Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Hard Work! Or Hardly Working?

The remodel of the May Company store was an altogether unique project. Our boss had secured the contract for the work on a “time and material” basis. This was great for us…and bad for the accountants at the May Company.

A typical day began this way; we would arrive at the downtown store about 6:45 and after knocking on the entry door, a security guard would let us in and we would make our way up the silent escalators to the 4th floor where our gang box was located, right behind the China department. Here we would make coffee in a nice coffee maker (From Housewares), using only the best coffee. (From the Gourmet department) Coffee was always served in the finest china cups! We would even use the saucers… After coffee, we would browse the Hardware department for any tools or supplies we might need for the day ahead.

Odd, but the May Company encouraged us to use any of their products. But…nothing was to be taken from the store. Stealing was forbidden.

Officially, we began our day at 7 AM. Well, let’s say that our pay began at 7. We didn’t actually go to work until 8 because that was when the May Company representative showed up and we weren’t allowed to do anything unless he was present. (We had insisted on an early starting time because it was so difficult to find parking nearby unless you arrived early.)

Once the May Company representative had given us a task for the day, we would set out to do it. And everything he ever gave us to do could be done in an hour or two. But he insisted that we take our time and do it “right”. Which we did. No matter how long it took.

I should point out that this project was also a place for the injured to get a little bit of rest. Since our company had other, more difficult projects, someone was always getting hurt. And as long as they could walk…they were sent to the May Company to recuperate. I was sent there because I had hurt my back. And there I joined other convalescing workers.

OK, I enjoyed it. But in my defense, I must point out that within two weeks I was calling my foreman and begging to be put on a “real” job!

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