Tag Archives: shitty jobs

London Chronicles: Shitty Sunlight.

I don’t usually watch too much TV because the menu is basically stinking shit. Rarely I can find a film without ads, or some interesting documentary, and at the moment Spanish pay per view channels are not as good as Americans, thus at the moment I won’t pay for TV, I’m not so interested in soccer and sports in general, and I prefer paying for watching movies online or at the theaters. However sometimes before watching a series or something on my own, I usually switch on TV, also to remember the reason why I don’t actually watch it, and it takes me more or less 2-3 minutes to realize. Well, last night I found out Harry Brown was broadcast, rough story.

Most   British drama films based on people’s miseries, a quite common realistic genre, quite exploited, take place in low and poor areas, and the atmospheres depicted are decadent, depressive, dysfunctional and usually deeply marked by domestic violence, addictions, unemployment…

This film reminded me of another drama named Fish Tank, and the location for the story, Chadwell Heath, a suburban area of East London.

chadwell heath

Ok, and why am I talking about this place? Well, because I used to go there from Monday to Friday for 6 fuckin’ months to work at a huge industrial laundry named Sunlight.

Even though for many people autopilot jobs are easy to handle, with a fixed shift, including a horrible alarm to tell you to get the hell out of the place, with no big concerns nor responsibilities and your wages on a (weekly in this case) basis, it was a horrible nightmare to me.

How did I end working there? Well, that’s the typical story of a lazy girl who thought there were lots of job vacancies in the middle of July, instead of looking for something at the beginning of the season, as the rest of the world usually does. Obviously all the fast food restaurants and cafes were full, and my boyfriend was working at this place where there was a free spot for me, so I accepted, thinking that’d be a temporary job until I was coming back to Spain to resume my studies, with some cash in my pocket. That was my initial plan, but it changed.

Thus, from October to February I worked for this horrible company. The bosses were so damn ignorant they thought I was required a work permit, so I was treated like a low profile immigrant, and it took me several weeks to get my wages paid.

Whenever I watch these movies I was mentioning before, I remember people working there. Only the old ladies used to treat me kind and with respect, feeling interested in me as a human being, and not as an overalls folder. People in my age regarded me as an exotic freak, thought they were superior and never tried to mix up or befriend me. I never had a beer with any co-worker during that time. My beginnings in the big city were tough, boring and frustrating.

Behind the Scenes at Ellis Hospital

My first days at the laundry were depressive. People used to speak in that cockney, close and insane accent that I love now, impossible to understand at first, with all those gottal stops, and people saying  /’mait/ instead of /’meit/ and pronouncing f instead of /θ/ as in /’maefs/ for maths and /’faenks/ for thanks. They used to laugh at my accent, wondering why I had such a posh style, and how I had learnt it.

I realized that cultural classicism actually exists, when you trying to create some boundaries and get closer to the youngest people, asking for their music taste and other hobbies. I never asked about music because we were listening to Kiss FM everyday and stuff was crap, and I could see they were consumers of radio hits, so I didn’t bother to try, but tried to approach a girl, Kelly, asking her about literature. Her reply was astounding: ‘Oh no! I’m not into reading because I find it very difficult and it’s very hard for me to understand. Reading is for posh and  old people’. Enough said, huh? I threw the towel and went on with my life as the misfit at the factory, except for the old grannies who were absolutely adorable to me…and were readers.

Thus, I was surrounded by guys who only cared for soccer, the pub in the corner and the page 3 Sun girls, and by girls whose main target was to find a boyfriend and get married quick, waiting for the weekend to go to the mall … and the pub.

I didn’t feel like judging them. I was just shocked we were so different, and for the first time since I was 11 I couldn’t fit in particular environment, and even though I didn’t want to be part of them, I was having a bad time for being so isolated. I was a minority. At the end of the day, it’s all about socializing, communicating and exchanging ideas.

hangers

6 months I spend working for Sunlight, feeling bored and alienated. I was assigned as supervisor of a hanger machine, and was allowed to use the industrial irons for the aprons, because I WAS SMART! Honestly, at some point I thought my brains were shrinking. Thank God I had a calendar full of shows to attend, and books to sink in which made me forget about that shit.

Can you imagine how I felt when I got a job downtown and handed my resignation letter to my stupid drunk boss? That was winning Lottery!

I don’t regret that time though. I reckon it t was one of the greatest lessons life taught me which made me swallow my youthful pride, and start seeing things in the real way.

