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QotD: Hard Work

Question: Physically, what's the hardest work you've done?

My Answer: I once worked for a company called American Turned Products. I was responsible for building about 200 valves per night. They were metal, and heavy, and had sharp edges. The machines took some effort to use, and you spent your evenings walking around in a circle, going from machine to machine, to build the parts.

I worked with two other people, the names of whom escape me right now, and with a quota of 200 apiece, we struggled to get 600 pieces per night in our 10-hour shifts (4pm to 2:30am). Then - I think the slow guy's name was Dave - left, and the remaining guy and I banged out 740 pieces in our first evening - more than we'd ever done with Dave there. The next night we had 350 done by our lunch break, so we spent three hours at Taco Bell. The boss noticed that we took increasingly long breaks, and said to us "as long as you get your 400 pieces per night, I don't care how long you're here." Turns out we could do 400 pieces in about four hours, and we'd spend the other six playing Nintendo.

But those two weeks when Dave was there, that was a struggle.

You are encouraged to answer the Question of the Day for yourself in the comments or on your blog.

3 Responses to "QotD: Hard Work"

  1. Trimming Christmas trees. You get up and out in the fields around 6 or 7. You get knives that are about 1 1/2 to 2 feet long (depending on your preference) and then swing them all day. In the early part of the summer you have to deal with ticks getting all over you. In the later part of the summer it's nice as the easy trees are finally ready, but it's much hotter in late July than in late May and June.

  2. It's hard for me to decide between what I did last summer (selling educational books door-to-door for 80+ hours per week in Alabama) and what I am doing this summer (loading between 1100 and 1500 packages into a feeder for UPS, but in just a 4.5 hour period.)

    The first job was more difficult emotionally, physically, ... OK, in just about every way except the fact that UPS manages to wear me out in just four hours whereas it would take a whole day to wear me out selling books door-to-door.

  3. My first non-grocery-store type job was as a co-op student during college working for the Georgia Power Company at one of its fossil fuel power generation plants in middle-of-nowhere south Georgia. Having absolutely nothing to do with anything I ever studied in school, one of my assigned tasks was to put on an asbestos body suit, climb to the top floor of the plant, and insert a long thermometer into the plant's giant boiler to check the core temperature. The other main task was finding, dismounting, cleaning and calibrating every greasy steam pressure guage in the plant. Yuck. I can't imagine it getting much worse than that.


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