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Blogity-blah-blah-blog: 2014

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Work, Work, Work Edition: I Have Come Full Circle

This will hopefully be my last "Work, Work, Work" post. Before I get into my current job, I'll briefly talk about what went on after I was laid off from First Quality. Basically I became a stay at home dad. It was nice to be able to finally spend some time with my baby daughter. About five months after I was offered a job at the local ESPN radio station. I thought it was just going to be a one time thing, but it became a part time job. I usually work there one or two nights a week. What I do is help broadcast high school and college sports through online streaming radio. I mostly cover Mansfield University games. I started out covering football games and now I'm doing basketball games. I play commercials when the play-by-play guy calls for them via text message. I also grab highlights from the live games, compile them together and then play them during halftime and at the end of the game with exciting theatrical music playing behind them. I'm not really a big sports fan but some of the games get pretty exciting. I really enjoy this job for the most part, it's in a pretty laid back setting, but I'll be done working there at the end of February. It's not that I don't like the job, I just don't need it because I am working full time now. They asked me to stay on until basketball season was over, so I agreed. 

So now the reason I have titled this post "I Have Come Full Circle" is because I am now working at the Williamsport Sun-Gazette, which if you remember years ago when I started these posts, was the first place I worked for. My first job for the Sun-Gazette was delivering papers as a paperboy and now I work in advertising sales. I like to joke around and say it only took 22 years to get a promotion.

For the first time in years I can honestly say I love my job and I feel like this is one I can stay at for a long long time, maybe even retire from. I've been there for almost half a year now and it definitely doesn't feel like I've been there that long. The days there fly on by, when most jobs I've had seemed to drag on and on. I get to spend some time in the office and some time out on the road seeing customers. The job provides plenty of variety and there is rarely a dull moment. It can be stressful at times and many days I have to put out many small fires (that's just a metaphor). I guess the worst part of the job is calling people to let them know they owe us money. But seriously, that's the worst of it, and that's not really all that bad. 

The best part about the job is the freedom. I pretty much decide how my day is going to go. I usually spend the first part of the day figuring out who I'm going to go out and see that day. I e-mail and call customers to follow up on ads or try to sell more ad space. Then I hit the road and visit some customers that I've set up appointments with, or sometimes I just stop by and see if they have any needs. It's great to get out and meet new people with this job. 

When I started, I worked in a territory that took me out pretty far sometimes, up to 50 miles. But only a few months into the job, one of my co-workers quit her job and I took over her territory which is right in the city, so I don't have to drive as far. Also, there is much more revenue coming into the new territory I'm in, and since I'm paid solely on commission, that's a good thing!

Some of the other freedoms I get to enjoy with this job is being able to go to medical appointments during work hours. If I have to pick up Gabe from school or Chloe from day care I can just take the rest of the day off to stay with them at the house. I can take a lunch break at my own house and I can even check my e-mails and make sales calls from home if I need a quieter environment. 

I've got just a couple funny things to share about this job. Shortly after I started, one of my co-workers was working on an ad and the customer wanted the phrase "Zippity-do-dah" somewhere on the ad. One of our graphic designers designed the ad, but when it was handed back to my co-worker, she noticed it said "Zippity-do-dan" instead. One of my other co-workers thought it would make a good nickname for me. Fortunately it never caught on. She still calls me that once in a while though. We have two guys that work there named Chuck. One works upstairs, the other downstairs. So they call one Up Chuck and the other Down Chuck. When I heard about this I suggested that they call the downstairs Chuck, Ground Chuck. It hasn't caught on either. One more. I met with a customer who was being promoted to a different position so she was training a new person to handle the company's advertising. One day I called to ask a few questions to the new person. I meant to ask her if the person she was replacing was still mentoring her, but I accidently asked her if she was still tormenting her. We both got a pretty good laugh out of it. 

Now I want to finish this post out by talking about how most of the jobs I've had have been "linked" to each other somehow in one way or another. Get ready, this is going to be like an episode of LOST...or maybe not, you decide. I've also included links which will take you to the post where I talk about that job.

1. Williamsport Sun-Gazette-Paperboy 

The most obvious thing here is that the first job I had was with the Sun-Gazette and now I am currently employed there. 

2. Weis Markets-Bakery Cleaner

You will see that some of my future jobs involve Weis Markets.

3. Cutco-Sales Representative

No connections to other jobs I've had.

4. Woolrich-Fabric Cutter

My dad also works for Woolrich. Many years later I would interview for a graphic design job at Woolrich, but I did not get the job.

5. Freshlife-Shelf Stocker

No connections to other jobs I've had.

6. Applebee Window Systems-Telemarketer

No connections to other jobs I've had.

7. The Shoe Dept.-Sales

No connections to other jobs I've had.

8. Blockbuster Video-Cashier

We had a regular customer that stopped in frequently and I would end up working with her at my next job, Hope Enterprises.

9. Hope Enterprises-Habilitation Staff (links below)

There are connections to Hope Enterprises through other jobs further ahead.

    Part One

    Part Two

    Part Three

    Part Four

    Part Five

    Part Six

10. Holiday Inn-Bellman

I worked with a girl at the front desk who was the niece of a man I took care of while working for Hope Enterprises.

I frequently picked up some of our guests who were staying in the area to work on a new computer system for the next company I would work for, Brodart.

Other jobs further ahead will also link to this one.

11. Brodart-Graphic Designer

My good friend, Jesse, who I've mentioned countless times on this blog used to be a graphic designer here before I worked here.

12. Paris Uniform Company-Route Sales Representative

I delivered to the Weis Markets Main office, the warehouse and two Weis Market stores.

Other jobs further along link to this job as well.

13. Fast Signs-Graphic Designer

We did some jobs for both Hope Enterprises and the Holiday Inn.

I also worked there with one of my college classmates. I almost replaced him at another job when he was getting ready to leave a place called Auto Trim Design. Another one of my college classmates got the job instead.

14. Papa John's-Pizza Delivery

I frequently delivered to guests at the Holiday Inn.

This job also links to future jobs.

15. Hope Enterprises-Habilitation Staff (again)

No other connections besides the ones that were mentioned earlier.

16. Billtown Cab-Taxi Driver

I picked up customers that worked for Hope Enterprises, including one of my former bosses. 

I picked up a former co-worker at the Holiday Inn.

I frequently drove one of my customers to and from work at the place that would become my next job, First Quality.

17. Frito Lay-Detailer

I stocked shelves at two Weis Markets.

18. First Quality-Machine Operator

Use to drive a customer here when I worked for Billtown Cab.

I worked in the same building as my stepfather, but on a different shift.

A girl I used to work with at Hope Enterprises worked in the same building as me, also on a different shift.

19. ESPN-Producer/Tech

No connections to other jobs I've had.

20. Williamsport Sun-Gazette-Advertising Sales Representative

The first ad I sold was for an event being held at the Holiday Inn.

The first territory I worked in had many of the same customers I had when I worked for Paris Uniforms.

One of my customers sells orthopedic shoes and I used to take residents I took care of at Hope Enterprises to his store to get shoes. This customer is also my current boss's father. 

One of the graphic designers at the Sun-Gazette went to Penn College and the other (who is no longer there) went to the Bradley Academy for the Visual Arts in York, PA. I attended both those schools.

One of the girls that work in the sales office with me used to be one of my customers when I drove for Billtown Cab. I often give her a ride home.

The girl who trained me for my job is the ex-wife of the owner of Billtown Cab. 

Fast Signs is one of my least they would be if they would advertise. They're in my territory anyway.

The guy that hands me my paycheck is the father of a girl I worked with at Fast Signs.

One of the girls in the sales office is married to my wife's third cousin.

My first boss from when I was a paper boy still works there at the Sun-Gazette and we chat frequently.

That's all I can think of for now. I'll update this post if I think of any others. This is it for the Work, Work, Work edition here on the blog, it only took me about five years to finish it, but I guess you could say it was five years in the making.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Not Exactly the Quality Job I Was Looking For

I left Billtown Cab and Frito-Lay to work for a company called First Quality. Again, I was working third shift hours, but it was more money than I was making at my two previous jobs. I'll start with how I got this job.

As I was working for Billtown Cab, I would pick up one of my regular customers who worked at First Quality. She told me how much she enjoyed her job. She worked in the ejection molding area of the factory. She said it was great, it wasn't too fast paced, everyone got along well and there was a variety of things to do, meaning she didn't work on the same machine every night, night after night. It seemed like a good job, so when I saw an ad in the paper for someone to work in the injection molding area at First Quality, I applied for it. About a week later I was called in for an interview. I told my customer that I had an interview with the company with her department. She said that she was leaving soon so I was probably going to be her replacement. Another thing she told me was it was a good thing I wasn't going for a job on the wipes floor, where they make adult and baby wipes. She told me to never take a job in that department, it's horrible and you'll be treated horribly. 

