It's a shame, really, because the exchange of products or services is the crux of all commerce, and without it our civilization would never have grown as it has.
But I digress ... what I wanted to say is that we are doing fine on the new job, and we've completed our first week. This year, unlike last year, we did what's known here as "work hardening" and worked only half days this week. With a 6:30 a.m. start time, one paid 15 minute break, and leaving at the start of lunch, we've averaged 5.5 hours each day this week.
The big surprise on Sunday was that we'd been placed on the donut shift, so our regular work week will have Wednesdays off in the middle, and the weekend off except on mandatory overtime, when we'd be expected to work on Sundays. This is where the title, selling time for money, comes in. There's mandatory overtime for donut shift on Sunday, only because we haven't completed our first 2 weeks, we have the option of working or not working. Working would put around $300 more on our first payday, and that's not chump change in our book, plus an additional $20 into our completion bonus. The big question is, are we physically capable of working 30 hrs in 3 days next week? Is the wear and tear on our bodies and psyches going to be a fair trade for the money? Because this will be the last time we have the option of not working an overtime day from here on out, I'm sort of on the fence about this. I guess I'll have a better idea once this day is done and I see how much preparation for the coming weeks I can complete.
Last year I don't think I'd have made it through the first week if I'd had 4 tens in a row, as it was extremely tiring, especially at first. So while the work hardening meant less than 40 hrs, I'm glad we got it. As it turns out, we didn't lose all that much time, because day 1 of orientation gave us 7.5 hrs and we were able to work on Wednesday for a half day, bringing our total paid work hours up to around 30. If we both work the OT, we'll have a full 80 hrs on our first paycheck, with 10 of the hrs being time and a half. That would make a nice beginning to this adventure.
We are working in the packing department this year. There's not as much walking, and there's no climbing of stairs, but it's still physically taxing work. It's relatively easy from a mental perspective, and once a person has memorized all the box sizes and where they are located, and what each of the steps entails, one could almost do the job without thinking, on automatic pilot, kind of like driving becomes second nature and you don't have to actively think about each move before you make it. It could be a very ZEN experience, if you don't let the pressure for speed get to you.
Working donut shift means we deal with two different sets of managers, and I can already see some differences in daily expectations. Nothing major, but I am already developing a preference for one shift over the other.
One nice thing about this department that's worth mentioning is that our metrics are displayed right on our computer screen as we work, so there's no need for anyone to track us down, stop our work, and tell us what our numbers are. That's nice. In fact, both Thursday and Friday we were pointed to a line and pretty much were left alone to work. We have a signal light to call for help when and if it's needed, and when we don't need assistance, they let us work uninterrupted. That's also nicer than what happened to us last year, when we were continually (or so it felt) being told to drop what we were doing and rush over to another area. One night I climbed 14 flights of stairs being sent from one area to another, ending up back where I started. I was a bit hot under the collar that night, too. I wasn't a happy camper on days when I had to deal with what I felt were incompetent people who had positions of authority. So in many ways, this year is already much better than last.
So maybe this year won't be nearly as hard as last year was. I hope so. In any case, essentially we are selling 19 weeks of our life for enough money to accomplish some big goals in 2013. I hope it's a win-win situation for us all.