By far the most intimidating aspect of my new job is break time. For the first couple shifts, we student trainees would eat in the “training room” and mind our own business. Since Wednesday when I started doing real shifts, I’ve had to eat my meals in the lunch room with the rest of the Teck employees (plus two other students who were also, needless to say, really intimidated as well). Before you even enter the main lunch room, there are hooks to your right where men hang their hard-hats before they enter. Each man hangs their hat on the same hook day in and day out…no questions asked. What happens if I take another man's hook? When you walk into the lunch room, it’s a place that time seemed to have forgotten a long time ago and traditions and routines have been implemented for decades. There are bulletins on the message boards from 10 years ago; month old sandwiches in the fridges; mugs and plates that have dust settled around them so that if you lift them the circle of dust remains perfectly in place for when that item is replaced to its designated place on the shelf. When the slight squeak of the door occurs, all eyes dart in your direction and the moment of truth is upon you; where will you sit.
It is a known fact that every man in every plant in every lunch room in all of Teck has a chair that he sits on every time he goes on break. New staff members are regularly kicked out of chairs when another (more senior) employee enters the room and finds him sitting in his seat. The problem with being a young woman in the lunch room is that the men are too nice to me and if I am found sitting in a 20 year long designated chair, they politely take their lunch bag and move to a chair that they know that no one else will sit in. No matter how many times I get up and offer the chair, they always politely decline and move. Now this makes me feel much worse that it would to be kicked out and told where to sit. A good verbal abuse would do me good I think. If I were a dude they wouldn’t hesitate to say “Get the ____ out of my seat boy!” and I would scramble away as quickly as possible. This would be much easier for everyone. I think that maybe I should bring my own chair and just go sit in the corner until I figure out the routine.
After work today (my first 12 hour shift!!!) I went as fast as I could to get to the theatre to watch Grayce’s (Sarah’s daughter’s) dance recital. She’s 4 and her very first time ever performing for an audience was something I did not want to miss. Just so everyone knows, you can run away from a forklift, run down to the change room, shower, change, drive to Sarah’s and get down to the theatre in less than 20 minutes. Who would of thunk?? Anyway, there was a whole row of us all excited to see Grayce dance in her new little princess dress. When it was her groups time to come on stage, every girl skipped onto the stage one by one until everyone was collected in a line. Twenty-some odd girls later…no Grayce. Apparently she had a change of mind at the very last second, much to all of our disappointment. Oh well. Better luck next year I suppose.
But I can’t complain. I got to come home early enough to enjoy an evening on the back patio. It’s nearly 8pm and it’s still 22 degrees out. The perfume of the lilacs is so strong it’s unbelievable. My cat just jumped about three feet into the air to attack a hovering hummingbird (which are darting around here like little fighter jets). Too bad I have to be back at work in 8 hours and 35 minutes.
Tip of the Day: Driving a car right after you drive a forklift for 12 hours is not recommended. Panicking when you can’t find the sift gear to lift the forks while driving down the highway is not a good feeling.
One last note before I head to bed. Thanks to Kaylynne for sending me this picture. I love love loved it and I hope everyone else who reads this can appreciate the greatness of this.