Another case of instant post writing invoked by SavingNinjas’ thought experiment asking “What is the toughest job you have ever performed?“. Let’s jump into the middle and let the stream of consciousness flow.
The wind was chilly.
The coldest December of recent years.
The temperature was below zero all day long.
At least that was my guess as we did not have a chance to experience it.
In the lazy warmth of the factory hall, we did not have any sense of the outer world.
The monotonous sounds of the gigantic machines almost put us into sleep.
This was our third day and the most boring so far.
The kind when you would like to check the clock every minute just to get disappointed by the painfully slow passing of time.
The rolls of damaged plastic were slowly digested by the so-called regranulator.
I walked to the other end where the small white balls were coming out and disappearing in a hole.
Holding a T-shaped piece of metal in my hand I executed the movements my supervisor showed me.
I had no idea what I was doing.
It did not make any sense to me and I saw no use of it.
But I followed the instructions.
I did not have anything better to do anyway.
I was alone in the room and there was another half an hour or so till I had to fill the bags from the tank again.
Good that we only accepted this job for two weeks.
I only remember that we had a goal in mind about what to do with the money we will earn.
Maybe spend on Christmas gifts? Maybe something else, I cannot really recall.
But I remember well our desperation.
Two weeks were left until the winter holidays.
We had our grades closed for the semester and had the blessing of our teachers to leave school early.
The second grade of high school is not that important after all.
My friend and I were testing the waters of student jobs already but so far it meant only handing out flyers.
This was more serious.
Replacing some plastic factory workers who had to take sick-leave before the holidays.
Maybe coincidence. Maybe not.
We had to get up around half-past five in the morning to do our homework and school preparations.
Be in the canteen at seven having breakfast and reach the first class at 7:30.
Then survive the first part of the day, having a hasty lunch, and leave early to reach the bus.
Showing up at the factory reception exactly at 2 PM.
Eight hours later leaving the plant, rushing to the bus, getting back to the dorm, have a modest dinner, take a shower, and fell asleep immediately.
Rinse and repeat for two weeks.
I felt it was a huge commitment but I felt we can tough it out.
On the first day, we had to package palettes of freshly produced plastic foil rolls.
We were doing the work of a machine which got faulty.
They fixed it on the next day so we were sent over to another room.
We had to feed a tall machine.
Two bags with the blue text on them, one with the orange stamp repeating every five minutes.
Staring on the “flying” melted plastic in between.
The next day we were moving on again.
My friend was collecting plastic rubbish around the whole factory.
I was receiving it at the regranulator and feeding it into the machine.
This day was the slowest of all.
I think that was the day when I decided that I don’t want to work in a monotonous, illogical, meaningless job.
Some days I question if I succeeded in this.
An eternity later we were standing at the bus stop again.
Fooling around the bus stop sign.
Its rod was made out of some kind of metal.
If you touched it your hand got frost to it immediately.
For some reason, it popped into my mind that what would happen if I touch it with my tongue.
Unfortunately, I was acting faster than thinking.
Realized my huge mistake only when it was too late.
Terrified from the potential consequences I backed off immediately.
This was my second mistake.
I felt the sharp pain immediately on the top of my tongue and the salty taste of blood in my mouth.
It hurt but we were laughing so hard that there were no room for self-pity.
Being able to laugh at your own stupidity can be a lifesaver.
It took about a week for my skin to fully recover.
By the time we left the factory and that job behind, the pain was long gone.
What’s left is a funny anecdote and the memory of our achievement.
This was the first and toughest job of my life but we survived and excelled it.
I promised myself that if there is a way I will not accept such a mind-numbing and soul-crushing job again.
So far so good…
Others who answered the call: