Monday, March 7, 2011

Living My Life At Work And Other Junk (Part 4/4)

by Nathan Stout (of AccordingToWhim.com)

This is a record of my attempts to bring more to my work than just an eight hour day of do-nothing. This mindset has caused me great grief over the years. If I had been a normal work-a-day employee I might just go though life satisfied and resigned that work meant work and nothing more. The problem is that back in the day I got into a job that got me off on the wrong foot. Enjoy this 5 part story where I not only go into my main theme but where I do some strolling down memory lane.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

In early 2004 I started for a contract company in Dallas (not the one I had worked for in the past) and I was soon assigned to a post in North Fort Worth. I was sorely mistaken thinking I would find something like the job I once had. My duties included driving around all night (graveyard) and using a ‘wand’ to log my route around these properties. Let me run through this in a little more detail since that description was a little too simple. I would start out at midnight and check the security truck (which was fairly nice to be sure). I would then walk through the first building and check doors etc… I would begin driving my route which included around eighteen stops and two buildings I had to patrol through. I would drive up to one of the locations and get out of the truck and walk to the exterior door (or cattle gate) and touch my ‘wand’ to the button there. Before you make any comments about that last statement the ‘wand’ would record the time when I made it to that particular button. This way they could keep tabs on the guards.

It sucked. But in my attempt to find a bright and useful side to everything I soon found things to do while I was driving around all night long. I would bring stuff to do in the truck. I would listen to CDs, listen / half watch movies on my mom’s portable DVD player (a dangerous pastime). I would jot down brain storming ideas for the forming public access show Chris and I were working on. I would also chat on the phone to Chris for quite some time since he never slept in the middle of the night.

When we began to shoot the show I took my camera with me and shot a lot of things around my different posts. At one point Chris and I shot some sketches between my ‘wand touching’. This was a hurried affair but it produced some memorable stuff for the show. The time in which I was able to do much more on that job occurred when the ‘wand’ broke and all we could do was long the times on our sheet.

All in all this job sucked but I managed to squeeze as much useful stuff into in as I possibly could. In mid 2004 I asked to transfer to another post and the company (in my opinion) retaliated and sent me to the worst post they had. Everyone in the area knew about it and dreaded ever being assigned it. They sent me there and I ‘interviewed’ with the head of security there and I told him I didn’t think it would work for me. The next day I was called to home office in Dallas and they forced me to quit. I went back to EB for a short period of time then moved on to my next job.

Target (yes the store) hired me for their new store in Burleson. I was paid crap but it was full time with decent benefits. I expected to quit any day and because it was crazy there. Staying at work until unknown hours after the store closed sucked royally. I was ready to bolt at any moment. During all this I tried with no luck to add useful stuff to this job. I was in some way successful by doing some reading and audio book listening at during my lunches. This was about all I was able to do extra there. I didn’t see any sort of future with them until I discovered (almost a year into the job) that I could transfer to the corporate division and become a building engineer. These are the guys that change light bulbs and keep things running with preventative maintenance. For this I moved to a new store (two stores at the same time actually).

After about five months I have found time to do some useful stuff with the help of a handy dandy device called a jump drive. I could wear this around my neck and produce it at any of the computers in the building at any time to get some stuff written. I had to be a bit dodgy about when I can write. I usually got some good writing time done in the morning. I wrote more in one month than I have in the last four years. It’s not much at all but when you didn’t write anything during those four years anything you write now blows that out of the water. Chris got me into the mode of writing so we could try to produce a self-publish book. Articles like this one probably won’t show up in it but it keeps the creative process moving forward.

In 2006 I got my current job. I have been able to do quite a bit of stuff done there but as the hospital grows I get less and less done as my workload increases. I doubt I will ever get back to the level of personal work I had when I worked at that security job but I will continue to do my best and make the most of living my life at work (and other junk).

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