Fuckin’ Sunlight Services! Last time I was in London I saw one of their lorries and I almost puked. UGH!

TODAY IT’S BEEN A SHITTY DAY

This is a post to ease the shit this day has been to me, so if you have anything better to read or do, I suggest you move on, you’re totally dismissed. Really.

As you can see, for the last 3 weeks I’ve been updating very seldom and mostly on weekends. This is not because I don’t care about this anymore, no way! You cannot imagine how much disappointed I am these days. The reason for not updating much is just that I come back home from work really late and exhausted, so much I am totally unable to get focused and start writing whatever which requires to be developed.

angry toi

You might think I’m a hell of a moaner, because few months ago I was confessing being at a stage of somatization due to stress, anguish and anxiety at work.

Everything seemed to vanish when I quit that job to recover my former position in the company I was fired from about a year ago. Great atmosphere at the office, excellent partners and organized and well settled procedures were the key to recover my old job even though my wages have decreased 20% comparing to my previous time in the company.

Sometimes I wonder whether God exists. I don’t know but if He does, he’s a bastard and loves putting me into a test, otherwise I don’t understand my bad luck.

I was meant to enjoy a 5 week period of adapting and learning about procedures set for a new and very important client. Unfortunately my friend Sergio’s baby girl, Abril, was born exactly 5 weeks earlier than expected and he consequently was on paternity leave. And he still is.

This meant I had to assume all his workload, learn from zero about this new client procedures, refresh my own stuff, and, together with another colleague, cover my boss during his absence due to a business trip to China which lasted a week.

ww chained

Up to date I’m not Wonder Woman, work load has increased, and this new client is pushing to have their stuff duly updated and carried out. At the end of the day we’re getting paid for that. however, this week, no matter that I spent the local holiday at the office working, the bottleneck effect is finally a reality, and I simply cannot handle anymore by myself.

Today I’ve cried out of frustration, powerless, my pal Miguel has been about to quit the day and go back home because he was stuck, unable to cope with all the shit coming, and worst thing, nobody could assist us because they don’t know how to proceed.

This is real crisis: bad planning, work overflow, lack of backup and constant incidences.  And the thought of this as the beginning of a rough season. Hello! Desperation has come to town.

Thus if you see that I don’t update the blog in 5-10 days, don’t think I’ve forgotten about this, most likely I’d had a nervous breakdown and I’m sedated at any given Arkham asylum.

Hope you are fine though, and things get back to normal soon. I miss you. I miss Since My Baby Left  Me. I miss a standard life.

SOMETIMES YOU GOTTA DO WHAT YOU GOTTA DO

I’ve been asked the same question quite often lately. You know, when you meet someone new, first conversations turn around standard issues before diving into what it’s interesting, passions and hobbies. Well, question has been what I’m doing now, my current working situation. I’m glad to say I’m employed, and although my job is not fascinating, I’m active, and considering the country situation nowadays, I feel lucky.

It’s not a bad job, not boring either, in fact during peak seasons it can be really stressing sometimes, as shipping, what my direct tasks are related to, is not exact and accurate science, and what makes it interesting, and my skills useful, are those situations I have to trust my experience and use my skills, to sort things out, or at least, reduce the impact incidences make cause.

Anyway, it’s not about my current job what I want to talk about, but about those temporary shitty jobs everybody has to accept sometimes, especially when you’re young, to afford self indulging or buying beer…or whatever.

Never worked for McDonalds or Burger King, I used to be a baby sitter for a whale kid who used to insult me because I rejected to explain verb past tense in French for the simple reason I couldn’t speak the language, I used to teach English for many years, delivered flyers into mail boxes… nothing much out of line I guess. But believe me, I’ve done certain things that I’m glad for not being a shy person, otherwise I’d had ended up crying or turning into one of these Jap guys who never leave their rooms.

And because I’m in a very cheerful mood today, I’m gonna tell you some of the most remarkable.

