirt and name tag to prove it. Oh, I've never been more proud! Hey, this job is $8.00 an hour, probably 40 hours a week. I might even be able to see a movie once in awhile! After I catch up on all my overdue bills, that is.
Anyway, back to my feet. The two that are aching. And when I say "aching" I mean excruciating throbbing agony. For all of my adult life, I have had a desk job. You know, a sit-down job where the computer is right in front of me, a bottle of water at my fingertips, snacks in a handy drawer to my left, phone just to the right of my keyboard, bathroom just down the hall. I don't think that in all of my adult life I have needed to stand up for more than 30 consecutive minutes, maybe 60 if the movie I was in line for was a blockbuster on opening weekend.
Well, after a week at this packaging, shipping, faxing, copying store, I have arrived at the conclusion that Humankind was not meant to stand for any extended length of time. Why else would inventors have toiled so long and hard to perfect the chair, stool, lounger, bed, couch, sofa, davenport, wing-back, bench, rocker, chesterfield, divan, love seat... well, you get the idea.
We have a fascination with sitting and we're very good at it. Standing is over-rated. Actually, its never even been rated at all. We don't like to stand. It affects our posture, causing us to slouch and slump. It strains our backs and puts uncomfortable tweaks in our necks. It even swells our feet and legs. Why then does every single store I have ever entered force their cashiers to stand in front of their machines for hour after hour? Seems simple enough to have available a chair or, heck, even a stool to sit upon when the feet hit that inevitable wall. You know that wall. It's when when emergency signals race up to the brain screaming "Take the freaking load off us. We're little and way down here. We can't take your weight for one more damned second!"
You never see management standing for eight or more hour shifts. No no, they sit in comfy chairs, sipping coffee, gossiping and giggling about which poor slob they'll send all the way to The Back to get more (heavy) inventory to stock on shelves and racks. Or maybe it'll be a mission all the way on the other side of the store in a department you don't even work in. And then they'll watch on monitors or slouched over a counter to ensure that said slob does not hesitate or sit or lean upon a counter for even half a minute.
You might think I'm exaggerating. Maybe I am, but surely not by much. In my latest endeavor at the packaging, shipping, faxing, copying store, the owner sits for much of the day (when he is there at all) at his desk toward the rear of the store. Typically, he is occupied by his phone or his computer, while eavesdropping on his slobs at the front as they handle the customers. For all I know, he's surfing porn back there.
When he hears something we say that he feels requires additional explanation (and usually much to the dismay of the customer who just wants to drop off his or her package and escape), he jumps up and yes... stands! For about five or six minutes, before returning to the security and comfort of his chair.
The counters of his store where I and the other employees stand are just a little too high for us to easily slide on and off of. There isn't even a chance of resting a single butt cheek to offer our suffering swollen feet a moment's reprieve. On purpose? You decide.
I purchased new rubber soled shoes and even added cushioning. I was "gellin'" but it sure wasn't "workin'" for me. Four hours of solid standing and I whimper my way daily to the bathroom where at least women have the luxury of a porcelain throne to recline upon for a few precious minutes. Whether I actually need to go or not is not the issue. What is important is that I lengthen my stay there for as long as possible without letting anyone think I've fallen in or perhaps died. And then back to the slightly too high counter for me until I hit the next insurmountable wall.
A co-worker has happily told me that your feet never stop hurting. I thanked her for such a blessing to look forward to.
Today, I got laid off.
Yeah, again. From a crap job. Seems that the person who was supposed to be leaving changed his mind when the boss offered him something he couldn't refuse. Horse's head, anyone?
So, tomorrow off I go again on the Job Hunt. Yay me. At least this time, I know what to expect.
It's going to hurt.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
For the past week, I have been working. There is nothing unusual about that. However, if you've been reading Notations you know there is much more to the story. Before last week, I was out of work for over a year. After being laid off, I went through the throes of The Interview Process, of which I came in second place far too often for my liking. It got me nowhere, no crown, no whirlwind tour, and the winner was always able to fulfill her duties.