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Working third shift not for wimps

By Gloria Diaz

Check out Gloria's Blog — Edge of Gloria!

Fort Wayne Reader


People can make or break a workplace, and I’m not just talking about the jackasses at Enron, who played fast and loose with their employees’ money. If you have a great job, but your co-workers drive you nuts, that’s a problem.

For a little over a year, I had a job that seemed perfectly suited to me—almost. The pay wasn’t great, my hours were sometimes erratic (although getting four weeks of unpaid vacation a year was nice) but I totally kicked ass at the job. The catch was working with a boss who micromanaged everything. I worked with her literally all day long. Our desks faced each other, so we were six feet away from each other most of the day, unless we went to the bathroom. I had the “employee” bathroom off the foyer, while she relieved herself in her bathroom upstairs. I must add that her husband also used the “employee” bathroom, but had a habit of not washing his hands after using the facilities. Yuck. It was probably his fault that I caught his cold (he worked with us). Oh well, it gave me a few days off.

However, having to take breaks with my boss and keeping her company during lunch was starting to wear thin. I’d purposely forget my lunch so I’d have to run down the street to McDonald’s just to get away. Combined with other factors, I decided to leave.

Now, I’m back at a different place. It’s factory work and I’m not thrilled with it, but for a brief while, work was actually fun. Stuck for a week in the re-inspect department, my daily purpose was to examine tons of plastic for specific defects. One of my former co-workers (she quit when her boyfriend went back to work) was absolutely hilarious. She confessed she burst out laughing during the sexual harassment video shown to the new recruits. Every time I passed by, she’d pretend to be mimicking fellatio, or at the very least, sticking her tongue out. Sometimes, when we were back in re-inspect and we needed two parts to complete a bag, she’d say, “yeah, I got two good parts,” and grab her breasts. She brought out the filthy minds that lurked in all of us.

But she’s gone, and work hasn’t been as much fun lately.

There are still some interesting co-workers there. I think I get along fairly well with most of the people on my line. Still, it was amusing to see one co-worker, that I’d nicknamed “The Salesman” for his ability to hawk just about anything: jewelry, key chains, and money. Yes, money. His stream of consciousness rambling was fascinating yet annoying at the same time: he talked about starting his own religion, how the Army had screwed him over, the time he was an actor in Hollywood but had to live out of a cardboard box and how he was planning to be a stripper for something to do during the day. One day, he wasn’t at work anymore. Rumor has it that he received a call from Wisconsin, from a woman who had just given birth. The woman was not his current girlfriend, whom he’d planned to marry in May. My guess is that the wedding is off. Why is it that the wacko men all seem to be able to pull multiple women?

He’s gone; along with the guy who would text message constantly (who was he text messaging at 4 a.m.?). We’ve got some new blood to replace them, and I get along with two of them, but I’ve done something to piss off the third one. I’m hoping she quits, or gets fired. Hopefully, I’ll pass an important test within the next month or so, and I’ll be on to greener pastures.

I will say that working third shift is not for wimps. The later it is at night, the more interesting people you will meet, and that includes the workplace. First- and second-shift workers have NOTHING on the graveyard shift folks. Yeah, we may be crazy for wanting to work at night, but this shift separates the men from the boys. We are in it for the shift differential (later hours equals higher pay) but we are also in it because we’re tough enough to handle it. And when our world domination scheme is complete, rest assured that by 8 a.m., we’ll have had three cups of coffee and we’ll own your ass. Sweet dreams—and may the toughest employees win.

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