Friday, August 19, 2011

Yes, Do that...

Fifty-two hours on the clock Monday through Friday. A pre-press department record for me. Factor in the time I spent going to and coming home from work on the bus, including the stops I made at the grocery stores for next-day-at-work meals along the way, and the total comes to... about sixty-nine hours. In five days. This is one record that I will never even think of trying to break. I have been working too fucking hard for too fucking long in this department, as have the rest of us.

That's going to change real soon, though: I was informed by the plant manager this morning that I'm going back to the pressroom after Labor Day. He mentioned something about "reducing the head count" at one point -- I don't recall the exact context in which that remark was made, I just know that come September, I'll be back on twelve-hour nights, this time Wednesday through Friday.

I'm not terribly thrilled about this -- I'm just starting to get something resembling a normal sleeping sleeping pattern, and this is likely going to screw it all up. But you know what? I'll take it. Thirty-six hours a week instead of fifty-two? Okay. Four days off instead of two? No problem. Worrying about just one press instead of all five? Fine.

And if going back to the pressroom doesn't work out? Well, two days ago, they gave me a key to the front door. It makes the kind of work I've been doing a little easier, and it appears I'll be doing some of that instead of running a press on certain nights, so it's convenient to have this key. But when it comes to the print shop, this key isn't the one I've been looking for all these months.

They gave me the one I have been looking for this morning.

I'm going on twelve years working for this company. I spent a little more than ten of those years in the pressroom, nine on the night shift. I've been doing manufacturing work of one sort or another for about sixteen years, and looking back on all of that, I've gotten two things out of it. One was an education that I could use in the real world -- the type you earn by working in factories for, with, and above other people, not sitting in classrooms reciting drills, equations, names, dates, and the pledge of allegiance. The other thing I got was a drinking problem. I was more or less instructed to get it under control back in June. It took a while, but I got it under control. The only reason I took up drinking in the first place, back in '96 (it didn't start at the print shop), was to get some sleep during the day because I had to work through nights. Now they're putting me back on nights. They aren't making staying sober any easier for me.

And furthermore, I just turned 41. I look back on the last sixteen years of my life, fifteen of them drinking regularly to heavily nearly every day, and I don't like most of what I see. Management recently gave all of us a self-evaluation sheet, and ordered us to do what amounts to the management's job for them -- later on, we would compare notes with our immediate superiors. The last question in this reindeer game went something like, "What are your goals for the upcoming year?" I answered with a question of my own: "What does the company have in mind for me?"

So far, I haven't done any note-comparing. And I've never been very good at reindeer games, either. However, my question has been answered. I'm going back to the pressroom, on nights. Not an answer I like.

But then there's that other key I'll have. The one I can use on Mondays and Tuesdays, when I'm off work. I'll just leave it at that for now...


  1. I couldn't find your emial, and I couldn't find it on your blog either....I wanted to wish you a happy belated birthday. I am sorry I missed it, ask Mom, Ive had a rough couple of weeks. I hope you are well, sounds as if you are. Lil Sis :)

  2. I keep my email off my blog -- not everyone who visits this place needs to know what that is. And missing my birthday is no big deal -- I failed to wish Mom and TJ a happy anniversary last month, now that I think of it...


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