First day at work, last day at work in Middle Earth


another day at the office…

[ Note : It’s a bit fuzzy, and it’s not very well defined, but there’s a straight line between the two people in these stories, the first on one end, the second on the other, and coincidentally, I’m somewhere in the middle, though my own destination isn’t that far away.  Thanks for all your prayers, kind thoughts and donations to Jerome and Lady Jalbuena, the latter well on her way to groundbreaking therapy. ]

I’M NOT allowed to say anything yet, lest I jinx her, but wait… is that what she said ???  OK, media embargo over, Ganda tried and tried, applied and applied, never lost heart and recently found her very first job here in NZ, finally joined the workforce after the jobsearch of a lifetime, for her of course.  She set her sights high but was realistic enough to accept whatever came her way first, played the numbers game by trying out for as many jobs as possible, one of those potential employers was bound to find some merit in her earnestly written CV, which boasted of NO NZ experience and one, countem one part-time, internship-like gig back home.  Keeping that in mind, it’s not so hard to realize that it was an uphill climb for Ganda in finding her first source of livelihood as an independent working girl.

Maybe it was just as well that Ganda was a babe in the woods when it came to finding a J-O-B, there wouldn’t have been anything to encourage her had she stepped back and taken a bird’s-eye view of the employment situation.  Not only did New Zealand suffer from the second highest quarterly unemployment rate in recent history, it also was hit badly by the mining slump in big brother Aussie, suffering job losses just as nastily as Australian miners and those depending on the mining industry.  So many people unemployed, underemployed and on the benefit, best not to tell young people like Ganda who during the low points and slow days of bagging the short-list job interview, keep their hopes high and chins up.

I hope if you ever meet Ganda just before she starts her first day on work that you don’t discourage her as well, fully knowing that employers like to squeeze every available minute of work out of the thirteen-plus dollars per hour minimum wage they give to their peons, that their breaks are strictly timed, and that the only idle time you often experience in first time jobs are just before you punch the bundy and after you punch out.  It’s best that you work the hard jobs when you’re young, inspired and hungry.  Because Ganda and her colleagues will never work harder for the rest of their lives.

***               ***               ***               ***               ***

I’ll never forget Davey.  When I walked into the mill the first time in my life to start my first day, he was the very first co-worker to smile at me.   He obviously didn’t know me and I probably looked as foreign to him as lanzones or rambutan, if he was aware of those fruits, but still he welcomed me to the workplace flashing his broadest, toothiest smile.  I appreciated that.

He was in his early 60s even then, but he was strong as an ox, easily able to lift 20-kg bags of flour hundreds of times a day, as it was his job to pack flour into paper bags, stack them up on pallets, as he had been doing for twenty odd years.  He liked to impress us with his tall tales when he was much younger, but mostly he loved his horse racing tips and schedules, and couldn’t stay away from the bars on payday.  We all liked Davey, and we understood that old bachelors like him needed their pasttimes.

But of course it was part of the agreement that you could bet as much of your wages and drink as much as you want, as long as you showed up on the job the next day.  He nearly always honored this gentleman’s agreement (actually one we honored with the Bossman if we wanted to keep our jobs), but sometimes he drank a bit too much, and a bit too early, even before his shift started.

He did this once too often, and one day Bossman said he went beyond the red line.  Even after two ownership changes, dozens of mill managers and thousands of paychecks, Davey shouldn’t have taken too lightly his final warning, because this time Bossman really meant it.  We all knew he had no choice, and strict rules from upstairs (meaning management across the ditch) had given Davey many previous chances before.  The sad part was that he was the longest-staying, one of the most well-liked and dependable workers around, and yet his weakness for firewater and a penchant for one too many extended hangovers doomed him to an early goodbye from our team at work.

***               ***                 ***               ***               ***

Thinking about both Ganda and Davey on their first and last days of work gave me time to think about my own.  Work gives you food on the table, a roof over your head, respect for others, and gratitude from your family.  It defines your day, defines your attitude, and in many ways can define your destiny.  To those just starting out like Ganda, good luck and may you always be inspired to respect your job and the benefits you derive from it, and to lifers like me and Davey, may we always find the discipline and endurance to stay in our posts and give justice to the trust reposed in us by our employers.

Congrats again Ganda, we’re so proud of you, and good luck Davey!  Thanks for reading everyone!

3 thoughts on “First day at work, last day at work in Middle Earth

  1. Pingback: the first job for the rest of your life | YLBnoel's Blog

  2. Pingback: Ganda learns and earns ( and takes us to dinner ) | YLBnoel's Blog

  3. Pingback: The Verdant Stars « The Blog That Made No Sense

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