This is a short story at look into my brand new job & being promoted to customer.
So at the end of this past Summer, I started my brand new job with two dozen other great people in my group. There was actually a grand total of 50 people who were hired in different groups throughout that one single hot Summer month. The hot dog days of Summer didn't change anything in our new work area which contained all of those low freezing temperatures. We all sat through a long orientation program hearing about all sorts of awesome expectations along with the do's and don'ts of the company. The management of this massive world wide company all seemed to be really nice people, and the HR department was full of people who were both very approachable and easy to talk to. They never fire anyone at this company, they just simply promote them to customer, which most of us already are at this point. Unless you live under a rock on Mars, then at some point you have shopped at this company, and that's all that I'm going to say about that.
The next day after orientation we all started on our designated shifts. Half of us began on first shift bright and early at 5am. What followed next was a lot of computer training and hands on training. Soon after this was completed we did a month long cleaning project to ready the facility for some upcoming visitors. After this was done we all started training again with individual trainers, who all seemed to be fairly decent people. The entire company was full of really good people, but just as in any place there's always a bad apple or two in every bunch.
My individual trainer, Andy had been with the company since it opened up a little bit over a year ago. I told him that I was all open to constructive criticism, and he didn't have any problem laying it on thick. One thing about the building that we all work in is it is cold, and I mean cold. The entire building is really just one big refrigerator after all. Even on groundhog day Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, and predicted that our job area would be a cold place. One good thing about working in a cold environment is in the Winter time when everybody else is complaining about just how cold it is outside, it doesn't bother us one little bit. There are various temperatures throughout our facility, however four of the twelve of us were assigned inside the freezer. This added some light hearted joking to us about being freezer boys and pop-sickles, but we were much more intent on trying to stay warm then to let that bother us. There's some other nick names floating around like the Softball Coach, Mr. Yellow, White Finger, and Donkey Kong. There's also nick names like the Hunter, the Tugboat Captain, the Bread Truck Driver, and the Ice Witch. None of them has stuck like the cold label of the freezer boys has for us.
The Temperatures in the freezer are indeed freezing and are somewhere between zero and minus ten degrees. It's posted on the doors, but I know this for a fact because I took a thermometer in with me just to see what the temperature really was. My intent was to prove that it was much colder to the management then what was posted on the doors, but unfortunately that plan back fired on me and the temperatures are actually a little bit warmer than that of the posted signs. I won't be informing management of this discovery anytime soon, because no matter how you slice it dice it or rice it, it's freezing in there. I made the suggestion to a member of management that we could roll an empty 55 gallon drum into the freezer, and fill it up with broken pieces of wooden pallets to use as a fire can. That idea was shot down faster then an airplane got shot down in World War Two. Andy likes to point it out from time to time that it's a little bit chilly in there. A very poor excuse for a joke. One good thing about working in the freezer that a co-worker pointed out to me is that it's a great place to cool off if you are mad.
I felt that I needed a good face mask, because as a cute co-worker of mine pointed out the mask that the company gave us are rather cheap. I tried buying a mask at a local sporting goods store, but that's not possible in the Summer time because stores don't start stocking cold weather gear like ski mask on their shelves until cold weather is finally upon us. When you ask about ski masks this time of year, store employees back away from you as if you are intending to rob a bank. So I don't recommend saying that.
So what I ended up doing was going to a GI Joe's military store outside of an Army base and getting a cold weather mask from there. I was really impressed with the double thickness of the mask so I bought every one that they had on the table, which ended up being five of them. Both for back ups and other co-workers of mine who need something better too. I figure they are black masks for seal team six or another military organization like that.
There are also hand warming stations that are set up outside of the freezer for our needs. At these stations we can put our mask and gloves on top of to help melt the frost off of them and warm them up for our comfort. We have called these precious stations our club house, and when we say that term everybody knows where to go to and warm your feet and hands up at.
Along with good pay the company also provides us with gear for working in temperatures ranging from minus 20 to minus 60 degree temperatures. Now putting on and taking off all of this cold weather gear takes some time. It can be a real challenge getting dressed and undressed to enter the freezer. An astronaut can do the simple task of going to a rest room easier then we can. At this point management doesn't recognize this hardship, and hopefully later on down the road they will. The company also pays for our cold weather boots, and mine are packing 800 grams of thinsulate in them. The mittens we have are packing 100 grams of thinsulate in them and when we operate the controls on our lifts it's like driving around with baseball gloves on. I found out the hard way that when you hit something because you hit the wrong button with those big bulky mittens on that it's frowned upon by management. The mittens actually look like you are wearing two big lobster claws over your hands. On the up side to wearing these bulky mittens you can actually flip somebody off and give someone that you don't like very much the bird without them ever knowing it. I've tried it and it's a lot of fun.
Now just like hitting the wrong button with your bulky mittens, there are a lot of do's and don'ts around this company. There are some people who walk around wearing yellow jackets almost as though they are in a cult. These people are doing nothing more than looking for any little thing that you are doing wrong to write you up. They are just as mean as if you bumped into a nest of real yellow jackets. Another thing this company does is keeps on changing it's polices on how we perform our work. Every time we turn around management implements some crazy new rule just to slow us down, so that we can't reach our production rate to get a few incentive pennies. It's almost as though we are playing the Ninendo video game of Mario Kart at work, and every time that we catch up to Donkey Kong he throws a banana peel at us to slow us down.
It's also really just a daily ritual hearing various names called over the intercom to come up to the front office. One thing is for sure and that is no one is getting called to the office to drink a cup of coffee and eat cookies. Getting written up for something is just a normal everyday past time, and a part of life around these parts. I have lost count at just how many times that I have actually been called to the office, and written up now. One time we were even called to the office to sign some paperwork again that management had lost, which is real good organization on their behalf. Some of my co-workers take getting written up harder then others. The culture of this company is based on what some have described as a De-merit system used to control workers, which some people can't handle. Since the 24 of us all started in my group, a few of my co-workers have already departed the scene. Among them was a man who's feet were getting much too cold for him to handle. Since that co-worker departed I discovered disposable adhesive toe warmers which seem to help keep my toes warm for half a shift. At lunch time I put a new pair of toe warmers in, which can be a rather lengthy ordeal, to last me until the end of the day. Another co-worker that I can recall just took it way too hard that he was written up. He should have never let that bother him so much. The rest of us have happily moved passed the 90 day mark now, and we have all finally got our discount cards. We have all decided that we will just let them promote us to costumer in a warmer environment if the need rises on down the road. Either way it's a win win situation to those of us who are still working here. One thing is for sure and that is we're doing a little bit better then some people are out there. A friend of mine's son only lasted four days working at Taco Bell, after he failed their test 6 times in a row. He wasn't even there long enough to get a free beef and bean burrito, but that would be a completely different story.
The End, for now
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