Showing posts with label working. Show all posts
Showing posts with label working. Show all posts

Monday, October 13, 2014

Too Much Time on His Hands

       For the past three years or so, Roland has been working as a recruiter for students to take online courses.  His title wasn’t recruiter though.  I forget what it was.
            When he first started, those in his position were responsible for having at least two people start per mod (don’t know if the three letters are abbreviations for something or if it’s spelled differently – but it means every six weeks to eight weeks when the classes start for each major) and somewhere along the line it was raised to three and then four and then six.

            My brother-in-law, Bill, had worked there just a few years before the stress pushed him into looking for another job.  He put in his notice before the requirement was bumped to six.  The company wasn’t happy with his decision and wanted to make an example out of him.  The company also has a 300% turnover (what does that tell you?)

            So ever since the requirement was bumped to six, I would often hear: “I could lose this job by the end of the mod” Roland had only four possibilities before we’d gone on vacation.  He expected to be let go after we returned, but miraculously he was able to stay until the next mod.  He was short.  But they didn’t want to lose him and have him working for the competition (which Bill has done) and so offered him a less stressful position for less pay.  To me it’s worth less money to see him not stress all the time.  Only I think he may be bored.  He’s able to think.  He thinks that means he’s slowing down.

            Our bishop won’t be calling on him to meet with him once or twice a week or delegate this assignment or that.  More free time.  What will Roland do?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Working with Swire Coca-Cola

          When was first called to work at Swire, the company was located downtown.  I would take the bus to a stop two or three lights east of where I needed to be and walk the rest of the way.

I was working in the human resources area doing filing. It also became my job to help them pack up and move as they were leaving the downtown area and settling on a neutral location between Salt Lake and Provo and combining their employees into just one building instead of two.   I remember being with them after the move – I think until they were all settled in.  And then my position was through.

I returned to Swire for another assignment – handling and counting money that each of the drivers would bring in from the vending machines. The girl who trained me was really nice. 
It was an easy job – except for the one time when the power went out and we couldn’t even see our hands in front of our faces.  Though it was possible to count each bill, we didn’t know it’s value by touching it.
Brand new building.  Still hadn’t worked out all their bugs.

While working in the money room, Adia informed me of an indefinite position opening in another department.  I was interviewed by the team supervisor and started a new position after a couple of weeks in the money room.
I liked working there.  The work was consistent.  It wasn’t hard at all.  And I caught on quite quickly.  There was a phone on my desk in which I could call people, but it never rang.  I really liked that I didn’t have to answer it.

The department consisted of three primary positions.  One would batch papers (that was usually the job I did) by sorting them into groups of color and paper thickness so that the person scanning them could change the tracking device.  When a new machine was purchased (much later on down the road) the batches didn’t have to be sorted into color and paper weight anymore – just counted.  The new machine was so much easier to work (or so I assumed)

Aside from batching and scanning, there was keying.  Typing in the number to match the one on the document.  Fairly easy, but required accuracy.  It was my least favorite of the three jobs.  I suppose they all got boring.

Ever since DCFS I heard that more and more companies would be going to a paperless system.  It was more believable at Swire than I can ever imagine DCFS would ever (or will ever) be. 

I worked at Swire in 2002 when Coca-Cola products were the only cola products to be sold within the downtown or Olympic participating areas.  There were promotions.  There were incentive programs.  There were a lot of benefits that came with working at Swire.

After a few years with Adecco, I went on with Swire full time.  I worked there until a year before I had Jenna.  I would go back if I lived closer to Draper.  The commute and gas prices just don’t seem to work together right now.  Especially since I’m looking for just part time.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Working Temp Jobs

          I started my temp jobs with Kelly.  I don’t recall any jobs through Kelly that weren’t banquet involved.  What a letdown.  NOT the field I was looking for.  There was one assignment I’d been given to insert flyers and advertisements together. There was a large group of us who got the job done in less than two and a half hours.  We got paid for four.