I had a second interview and they decided to hire me on. So I put my two weeks notice in at Billtown Cab and Frito-Lay and went to orientation for my new job. When I sat at my assigned seat for orientation the welcome packet had my job destination on it which should have said Injection Molding, but instead it said...(cue suspenseful scary music: dun, dun, dunnnnn!)...Wipes Floor. Just great. I said to the person in charge of orientation that there must have been a mistake because I didn't apply for that job. She said not to worry, it pays the same. Like that's the only thing that matters. I hated my job from day one. The first night went sooooo slooooow. I was being trained on a machine that layers the wipes and intersects them and then cuts them into little bricks or little piles of wipes. Then they went through a metal detector and if there was any metal in them, they would get sent onto a separate conveyor belt and we would toss them away. The job mostly consisted of keeping an eye on the machine. Boring! Fortunately this was the first and only time I had to work on this one.

Another job I did there was much better than the first one I just talked about. I worked on the back of the machine that layers the wipes. It was my job to put giant rolls of paper/fabric which came a little past my waist  onto the back of the machine and splice it onto a newer roll as the previous roll runs out of material. We didn't even have to shut down the machine to do this. It usually took two people to do this job. There could be up to 26 rolls on this machine at one time. We used walkie-talkies to communicate with the people in the front of the machine to let them know when we were getting ready to splice so they could do their part as well. Out of all the jobs I did at First Quality, this was probably one of the better ones. 

One of the other jobs I did there quite frequently was stack empty tubs onto a conveyor belt. The machine did the rest. This job wasn't too bad either, as long as there was a second person working with me. A forklift would bring out a pallet of tubs which we would have to unwrap and then stack the pallets when it ran out of tubs. So there was more to it than just putting tubs on a conveyor belt. Once in a great while, I would have to do this job on my own and it became very fast paced. I would pray that a machine would break down somewhere on the line so I could have a chance to catch up. There was one guy that worked there that did it on his own who was very tall, young and energetic. Then they tried having a lady that was barely 5 feet tall and was middle-aged work the machine by herself. The people in charge couldn't understand why this tiny middle-aged woman didn't have the same physical ability as a 6'5" inch 20 year old. The logic of the supervisors in that place was astoundingly stupid.

I did a few other minor jobs there as well, but the one I did almost every night was the most fast-paced and frustrating job on the whole floor. It was the machine that boxed the tubs of wipes. It had three parts to it. we loaded unfolded boxes onto the one end of it and a machine would unfold the boxes and tape the bottom of them. Then the empty boxes would go into another machine where the tubs of wipes would be placed into the boxes and finally the last machine shut and taped the top of the box shut. This was the absolutely worst machine to work on. Something would constantly be wrong with one of the three machines a one point or another. The box unfolder wouldn't unfold the boxes or it wouldn't tape the bottom correctly, the machine that boxed the wipes wouldn't be able to pick up the tubs of wipes so it would shoot them out onto some rollers where we had to box them ourselves and the machine that taped the top of the boxes would get jammed up and the boxes would get stuck. When any of these things happened we had to shut down that part of the machine, lock and tag it out, fix the problem, unlock and untag the machine and then restart the machine. Did I mention that this machine with three parts to it wasn't the only one. We had two others that we had to keep up with. There were usually three of us that worked on these machines and sometimes that wasn't enough.

It wasn't just the three main parts of the machines that messed up. Sometimes the empty boxes on the rollers would get stuck and wouldn't go into the machine to get filled with the tubs. Sometimes a tub of wipes would turn sideways on the conveyor belt, get stuck and back up the other wipes from getting to where they were supposed to go and we had to constantly replace the tape that the machines used to close up the boxes. So we had to keep our eyes on six rolls of tape and replace them when they got low. It required us to shut down the machine, get underneath the machine as if we were a mechanic working on a car and then splice the tape from the old roll onto the new one and then turn the machine back on. 

One more thing I should mention as if this job didn't seem busy enough. If any other machine on the production floor had to be shut down for any reason, the whole line stops and it kind of gives people a little bit of a break, including us. But, if the machine that boxes the wipes has a part that malfunctions, guess what? THE WIPES JUST KEEP COMING!!! If the machine that unfolds the boxes and tapes the bottom malfunctions and is not spitting out the required boxes, THE WIPES JUST KEEP COMING!!! if the machine that puts the wipes in the boxes short circuits, THE WIPES JUST KEEP COMING!!!. If the machine that tapes the top of the box poops out, THE WIPES JUST KEEP COMING!!! And if the conveyor belt that takes the boxes of wipes from the production floor into the warehouse stops, I THINK YOU CAN FINISH THIS SENTENCE ON YOUR OWN!!!

