The world according to Carp – My first job.

Please not this post is not directed to anyone. It is very general in nature. It does define the nature of work quite well.

The new Job (same as the old job)

I started work at 16. It wasn’t my first job, I was born on a farm and had pretty much worked for my supper all the way through. So, when my uncle got me a summer job as the warehouse guy in Dairygold (Ireland’s second biggest dairy Co-op) I was pleased. I also had a job working for what would later become Nestle (before they closed it on a non competition basis with their UK operation, story for another day).

The first day I met Martin (name kept the same). He was involved in some music stuff, so he had that feeling you used to get from Blockbuster employees and those who did way too much hash (I don’t know if he did any). He said: I’m going on holiday, while I’m gone you’re running the store. The store was a general warehouse for the hardware store next door. It was a big store, running the size of five or six regular townhouses and three stories high at the top.

From the very first day I noticed that it was the scene of carnage. Pallets of paint would come in and be hand moved to their ultimate destination, boxes everywhere, everything higgledypiggledy. After about two days I began to get antsy. Every time I moved someone asked me the whereabouts of something.  Deliveries were backed up four deep.

My natural get shit done came out big time. On the second week, I rearranged the store A-Z, big things on the bottom, lighter stuff on top and heavier stuff nearer the door. It took a little time, but by week three I’d got things in order and nobody was bothering me at all, just drifting through, picking up their stuff and making “lazy kid” jokes.

It went fine. After the month was up, I’d got the hang of the ordering system, got to know the drivers and had a good grasp of what the customers ordered and needed to be in better supply. Job done, I thought.

Martin returned from his sabbatical on the first week of the next month. He jumped up on the loading dock and looked around like Caesar surveying his domain.

His first question was : what have you done? The second question was: are you serious? Don’t you know I have to work here. This is my “actual” job. The whole point of the thing is that I’m the only one who knows where shit is. If only I know, they can never fire me. They need me.  You’ve fucked it completely! It’ll take weeks to fix. Gobshite! (I added that last “Gobshite,” he was too nice to be rude, he was thinking it, but didn’t say it).

We made a deal, Martin and I.

The deal was that every summer I’d come in, run the place properly for a month. After that he’d return to peaceful bliss. Everyone was happy. I learn’t that what I thought work was, just wasn’t.

I’ve learned that same lesson over and over in my later career and have never really gotten it. Slow learner, I guess.

Rule 1. Lots of people have made a life’s work out of generating chaos.

Try it yourself –


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