When I was at the high school I just had a short weekly allowance my parents agreed to give me. I didn’t complain, it was fair and I could handle fine until I started to get drunk every single weekend. Extra money was always welcome and I was up to anything. I think I was 15 or 16, my next door neighbors had a 4 years old daughter you was obsessed with Mickey and Minnie Mouse. Remember it was June and her birthday was getting close. Her mother got acquainted with somebody at the nursery the baby was attending, who had a couple of costumes of the mice. I just had to find a partner and we would get 4000 pesetas (currently 24Eur) each, to surprise the girl by dropping by and staying for half an hour. It was horribly warm, we had to wear those smelly suits, and those big clown rubber shoes, but the worst of all, were the giant papier-maché heads. Jeeeez! We had to be very careful not to drop the heads, all the kids were jealous of us because we were having drinks with a straw, and the girl who was super clever, started to inquire whether we ate children, because she could see eyes inside our mouths. We finally got an extra tip for the effort, and went straight to the bar to hydrate.

Being miss XL t-shirt size, going to the beach wearing Doc Martens, I had the possibility to get regular positions as stewardess in congresses. But I had to wear uniform (no problem)… and heels. Medical congresses were my field, because my dad used to visit them as he used to work for a pharmaceutical company, and I got acquainted with some of the doctors, and received a special treatment: presents, better meals and alcoholic drinks for free. So imagine me, in costumes, accompanying doctors and nurses to dinner, getting a bottle of wine, and forgetting I had my sneakers on rather than the uncomfortable shoes… many hours, not well paid, but it was a kind of luxury.

Oktober Fest, my friends! I felt like a mule carrying full jugs of German beer weighing 1,5kg each, my God! Those two 10-day-in –a-row fests, working 10 hours nonstop every day, were the toughest and best trainings I’ve ever had in my life. Team building, stress, busy hours all the time, was to become my daily routine in London a couple of years later at the coffee shop. Still we had time to flirt, make friends, get drunk and have fun. This wouldn’t happen nowadays I guess.

It was after my London years, when I got back home, I experienced the 3 most ridiculous assignments, the three of them in Xmas.

It was a very cold winter in my hometown, and I was receiving some benefits but was totally broke, living with my family again, returning to my college studies. A friend of mine told me she was working for an advertising and promotional company, and told me there were vacancies for season jobs. It was ok for me, although I didn’t have much spare time, but it was ok.

First day, I was given a Santa Klaus outfit, and have to distribute Cash Converters flyers downtown. They had run out of beards, so many people recognized me, which was a bit embarrassing, not for the costume, but because everybody was approaching to me thinking I was giving candies or something for free and I just had a crappy flyer some people even threw onto my face. I spent 3 or 4 days like that. Terrible!

There was another time a friend called in sick. Bullshit! Her parents were out of town and she had plenty of time and space to get laid nonstop with her fuckfriend of that time. Thus I had to go to a big mall and put a page boy costume, assisting one of the wisdom kings to listen to the kids who were delivering their wish list of presents. Everything was very quiet in the morning, we could sneak for smoking sometimes, but afternoon was absolutely mayhem. My friend was shorter and thinner, and the outfit ended at the edge of my butt, covered by mustard panties. Whenever I was bending over, I had 10 old men right behind my back whistling and clapping and whooeeeeing and making noise, so eventually crowds of young teenagers were joining the party. Some dared to take pix of my butt. C’mooooon!!!

After few days recovering my dignity, I received another phonecall. I was starting to be quite pissed off, because the company had advised other kind of assignments and this was like a kind of bad joke. I was starting to wonder whether I’d get paid or it was a fraud. Well, this time seemed to be a bit more serious. I had to work at a mobile store, advertising a company and informing on some Xmas offers. When I arrived, I was surprised by the amazing news. I had to stay on the street by the store, so I wouldn’t bother customers, and be dressed like a green fairy, with my cone hat, and my beautiful ballerina tutu, with temperatures dropping to -4ºC (25ºf), and snowing… I managed to wear my jeans and jumpers underneath, and my portable CD player for 5 looong days. Thinking I wouldn’t meet anyone there, a former teacher from my high school recognized me and stopped by to say hello. He was talking to me as if I was 15 and this was a job for buying books or something like that. I was 24!!!

Thinking of these stories has made me laugh many times, it’s a pity I don’t have pictures, because, as you can see, most of them implied outfits. But seriously, since I was very young I started doing whatever to earn my wages, and I’m proud of it. Suffering a bit of injustice, doing certain things you hate, working nonstop for 10 hours… this is part of our life experience, and at the end of the day that helps you to get a more realistic perspective of what life is about. I don’t regret anything, because every single temporary job helped to achieve freedom and independence.

And now it’s your time, any remarkable horrible or weird jobs you have, please tell me!