Friday, July 9, 2010

Well how will you know unless you try?

A few years ago... like... eight now... I went to work with my dad for the summer. He's been at the same job for over 30 years, working in a plant that makes fruit juice. He works with a lot of lifetime juicemakers, so many in fact that even when he'd been there 32 years, he still didn't have seniority in his department. Yeah.

All of those long time employees have wracked up some heavy duty vacation time. So over the summers, when most of the union plant workers take their 16 weeks of vacation, the plant hires their college student kids on as temps. It was fantastic pay, and a great chance to see what my dear ol' dad really did all day for all those years.
This being the day and age of OSHA, the first week I was there I was in a room with twenty other undergrads, in a conference room, sitting through safety seminar after safety seminar. At the end, the lovely gentleman who would be our supervisor asked if anyone wanted to drive a forklift as their assignment.

Of course I volunteered. We were in a juice plant. Every other job involved manning a machine for 12 hours a day. Standing in one place, in the big gray windowless factory. No thanks. Forklift meant a magnitude of freedom, and besides, that's what my dad did.

Turned out I was the only one. No one else wanted to drive the forklifts. It did seem a bit scary, especially taking a fully loaded pallet up ten feet in the air, and stacking it in the freezer, but guess what? I was pretty damned good at driving that thing. Even though it steered from the rear. I even learned how to change the propane tank, (I think?) that powered the thing. It was great.
I spent 12 weeks zipping around the floor, bringing palettes back and forth, loading trucks and crates, and hanging out with my dad, who brought me a donut every morning at 6 am.

It turned out to be a pretty cool summer. And I was so good on the forklift that they asked me to come back the next year, even though by then I was out of school, and employed full time. It was kind of sad to say no.

So I am a natural born forklift driver, and working with my father is pretty entertaining.
You never know what you're going to be good at until you try it.


Alesa Warcan said...

Sounds like it was a cool way to spend your summer... On several levels!
Anything specific bring that to mind?

Heidi said...

For a moment there I was ready for you to tell us that you were spending another Summer along-side your Dear Ol' Dad!

That factory has always intregued me...

Lily Cate said...

Alesa, I was just thinking about all the odd, unrelated jobs I had as a college kid. :)

Heidi, it was pretty interesting, especially talking to people who had been there for decades. They have some stories to tell!

Lily Cate said...
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