Today’s post comes from Jim Tjepkema
I could see that my work as a private agricultural consultant was coming to an end. Many of the vegetable farmers that were my best customers were retiring or going out of business. I found an opening working as a temporary employee in a local meat packing plant and ended up working at that plant for 2 years. During those two years I worked at many different positions, starting as a laboratory technician, followed by working at a variety of quality control jobs, and finishing up by working on various production lines.
I learned a lot about the production of processed meat, and met many very interesting people. There were times when I didn’t mind working at that plant. However, in many ways it was not a good place to work. A man who had worked there for many years told me that while it might look as if he liked his job, the opposite was true for him and many of the other employees.
In my first position at the plant I had limited contact with people working in the production areas. I did get to know the quality control clerk who sent samples up to me from a production line. She and I developed a good working relationship helping each other to make sure the samples were checked in a timely manner. One night didn’t go so well when I tried to bring her test results while she was eating in the lunchroom. She made it very, very clear that I should never bother her during her lunch break.
I went from working in the lab to working as a quality control clerk when they eliminated the job I had in the lab. I found out that those clerks often had a very difficult time completing all of the checking and sampling that was required.
In fact, I wasn’t able to do some of those jobs fast enough. The position I was given required me to learn to fill in at any and all of the many different quality control clerk jobs. When it was clear that I wouldn’t be able to master all of those jobs in the small amount of time I was given me to learn them, I moved on to production work.
I started out on a ham line putting chunks of sliced ham into compartments on a bagging machine. At first I wasn’t able to do this job fast enough. However, they gave me enough time at this job to get up to speed and I eventually mastered the job. Unfortunately, work on that ham line was seasonal and I had to move on to another job. I took several different temporary jobs in other parts of the plant to hold me over until I was needed again on the ham line. With more time to learn the temporary jobs, I might have been able to handle all of them. However, they gave me very little time to learn them and I failed at some of them. At that point I decided I was not cut out to be a meat packer, bringing my days working there to an end.
What kind of short term work have you done that was interesting or not so interesting?