Saturday, February 26, 2011

3 AM And Still Wide Awake...

What a day.

I got to work a little after 11 AM Friday morning, having just missed the bus I would normally catch. Had a hard time locating my keys, and that wound up forcing me to wait for the next bus. It didn't matter, though: I got off from work at quarter to midnight. I pulled twelve and a half hours.

It could have been more, had I decided to hire a cab later on instead of offering a co-worker twenty bucks to drive me home. (That may sound excessive, and it probably was, but 1) I actually have a tiny but growing rainy day fund on the side now, so I had no trouble swinging this, 2) unlike me, the guy who got the Jackson is working reduced hours, so he could definitely use the money, and 3) twenty bucks'll get you about six gallons of gas today -- tomorrow, it might only get you five, who knows with all that fresh chaos going on in the Middle East nowadays...) I seriously considered staying another couple of hours. Not because I wanted to -- After 10 PM or so, my mind was starting to drift off into space, and it was causing me to make mistakes. It's just that I know there's a big flood of work coming at me next week, and I was doing anything and everything I could tonight to lessen the oncoming flood.

Around 6, I checked in on the pre-press room, thinking I had maybe another hour or so before I was done. My work in the plate room was pretty much finished -- I figured I'd burn plates for a handful of orders in Monday's schedule just to stay ahead of the flow, maybe carve up some digital proofs if there were any, and then go home for the weekend.

Well, there were digital proofs that needed to be carved up, all right. The woman who does imposition for the print shop told me that she had just queued up sixteen orders for one client, and the client wanted four proofs for each order.

And what is sixteen times four? Sixty-four.

I looked at her and said, "Say what?!"

They didn't need to go out until Monday. So, I suppose I could have gone according to the plan I'd had in mind and just left them there. But later on, the woman who does graphic arts pointed at the three dozen or so orders that were on her plate, and said she was coming in either Saturday or Sunday to do essentially the same thing I did tonight: minimize the impact of the coming flood. She's dealing with it now. I appear later on in our quality control process; I'll be dealing with that shit next week.

That, and she added that she had e-mails saying that another forty orders were on the way staring Monday. Well... fuck, me, running. Therefore, I had a sub and salad delivered from an Italian restaurant downtown, stuck around, and ended up making forty or so digital proofs, plus burning some more plates, before throwing in the towel at quarter to midnight.

And as I said, I would have stayed longer, just to get as much work available now out of the way as possible. I am not going in this weekend. Period. But those sixty-four proofs had started printing out a little before 6 PM; when I finally punched out for the night, they were still printing out. And I'm like, "Six hours and counting. Lord, I ain't never seen anything like this motherfuckin' nonsense here."

Then I screwed one of the proofs up, and not long after that, I said, "Fuck this, I'm going home." I got most of those proofs carved up before I left. The bad one will get replaced -- I left a post-it note behind me, and even if I hadn't, they double-check everything anyway.

But hell... what are we, the only print shop left in Virginia now? It is insane what we're trying to stay on top of there. I've been there a long time. And I don't know what to make of this. Yes, I'd rather be working full-time than not at all -- and the overtime pay helps out a lot. But I can't do all of what I'm doing now for another ten or fifteen years.

I'm in my forties now. They want to hook me up to a cart or something and have me haul loads back and forth all day, okay -- that's right up my alley. But if they expect me to do that in fourth gear...

Uh-uh. Not every day. Not even every Friday. The guy who drove me home tonight could use some more hours -- why don't they have him come in and plate whatever orders I don't get to? They'd save themselves some money that way -- I wouldn't be getting all this overtime pay. I certainly don't mind the fat paycheck coming my way next week. I just don't need it the way I used to. Forty hours a week is good enough for me, believe me.

And one last thing. I turned 40 last summer. I was a bit impressed, actually. For the longest time, I really believed I wouldn't make it to 40. Yet after I did, I started thinking seriously about my future. I don't have a crystal ball or anything, so I have no idea what the future holds for me. But lately I've been wondering, how do I know I don't have another forty years to go? What will I do then?

So I opened up a second account at my bank. Presently, that account is the one reason why I still report to the print shop Monday through Friday and do what I'm expected to do as best I can. I'm working there for the day when I'll be able to afford a lower-paying job that I can do at a comfortable pace.

If they can use me, I can use them...

No comments:

Post a Comment

This is a First Amendment zone, but I do use word verification now. If you don't like that, well, this is also a Fifth Amendment zone. Take your pick...