Bright and Early

There’s one Monday out of every month that I have to be up at 3:15 am for work.  Those are ‘Inventory Mondays’ and they’re a bitch as I get older.  I hate to say this, and believe me I knew eventually I would be saying this, as a matter of fact I’ve often thought about when I was younger saying this, but when I was younger, this was easier.  As I get older, it seems it’s harder to get up at odd times, I’m becoming more of a creature of habit, or preference if you will.  Working in retail, there are first, second and third shifts, though ‘night crew’ (overnight stocking) generally is something you ask to do, not be asked to do.  Since you’re going against your body’s normal circadian rhythms, there’s a reason that graveyard workers are paid a little better than their daytime counterparts.

I’ve spent the vast majority of my career working third shift.  12 years stocking shelves for three different companies, as well as another 12 years working in a bakery department for one of them.  So, 24 years of working nights, but I can say the bakery work was the most rewarding for me, even though at times it was the hardest.  Even now I have residual effects from that work, I have recurring wrist pain that might have something to do with carpal tunnel, since there were years and years of kneading countless rounds of dough for my job.  I never bothered to get the surgery, and about 3 years ago I lifted a case of chicken oddly and sprained (my thought) my right wrist and its never been the same since.  I wear a brace to bed at night, I’ve had physical therapy and even talked to a surgeon about it.  He said that he might be able to do something with it, but there are no guarantees, and since I work in a job with repetitive motion (as well as lifting boxes weighing 40-80 lbs) I could easily re-injure it just by working.

So for the time being, I work during the day, and one day a month I get up at the crack of 3:15 in order to be to work by 5.  Call it a necessary evil.  I know very well it could be a lot worse, because I’ve been in jobs where it’s been worse.  So I’m thankful right now it’s just that one day a month.  I’d rather not go back to working 3rd if I can help it.  I figure I have about 13 more years of work before I can retire.  Best I do it where I don’t have to drive an ungodly amount to get there, and its something that I want to be doing, as opposed to something I have to be doing.



It may have not been the first day of summer, but man did it feel like it.  Sunday mornings are busy to begin with, what with the new ad breaking, and there is inevitably someone shopping early.  Of course that morning was the eve of a day that was forecast to be in the 80s, with possible thunderstorms in the afternoon.  Perfect day for grilling, so we were going to need to have as much product in the displays as possible to offset the hungry hordes.

Except the fact that the person entrusted with ordering a lot of the sale items, forgot to.  Can we say “oops”?  Yes, we can.  Though that didn’t help the people later in the afternoon who were irate and unhappy and making it known not only to myself, but my manager, HIS manager and so on.  It was just a miasma from 6:30 am to 3 pm and I was literally running my behind off for the majority of it.

As a rule I don’t take breaks in my job.  When I was with another company and worked in their bakery, I didn’t take breaks then either.  There were actually times (too many to mention as I recall) I went to the time-clock, punched for lunch, and went back to work, setting a timer in the department so I’d know when to go back to the time-clock to punch back in for the ‘official’ continuation of my shift.  Highly illegal from a labor rules standpoint, but oftentimes when you’re pressed for time, you have zero help, you do what you have to do and hang the consequences.  My department manager knew about it, but she just shook her head and let me.  Because she knew if I took my required breaks during the day, the work wouldn’t get done every night.

Now that I’m with this company, I take my required lunch break every day.  Because I’m required to.  Only because in this job, I’d get terminated if I chose to repeat the above history.  Breaks are a different manner, at least in my labor contract.  They’re optional.  If I don’t wish to, I don’t have to take them.  By and large, the vast majority of my co-workers do.  Seeing as they’re younger, and usually of a different generation, they seem compelled to take them.  And by all rights would take more of them if they could, I suppose.

I was very glad when the end of my shift happened to roll around.  Even so, as I’m writing this, there were a couple of things I didn’t get to.  And I know, (boy, do I know) no one else in the department did them after I left.  So they’ll be there waiting for me when I get back there Monday morning.  Seeing as this is going to be posted on Tuesday, this will be technically ‘yesterday’ for those keeping score.  Scheduling posts is a wonderful thing, but it does make you have to think about what time frame you’re referring to.  Tomorrow is yesterday, a penny saved is a penny earned.  Today is a gift, that’s why it’s called the ‘present’.

Yup, I’m getting punchy.  Time for bed.