I love specific skill.
What I mean is that I love really delicately acquired knowledge that you’ve soaked up over time – the stuff you can only learn through the tiptoe of listening, learning, then application. I’m working in a job that is the most physically intense of my life, and I’m doing it with the best mental health I’ve had in ages.
I’ve got my head in the game, and I’m loving the feeling of being really able. Even on days when my back pain is all up in my grill, and I’m morose because I’m overtired, I’m still enjoying the sense of knowing where and when and how things happen.
And I love that my head is full of strange information that I can’t transfer anywhere else. What does transfer is a hardiness; a more robust knockabout understanding of the space my body fits in…and a confidence that overflows. I walk with a longer, heavier gait. I finish my day utterly exhausted, dirty and sweaty – welcoming in the afternoon that is mine. My rest is restier and my sleep is sleepier!
Like I said, I like specific skill, and the intuition grown from that. So here, here are some things I know – things I never knew before.
- A stanley knife, a sharpie and a tape gun are the most useful tools a girl could ask for. On that note, remember to always close your stanley knife all the way – don’t be hasty! (it hurts). Hold onto your sharpie – losing more than two in a week makes you look stupid when you ask for another one. If you do lose it again, buy your own. This is better than looking like a knob.
- Making friends with your coworkers and indulging in cheerful chatter may feel really strange, but it is totally necessary to making your day go more smoothly. A friendly rapport makes working together easier, better, faster and more seamless.
- Oooh, hey new muscles!
- Ask for the Homewares tub to be emptied at least two hours before you actually need it emptied. This goes for electrical too (though that’s usually swift). Remember that your needs aren’t paramount – you make a request and it goes in a queue. Since you can’t know how many requests linger before yours, make it early so you don’t disrupt your own process.
- A tidy section is a good section. Sweeping between tubs is a great idea. Neatness in everything!
- Throw out broken things. Unless a collectable is really rare, it is pretty much a truism that nobody wants to buy broken things. This will feel horrible at first, but if you don’t do it, you’re creating more work for someone else down the track. That’s not nice.
- Don’t read the back of DVDs and CDs and videos. Just work out what is worth money, file it, and keep moving. Attention to detail is only really useful when it comes to the rarer collectables.
- LABEL EVERYTHING.
- Nobody buys classical music from secondhand stores.
- Driving pallet jacks is not only FUN but kind of hard to master. When you get it right you feel like a total winner.
- Setting a target for each chunk of the day and working towards it works really well. Look at the way you interact with certain items, and work out ways to increase your handling speed. Try to bust your quota a little bit each day – have a personal best you can smash, have goals and ambitions that keep you going, small though they are.
- Work feels good. It feels wholesome. Remembering that while you work will make you smile through even the ickiest of tasks.
- It is ok to sit down and stretch and look after your back injury. Your bosses would prefer you stay in work, keeping your section running, than put yourself out for a long period by aggravating yourself. Don’t be paranoid about taking care of yourself.
- Take all criticism on the chin and thank the person giving it. They’re doing you a favour. Better that they speak rather than just think it – that’s no use to you. Apply any advice immediately.
- Take initiative. If you can think of a faster, better, more efficient way to do something – go for it. But consult your boss first.
- If coworkers help you out, thank them. Look for ways to help others.
- Don’t be the first in the lunchroom every day. Don’t be too eager to leave work.
- When you open a new box – NEVER INHALE. Who knows what shit is in there?!
- People will buy the strangest things. Why no, I have no need for a giant pink cushion in the shape of a pair of lips, or an exercise machine that tones you through vibrations, or even a complete collection of Shirley Bassey records. But somebody is all over that shit.
- It is ok to sometimes throw out things in spite, provided they are already on the borderline. I have, and will continue to, happily toss out Dianetics books with a slightly besmirched cover. And Olivia Newtown John records with a-little-bit-torn jackets (excepting Xanadu. That shit is off the chain!)
- BEND AT THE KNEES, YOU IDIOT.
- You are tougher than you think you are. And when you’re riding home on the bus with chipped nailpolish, and a sooty face, and aching bones, and boots weighing down your callousing feet – you will feel very grounded and very good.