          The only other temp agency I worked for was Adia – which later became Adecco.  The name changed when I was doing secretarial work for DCFS.

          Now there’s a trip.  Working for the state.  Department of Child and Family Services.  Felt more like Dysfunctional Communication for Society.  I really was not at all thrilled about how agents or clients were being treated.

          My “job” was to assist a secretary who evidently had a huge work load.  She was great at training me – but would often send me to other departments as her work load was not as horrific as Adia was led to believe.  I had been told I’d be working for two months?  I can’t remember.  They never told me to stop coming.  And I could actually walk to the location.  I was there for a little over a year.
          Mostly I did filing and copied case loads for adoptions – which is NOT the department I was hired for.  But it was a paycheck.  I was great at my job.  I became a lot more familiar with the copy machine than I would have liked people to know.  I became known as the “copy queen”.

          At first I copied everything exactly how I found it, being certain to return everything back exactly how I found it.  As I got more familiar with what the case loads contained, and all the duplicate copies, and all the fax covers – I must say that I did a complete turnaround on my case copies and was able to “clean up” in the original file.

          One day I was told that they really couldn’t afford to keep me on anymore.  And that was to be expected really – Hey I had already worked at least ten to fourteen months longer than expected date and so it didn’t seem that big of a deal to me.

          I was invited to apply to work on with DCFS directly.  Oh, right.  I saw how their employees were moved from location to location at the drop of a hat.  If I wanted to work downtown Salt Lake, I would apply downtown Salt Lake.  If I wanted to work in Magna, I would apply to the outskirts of where I actually lived.  But I wasn’t going to start a job in Murray so that I could be relocated with less than a full day’s notice.  No thank you.  With the temp agency, I had the option of saying, “sorry, no.  Doesn’t work for me.”

          There were a few other assignments I had with Adia – mostly warehouse work.  I packed auto parts at NAAPA and bycicle safety kits with another company and binder kits with Franklin and NuSkin products with a packaging company. 

          A lot of breakage of machines.  A lot of wasted time.  I didn’t mind the warehouse assembly lines.  I preferred clerical work.  Minus the phones.

          I was called back to DCFS (through Adia) in less than a month after they let me go.  Reception work, answering phones.  Hated that.  I actually don’t like phones all that much.  I find them necessary at times.  But overall I find them very bothersome.

Didn’t do that for long.  They had me as a multi-tasker.  I was given a pager so that I could prioritize who was important and who could wait.  What a trip.  I was a temp with my own show to run.  I was there for another year, I think.  And then they had to let me go again.

          Funny stories about DCFS:  I was writing a letter that needed the approval of the administrator.  He totally misses the point of the letter and harps all over the letterhead (as if I really had anything to do with that) though it was understandable.  
 All the letters that I had sent out, in all that time, had been on the same letterhead.  Two other mayors had been in office since the one listed on the letterhead.  I found amusement in it.

          There was another time I had left DCFS of my own free will.  The state came up with a brilliant plan – state owned buildings would be less costly than privately owned buildings (what a grand concept, huh?) and therefore all state employees would be relocated to state buildings.  Not me.  I still worked for Adia.  Didn’t care for the new location.

          Within a week, the employees were back to the “privately owned” as the state owned building had to be condemned.  Our tax dollars hard at work.  It makes one be proud to be a Utahan.
          When I was called to work with DCFS again it was a building located right next door to Adia.  I was there for about three weeks when Adia merged with another temp agency providing them with the new name Adecco. 

As a “secretary” I was making the most money I had ever made in my entire life, and I wasn’t doing a darn thing to earn it.  When I arrived, the girl I worked with had me searching through clip art to create a flyer for an upcoming pizza party.  Seriously? 

I was literally scrounging for work.  Sending out emails.  Nobody was utilizing my skills.  I resorted back to the building I had come from.  Does anybody have any work over there?  They did.  They would send it to me, and I would send it back.  Come on.   I would have just rather just remained in the first building where I had started.

