Fresh Beginnings ( Pt 4 )
Dear Diary...life was dissolving one day into another. I was starting to feel like that hamster on a wheel that goes around and around. There was no end to my working life. I'd even taken on an extra cleaning job on a Saturday morning working from 9am till 11am, just to be extra cautious of my situation, my motto was...always be prepared you never know what disaster might come along and I wanted to be ready, even if it meant working every Saturday and Sunday – yes! Seven days a week. I was desperately in need of a holiday, but was afraid to break the cycle of my working days and I felt so lucky to be earning money in the first place.
Sleeping, eating and working was taking its toll, this was all I knew. On many occasions I'd been tempted not go in to work and just go to the pub, but my conscience would fill me with anxiety that someone might see me, I might loose my job if I took a break, it was a horrible feeling that was becoming intolerable.
One particular weekend, I'd been asked to come in to work, because they had a rush job on and needed thousands of lock parts made for the Monday morning. My Saturday night shift and had achieved a good turn out and with the day workers coming in too, we would achieve our goals.
I decided that on the Sunday night I'd take in a couple of tapes I'd borrowed from the library of Fawlty Towers into work, it always gave me a good laugh and would help me concentrate better, which a lot of people didn't understand, but it worked for me and that was all that mattered.
Upon arriving, I did the usual clocking in and promptly put my lunch in my locker. It was 6pm on the Sunday evening and I noticed my boss was still around, so briskly made my way over to my machine and got settled. I could see him coming over from the corner of my eye. Hoping he was in a good mood I smiled ready to converse with him. He had such a calming manner which always made me feel important. Many other workers had said the same thing about him, that if you gave him respect then he'd give it back.
“How are we today?” He inquired, immediately taking a look at the trays of moldings that sat ready for me to put contacts on.
“I'm fine!” I said casually, waiting for his next comment. The man was always smartly dressed, even if he wore casual he still looked smart for his age. I also remember how fresh he smelt, like he'd just jumped out of the shower. It was due to his time in the army that had taught him tidiness and cleanliness too he told me.
“Do you think you can manage to get all these trays done by the morning?” He said scrutinizing a few to see if they were acceptable.
“Yep! No problem...as long as I don't get disturbed.” Was my response.
“Good...good...good!” Was his reply. “Don't let anybody interrupted your concentration, this is important.”
As he walked away I gazed at the mountains of trays in front of me that towered above my head, it was like a wall of moldings that hid me from the rest of the workers. So then I began, one tray after another on through the night. Here I was on a roll, determination to finish by 6am Monday morning.
When I came back from my lunch break at about 3.30 am, I decided to get my walkman out and listen to one of my Fawlty Tower's tapes, the one where Manuel looses his pet rat and it runs riot in the eating room...so funny! Always has me in stitches. Anyway I put my earphones on and began working again, laughing to myself as the comedy began to unfold. I must have been well into my work for about half an hour, when Robbie from the mold shop and my Supervisor approached. Taking my headphones off I promptly looked up.
I was far from ready for his command. “Can you leave those contacts, we need you on one of the machines down the mold shop.” He looked at me smugly as if he'd just won an award for his authority.
Glaring at him with my big brown eyes that were flaming with intense anger, “I can't!” I said. “I've been told to get these finished by the morning.” To say I was shaking was an understatement, my lunar madness was about to explode if they made me go down there.
My Supervisor piped up. “Don't worry about the contacts, I'll explain that they needed you on the machines.”
That was the last straw, It felt like I was being ambushed, I had no respect for the likes of Robbie whatsoever with all the stupid, silly tricks he'd been known for pulling in the past and Grrr! now my Supervisor was joining in too.
“Sorry!” I declared. “I'm not budging, I'm staying here, so you can do whatever you want, but I'm not going on the machines.” Stubborn was my middle name and I wasn't moving from my station. I hated going down the mold shop where nobody thanked you or gave credit where it was due. At that point I knew I could loose my job if I didn't do as I was told, but I disliked Robbie's attitude so much and knew it pleased him to see me upset. I had never felt productive down there with the amount of moldings that got thrown out.
“You know you'll get in trouble if you don't come down?” He demanded, wallowing in the fact he was higher up than me.
In two minds as to whether I was doing the right thing, I immediately made my decision to stand my ground and just said. “If you have a problem, just take it up with my boss, because here I'm staying till the end of my shift. Now let me get on with my work.”
Robbie and my Supervisor just looked at one another then walked away. The man was power hungry and thought his attack would provoke me into going, I could tell it shocked him that I wasn't compliant.
Thank goodness I had my emergency tapes to cheer me up. For the rest of the night there was no more aggravation from my agitator, though it did leave me upset, I tried not to give them another thought. Fawlty Towers had come to my aid and was once again lifting my spirits.
All eyes were on me when I went to the canteen for a coffee break, I knew Robbie had told his mates about me and my defiance, it was humiliating to say the least, because I thought he might have fabricated the truth, but I didn't honestly care and wasn't about to make a scene explaining what had happened. Luckily Jane deflected me away from the situation, she never mentioned it and we were able to sit together and talk about other more interesting things.
The shift moved along without any more hitches and I wasn't bothered by anyone else from the mold shop. When 6am finally arrived I was just down to my last tray when my boss came in. Walking over to me he looked well pleased. I did have some anxiety about my run in with Robbie and knew I needed to say something before he got to my boss first. Approaching he thanked me for my efforts and smiled. “Great work!” He declared. “We can get these packed up and shifted in no time.”
I then began to explain to him about Robbie coming down with my Supervisor. My boss wasn't too pleased to hear what I had to say and informed me that I was sensible not to listen to them, that the contacts were more important and that I worked for him now not the mold shop. It wasn't that I was looking for appraise or approval, though I have to say it felt good to hear, but I was always grateful to be acknowledged when doing good. So all in all it was a fine night and I could go home knowing I'd achieved rather than misbehaved.
I hated working Saturday nights, but It was always worth working on a Sunday night, because it felt good to know I would be going home when others were just starting their shift on a Monday morning. I was on double time which meant loads of money, though the pain in the backside of a tax man did well out of me too.
Funnily enough, after that situation with Robbie, I never had any more problems with him and he started giving me a certain respect which I'd never had before. I don't know whether it was because I stood up for myself, or if my boss had said something to him, but things worked out for the best all round, which please me know end because now I was no longer a newcomer. It also taught me to listen to my gut feelings when I know somethings right and not to be swayed.
To be continued...