Did I mention we worked 12 hours shifts? Yea, we would work for two hours and get a ten minute break, work two more hours and get a fifteen minute break, another 2 hours-10 min. break, 2 more-15 min. break and finally 2 more hours and a ten minute break. How generous to give us five breaks throughout the night, except for the fact that it took about three minutes to get to the break room and back. This was the only time we could use the restroom too. So one or two of my breaks would just be a restroom break. 

We had to wear all kinds of uncomfortable gear. We had to keep our tools on us, wear a hair net, a beard net, a full length coat, ear plugs, safety glasses, steel-toe boots, a muzzle....ok, no muzzle, I was just seeing if you were paying attention. I remember talking to some of the people who worked in injection molding. They said how much they enjoyed their job and they didn't have to wear all that stupid gear.

Once in awhile my boss would have me come to his office to go over my performance and he would tell me the areas in which I needed to improve. One thing I can say is that he was never a mean boss, not like some of the others I had. So I tried my best to improve in the areas that needed some work. I thought I was doing a pretty good job. I lost ten pounds in my first few months there, so I was working hard. I jumped on problems as soon as they happened to keep the line moving. I kept pretty busy for the most part and never stopped moving. There were other people that had really boring jobs in there. I swear that this one girl's job was to just stand there and watch us, that's all she did. What her real job was, was to work the machine on the front of the line for the baby wipes. The machine never seemed to mess up so she didn't have anything better to do than watch the other people working. So we worked our butts off while other people were hardly doing anything at all.

Then the day came when I was asked to come to the office. He was my boss's boss, and I had never seen him before. He told me that I just wasn't the right fit and they were letting me go. Gee, a warning may have been nice. I improved at all the things I needed to improve at. I was working harder than most of the other people in there, but apparently I wasn't good enough. The fact is, I was just about to qualify for benefits and what they do is lay off a ton of people at one time so they can hire on new people so they don't have to pay for those benefits, and then they would get rid of the new people before they would qualify for their benefits. That would explain why so many people left in the short five months I worked there. I saw more than twenty people come and go in that short amount of time. They need to make laws against this kind of thing. They would only keep a very small amount of people. In fact, the person that had worked there the longest had only been there for about a year, but he was kind of a kiss-ass, pardon my language.

I'm not the kind that bows down and worships my employer and that's why they didn't keep me around. I was more than happy to leave that place though. But I've been laid off before and it's a scary thing. I will conclude the Work, Work, Work edition of my blog in my next post. Stay tuned! 

Sorry that this post has mostly been a rant, but this was seriously one of the worst jobs I've ever had and I don't ever recommend anyone go and work for this company at all.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


I'm going to finish up the Work, Work, Work posts by posting them from here on out until I'm caught up to my current job. But for this post I'm going to talk about how I worked for Frito-Lay. This was another part-time job I took on while working full-time. I did this job and worked for Billtown Cab at the same time. 

I worked for Frito-Lay for a short time so this won't be a very long post. I worked as a Detailer which means I went to various stores to stock the shelves with whatever Frito-Lay products were needed on the shelves. I could only work with what was available in the back of the stores. I only worked two nights a week, it was the nights the delivery driver had off. 

The hours were weird with this job too, but that's the schedule I was already on. The job didn't really have any set hours, just as long as I got the job done before the sun came up basically. I would usually start around 8pm. I had to stock three different stores. Two Weis Markets and a Sam's Club. Sam's Club usually took a long time. It usually took me around 6 to 8 hours to do all three stores.

My boss kept trying to add more stores, even ones that were almost an hour away from some of the other ones I delivered to. I told her I couldn't because I already work 50 to 60 hours a week just with the cab driving job. I really wanted one of the delivery routes, it would have been a well paying job. The hours still would have been weird though. Also, since I was using my own car to go from store to store, I kept track of my mileage because they paid for mileage. Well, at least they said they would. I never got a single mileage check from them. They said there was a glitch when I logged my miles into the computer and couldn't prove how many miles I drove. A likely story. Eventually a route position became available and I went for it but they didn't give it to me. 

So, I was pretty much done with this stupid company. I was offered a job somewhere else so I quit working for Billtown Cab and Frito-Lay. Good riddance! 

There isn't really much else to say about working for Frito-Lay other than what I've just said. It was very uneventful and I have no interesting stories to tell like I did with some of my other jobs. So this post is just kind of a filler. Stay tuned for the next one, it should be better, maybe not by much, but better nonetheless.