Sometimes on the way to your dream,

you get lost and find a better one.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

it isn't work if you enjoy what you're doing

Or, as others have said,

 "if you love your job, you'll never work a day in your life".

And I had that, for over nine years.

I slept like a log, bounced out of bed, had no trouble at all getting my arse out of the house and on its way to work.
I'd learned the job pretty quickly, (I had previous experience from another factory),  and because I enjoyed it, I'd become extremely good at it. I had my work table, my routine, (no customers that had to be chatted to), and I knew several other aspects of the job, so when I caught up, I could go and help others for a while.

The atmosphere was happy, the people I worked with were great.
Cameraderie? We had it!
I'd clock on at 7am, get busy with the day's quota (which we often surpassed) and before I knew it, the hands of the clock had rolled around to 4pm and it was time to go home.
Even overtime didn't faze me. I was happy to do it. The extra pay was just a bonus.

I loved my work.

Then we heard that the factory was closing down.  They could get the shoes made cheaper in another country. Several workers immediately left and went to other jobs.
Others, including me, stayed on until the last day, finishing up, cleaning up, dismantling machinery, packing up supplies to be shipped to the new off-shore facility.
I did the rounds of all similar factories in town, applying to work, but no-one wanted to hire me.
The one that I'd previously worked in told me to come back and apply again after the closure of my current workplace.
I did this, only to be told they'd already taken on six people from the now closed factory.
A month ago!! 

I banked my retrenchment cheque (it wasn't nearly enough to retire on..) and went to several more job placement agencies leaving my resume.
I checked in with them every week.
Many of them told me that cold-calling is often effective.
Knock on doors and ask for work.
Hah!!  I knocked on doors only to be told, "we hire through such-and-such agency. Go there and leave your resume".
I applied for jobs advertised in newspapers and got plenty of rejection letters. Two years later I had enough rejection letters to make wallpaper, but at least they answered me.
Repeat, repeat, repeat.

When the money ran out, (a lot quicker than I would have liked), Centrelink informed me that I could get an allowance, plus an extra $20 per fortnight if I did volunteer work.
So I took on a volunteer* job for a while, but continued to apply for a paying job with every agency I could get to by walking or a couple of bus rides.
At first I thought volunteering might get me a position in someplace that wasn't a factory.
I applied at libraries, (I love books), but was told without qualifications they couldn't take me on.
I needed a piece of paper that said I'd qualified in Library Science just to shelve books?
I applied to be an office assistant.....again, with no experience or qualifications, I wasn't accepted anywhere.
I applied to do a training course in Tourism. I thought maybe I could learn enough to be the person at the desk who makes appointments for people to discuss travel arrrangements with a travel advisor.
 I could answer the phone. File the papers, stuff like that. How hard could it be?

Again, I was disappointed. The woman in the office said I could fill in the application, I could get accepted in the course, but even if I passed with flying colours, I had little chance of securing a job in the industry. I just wasn't the type of person that got hired for the front desk. I was too old. I wasn't young and "perky" enough. I didn't bother with the application.

*Eventually I took the volunteer job with Conservation Australia that I'd seen in the paper, and was placed in a team of older people. We were called the Green Reserves and did the boring jobs like clearing weeds from roadside verges. We climbed mountains (hills, really) to remove olive saplings and artichokes and anything else that wasn't native to the area.
Occasionally we did fun stuff, like going out to a farm and helping the farmer plant windbreaks.

After six months of this, things were getting really tight in the household budget, (I still had two kids at home), so I accepted a "Christmas Casual" position with Coles.
(This wasn't something I'd ever wanted to do.
I'd never been the kid who said "when I grow up I want to work in a shop".)
I thought I'd work for three months, while still applying for more preferred jobs.
Customer Service really isn't my "thing".
Wearing the uniform, being smiley and cheerful with the customers no matter what might be going on in other areas of your life...

Better jobs never materialised however, and now, almost ten years later, I'm still with Coles.
I no longer enjoy working. 
It isn't fun, so yes, it's work.
It's a chore.

I no longer sleep like a log, (although I do still sleep), I no longer bounce out of bed, I have real trouble getting my arse out of the house and on its way to work.
I also don't bother applying for other jobs anymore.
I'm just hanging in there until I'm old enough to retire.


