At the beginning of the summer before my first year of college I went to work with my mother. Doesn’t sound so bad does it? It gets even better, I was working at a base union wage rate vs. the minimum wage at that time. Nice work if you can get it, right? Yeah, there was a catch – I was working in a dirty, stinky, dangerous, (did I mention dirty, stinky and dangerous) chemical manufacturing plant – that’s right, it’s the beginning of the summer vacation after my fabulous high school senior year and graduation and senior week, etc. and I was decked out in long pants, long sleeves, safety shoes, safety glasses (no contact lenses allowed in the plant) and a hard hat.
I thought about this last night as I was getting ready for bed because yesterday was my first day at a new job after a fabulous 9 month sabbatical and I had a fleeting thought that went something like “Oh fuck, I guess I have to go back tomorrow, don’t I?” which took me directly to the morning of my 2nd day at the chemical plant when I laid in bed crying and begging my mom not to make me go back there. To this day I’m not really sure how she did it because I hated every single thing about the whole ordeal. I do know I sat alongside her in the front seat of the car and sulked the entire way to the job. I believe at the time it was her aqua blue Cutlass Supreme we were riding in.
At the end of 8 weeks I wasn’t that unhappy about the job ending but I was especially not unhappy about the nice little nest egg I’d managed to save for my books, etc. The other way I made myself happier about it was that I compared my Allied Chemical pay stub to my Gino’s (KFC) – i.e. minimum wage pay stub and felt a little richer there as well. You may have already guessed but there weren’t all that many sources of a $4000 stipend to pay for books and expenses or even ways to earn that amount in 8 weeks when you’re 17 and that is what made Mom so determined to get my ass out of bed on the 2nd and each succeeding day. And then I did it again the following two summers.
The “summer help program” as it was called, was no longer offered to the college-enrolled offspring of the plant’s employees that last summer before my senior year in college. What I did that summer is another story for another day.
Anyway, I chucked over the “oh fuck I have to go back again tomorrow” moment I had last night and today there I was back in an office reporting to work. Yesterday was a really good day. Today was even better. And again I’m thanking God for the wonderful opportunity that came my way in exactly the right way and at exactly the right time.
FAITH is a wonderful thing!!! Praise be to God!!
- A McDonald’s Employee Must Work One Million Hours To Make As Much As The Company’s CEO (thinkprogress.org)
- Has the decline of unions caused an explosion in income inequality? Not so much (aei-ideas.org)