Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sunday Scribblings: First Job, Worst Job, Dream Job

I spent a summer working in industrial green houses in Ohio - a job that was tedious, smelly and hot.

Those who know me well know that I am not fond of poinsettia plants. Poinsettia's are tropical plants, and aren't really happy being grown in pots. Because of that everything about planting poinsettias must be done precisely. All of the pots, and flats used are first sterilized with bleach. (This was actually the best part of that job. Two weeks of playing with a hose in the parking lot.) The soil used (can't tell you how many times I was reprimanded for calling it dirt) is sterilized. Poinsettas are planted from cuttings and each one is dipped into rooting medium. And finally the temperature and humidity must be precisely monitored. The plants are rooted in early August so that they're ready for the holidays. The weather in early August in Northern Ohio is hot. It easily reached 105ยบ most days. Poinsettias have to be planted when the temperature is in the low 90s. So during the weeks when the poinsettias were being planted I had to arrive at work at 5am. I am decidedly NOT a morning person. Five am was tough, but I did it. Having seen what is necessary to grow a poinsettia led me to believe that they just aren't worth it.

Poinsettia's were not even the worst part of the green house job. There was boredom - hours upon hours of moving pots from 4 inches apart to 6 inches apart - but that wasn't the worst part. No the worst part was the couple of weeks I spent feeding plants. The mechanism used to do this was a long tube with a hopper at the top that sported a handle with a trigger that was activated by squeezing your hand into a fist (sort of like the mechanism on a gas pump). Each squeeze dispensed a measured amount of fertilizer down the tube into the pot. This action was repeated hundreds of times over eight hours. To get an idea of what this is like spend the next 15 minutes making a fist and releasing it. Suffice it to say that after eight hours of this I could not open my hand - repetitive stress anyone. I seem to remember that my father intervened to get me released from that torture.

But that was not the worst job I ever had. I spent most of 2 years in the mid-90s temping. During that time I had good jobs, a couple of fun jobs, and a few that were clunkers. One of those temp jobs was the absolute worst job I have ever had. It topped the summer in the green house, the hours I spent changing diapers in babysitting, nanny and pre school jobs, and working in a fast food restaurant.

I don't remember what company I was dispatched to on that fateful day, which is probably a good thing. The assignment was to spend the day entering data into Excel spread sheets. I'd had assignments like that before. It was never particularly stimulating but I have a high tolerance for boredom. Given a boring job I'm frequently able to let my mind wander a bit. When a little more focus is called for I make up games - seeing how many entries I can make in 5 minutes without error, for instance - or I entertain myself by looking for patterns in the data.

When I arrived I was shown to a storage closet. In the closet was a table on which sat a computer. This was to be my work space for the day - just me, the computer, the office supplies and a photo copier. Strike one - no day light. Strike two - copier fumes. Strike three - the data I was to enter was codes - think computer generated passwords - mixed numbers and letters. This was strike three. The amount of focus required to enter this type of data is huge. There was no room for day dreaming. By noon my eyes were permanently crossed. Over the course of the day I saw maybe three people. And to top it off I'd put on panty hose and a dress for this. It was hands down the worst work day of my life. The only good news - it was a temp job. My escape was a call to my agency letting them know that I would not be going back.

There you have it - the tale of my worst job.

See more Sunday Scribblings: here.

1 comment:

Maria said...

Bing is NUTS about poinsettias. I have never understood this as they are the most finicky plants I have ever seen. She has to put it in the dark closet every night.

Too high maintenance for me....