The Last Day of Work. For the "30-year man" of the bygone era, it meant a retirement reception, gold watch, and a sheet cake with your name on it.
But for the office temporary worker, the Last Day of Work happens a few times a year. The assignment ends, and you either start at the next assignment, usually the following week, or you file for unemployment, ensure continuation of your minimal (soon to be illegal) health insurance, and wait for the next job.
Personally, it's a time to catch up on all the accumulated projects on our rental units, painting, repairing, changing furnace filters, deep-cleaning, fire code upgrades, etc. etc. In other words, no time for vacation. As Colonel Sanders used to say "Time to Lean is Time to Clean".
But the last day on an assignment, that's time for a little celebration. My last assignment was cleaning up a backlog of data reporting for an industrial laundry. I worked for someone I consider my equal in Excel. She would throw me challenges, leaving out details just to see if I could fill them in. I always rose to the occasion. And the other people working in the plant were very friendly and accommodating. But, as the permanent candidate is scheduled to move in next week, they bid me "adieu" yesterday.
The job was in Cudahy, a city desperately fighting to pull itself out of the rust-belt category. There are vacant boarded-up buildings, overhead wiring and cables hang from leaning wooden poles, storefronts that are now residential, and it seems like it's always cloudy there.
And yesterday afternoon, after work was done, I headed out into the late-afternoon Fall sunlight, got into my mini-van and headed down the road. The music randomizer chose "Ripple" by the Grateful Dead, a rather appropriate number for moving on. (LINK BELOW) Nothing scheduled for the rest of my life. Oh, freedom! I stopped at Super America for gasoline and oatmeal cookies. The late-afternoon sun slanted in through the windows, giving everyone a larger-than-life warmth. Something about that late-afternoon sun in fall and winter. It points out things around us that we may not have noticed. Even the filthy hippie in front of me in the line had an angelic glow.
So, if you need me, knock on the window of the old Dry Cleaner's. I don't have a cell phone, and I've got lots of painting to do before the next assignment comes in.
Thanks for listening and contributing. I'd love to hear from you.
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