I enjoyed getting to know the agents who actually worked at Adecco and were the ones finding workers to send to locations.  They seemed professional and on the ball.  That was then.

When I tried to rejoin the force just last year, I wondered what it is that is keeping them in business.  Those finding jobs do NOT communicate with one another – certainly not with me.  It was such a hassle just finding the place too.  I think my experiences with Adecco are so in the past.

Overall I did enjoy the temp experience (with last year’s exception) because I did have the option of picking and choosing.  But I wasn’t always thrilled with the commute for some assignments.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Finding My Place at Patrick Dry Goods

          I took the bus downtown to 2nd south and walked over to 2nd west from there.

          Patrick Dry Goods had three floors.  On the first floor one could pick out fabric and towels or order them by catalogue.  The second floor carried notions and the third floor carried some baby clothes and socks – mostly through catalogue – but did keep certain brands within the warehouse.

          The elevator used in the building seemed ancient compared to the building itself. It reminded me of the broken (and noisy) elevator in Thoroughly Modern Millie.except the gate pulled down instead of horizonal center.  And there was no dancing.

Mostly items were purchased from name brands and then sold to Ma and Pa stores who couldn’t afford to purchase directly from the name brands as they were unable to meet the minimum amount required.  Patrick’s was like the middle man between the two.

I was hired as a secretary.  My job entailed photographing items, creating catalogue pages, and assisting with the orders.  Secretary was my title, but the job description just sounds so different from what I think of as secretarial.

I liked my boss – though I often wondered how he came to be in that position.  He appeared to have no spine – wasn’t good at making decisions – or perhaps he really did value the opinions of those around him.  I think he included us so that we would make the decisions and he wouldn’t have to.

The first floor and vice president couldn’t seem to keep a secretary – or perhaps he never had one.  Quite opposite from my boss.  He was a control freak.  He had the final say on everything.  Including manipulating my boss – who would let him.

The forms we filled out had three parts.  The white copy to go to the customer, the yellow copy to be filed under the manufacturer ordered from, the pink copy to be filed under the customer whose order we would fill and the blue copy was filed numerically.

I thought it was a very good system.  If for some reason we couldn’t find it under the manufacturer, we could refer to the numerical order or the client.  But that was our department.  I didn’t think our vice president was near as organized – didn’t care for his system at all.  And I told him so.

I actually wouldn’t have said anything at all, except he would rotate me and the secretary from the second floor to do his secretarial work as he was without.  Well, maybe he was without because of his dumb filing system – which I may have accepted except I had my own floor to compare it to.

Everything got filed under the name of the manufacturer.  Everything.  A customer had called to find out where the ordered product was and when to expect it.  He had the receipt number, but did not have the name of the manufacturer – and so the vice president asked me to go through each document filed under the manufacturer until I could find it.

That is when I explained to him how much easier it would have been just to separate all the copies in the first place.  If he had done it like we do upstairs, he could refer to the blue copy or the pink copy in the other file – but it always was his way or no way. 

At my suggestion to separate the copies, he flew off the handle and said if I didn’t like his filing system that I didn’t have to do secretarial work for him anymore.  I didn’t like it and so I returned back upstairs.

Of course, the rest of the week I wondered if I would get fired for speaking my mind – the secretary from the 2nd floor said she was impressed and wish she would have had the nerve to speak her mind like I did.  Whatever.  I did not do any more secretarial for the vice president.  I stayed on the third floor and sometimes would assist with overflow stock on the forth.

It wasn’t a bad job.  I ended up leaving to work in strip mall mailbox location.  Patrick’s remained strong for another year or so after I quit.  I think Wal-Mart contributed to their downfall. Don’t know what is located there now.  Last time I saw it, the building was vacant.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Insurance Company File Clerk

          After high school I got a job at my dad’s work (an insurance company)  as a file clerk.  It was back in the days where not everyone had a personalized computer.  And the computer that my dad worked on (he was a computer programmer) was one of those ancient wall to wall machines that look along the lines of a horrible sci-fi.

