Do you ever have experiences in your life that you think you will hate, and you actually end up loving? That is how I would describe my seasonal job at a candy factory in Detroit.
I kind of fell into this job. I was friends with the guy that ran the factory, and they always needed help making extra candy around Christmas and Easter. Since Michigan State had such long breaks, he said I should come work at the candy factory while I was out of school. The plan sounded perfect because that money would go straight into paying tuition for the next semester.
So, I signed up. I didn’t have a car either, so my friend would pick me up and take me down to the factory every morning at 5:45 am, and bring me home at 8:00 pm. I will always remember the smell of the chocolate when you first opened the door to walk in. You would think it would be the best smell in the world, but believe me, it got to you after awhile. I worked on the candy conveyor belt, which was very Lucy and Ethel-esque. (I did not have to resort to putting candy in my hat and mouth to keep up with the flow of the belt though.) The work was very mindless. The part about it that was so interesting was the absolutely fascinating group of people I worked with. It wasn’t that I really liked the people I worked with, but they provided me with a different slice of life than I was used to. Let me detail a few:
- Daryl and pregnant Sandy. This happy couple were very pregnant, and lived in a very dangerous area. They had to eat and sleep on the floor below the windows because of all the drive-by shootings on their street. One day, Daryl was yelling at Sandy because she took the last of the *&%$ milk. She then screamed back it was because she was carrying his %$#@ baby. My heart broke for this couple because it just didn’t seem like they would have a chance. I wonder where they are today. That baby would be about 23 now, I wonder what he/she is doing.
- Ed. Ed was a cool cat. He was happy as a clam, and just kinda did his work in total contentment. When I got him to talk, he told me about how he had 7 kids, with 6 different mothers. Guess what? Ed didn’t pay child support on any of them either! You wouldn’t think he would willingly share that fact, but he did.
- Bob. Bob was a maniac. He may or may not have spent time in jail, I really don’t remember. However, he was incredibly racist and hateful. To top it off, ole Bob had a literal tattoo of Charles Manson on his shoulder. Conversations with Bob were always unnerving.
Despite the uniqueness of the work crew, work was fun. (There were many ‘normal’ people that worked there too…) It was very laid back. Music all the time, making candy was always fun. However there was one day when it wasn’t so fun because we were robbed. From that point on, we were walked to our cars at night by the manager who would carry a gun. I don’t know why, but I never really worried about getting hurt. I don’t even think I told my parents about how rough things were down at the candy factory. (I guess you know now mom since you are probably reading this.) It was just such great money, and such great fun! Plus, it paid for a substantial amount of my college tuition. Sure, I missed out on going to spring break, but I had other, more unique memories! (Maybe…)
In retrospect, I remember the dread I had over working from 6:00 am to 8:00 pm everyday of holiday break from college. However, it ended up being a truly unique experience that I am glad I had. There are so many more stories I could share, but then this post would get pretty darn lengthy, and people probably wouldn’t believe what I wrote.
What experience(s) have you had in your life that you thought you would dislike, but ended up really enjoying?