On the clock for one’s own good time

This week I received an email message from my former son-in-law, who’s still a family friend, that he had to begin work at 6:30 a.m. on Monday. His comment was, “Ugh, I hope that someday Monday will just be another day.”
So that spurred me to begin recalling, as my bizarre memory works, the times in my past revolving around my employment. Of course, my first deadline job, so to speak, was delivering a biweekly newspaper on Thursday afternoons and Sunday mornings.
The p.m. portion was OK, although I didn’t usually get home from my eighth-grade parochial school classes until 4. But the killer timing was Sunday, as all 165 newspapers were to be delivered no later than 7. That meant that I began my door-to-door work by 5 with folding and insertion of flyers at 4:30. Definitely worth an “ugh.”
When I was a copy boy at the former “San Diego Evening Tribune” a normal day was 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with 30 minutes off for lunch. And that was fine. But when assigned as the night copy boy, oh boy, another “ugh.” One arrived at midnight to a wire room overrun by Teletype copy from a dozen machines all over the floor.
However, because of being alone without phone calls and except for an occasional janitor or security guard, there were no interruptions. So the work of cutting the copy and parceling it out for the proper desks was relatively easy. One also had to sharpen #2 heavy-duty copy pencils and clean and fill rubber cement pots, too. But the “day” ended at 6:30 a.m, although the pay was for eight hours due to the odd schedule.
After becoming a reporter there were sometimes goofy hours, especially for election coverage. All reporters, even those of us who worked out of bureau offices, had to report to the main office by 4:30 a.m. Coffee and sandwiches were provided free, so that was fine. Everyone covered their election area; it was an amazing time with typewriters clattering and writers getting election results and making telephone calls. Kind of a heady time.
Prior to my news guy time, I worked for a vending machine company, also in San Diego. There were two early shifts, both of which I covered (one at a time). One route was for the pastry and hot food machines at North Island Naval Station. The pastries had to be in the machines no later than 6:30 a.m.; the other machines had to be checked and filled by 11:30. It could be tough, but with determination, all was well. Although on every morning for that route I was usually in the only vehicle on the San Diego-Coronado Ferry (prior to construction of the bay bridge).
The other early route was to service some 15 coffee machines at an aircraft factory. The work had to be completed by 6 a.m. Another “ugh,” although it was good to have easy access to a cup of good coffee.
Another employment involved dealing with visitors to a computer assembly plant. At times that meant making all sorts of arrangements for the visitors: accommodations, golfing, meals, tours and related “stuff.” Hours were “long,” (although I found eventually that there really were only 60 minutes per). But the job paid well with a good salary, despite how many hours one had to work. It was all good, but now I can look back and say, “ugh.”
Hopefully those out there still working find their endeavors pleasurable with only an occasional negative utterance.