Some background information. I was working at the aerospace company since June. My last day was the Thursday before this day, i.e., exactly one week before.
I love designing tee-shirts and wanted to see how it was all done, at least on a large scale. This was a major reason why I accepted the following assignment from a temp agency.
My days are not usually so busy or rich in activities and emotional upheavals. It does occasionally happen and sometimes more often than I want. But that’s life ;).
This letter was email to dad on Monday, Aug. 29 and as this is a letter about a day in my sometimes crazy life, some irrelevant details have been changed or deleted.
Here is what happened on Thursday.
I had previously made plans to attend a free dinner with a friend at a church after work. So even after the first day on the job I still had a good meal, and hopefully good company, to look forward.
So got to the job 45 minutes early. Didn’t know the traffic, plus it is always good to get the job early on the first day. They let me in early, where I met another worker guy from the agency (HB Staffing).
We talked and had a good time. Got to know him and we had some things in common.
In time, the head person came over to us with four badges. She asked our names and gave us our badges with our names on them. She said that the last two badges were from two other workers that didn’t show up.
She then showed us how to use the badges to keep track of time and then introduced to the people who would show us how to do the job we were charged with.
We learned how to fold athletic tee-shirts (these apparently made for colleges), how to get them into the clear, plastic bags and how to seal them. We also learned how to check if they matched the labels that were to be attached to bags, matching them according to color (e.g., 100=White), size, style, sleeves (long, short, and none), and if they were men’s or women’s (which were mostly the same).
It took a little while to get a pattern going, but we both learned how to do it. About an hour and a half later, we had two other people (one man and one woman) join us from the agency. I don’t know if they were the original scheduled people. But we helped them get the hang of things. We all really starting working well. And we were picking up speed.
I was starting to enjoy my job.
It was announced that it being the last Thursday of the month, the company had was hosting its monthly birthday party for their employees who had birthdays of the previous month. It was to be held at the second break.
So we all attended this birthday celebration, which mostly consisted of free cake and ice cream (which was gracefully accepted!).
The woman who we first met and handed us our badges was in charge of this birthday celebration. She thanked everyone for their work and wished all the birthday celebrants the best for the next year.
She then announced another tradition. She had an envelope and announced “birthday money” for the lucky person with birthday in July. She reached into a straw hat where there were some raffle tickets. She made the draw and announced a name. Once, twice, thrice, but the lucky person was nowhere to be found.
It turned out that he didn’t come to work on that day.
So this lady passed out lottery tickets to every employee and announced that the “birthday money” was winnable to every employee, including the temps (that would be us).
Well, she announced the first three numbers. And I don’t know how I got lucky, but she called my ticket numbers. I showed her my numbers, and gave a smile, but there were teasing shouts of “Oh my god”, “I don’t believe it”, and other good-natured heckling. I smiled and thanked her (it turned out to be $20).
Meanwhile our team of four were really doing good.
We finished our shift and as I was exiting, I waved to my immediate supervisor, and told him I looked forward to coming the next day. He didn’t respond, which is usually not a good sign.
Anyway, I got in my car and drove to the church which was on my way home. They had a spaghetti dinner twice a month and I was due to meet a friend there.
Again I got to my designation early which gave me enough time to call my friend. She couldn’t make it after all. I told her it was OK and just enjoyed the shade under a tree in the parking lot.
HB Staffing then called and told me not to come to work tomorrow. I asked her why. She said this was the company wanted their employees to complete the job and that the job ended for all four of us. Nothing I could do except to thank her for calling me. She said she would keep me in mind.
I was not especially worried and glad I didn’t cancel the job interview I had scheduled for the next day. That phone call came before HB Staffing called me. I didn’t cancel, just in case something like this happened (and it has happened before).
Anyway, as I walked to the church’s dining hall I heard a voice coming from the kitchen. It turned out to be an ex-employee (and a friend of mine) of Zodiac, who got laid off on the same day as me. It seemed Zodiac laid off quite a number of employees on that day, which included her, myself, and others I knew from the aerospace company. Which I took as bitter-sweet news. I now know for certain it was not anything I failed to do, and yet I felt for some of those people.
I gave this ex-employee my cell phone number, which is something I didn’t get a chance to do before and didn’t want another chance to slip away.
Later that night I met finally met my friend who had to cancel her appearance at the church dinner. We played Scrabble at the local Starbucks. I am happy to say I won the game, playing the only bingo on the board. (yeah!)
About the job interview on Friday morning; I started the job today.
NOTE: Below is a tee-design I created about 8 years ago. It is simple and elegant and a chance to show off 😉