Extremely Employable – Part VIII

Today’s episode of Extremely Employable takes us to what should have been Part VI. 

Sandwiched somewhere neatly between my stent as a bug murderer and my attempt at being a diesel mechanic I decided that my Bachelor’s degree probably qualified me to change oil at Sears. Ambition was not my strong suit.

I kicked off my role as a battery / tire / oil changer in training. My side jobs included stocking shelves and stacking tires. I actually enjoyed the tire part of the work. The whole shop had a basement that served as a tire warehouse and oil leak collection facility for the broken old lifts. We stocked a pretty large collection of tires down there. Getting tires downstairs involved throwing them from the back of a truck to a slide that had a kicker ramp at the bottom, launched them right across the warehouse. It wasn’t mentally taxing work, but I didn’t have to deal with anybody, just.. stacked tires. I also oddly enjoyed shelf stocking for a bit. Mainly because I got to use the opportunity to make things more efficient… like putting oil filters on the oil change rack.. mind bending stuff.

In between my unofficial side jobs I did my share of battery testing, tire fixing, and oil swapping. Hector was the main man on the battery station but I was his #2, he trained me like I was his long lost bastard son he could have done without ever meeting.

There was an odd ball Russian who kind of spoke English and treated me like his long lost bastard son that he was ok with but didn’t really want to get a beer with. He did help me out a lot when I got stuck on various jobs. Help was hard to come by there, everybody was focused on getting their job done and out the door as fast as possible, they did not give a crap about anybody else there. In fact somebody getting stuck doing an oil and tire change on a stupid big H2 was ideal for them.

The money makers in the shop worked the alignment rack, and by worked I mean leaned on tires until the screen turned green. Team work.

Because of the quality of folks who tend to work at such an establishment (myself included) there was never any shortage of dumbassery. One of my favorite incidents was a rainy day oil change where my least favorite coworker missed the ramps and dropped a car in the pit. I recall hanging from the trunk of a car to keep it from falling off a lift during a tire change. I may have gouged somebody’s door with my knife during an oil change (it’s ok the company paid to get it fixed). I also learned the fun way about air suspension – turn that switch off before lifting the car!

Besides treating customer cars poorly we also had the interpersonal struggles. The Sunday manager favored my least favorite coworker and always gave him high paying jobs and made sure I got crap.

One fateful day it all came to a head in a near throw down involving a small pile of us. My Russian friend pulled a wrench, I thought somebody else was going to lose teeth. Everybody got sent home to cool off.

Things settled and I ended up going back to work after taking an extra day or so off, but eventually I had enough of the b.s. and called it quits. I knew there were bigger trucks in my future anyway.

Only 3 or 4 episodes remaining (for now)!

-Jed


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