I go to work – to get the money – to buy the food – to get the strength – to go to work.
Q. The point of this cartoon is:
a) Work is challenging but satisfying.
b) Work is pointless and repetitive.
c) People should work harder if they want to get more money.
d) Work can be tiring but is for the greater good.
Personally I thought the comic summed up life pretty well. And, after my first day’s work, I have to wonder if it’s true.
Straight after the test I went for my first day’s work at Coles, a large family supermarket chain. Eugene, who works there also, was allowed to show me around and teach me how everything works. To be honest, I hate having to depend on him, but it’s comforting to know it’s my brother that’s looking out for me. Because Saturdays are the busiest days (everyone shops on Saturdays. Why? Why do they put us through this?), as soon as my brief orientation finished, I was put straight to work. Not grocery, stacking the shelves and presenting the stock like I had been led to assume, but working in the deli. Deli’s that section at the back of the store where they sell roast chicken, raw fish, shavings of pig and the likes. I reminded Maria (the manager) that I was a vegetarian- she knew this, I told her in my interview that deli is the one place I wouldn’t be able to work. She just said, "Oh, that could be a problem," and as I remember it, she just walked off. So I ran off to get my apron and a really stupid hat and forced myself past the horrible smell of cooked animals to nestle snuggly into the raw ones. I served like, six people, and did a terrible job of it. The packages of meat literally fell apart in their hands. Unfortunately, two of the people I served were the parents of one of my childhood friends so we had the most horrible, ‘Oh, when did you start working here?’ ‘Hey, how is your daughter doing?’ conversations. While I grabbed handfuls of pig to give to them.
Eugene says I only worked deli for half an hour. In my mind, it was very nearly two hours. I didn’t know what to do, I freaked out, and just felt like breaking down. I could go on about how traumatising and stressful it was, but everyone can complain about their job so I’ll save you the trouble. Basically, deli sucked, but the next four hours of stacking and presenting were more or less enjoyable. I work four times slower than I’m supposed to (and the other guy who was presenting worked four times slower than me- apparently you can get away with slacking), but my aisle truly was a work of art. Unappreciated, and to be ruined tomorrow when blood-thirsty customers rip it to pieces.
The job itself isn’t that bad. I’ve never liked having to attempt things I didn’t know how to do- procedure, regulation, rules make me comfortable. That might be my OCD leaking through, but I feel very safe knowing exactly what to do. Working in Coles just threw me into the deep end, and I came through five hours later spluttering and choking. I’m terrified of my colleagues who might look down on me, or because I might offend one of them somehow. I’m overly cautious about what everything I say and make sure that I don’t have an opinion on anything, so no one can have a problem with it. And of course, the whole business revolves around making the customers happy. It requires making executive decisions, knowing the store, knowing what you’re doing and stuff I just don’t want to deal with. I honestly don’t know what I was expecting. I thought of all the jobs that ever existed, and when I actually picture myself having to do them, I just couldn’t take it. I just don’t want to work, ever. When I thought of getting a job, I knew what it involved, but it never actually occurred to me that I would have to do it. For some reason, I thought it would be leisurely, even-paced hard work. Today, being Saturday, was just utter madness, even though the store closed to customers two hours into my shift. I don’t see why anyone would want to go to work in the morning. And most people probably don’t. I guess it’s worth the money- work is a necessity to get the money to get the food to get the strength to carry on, but how much happier I’d be, we’d all be I suspect, if it didn’t require working.
So yeah. Work, all work that I can imagine, sucks. I pity anyone who was a job. Anyone still mooching off their parents, milk it for all it’s worth damn you. I’m really tired, so… Good night.