Wednesday, 31 October 2007

So, what are you doing for the rest of your life?

Today was surreal.

The office manager took me into a meeting room to ask me about my intentions long term. She was happy with my telephone manner generally apart from the "outburst" on Monday. I appeared to be picking things up very quickly and she'll be applying for computer access for me.

Right. That sounds temporary. Not.

She definitely wants to employ me for the next couple of weeks and there are jobs going in the factory. She went off to the HR office to find adverts for me.

A guy in overalls and a hairnet was sitting in one corner using a computer. He introduced himself as the Engineering Manager and said that he was looking for an Administration Assistant to free him up from the paperwork side of things.

The Office Supervisor came back and I was given two internal adverts for positions within the company. I also got a run down of the benefits of working for them and an idea of pay.

Even the permanent, full time staff have pay which is calculated by the hour. It starts around about £6.50 per hour (translating as £12,675 per annum for a 37.5hr week) and it rises every year. There's a profit related bonus for all staff around Christmas time (only to those who have been employed for a certain period of time) and a pension and other benefits.

I haven't been here a week.

I was polite and made "yes, I'll apply" noises. I wasn't doing anything long term and I was happy to stay for as long as they needed me. The meeting went well. I think.

The truly surreal part was looking out of the internal window to see part of the factory floor.

The meeting room/conference room/Visitor's Centre has a window which looks out onto the part of the factory floor which makes rolls. The window is set in such a way and the factory area is so vast, that it isn't possible to see all of the facility.

The rolls are made from balls of dough which have been cut and slapped onto a conveyor. The conveyor takes the slabs of dough to a kind of reverse helter-skelter which spins around forcing the dough upwards towards another conveyor as well as shaping them into a ball.

The balls are dumped onto another conveyor which takes them through a housing where blades are clearly spinning to split the dough into rolls. The split dough balls are then sent off to another part of the process via a curving conveyor.

The constant precision of the rapidly moving dough balls was mesmerising. The machine I could see was about the size of a bus. It was the first of at least four that I could see sending dough balls off on curving conveyors way off into the far distance. I could just see the back wall directly ahead through all the machinery.

Wow. That's a lot of engineering. And that's just for the rolls.

Part of the induction for new (permanent) staff is a tour of the factory floor. Cool.