Earlier this month, I had my first job interview after being unemployed for nearly five years.. Later that same week, I was hired. Two weeks later, I started that job. And now, one week later, I am no longer employed. Again.
So, what happened?
I drove up to Austin in early May to speak to a company that focuses on recycling and reselling old corporate computer equipment. The gentlemen interviewing me for the position asked me some technical questions, I received a tour of the place, and was given a general idea of what I would be doing. From what I gathered during that meeting, I would be helping in their lab area wiping computers to ensure no data was left on them from the previous owners. Seems like a nice gig. It wouldn’t be customer facing. I could do this.
Upon starting at the company, I learned I would actually be doing a few other things. Although I was shown how to do the hard drive wiping, my primary task would actually be to work on a backlog of computers that had been delivered to the company and bring them to life and grading their quality. These computers had various issues, such as missing RAM, cables disconnected, stickers that needed to be removed. If I couldn’t get them into operating condition, they would have to be dumped (well, recycled). As I did this, I would also need to inventory them, make sure the information was correct in the system, and make any additions/changes as necessary.
Doing the above work wasn’t so bad. (I only bleed once!) Unfortunately, where I had to perform the work was an issue. I would have to do this job in the warehouse portion of the company as there were palettes of computers to fix. For those that know me, heat and I are not the best of friends, even 80°F/26°C heat.
I wanted to give things a shot, so I stayed all week. After Thursday, I was 100% sure this just wasn’t going to work. Since the Monday I started, I’ve been coming home sweaty, exhausted, and with a massive headache. I would be in bed and passed out by 8 pm in the evening. If I’m like this now with temperature nearing 90°F/32°C, you know it will only get worse when the summertime heat hits Texas in the coming months.
Working in this heat also affects my productivity. As the heat drains me of my energy, I become less lively. I noticed this a couple days ago when I would just stare at my screen for a few moments having to think about what on earth I was doing. I can tell this will start leading to errors (which I’ve caught so far). Take that and add in the physical work involved too, I’m bound to screw something up even worse.
The physical work portion didn’t just involve me removing the computers from the palette into a spot I could access everything. The other half of it involved me helping out in the warehouse as well. This included helping clean up the place but it also meant moving palettes around using the palette jack. One reason I never worked in the food services industry is because I know I’m a klutz. I know I’m going to mess up something. Giving me a one-wheel, 90°-turning, three to four tower computer stacked high palette is a bad idea that will lead to an accident. And considering that I would be exhausted from the heat, something bad would be bound to happen and I can’t let that happen.
There were some other concerns as well. One being my hearing. For those that don’t know, I have hearing loss in my right ear. A warehouse environment is very loud with all kinds of activity going on. I try to keep an eye on my surroundings but if I don’t hear something, that could lead to trouble. There’s also the issue of inhaling fumes from the chemicals used to remove stickers from devices. In a hot environment, those fumes aren’t going to travel very far.
Friday rolled around. It’s a cloudy day for once, meaning the warehouse was a bit more decent temperature. Warm still but better than the rest of the week. My immediate supervisor had me spend the morning helping sort the RAM that was to be sent off for recycling as we were low on the common type used by a lot of the computers coming in. So we just sat on the floor with a fan blowing on us going through a few boxes of memory and making stupid jokes. By far the easiest I’ve had it since I started. But I knew it would be ending soon.
I told myself I would let the bosses know how I felt after lunch. That didn’t work out like I planned as I had gone to lunch late, meaning I got back late. Everyone I wanted to talk to were busy doing other things, so I just continued my day finishing the RAM sorting. With about a hour left in the day, the main supervisor came up to me to see how my week went. This was it. I had to let them know.
I expressed my concerns as I did above. The big boss understood Although I was given the opportunity to go ahead and end the day right there, I still had to finish up a couple loose ends that I had started. Needed to be sure I didn’t leave anything behind or a mess for someone else to clean up. I also still needed to tell my immediate supervisor. Unfortunately, he was busy with someone else so I completed the last few things I needed to do. With everything done, I tracked him down and explained everything to him as well.
After our discussion, it seemed to be quite a bit of misunderstanding, a common occurance in my life lately. If I had gone back and reread the
, I would have known that there was in fact more to the job than I originally believed when I had the initial meeting. I take blame for that. My immediate supervisor took fault as well feeling he should have introduced me to the job in another way.
What’s made this hard for me was not just the fact that everyone there was incredibly nice but my immediate supervisor had been half-jokingly saying to please not leave them. It also didn’t help that just the day before, a new person had started that morning but never came back after lunch. But I have to look out for my well-being and if this job is putting my health at risk, I just cannot continue.
As I left the company for the last time, the skies decided that point in time would be a good time to start raining. Of course it would.
I now have until the end of June to find a new job. That’s when my brother has to inform his apartment complex if he’s moving out or not. If I have a job, he can move. Otherwise, he’s staying and I have to head back to Houston, move back in with my parents, and feel like an incredible failure. As you can guess, that’s something I don’t want to happen. I can only hope the words of encouragement I received from my very temporary bosses will help my confidence and lead me to whatever experiences yet to come.