Well That Was an Adventure From Start to Finish: The Joys of Temporary Work

This week started out on a hopeful note: I got a call from the temp agency telling me I’d been selected for a new position at a distribution plant in town. I had to go in and update my paperwork and take a drug test, but I had a job again! That was great.

Less great: the actual job. I made it through orientation all right, but then we (there were three of us temps starting that day) were thrown into the work. We were put in order consolidation, where the orders are put together for the packers. We were given some very basic training that I don’t feel adequately covered everything? But I’m one to talk. It didn’t help that there were lulls between the pickers arriving with the product to consolidate, and if there is anyone worse at looking busy, I would love to meet them, because I am terrible at it.

So that, coupled with the fact that I still wasn’t really sure what I was supposed to be doing, meant that I spent the first half of my shift having a mini panic attack. I probably should have taken one of my anxiety meds, which I had brought for the express purpose of staving off a panic attack, but it’s surprisingly hard to think about such things when you’re panicking. I still didn’t do all that great with the second half of the shift, either.

It was no surprise, therefore, when I got home and checked my phone to see that I had a message from the temp agency. Telling me that the company did not want me back the next day. I had a feeling I hadn’t done well generally, and it stung a little, but it wasn’t surprising. I’m not very quick on the uptake. I’m shy and sometimes afraid to ask questions. And I’m prone to panicking when I don’t know what I’m doing. Those things do not combine well with a fast-paced work environment.

So yes, that was an adventure. Not a great one, but it happened. I’m back on the list of available people at the temp agency, and hopefully something that’s more my speed will come up. I’m beginning to doubt it, but I live in hope, I guess.

On the Road

As I mentioned in my previous post, I had to go to California this past weekend for a funeral. Since I live in Kentucky, this involved a very long ride in a car with my family. (We might have flown, but alas, unlike some people, we are not made of enough money to buy plane tickets for four adults and two children at what is relatively the last minute.) My dad makes the drive in pretty good time – about 48 hours when one includes a stop for one night – but it is in many respects interminable and a little boring.

These are the kinds of road trips I’ve been on. I haven’t really been on that idealized, spur-of-the-moment cross-country trek with college friends. (I didn’t have many college friends, for a start.) My cross-country trips have only been with family, and these days we don’t have a lot of time for sight-seeing on the way there or back again, though sometimes we fit in a stop at a national park or two. A couple years back we stopped at the Grand Canyon, and this summer past we hit up Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks.

I should make clear that these trips have a singular destination – Los Angeles, California. Most of my extended family lives out there, in particular my elderly grandfather. The trips are mostly to see him,  but we fit in other fun stuff as well, like trips to Disneyland. When I was younger and my parents had more vacation time (or rather, the ability to take consecutive weeks of vacation), we went to other places, like Yellowstone National Park and Boston and Niagara Falls. But I’m okay with only going to L.A., because at least then I get to see my family, whom I don’t see often at all.  (Also Disneyland. I love Disneyland.)

But enough about destinations; this is about the journey. Sitting in a car is not the most exciting way to spend most of two days, but that’s how we do it. The latter half of the trip out is usually the most interesting, because the landscapes become breathtaking in New Mexico and Arizona. The first half… not so much. It’s mostly forests, farmland, and prarie, which is nothing to really write home about. Still, sometimes the sky gets big and beautiful, and I enjoy looking at it al the same.

I mentioned how boring sitting in a car can be. I manage to keep myself entertained, usually with books or else writing and video games. I’ve only recently acquired a tablet with which to watch movies, but I’m sure that’ll become a staple of my travel time soon enough. This most recent trip, though, I’ve found I’ve been sleeping a lot, which I don’t know whether to be happy or miffed about. I’m miffed because I could have been using that sleeping time to write or read or even, yes, watch movies. I’m happy, though, because I more usually have enormous trouble sleeping on these trips, so any shut-eye is fine with me.

All in all, I enjoy our yearly trips out to California. As boring as it is to be on the road for two days, there are perks. I get to see beautiful parts of these United States, parts I would probably never venture out to on my own. I spend some time mostly unplugged, able to do “offline” things I don’t always manage in my day-to-day life. It’s not a “traditional” road trip by any means, but it’s still a road trip to me.