Over the summer, I worked tirelessly in a factory job. I am sure, many of you have worked in one yourself, as this is a great way to earn good money quickly. My shift was from 6:30 am until 3:00 pm. Yet, luckily or unluckily, for me my company ran an insane amount of mandatory overtime. I was making at least 6 hours of mandatory overtime each paycheck. Now, I could sit here and write about how I hate waking up at 5 am. I could tell you the job was gross, it was smelly. And the department was freezing.
Or, I could tell you about the amazing people I met. I was working in a job where I was the one of two women on my line of about 50 people. Most of the guys on my line were middle aged, and had been working at this factory for at least 10 years. They had serious skill and took pride in their work. Even more amazing is that fact that most of these workers did not speak English as their first language. Many of them were brave immigrants who came to Canada in search of a better life.
Every day I learned something new from my coworkers, about them, and about myself. This experience gave me a new outlook on my university education and continues to demonstrate the meaning of sacrifice. My training supervisor said the first day of orientation that there about a thousand people counting on you to come into work today, they are here to feed their families. You have to show them respect and dignity, just as you would any other person.
It’s not just that what I did was creating a product, it was that we were all working toward a better life for ourselves and our families, our futures. Many of these people I worked with were sore and tired. My department was full of high skilled jobs and little time to complete their tasks. So, these people worked hard. They weren’t there to fool around. They were there to get paid. Just like I was. My supervisors were caring and compassionate. They paid attention to who I was, they said good morning. These are the little things that can totally change your summer and mindset every day. I knew if I went in smiling and happy I would, for the most part, be smiling and happy at the end of my day.
I realized quickly on that some of the other students I was working with may have thought they were better than the people who worked beside them on the line. They may have thought they were worth more money or that they shouldn’t have to suffer and work so hard. But, I realized this is not true. I found out my coworkers are in fact better than I am. It was an incredibly humbling experience. Nothing in life is easy and nothing in life is free. Expect maybe good advice.