Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Today I baked lotions for Russians. What did you do?

This is not a challenge, its genuine curiosity

Here in the north

Some people would look down on my newest summer job. To them it would simply be the f-work (no, not the f-word, I mean really, who do you think I am?) we're talking about f-a-c-t-0-r-i-e-s here. But I prefer to think of it as embracing my inner Henry Ford and getting to understand Dickens and Elizabeth Gaskell on a deeper, grittier level. You know the in-depth lived experience that will make me look like this girl here. In fact, I suspect that yesterday night when I got home I looked rather a lot like that. Sure the hours are not ideal, I mean who other than Sherid really wants to work 3:30 pm - 12:00 am, but I've decided to embrace the experience.

There are a number of up-front and positive things about this job. One, while I will readily admit that the five hours I spent yesterday placing Korean labels over the English words on the back of NuSkin's 180 Skin Mist is unlikely to have a profound impact on the world (except maybe for a Korean person who is deeply in need of NuSkin's 180 Skin Mist), I get to wear scrubs, which gives me the illusion of having a deeply meaningful occupation and possibly even distinct direction in my life.
For five minutes I realized what life would be like if I were, in any way, interesting. If I had anything to say for myself, if I did anything.

I was suddenly hit by an extraordinary rush of well-being. So this is what people meant by a natural high. And it only cost 60 quid.
It also makes me look kind of like these people, but minus the stylish hats. In addition, the international components of the job also make me feel like I'm making a greater contribution to humanity. Or perhaps it is merely an indication that English speakers do not want these products. It's very hard to say.

I also must admit that this job is quite different than I'd anticipated. During the last two days, I've discovered that in many ways I have been preparing for this for years: years of helping my Mother with various newsletters and primary letters have helped me practice putting stickers/labels on bottles with attention to proximity and straightness, my own OCD nature helps me be fastidious, and I have developed a taste for running social experiments on myself and those around me. I have often believed that I have a high tolerance for and would even enjoy doing extremely repetitive, menial jobs. Was I right? Do I have a hidden talent for assembly line work? After sixteen hours in the field I'd have to say yes and no. I have my limits. Five hours labeling is just too many, but I enjoy doing the work in periods of a couple of hours at one particular job or task. And the company is really quite enjoyable due to its eclectic nature. My time has several good-natured and sort of crazy old guys as well as a number of people whom shall we say are most comfortable speaking Spanish. Thus far I'm still sort of slow at certain jobs, but I've yet to have any true fiascos.

My one complaint? It's that even though I'm working in a legitimate factory, the room I work in is all white, and I am often treated to hearing my co-workers cough all shift long, I have yet to see anyone like this.

Oh well, I guess I'll just have to keep going the rest of the 58 days in my assignment.

PS I tried to come up with some less obvious quotes. I'm sorry to have offended some of my reader's sensibilities last post. Now here's a real question though, I would swear that "It's very hard to say" is itself a movie quote (I'm hearing it in a sarcastic tone and a British man's voice) but IMDB failed me. Do I have any takers?

Just for good measure.