Interview with Manufacturing Worker

Interview with Manufacturing Worker

Recently Tish, a worker who makes medical carts, offered to take a break and tell me about her busy job. Tish works four days a week, often with ten to twelve hour shifts, and starts her day very early—around 2:30 or 3:00 AM—so she can get home and take care of her son, Kenneth, who is six and in kindergarten.

How did you come to work at this job?

I just knew somebody who worked there. She was my friend and she was working there for years and she said she could get me a job there. I was applying for work all over the place but I couldn’t get a job. Nobody seemed to be hiring or they had a lot of people applying. It’s a beginner’s job and you don’t have to have experience.

What does your job entail?

I put carts together, box them, and get them ready to go out to whoever is buying them. I have to do a lot of bending and heavy lifting. Sometimes I cut myself on carts because they’re made of metal and they’re sharp. It’s not really fun but it’s not too hard. I do get really hot during the summer, though. It’s in a big open warehouse so we don’t get air conditioning or anything.

What do you like best about your job?

That I can get off in time to take care of my son. My husband gets him on the bus in the morning and I’m there to get him off the bus and make him dinner while he is working. I can take off if I want to when he is sick too. And I get three day long weekends to spend with him.

What do you dislike about it?

I hate working in the heat, and making carts isn’t fun. I don’t really like the job much. But I need the money, and like I said, it frees me up to be with my son at night. I’m really tired a lot, though, so we don’t do as much as we do on my days off, like go to the park or whatever.

What advice would you give someone going into this kind of work?

Honestly, if you don’t like to work with your hands and lift heavy stuff and sweat, don’t go into this work! I would love to be a secretary or something. That’s what I was before I had my son. But nobody is hiring secretaries. I’ve been looking.