Thursday, January 6, 2011

Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, it's off to work we go...

I am using the pronoun 'we' loosely here. Actually only one of us is off to work..first day on the job.

Doing something useful
Not far to drive or park
Work when someone feels like it
Quit if it gets too boring or stressful
Might be interesting
Money but not much versus our former salaries that probably won't be matched by anyone for this type of work
anywhere. Some of our former colleagues are there trying to support their families on this.
Time drain..could be used for fixing up this house.

I was hired almost 36 years ago for the job I eventually 'retired' from 3 years ago. I was not an experienced interviewee having only two professional jobs before that (and many other 'little' jobs: babysitting, tutor, part time sales help, dorm dining room worker, fast food worker, waitress, lab manager for a physical chem lab, cell counter in a hearing research lab). I did read up on hints for making a good impression: smiling, appearing confident by making eye contact....
But my interviewer, head of the research group, refused to look at me.  Was he painfully shy? Probably. Did he come from some culture that thought eye contact with the opposite sex was akin to a marriage proposal?
Not sure. He did repeat several times that a woman had never worked in his group before (aside from his secretary) and he wasn't sure if a 'woman' was suitable for this line of work. This was before EEOC. In high school, I was specifically told that McDonald's only hired boys. Those were the days. Anyway, I was too nervous to ask what he meant by the work being unsuitable for a woman. He hired me anyway though.
Later I asked the Human Resource person also involved in my hiring and who was in my carpool what he thought was meant by his reservation about women. He said that the work potentially involved  some physical strength but at the time I looked unusually muscular for a woman (and I am tall), they decided to take a chance on me. Plus I had graduated from a 'better' school versus the other candidate.

In this lab, we had technicians to do the menial aspects of our job and they were unionized. If I ever was caught 'doing their job', the union would slap a fine on the company and I am sure this would impact my review. So I wasn't allowed to do anything terribly physical anyway.

Another irony about this job was the research head. From time to time, he would invite me into his office to give me advice and to tell me about himself. Still he wouldn't look at me. In his spare time he was a volunteer policeman for his suburb. One of the tools he developed for the local police was a method for determining on the spot what illegal drug a perp may have in his possession. This is the irony:, one widely abused drug at the time (haven't heard about it in many other drugs) was synthesized first by himself. He did not set out to develop a drug that caused immediate psychosis but that's what happened.

I later requested a transfer out of his department. He was very angry at that and refused to even say good-bye to me though years later, he did apologize.

Snow all over the place. Although it is probably less than 2 inches, it looks slippery. Maybe today will be a rest day though Josh's weights are still here.


Holly said... WHO is going to work today??

Teri Bernstein said...

I am assuming it is STEVE going to work? You have plenty to do at home!


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