Sunday, January 25, 2009

Crappy Jobs part 3...

Well here we are at St. Regis Paper Company in Garland Texas. Things were great for a while. I was enjoying the evenings and weekends off and learning the true spirit of Texas from the inside. I have to admit, there is a feeling you get when you are a Texas resident. It is hard to describe, but the pride you feel to be a part of the whole Texas thing. I made some really good friends and lost a lot of the edge I was burdened with for the last few months. I joined a band and things were looking up. My brother Jerry and Tim Hendricks (a friend of ours we met from the Brunswick experience) moved down to Garland and we were having some freakin' parties to remember. We rented a house that took 4 of us to pay the rent but it was pretty cool.

Wouldn't you know, I got bumped to 2nd shift; 2 pm to 10 pm. The work was the same, I do have a couple funny ass memories, like the time with my supervisor Clovis Stevens. Clovis was ok, but like a good company man, he would smile rarely and watch us out of the corner of his eye. One day I was sitting outside at the picnic table eating lunch at work and I looked at the nearest tree and there was like a hundred of those discarded cicada (locust) shells stuck to it. I remember In Indiana, we would find 1 or 2 of the bug shells stuck to a tree, but on this Texas tree was busload. I collected about 50 and put them in a sack and took them back into the building. Clovis was not back from lunch yet, so I opened his top middle desk drawer and lined up the 50 cicada shells like a little bug army. I closed the drawer real careful and snuck back to my machine. A couple hours later, I heard Clovis let out a blood-curdling scream. I am sure he knew I did it but no one would fess up.

Getting off at 10pm though, it was party time! We would party till 3 or 4 in the morning, then I would sleep till around noon. I would get up and get ready for work and leave the house by 1:30. So it seems all I was doing was working and partying. It was great, but looking at the big picture, I could tell I was getting nowhere. Rent and partying kept me from saving any money and after a year of this, it just seemed like a dead end.

Inside the factory was about the most boring thing ever. I was running a box stitching machine that stapled the boxes together in the corner. Once I set up the machine, I could run the same size and style of box through the machine for 2 to 3 days. I would just stand behind the stack and fold the 2 flaps in and push it into the stitcher. Repeat this like 50 thousand times. There was clock within eyeshot and time went frustratingly slow. I would look at the clock and "oh shit, it is only 3 minutes later than the last time I looked at the clock. I was 20 and burnt out again, I started looking for a different job.

The first job I actually had a chance at was Highland Appliance. It was a big electronics store and it just seemed exciting and I am sure time would go much quicker than factory work. I made it past the interview and they sent me to a lie detector test downtown Dallas. I found my way there and was invited in by a 300 pound ex-marine looking guy. No joking, just sit down and get to the matter at hand. He strapped me in and for the next hour gave me the third degree. I knew I was screwed when he asked me if I ever stole from an employer. Working at Sambo's restaurant, I ate my share of overcooked steaks (does that count?), and working at Brunswick bowling alley, I bowled thousands of games after we locked the doors. Not to mention working for Bud and Marvin, I drilled my own bowling balls and chalked it up to promotion. Needless to say, I cannot add Highland Appliance to my resume.

Here is where it gets interesting. I found a company that made optical glass and lenses for telescopes and binoculars. They had a new government contract to make a bunch of stuff for the Army. The place was amazingly clean. Everybody had on white lab coats and were smiling. The hr guy led me all around and introduced me to everyone. He said I would be working in the test lab smash testing glass! This was a dream come true and he could start asap. I told him I needed to give 2 weeks notice at the box factory. We set a date for me to start, but he said they are very strict for the probationary period. I was not allowed to be absent or late for the first 90 days. I put in my notice at the box factory on my 2 year anniversary (to the day). I got my vacation check and said good riddance. I spent the next 2 weeks just partying my ass off.

The day finally came when I was to start the new job. I don't know if you are familiar with the thunderstorms in Texas, but when it rains, it freakin' rains. And as luck would have it the power must have went out for a couple hours and my alarm clock did not go off. I would have been 15 - 20 minutes late (if I was allowed to come in). I called and pleaded my case, but the hr guy reminded me of the strict probationary period and said there was nothing he could do and he was sorry.

There was nothing he could do and he was sorry.

To be continued...

1 comment:

One Reader said...

Damn, that would have been bad ass. I want to test smash glass too!