          My job was to pull microfiche, file microfiche, scan documents to be cut and inserted into microfiche, and to cut and insert.  Mostly I pulled or filed.  I rarely ever cut and insert.  I actually may have done it only once.

          We were located in an ancient building which used to be a lodge for the lions (probably at the very moment they were founded) The company outgrew that building and moved to a much nicer location only eight blocks away.  (The first building we were is now some kind of night club or dance hall – or at least last time I checked)

          I liked our second location a lot better.  I think we all did.  It was definitely a lot roomier. And I could take walks outside during my breaks without constantly looking over my shoulder as the first location seemed to be in a seedy part of town.

          I left the insurance company to go on my mission. 

          After I returned I did not go back to the insurance company my dad was with.  I continued to do temp jobs (in addition to Snelgroves STILL) and had some assignments that led me back to the world of sorting and filing microfiche.  Unfortunately the girl they picked to be the supervisor had no concept of numerical order nor did she know how to alphabetize. 

It was a very unprofessional atmosphere with a turnover of employees between the ages of 10 and 25 (although very few of them actually seemed mature enough to be 25 – and okay, perhaps 10 is an exaggeration.  Though I actually know more sophisticated 10 years olds than some of the co-workers I had.)

          I worked three assignments at the same company.  I will NEVER go back to it – though I really did enjoy the work itself.  But if I had wanted to hear all the muck and garbage that came out of the employees that were around me, I would have just stayed home and watched Jerry Springer

          My dad was forced to take a medical retirement.  But the insurance company that he’d been with treated him well.  For many years after his death, my mom continued to receive turkey cards and updates.  I thought that was impressive.

          They have since moved their location at least one other time.  Last I heard their most recent location was at the triad center.  And I’m guessing they have done away with the fiche and have a more reliable filing system.

          I have enjoyed office work the most of any job or assignment that I’ve had.  I would think that modern technology has made it even easier.  It’s impractical for me to work full time while Jenna is still in school.  But when I have searched for part time, I have applied for office position (minus reception work or anything that is phone related)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Waiting Tables

          I think everybody ought to have the opportunity of waiting tables for at least two months.  Some may have to do it longer to really appreciate what hard work for little wages really is.  Although I don’t know if it’s quite as feast or famine as it used to be. 

          My second job was at the ice cream parlor where my mom worked.  I was probably there longer than any other job.  I think I started out at 2.67 an hour.  Milkshakes were less than two on the menu. I’d seen the prices going up quite often.  Wish my paycheck had been increased as rapidly.

I mostly worked weekends and one or two nights during the week.  I would come in at 6:00 or 8:00 and work until after closing.  Everybody did everything and tips were split among all of those who worked that shift.  Our assignments consisted of being host or hostess (seating customers and bringing them water), waiting tables, making orders, taking orders for and making cones, cashier, dishwasher and those who were really competent would have the honor of relieving the candy lady when the need arose.
          There were a few nights when patrons would enter consistently – but for the most part there were gaps of “looking busy” and then they’d swarm in due to some concert or high school dance or what have you letting out or ending up.  And as a waiter/waitress one always wondered if it had been announced to “be sure and stop by” as it was always crowded.  And then we were working just as hard as any aerobic class – maybe harder.

          My favorite jobs were either waiting tables or dishwasher – which wasn’t actually assigned to the girls all too often.  Making orders wasn’t too bad if the ice cream was soft enough to scoop out.  But on really busy nights, we would end up getting in each other’s way.

          I didn’t enjoy doing cones all that much – also a job that was more popularly assigned to the boys.  Counters were okay.  It was a “do-it-all” task and it was by the doors which sometimes invited a welcoming breeze.

          When the family business was handed to the next generation, they attempted to add new things to the menu – like sandwiches, soup and coffee – which they would stop serving after six.  And once in a while I would work the day shift.

          The day shift workers would clear tables, but that’s as far as it would get.  Never did a single dish make it into the dish room until I came on board (day time shift)  making sure to fill a tub with soapy water and drop each of the soup bowls into the water when I separated the other items in the cart.  Really.  How hard is that?  Dropping soup bowls into a tub of water? 

