Tagged with " nursery"
Nov 4, 2008 -

Still Slavin’ Away

I’ve now started my second week at the nursery. Between that and the park, I really don’t have any spare energy for things like blogging or updating my site. 🙁

My only day off last week was Saturday. I did my laundry and cleaned the rig, then decided that I’d earned a bit of fun. So, I drove to Penticton for a movie, dinner, and bigger grocery selection. The latter is important when you need to have a lunch every day! And quite the lunch, too. A basic PB and J with juice and an apple isn’t enough. I need snacks for both AM and PM and a hearty lunch because this job works up an appetite!

Sunday, we had our first social at the park (potluck) and I got to meet some of the neighbours, including someone who is just ten years older than me. Today, I met another woman who is close to my age. I have a feeling we’ll all be seeing each other socially this winter. 🙂

The nursery job continues to be mind numbingly dull. On Thursday, I got sent outside for the afternoon in a show of very bad management. I was put on a line with four guys. My job was to accept a 10-12lb box of trees from one guy and pass it to the next guy in the line. I kept up, but barely. On Friday, I was told to report to the fields and I said no. The shift supervisor was a bit taken aback by that, but I don’t care. I don’t want to completely burn myself out, thank you kindly. So, I got put on the assembly line, learning to bundle trees (tougher than it looks) and wrap the bundles. This was okay, but I really didn’t like being rushed. So, by Friday I knew that box making up duty really is the best job there, as the boxing supervisor had confided in me earlier in the week.

And that’s what I did today, make up boxes. For eight hours straight, until I couldn’t feel my thumbs anymore. I was grateful to be indoors because it has been raining non-stop for days now and will for the foreseeable future (with perhaps a break on Wednesday).

For this year on the road, I’d promised myself one month at a low-paying and physically exerting job. Once I’m through at the nursery, either from finding something else that would take me through to spring, or from being laid off at the end of the contract, I want something that pays more an hour so I can work fewer hours. My current schedule is insane! That said, I’m going to be quite buff again by the time I’m through working there. 🙂

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Oct 29, 2008 -

Slavin’ Away

Whew. The nursery job is better for the body than a pilates workout… except that you don’t get a day of rest between workouts. I’m so stiff that I couldn’t even bend over to untie my bootlaces this afternoon!

As I expected, the days are very long and the work is mind-numbingly boring. I can’t believe that I am paid 10$ an hour to do such exciting things as:

  • line cardboard boxes with plastic bags;
  • make up boxes (take box folded flat off the pallet, open it up, bend the end flaps);
  • take styrofoam trays that come out of the washing tunnel, flip them, and stack them seven high (while trying to drip as little disgusting water on yourself as you can);
  • take styrofoam trays coming off the assembly line, flip them, bang them really hard to get the dirt and leftover trees out, and send them on their merry way to the washing tunnel (my favourite job so far: my blue jeans were earthy brown in about ten minutes of this!)

Being a ‘newbie’, I get all the grunt work, of course! That said, being a ‘spare’ isn’t so bad as I have been able to do several things during the two days I’ve been there, rather than specializing.

To think that I once had a job where I was paid minimum wage (then just a bit above) to supervise staff, work with customers, perform rescues, do the bookkeeping at the end of my shift, etc. Or how about the job where I was paid 9 bucks an hour to freeze outside during interminably long shifts in isolated parking lots in the dead of winter?! I was such a SUCKER!!! LOL!!!

I doubt I could do much more than five or six weeks at this sort of job, but I think that I’m going to settle into it and come to look back on it fondly. After having jobs where I had to be present for so long, it’s nice to just coast along and have no real responsibility.

Most of the other workers are Greek or Indian and I don’t think there is a native English speaker among us!!! When I’m on tray washing duty, I have to communicate in sign language with my team mate. Our favourite sign is the smile, which means everything from ‘thank you’ to ‘would you PLEASE speed up?!’, with the eyes conveying the nuance of meaning. 🙂

I’ve decided to be reclusive in this job. I’m cheerful and engage in conversation when directly addressed, but otherwise just go about quietly with my work. I take my breaks in almost absolute silence. Those who know me are laughing right now trying to visualize me not talking. It’s just not a job where you can gab and get to know your colleagues, and most of them have been there so long that there are established cliques in the lunchrooms. I’m not going to be there long enough to make it worth my while to try to break into one of them.

Speaking of breaks, we get three. We start at 7AM and break from 9:30 to 9:45. Lunch is from 12 to 12:30. Afternoon break is at 2:00 and we go home at 3:30. I like this spacing of breaks. The morning is interminably long, but the afternoon speeds by. Yesterday, I brought a granola bar for a morning snack and some bread and cheese with juice for lunch. I learned my lesson. Today, I had granola bars for both my snacks, with crudités, soup, bread, and juice for lunch. It still wasn’t enough. I forgot that these kind of jobs eat up a lot of calories!

I found out from a colleague here at the park that the retail people pretty much lied to me. As it turns out, they wanted me for grunt work (setting up the store) until December and then possibly for a cashier position starting in December. So, it pretty much amounts to what I’m doing at the nursery and I wouldn’t be paid as well or have as good conditions (the nursery being unionized means everyone is treated fairly). I definitely made the right choice!!!

As we slowly settle into ‘winter’ (and I use the term loosely), I already find myself dreaming of spring and the open road. I pretty much know where I’m going next, unless something else comes up, so I’m trying to focus on being here right now and finding as much joy as I can in days when I get up at 6:10AM and work straight through to 11PM. I’m exhausted, but surprised to find that I am not malcontent. I am happy with the choices I made, and while life isn’t as sweet or easy now as it was a few weeks ago, it will be again very soon. I can find a measure of contentment in doing a real day’s worth of work. With each tray I handle, I remind myself that it once held a seedling that will soon be planted to replace a tree that was logged. So, while my job might now seem insignificant compared to the one I left behind, I know it is much, much more important.

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Oct 22, 2008 -

It Doesn’t Rain But It Pours!

Geeze! I had no sooner finished signing the hiring papers for a job when my cell phone rang. I ignored it, of course, and checked my messages a few minutes later. It was another job offer!

I really had to think things over because it wasn’t obvious at first glance which job I should take.

Job no. 1:

  • A position at a tree nursery;
  • 7 to 3:30 Monday to Friday (OUCH. I’m already up at 6:30 because of the gates, but I can’t go to bed before 11 because of the gates.);
  • Repetitive physical labour;
  • Better than minimum wage, but unionized, so I’d have to work a day and a half just to pay the sign up fees for the union, plus 35 bucks per month;
  • Eight week contract.Job no. 2:
  • A retail position;
  • 8:30 to 4:30 Monday to Friday (still OUCH because there would be no sense going back to bed at 6:30 if I have to get up an hour later!);
  • Repetitive work (cashier);
  • Minimum wage;
  • Work guaranteed till spring.The ‘old’ me would have went back to Job no. 1 and said ‘Sorry, something else came up’ and gone for Job no. 2.

    The ‘new’ me is trying to get away from work that is in line with her university degree and any work that is not relevant to her studies, and back towards work that is is in line with her college diploma. Working at a nursery plus at an RV park? Completely, 100% in line with my diploma.

    So, I’m going to try the nursery job. I did tell the retail shop that I would appreciate their holding my resumé since I’ll be back in this same position in eight weeks.

    I start Monday.

    Oh, and both positions are equi-distance from home. The retail job is 1km north and the nursery job is 1km south. So, neither would have required driving.

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