Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Five to one, baby, one in five

Today was the first day of a five day stretch of work. For those of you not familiar with my schedule, I work something called a 4x4: four twelve-hour days on, four days off...in theory. Overtime is available throughout much of the year. It's more economical to be slightly understaffed and pay overtime during busy seasons than it is to be fully staffed for the busy seasons and lay off trained employees when things slow down a bit.

I officially became eligible for overtime this week. A certain number of overtime slots are available each week, and people are given the option of signing up for it voluntarily. If there are not sufficient volunteers, employees may be "mandated" - obligated, forced, required - to work overtime based on a rotating list. It can happen that a person who has volunteered to work one or more days of overtime can also be mandated for overtime during that same four-day period. So many people avoid volunteering and let the chips fall where they may.

Today went well. It actually started off lousy, but as always I got a lot of help from everybody else. I think most of the experienced employees see me as a big, dumb, slow kid who tries his damnedest every moment of the day - which is a far cry from how a lot of people looked at me when I first started; most of them assumed I was a spy for management. But I think it helps that I do run my ass off every day. I think they've noticed that.

Actually, no matter what I think about the job or how much I complain about it, the people I work with are great. They make it possible to cope. And there's a sense of shared suffering, too: we're all up against the same obstacles. I just don't have the advantage of their experience and the skill that comes with it.

So I made it through day one. In the end, it felt something like practice. Tomorrow my true rotation begins. And after that, who knows? At least the money is good.

*Title reference: From "Five To One" by The Doors. "Five to one, baby, One in five, No one here gets out alive."

1 comment:

anne said...

Ah, overtime - rollin' in the dough!

Rest well and hang in there.