When I worked at the hospital (Cox North Food Service), my day had a very set routine. There were about seven different positions one could have, but you began with the position they thought you were best suited for (though, of course, it depended as well on what they needed most at the time) and you were trained on successive positions as you mastered those that came before. I began on one of the more complicated positions, but it was all routine.
Arrive at 4 p.m., place sliced bread into plastic baggies and seal shut with a heat stamper thing (to keep everything sterilized and clean), put bread into fridge, prepare metal palletes and trays and plates, set out condiments and butter and get eating utensils in place. Put trays together for the meals, then break down the meal line and put everything back away. Light cleaning, then go up to the floors and retrieve the meal carts, bring them back down, deliver to the people washing the dishes. Take clean stuff from the dishwashing machine and put it away. Squeegee and mop floor, go home around 8:30 p.m.
Every day, the exact same thing. You knew what you were getting into, and generally there were no surprises. Your mind could wander while your body did its job, and I enjoyed it.
Now, every day is a surprise, and as I contemplate the upcoming week, I feel harried. I feel like I have a ton of stuff to do, a dozen different tasks to complete before next Friday. This is the last week I have without a preponderance of meetings for the next month and a half, so I really have to get as much done as I can because this is my last chance for dedicated work-time.
And on top of that, I have a two hour presentation looming in October that I haven’t really begun preparing for. And I hate PowerPoint, but I know that for a two-hour gig, I really should have some sort of visual component.
I know I’d be bored if I went back to such a routine, but sometimes it’s really attractive. I like my job, but the constant inability to schedule out a day and know what I’m going to be doing is a little stressful. Still, the sort of stress and the flexibility and adaptiveness my job demands is why it pays more than the hospital did when I was preparing meals. I guess it’s a decent trade-off, but I can’t help but think back to our days in trigonometry when we all decided that it would be easier to just become garbage collectors.