  1. I am so so sorry. Sometimes life just isn't fair.

  2. I'm with you. I spent 25 years in a job I detested. I did have that one special job once for 3 years then I got married and had to leave the area. We do what we have to do to finance life. Thank God for weekends.

  3. EC; I loved that job so much I would have happily stayed there until retirement age. Boring to some, but I enjoyed the mundanity, the interactions with workmates, working at speed and helping others get their quotas out too.

    Delores; I've only had just under ten years in this job I hate, I certainly don't want another fifteen. The people I work with are great, I like them all, but the job itself and the constant heavy lifting which is damaging my back, neck, shoulders, hands and's too much. Thank God indeed for weekends and annual leave. I've booked a week off in July.

  4. Unfortunately your story is not unique. People are just treated like widgets the world over. :(

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  6. Yep, you'll just have to grin and bear it until retirement comes along, sadly it sounds like its the only option you have so hang in there it'll work out ok in the end :-).

  7. Hi River,

    I'm definitely not keen on my job - although there are some good bits to it.

    It's a shame when that's the case.

    It's also a real shame that your dream job disappeared. Enjoying work would be a real bonus.



  8. Happy Elf Mom; yes, that's true. Workers are irrelevant to the bean counters whose only job is to find cheaper ways to make the same product to show more profit in the company's books.

    R.H. Reasonably happy? Yes, although I was happier when I was able to work full time. Nowadays, it's the stiffness and pain that keep me working only 16 hours a week, more than that is just too much for the old back to handle. The constant standing and heavy lifting is the biggest problem. So I'm earning far less than the "average" wage, but enough to pay the rent and be comfortable. I never encounter any rudeness, all of my customers are nice.

    Windsmoke; Hanging in there is what I do best, I know things will be okay. Just another five years...

  9. Hey River,
    Job satisfaction can be so elusive. I do know that in these brutal times and this brutal economy overseen by brutal people, having a job and getting out is something many would now savour.
    And when you retire, may you start sleeping like a log, again. Always wondered how a log sleeps. Never heard one snore...:)
    Have a lovely weekend.

  10. Hang in there hon

    My Dh hates his job too. I have no idea how he gets out of bed each day. He has such a strong work ethic.


  11. Damn :(
    I feel sad for you on several levels but I'm sad for the Australian factory sector, too.
    Bought some Bata schoolshoes for Feral Teen about 2 months ago, once upon a time this was a fab brand name but when they were only $20 I knew the quality had been sacrificed.
    Sure enough, after wearing them 4 times the sole split.

  12. Plasman; I'm glad there are some good bits in your job, that makes things a bit easier. Dream jobs are almost non-existent these days.

    klahanie; logs don't toss and turn and get up twice a night to pee either. I remember the days when I'd go to bed and be instantly asleep, waking only when it was time to get up. Deep and dreamless sleep.

    peskypixies; the strong work ethic is probably what keeps me going too. I feel obliged to earn my money, rather than just collect the dole.

    Jayne; We had the same trouble with school shoes back in the 90's. many pairs were returned to the factory for replacement of soles that had split across the ball of the foot. The soles themselves were made somewhere overseas and imported so that we could attach them to the uppers, there was a fault in the manufacture of them and we sent back an entire shipment once.

  13. I have always thought there must some good camaraderie among supermarket staff. At least getting together with work mates and complaining about customers, or perhaps these days, management. You are fortunate to once have had a job your liked. More than what many of us have.

  14. ..Just like the rest of us River, just passing time until we retire.

  15. Andrew; I do have some good friends among the staff and we do have some stories to tell around the lunch table. It's the job itself that I dislike.

    Tempo; day by day.

  16. You might not be "perky" enough, but you write damn good. You are the voice of a generation who values hard work and loyalty. Think big about that. You have something amazing to say. Xx

  17. Oh, honey. That's so sad. What is wrong with the world, when someone wants to work, works well and cheerfully, is relegated to doing something she dislikes just because it's the only thing available?

    Hugs from someone who stays at her job because of her boss, only,


  18. Mrs. Woog; welcome to drifting. I'm surprised to see you here. Really surprised! There is value in hard work, but more than that I find I have self-respect and personal satisfaction from doing the best I can and keeping at it. I couldn't live comfortably with myself if I lazed around taking dole money while physically able to still do a few hours work each week.

    Pearl; it's the way of the world isn't it? The older "unskilled" worker will always lose out to those younger that have the paper "qualifications".
    You must have an amazing boss.