          Those who were assigned to do dishes loved me.  It certainly made their job a lot easier.  But I had done dishes before.  I knew what it was like.  I was getting paid to work – not to stand around and visit.  I just didn’t get why it was always such a big deal for the day shift to get off their duffs and help out a little.

          Also I don’t recall any of the employees ever being coffee drinkers.  We often received complaints on the coffee.  Sometimes we’d actually invite the customer back to make his or her own coffee (how professional, huh) I think they did away with it after a while.  We honestly just didn’t know.

          I made several friends throughout the years.  I graduated high school.  Moved on to another job.  Sometimes I would substitute for somebody at the ice cream store.  Went to school.  Returned to the ice cream.  Went on a mission. Returned to the ice cream. And continued to be on the payroll at least two years after quitting my job again (as I would still sub at least once a paycheck)

          I worked at the ice cream parlor (or subbed) in addition to at least three or four other jobs.  The ice cream parlor was never a full time job. I probably put in more hours when I was in high school than I had since.

          Funniest story ever.  Nathan (not his real name) and some other co-workers were on their break discussing going to prom.  One asked Nathan who he’d be asking out.  He said he was considering asking me. 

          “No way!  Who are you going to ask really?”

          Confused by their reaction, Nathan asked what was wrong.

          “She’s like in her 20’s.”

          Nathan didn’t believe them.

          A group surrounded me.  The spokesman of the group asked, “How old are you?”
          I was 24 at the time. 

          Nathan’s jaw fell on the floor.  I was flattered that he had wanted to ask me.  But at the same time I thought it was very hilarious.

          All of my mom’s children had worked there at one time or another. It was a good first job for most of us – as well as some of our neighbors.

          The ice cream parlor has been folded about twenty years, I guess.  They kept the name, and continued producing ice cream at the factory.  After 79 years the brand name was retired. The factory continues to operate. But there is a different name on the packaging. But to the best of my knowledge they still keep the iconic sign where I used to work. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Week of Employment

          I don’t remember leaning toward a specific career.  I took on jobs just to get by.  My first few jobs were just for spending money.  It seemed to have a more grown up feel than just doing chores.

          I received my first job when I was 13 or 14 years old.  I delivered a weekly newspaper.  Informative scoops about events in the surrounding community.  It was called the Green Sheet.  I delivered it on Thursday mornings for about a year.  And then I stopped.

          My second job was at the ice cream parlor where my mom worked.  I was probably there longer than any other job.  (More on that in its own post) I was there before college, after college, before the mission, after the mission . . . and even while I was working at other jobs.

          Searching for jobs was always more work for me than the job itself.  I have worked so many dead-end jobs just to avoid hunting.  I suppose there was room for advancement in some of the places I worked – but none of them offered positions that held my interest.

          I spent about two years as a manager at a pack and mail.  Customers would bring in goods to be shipped – sometimes my assistant and I would have to wrap them.  As with so many other companies I have worked for over the years, the pack and mail place went out of business – I believe at the time I was still employed there.

          I was interested in teaching.  First putting myself through school to become a teacher’s aide – and then go for my teaching degree while working as a teacher’s aide.  Problem is, I wasn’t a great student.  I don’t mind learning – but it’s got to be at my pace.  I find I get burned out with pushing courses after only six months and then I need a rest.  The desire to teach (as a profession) is no longer there.  I don’t mind clerical work.  That’s what I am most comfortable with. 

          The last job that I worked at (one that provided a paycheck) was Swire Coca-Cola.  I quit my position about a year before Jenna was born.  Since then I’ve done clerical work for Roland and some of his fellow workers.  But he has since changed professions – I suppose he could return to it eventually . . .

          Anyway, I have decided that this week I will post a job for each day of the week.  Nothing spectacular.  It may be of no interest whatsoever – but it’s part of my character.  And the story unfolds . . .