When my children were very young, I refused to put them in daycare. That meant that my husband and I would have to find work at different times so that one of us could always be at home. My husband took a job working from 6:00am to 2:00pm. I found production jobs working the swing shift from 3-11:30pm.
At first, I signed up with temp agencies, taking any production job that came along. Working the swing shifts, you don’t get clerical jobs. The jobs lasted for just a day, some a few weeks. Some of the jobs I worked were:
1. Jelly factory – The first night I was assigned to clean out giant tanks where the jelly was cooked. The next night I watched the equipment controls to ensure they were all running smoothly and at specific settings.
2. Factory that made cardboard boxes – Sheets of cardboard were cut to size, then put into a machine that made cuts and folds for flaps. My job was to bundle them and clear the machine when it jammed.
3. Factory that made packaging – The night I was there, I ran a machine that made little insets to be filled with fresh fruit for gift boxes.
4. Computer software – I worked on a conveyor belt stuffing a box with a disk and documentation.
5. Printing company – I packed books into boxes, that were then put onto trucks and shipped.
I worked in the wrapping area where window glass was prepared for shipment. There were several tasks that had to be performed and I did them all at one time or another:
a. Feed glass into a machine that adhered plastic onto the glass as it passed between two rollers.
b. Removed the wrapped glass from the other side of this machine and stacked it.
c. Load pallets with the stacked glass.
d. Wrap the stacked pallet with giant plastic wrap and wheel it to another section of the factory.
My co-workers were a very eclectic bunch, similar to all the production jobs I held. Some were there to work their way through college. Others had no direction in life, had no special skills and just needed work. A few had had medical tragedies and were content hiding in a low profile job. And me, who needed a swing shift job so I could keep my kids out of daycare. When I was first hired, a bet was placed unbeknownst to me, that I wouldn’t last a week. I guess they all through I was too meek to last, but I proved them wrong. I lasted nearly six months.
The turnover of employees was pretty high and I added to that when my husband went back to college while working full time. Once again I became a full time mom. I was glad to have had the opportunity to work in the production field. It was fascinating to learn about all the different industries and what happens before products make it to store shelves.