The working life, part 3

Published 10/07/2010 by MoonieZ

So – time has come to finish this or at least tell the third part of the story.

This will be long. Because the third part was a long part of my life, almost exactly 19 years.

I had gotten a full-time job at last. Even though I had worked full-time a lot at  my first job I was only hired for part-time work so I looked for something better and closer to home so didn’t have to travel for hours everyday to get to and from work. My new place was not much bigger  than the old place but a lot closer to home and had a lot more people employed. This market was also open a lot longer than the old one had been.

Almost immediately I was appointed to manage the dairy products section of the market which was a huge step up the ladder for me who had only been used to stocking up shelves and working the cash register at the checkout line.

Well, I had excellent help from my boss and all the people working with me so I soon learned how to manage my section. The first years of working in that market were simply great. I was within walking distance of my home, I had a full-time job that I liked and I earned enough money to be able to buy stuff I had been wanting to have for some years. A really good stereo, a tv set and of course lots of books, magazines, vinyl records, comic books,  VHS movies and clothes. And food items. Snacks, soda,  burgers, candy.My weight continued to increase but little did I care or notice.

I was  also able to save up for my travel plans. I had enough money to afford going to concerts and to the cinema. Also spent time visiting museums and restaurants.

One might call those years the glory days, or simply heaven on Earth. Paradise. It wasn’t going to last though but little did I know about that then.  So I didn’t look too far ahead – I enjoyed the moment – as often as possible.

The first small cloud covering my sunny days were the notice from the military that they wanted to me to report for basic training in the summer of 1988. That is a story worthy of a separate post but I’ll briefly mention it here anyway.

My time in uniform was short. Only four days. On the fifth day I returned home and slept for more than 24 hours straight. Exhausted from lack of sleep and the stress of trying to adapt to military discipline I had objected to taking part in weapons training and been sent home in order to apply for non-military service.

So after that and being away another week from work to regain my strength, I returned to my beloved dairy department. The next thing that happened was that the plans for building a bigger market  were presented and at first that seemed like an interesting challenge but it would also be the beginning of the end of the glory days.

The  building of the new market took place during the time I was away to complete my non-military service at a government agency. The service was a really nice experience for the most part. I was assigned to do administrative office work and had my own office for 10 months during 1990-1991. It was a good time and I wish I had been able to continue in that line of work.

After that the new market as ready to open in the fall of 1991. Everyone had been working hard for some weeks to get the new market ready and the first months after opening nearly exhausted us all but was also a lot of fun. Not often you get to open a whole new market and be part of making it work as good as possible.

However the problems started very soon due to the financial crisis of the early 1990s that hit Sweden hard. Many colleagues had to be let go and I was lucky to be able to keep my job. The stress of the bad times and having more work on fewer hands started to create frustration among all of us. Also work was not always performed in the most efficient manner  which did not make matters easier.

I started to feel unhappy and wanted to find some other job but didn’t have any luck so I stayed on and hoped things would get better but instead they got worse.

In 1994 my father was diagnosed with cancer and the following year on March 18 he passed away after struggling hard to beat the illness that had invaded his body. This hit me harder than I ever knew it could. Still after all these years I feel sad even thinking about it.

My father’s illness and death created problems for me at work due to people there being unable to grasp the kind of emotional stress I was under. There were also other things said and done that made me feel unwelcome and unwanted so in 1996 I decided to apply for higher education at the University of Stockholm. I needed a break from the working life and a change in my life. Or you could say I was trying to run away from the problems and from myself. Either way of describing it would be true. Change and escape at the same time.

My plan was to study hard and reach a degree in History to be able to remain in the academic world in some fashion. However, soon after starting the program in 1997 I switched from History to Cinema Studies which was perhaps too impulsive but all the same a personal success due to the good results I had during the first years of studying.

Me leaving to study was not taken lightly at my place of work. I was not allowed to return during the breaks between semesters. Instead I had to work at various other markets around Stockholm. To me it didn’t matter too much because I didn’t think I’d be working at that company anymore after graduating but again my plans would not work out the way I wanted.

In 2001, just before the end of my studies, I had a leg injury which forced me to stay at home and to be subjected to treatment for almost six months before being well again.

Due to that injury I did not manage to graduate and eventually had to go back to working at one of the markets. There I had a good boss and nice people to work with and slowly my liking to my job returned. I can even say I had fun again.

However this only lasted a few years then in 2004 I injured my other leg and my problems returned, now to both legs. I was forced to stay at home for a long time, more than a year before being able to start work training at yet another market.

As it happened that place was the best of them all and I started to build some hope to be able to stay there when my legs healed in the spring of 2006. Not so. A few weeks after healing, I was fired due to there not being any work for me in the company. Of course this was another unhappy moment and my future looked dark suddenly.

Being confident to be able to quickly find a new job I at first did not feel too alarmed but soon learned that much had changed during the years I had been working. Finding jobs is no longer easy in this country. Also I was not 20 years old anymore but 39 not as fast or strong as I had been.  My future working life did not look like it would be happening anytime soon. In fact the final part of the story will be posted at a later date. If and when I get around to writing it.

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