During an off-track from college, I had about five months to work and save up as much money as possible. I didn't start working while in college at the same time until I transferred to a bigger city that actually had jobs available for me to be able to work and take classes at the same time. Until then I just tried to make as much money as possible during my off-track breaks and other random gigs throughout the year. I was honest for my first two interviews at places when they asked something along the lines of, "What are your future plans?" Since I was just going back to school in less than half a year, of course they didn't hire me. They wanted to invest in someone they can keep. I wised up to avoid being honest from then on if I wanted work. Sorry employers. I needed work to make money and I didn't have time to waste finding it.
I was surfing through online job postings like Craigslist and Indeed for basic jobs and was willing to take whatever paid the most. I answered a posting for warehouse labor, which ended up being through a Temp agency. I never knew these places existed before then. If anyone else is still ignorant like I was, companies hire staffing agencies to get extra workers for temporary positions when they need it. The advantage is that the Temp agency provides the screening, on-boarding, and payroll. I did the initial safety training at the Temp office and was told where and when to report for my warehouse job and generally what to wear and expect for work.
The job was at a tire warehouse where I met the manager with another temp worker. An interesting piece of info on this is that I interviewed for a full-time position at this same warehouse 2 weeks prior. They didn't take me because at the time of this interview I was still be honest, when asked, that I was planning on going back to finish school. The same manager I interviewed with before informed me and the other temp worker of the work we were going to be doing. He showed us how to operate the machines to do it, and where to get supplies to continue our work. You know those studded snow tires? Apparently those studs are put in by hand with the help of certain tools! It was a gun that had a tube on the back for the stud feed and in the handle for the air hose. It was attached to a little rack where you can pour the little metal studs into the top spinner, which feeds the studs down a tube single-file into the back of the gun. You're supposed to stick the nose of the gun into each of the small holes in the tires and pulling the trigger activates the air compression and gun mechanics to push the little stud into the hole. A lube is required to make sure it gets inserted easier and properly. We were mostly unsupervised the entire time, but had to keep track of how many tires we completed each day. It was frustrating because the managers kept saying we should easily do 80-100+ tires a day, but we could only get about 30-40 done. You can't just quickly punch each stud in rapidly because the equipment wasn't functioning correctly. The guns were constantly breaking down and some would work far better than the others. More often than not, the studs would be inserted crooked and not all the way in like it should be. To correct a stud, you have to pop it out first with a little ice pick tool and try again. Some holes probably weren't made as well as others in the rubber, so after multiple tries we'd just give up and either leave it crooked or maybe empty. There was a lot of crooked studs and studs sticking out slightly because we just couldn't get these things in like the managers expected, no matter how hard we tried or what technique. Like I said, the guns were always malfunctioning and had to be repaired, some worked better than others, so I think they just had bad guns/tools. I would've loved to see the managers go as fast as they think we should be. Please, by all means, show us how you get so many done in a day!
This work was so dull and actually hurt my wrists and forearms pretty bad from the tedious and repetitive work, pushing hard on those guns into each stud slot to get it in right. I did this for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, for $9 an hour. It was the best I could find for a job at the time in Boise, Idaho in 2013. At the end of every week we got our time cards signed by a warehouse manager or supervisor and turned them in to the Temp agency. I think our checks were available to be picked up on the following Tuesday. There was another guy there with me working away in the back of the warehouse. I thought he looked like a guy much older than me in his 30s or even early 40s. We didn't talk the first day until the end and I was shocked to find out he was actually in his 20s, like me. A few days later a 3rd guy was brought in with us. We all mostly kept to ourselves and after one week, the third guy never came back. A new kid was brought in to replace him and this guy was such a goof. He was very social and goofed off a lot. Sometimes he was annoying, but I actually appreciated him getting us to talk and be friends at work. One conversation that I'll always remember is that he was in a car accident in the recent past and was supposed to be getting a big settlement for his pain and stuff. He was happily planning on what to do with the money and what he wants to buy. The other guy said, "With that much money, you won't have to work for a whole year!" They were excited to talk about that opportunity and freedom and I was lost here. Yeah I guess you could enjoy a year off burning up your money, but you'll be right back here next year with no improvement in your life.
What I couldn't relate to with these guys was their outlook for life. They had no ambition to improve. They wanted to work as little as possible just to get by and no intention of ever getting better jobs through education or training programs. I've heard from them and others before that they just don't see it as a possibility in their lives at all. It's hard coming from poor, broken families. There's no role models of decently successful people in your life, so a brighter future might seem difficult. Trailblazing a path in life where no one you know personally has gone before is tough to comprehend, but it's possible. I just don't think these guys were motivated. At all.
After about three weeks, the goofy guy was gone. He just stopped showing up and we didn't know what happened. Maybe he finally got his settlement. A new guy was brought in who was pretty quiet and easy to talk to, but he only lasted one day - and he wasn't very good. They just stopped bringing in new people after that, so it was back to me and the other original guy. We worked together for about another two weeks I think and then we were given notice that the job was done. We had rows and rows of stacked, studded tires all along the back of the warehouse and even up on the racks. It was kind of nice to see everything we worked on for the last month completed. However, they probably got a LOT of returns that year because the stud quality was pretty bad. I take pride in my work and completed the most tires each day with the best quality, but even mine still had some bad ones.
The other guy was let go as the temp. job was complete. I didn't let him know that I was actually asked to stay to help out with some other things longer. The manager must've liked me, probably because I had the best performance and was more willing to help with other things when they needed. The next two or three weeks I spent working there as the only temp now was weird. They kept me around to be an extra helping hand, but there really wasn't much to do. I helped move tires around, stack and organize them, and clean the warehouse; but there wasn't really that much to do. I probably only actually worked about 3 hours a day. The rest of the time I would just wander around, pretend to be cleaning even though it was already clean, hide in some tire stacks or the bathroom to play on my phone, and take hour and a half to two hour lunches. I actually wanted to be useful and help, but there was absolutely nothing for my extra labor to do. One of my least favorite things to do was helping stack the large tractor-trailer tires. Those things are HEAVY! There's a special technique to lift and toss the tires without hurting yourself, but it still took a good amount of strength and energy. I was surprised to see a shorter guy stacking these heavy tires onto columns well over his head.
I started there in mid-August and around mid-late October I was finally notified that their busy season was ending and my help was no longer needed. The first few weeks were rough at that job, then the last few were extremely boring, but at least it was paying $9/hr instead of the common $7.25 everywhere else. I was supposed to check in with the Temp agency to find new jobs but they were pretty dried up for work, so I started applying like crazy again to get a new, stable job. I ended up settling for a car wash that you can read about in the end of my car wash post.
I love the smell of new rubber like tires and shoes and still do, but this was probably the worst job experience I had because the nature of the job was tedious and actually hurt my hands forearms for pay that wasn't good, then it got really boring. It was a weird temp job experience, but it helped me pay some bills for a time.
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