Like a Grocery Store Trout
Sometimes, we are handed a life. Cleaned and cold, gutted, like a grocery store trout, bones in, with all the skin and scales still attached, knowing nothing of the frying pan, and hoping only to avoid the fire beneath.
This is how I think most of us exist. Unaware of our surroundings, except what directly affects us, and that, only if we ever are in actual contact, and hopefully with the right combination of tastes and smells that allow all to forget that we, in the big picture, are really nothing more than the stink of low tide and death.
Pick a metaphor. Sardines in a can. Lemmings on a cliff. The people of Soylent Green. Fast forwarding our way to an inglorious end, unaware, for the most part, what we are speeding toward. That end always in sight if we only think to look.
This was me, until it wasn’t anymore.
I work a job that, in the couple hundred times I’ve tried explaining it to folks over nearly a decade, defies description. And it’s not even the job description that defies it. It’s not the job of Freight Runner, Certified Forklift Operator, Warehouse Night Manager, Inventory Control Specialist, Bookkeeper, and Small Parcel Courier that confuses people, it’s how the job gets paid.
The bottom of bottom lines is, I am not an employee. I am a contractor. This means there is no salary, no hourly wage, no insurance and paid time off. There is only the job, or NO job. Pay, or NO pay. Don’t come in? Don’t come back. Every day for the last 8 years, 8 months, 13 days, 23 hours, and a handful of minutes and seconds, I haven’t taken a day off that didn’t cost me in docked pay. That includes two major surgeries, bookended weekdays around weekend getaways, sick days, dentist appointments, family birthdays, national holidays, you name it.
If I took it, I ate that day’s pay.
This also includes regularly adding duties to the job description at no additional compensation, four double-shifts per week at one flat rate, hours worked for free one night a week, as well as… now THIS is where it gets interesting… back pay stolen by the third party job broker who held my contract with the warehouse, and finally, intermittent pay cuts, just to be allowed to keep my job. All that, and however many hours I find between the cracks to write and publish two books, and maybe mix in a nap. Then today, one more demand for me to spend another $500 for additional licensing and commercial insuring, just to keep my job. As I write this, I have less than three weeks until I pay, or get out.
Sometimes, we are handed a life. Cleaned and cold, gutted, like a grocery store trout, bones in, with all the skin and scales still attached, living in the false comfort of the frying pan, and hoping only to avoid the terror of the fire beneath.
On this day, I see the frying pan for what it is, and no longer fear the fire.
Today, I decided to get out.
© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday