Making Green: A Wage Slog Thread

As an America-type with no college education, I've had to make do over the past few years in what I would call an Economically Interesting city (Rent is higher than ever).

It sucks. So here's a thread to share your Wage Slog stories.

I'll start.

TL;DR, was a Tesla victim for three years. It sucked ass and killed my soul. Now I work in weed and it's technically the best job I've had, but that's not saying much.

I'm about to turn 27 years old and jesus christ, I feel like I'm reaching 40 already.

My current job is in the legal cannabis industry. I'll talk about that later.

For three years, I worked at one of the many Tesla factories. NDA prevents me from saying too much, but I can certainly describe how the job made me feel.

My hours were from 6am to 6pm, 12 hours - 11.5 paid since we got a half hour for lunch.
Three or Four days a week, alternating. The long weekends were the only thing keeping me halfway sane during that time. The factory itself was about 25mi away from my residence. They provided a shuttle service which took off for the factory at 5am. If I couldn't wake up in time, I would have to drive that 25 miles, there and back. 12 hours working + 2 hours commute, meant 10 hours for sleep and literally anything else.
The work was monotonous, so napping whenever I could with my scant few minutes of break time was common. With how tired I would be arriving home, actually making lunch for the next day was rare, so I would either burn $10 on the food trucks that showed up, or go mostly hungry. They did have free goldfish crackers and cheap cereal on tap. Sometimes that was all I ate. I made seventeen dollars an hour. At least they gave insurance.

While I made a few friends during my time there, I wouldn't wish factory life like that on my worst enemies.
I saw injuries happen, it may have actually rotted my brain and body just a bit, mandatory overtime days were common, and I can still hear the ringing of the alarms that would blare when the machines in my area needed maintenance. Never again. Fuck Tesla.

Yes, I saw Elon once. He gave an empty little speech thanking us for working on Thanksgiving and catered some dry turkey.

They laid me off during the pandemic. It sucked in the short term, but I was glad to be rid of that place.

In the meantime, I worked for a small screen printing shop for a few months (not enough pay, didn't feel safe coming out), a garden hose production factory (only lasted a month, killed my back), and did remote data entry for a big insurance company (was kinda nice being home, but was temp),

In Spring of last year, one of my friends recommended me to their weed job.

A Reeferral if you will.

A year and a half later, it's... okay, I guess.
It's a cultivation facility where we actually get to grow the stuff.

At the request of one Mister Sheffield, here's a quick rundown of what it's been like.
My first few months were spent in wet harvest. Fresh-cut plants are brought in, leaves removed, and taken back out to be cured for some time. This was the most grueling part for sure. Most people quit after having worked in here. It's a very physical, on-your-feet-for-8-hours, looking down slightly kind of ergo nightmare. At least we had fancy standing mats? Once cured, we remove the buds themselves from the stems to be taken for burping, where the remainder of the moisture is let to dry. After that is either hand or machine trimming. Some strains produce very solid, almost rock-like nugs that are easily trimmed through our bigfancy trimming machine. Others produce relatively fragile product that would turn to dust in the machine, so it's pruned by hand.
Harvest and trim are the only processes that I've familiarized myself with, but there's plenty of other departments I have passing knowledge of.
I've got a friend in the watering department, refilling water tanks to the big grow rooms, and their partner works in the wash station, which is basically Ultimate Dishwashing for all the small fittings and long tubes used in the watering process.
I currently work as half hand-trimmer and half Nug Sorter, putting trimmed product through a special machine that sorts them by size before I send it to packaging.
There's so many Weed Machine manufacturers now, it's kinda wild. I've only heard about them, but there exist big trade shows for such companies to show off new machines and market to cannabis manufacturers.

As much as I wish I was making Big Fat Weed Stacks, I get 18 bucks an hour - a dollar and change above starting pay. Recent months have brought rapid inflation and staggeringly stagnant wages. Many of my coworkers talk of quitting, or have quit already. I wish I had the guts to start some kind of mass walkout for wages, but my financial situation is precarious.

It's definitely a far cry from the tales of Murder Mountain trimmers I hear about but I wonder if I would prefer the danger if it meant making 10x as much as I do here. Weed being legal is cool and good and correct, but the mass industrialization and corporatization of it stings, and we're just not seeing the fruits (or buds) of our labor being properly repaid.

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@“exclamatia”#p93657 A Reeferral if you will.

So you'd say that your bud got you rolled into the joint?

@“Gaagaagiins”#p93659

@"Gaagaagiins"#p93659
yeah, they helped me Hash out a plan for the interview.

OK real comment, lol.

What you shared made me think of an online friend of mine, I can't remember if they live in Portland or Seattle (I'm not American so truly these two places get melded into one in my head (I don't even know if that's uncommon for Americans even)) but they also work in the legal cannabis industry, actually, they have for several years.

Pretty much every story they tell about work is different details but the same thing in essence--seems like there's always an inverse relationship to, like, competence and/or good nature vs. authority in that industry. They have just been going along an unbroken string of excelling at their work, tickling the insecurity of the wrong middle manager or telling off the wrong creepy CannaBro, then getting laid off, to the chagrin of anyone who knows what they're doing.

Actually now that I think about it if you by chance happen to live in the city my friend is from, the Small World-ness of the legal cannabis industry means you very well could know this person! Which is a funny thought.

@“Gaagaagiins”#p93665

That‘s not an uncommon pair of cities to mix up lol. They’re both in the pacific northwest and are definitely comparable in a lot of ways.

Yeah, it seems that all of the grunt level people like myself that I work with are generally affable and helpful with each other (stoners amirite), but as soon as we take any complaints or requests to higherups, especially regarding wages or benefits, it turns into "Oh, lemme speak to _my_ higherups," and then the topic just vanishes and we never hear from it again.

I work with an older lady, maybe late 50s, whos been in the industry for a long time. She hand trims like a machine, she's so goddamn fast. But they haven't given her a raise in two years, despite how many times she's brought it up. They can't let her go because she's too good at what she does. So she's just stuck in this frustrating limbo.

years ago I worked in direct service in an agency for people with developmental disabilities. The adult program was centered around a “sheltered workshop” - basically a factory floor that does piece-rate work on small subcontracted jobs: so for example this is who would put 8 screws and 8 washers in a plastic bag which would wind up in your flat pack ikea desk or whatever. The work was done by program participants (people with more severe autism, downs syndrome, TBI, etc etc) and while I don‘t think the agency was ever exploitative, it was just weird to have this social service program run through this clock punching factory job framework. No one ever had to work, and there were always social/recreational/therapeutic programming going on in parallel. But lots of clients were eager to do the work because they got a paycheck and because they had a sense of having “a job.” But it eventually wore me out seeing people with real challenges struggling to do these tasks all day and winding up with like a $4 payday. There’s just only such much work a dude with a TBI and a seizure disorder can do no matter how hard they try. It‘s some real weird american “work ethic” stuff going on. Most of the clients putting in the shifts did more actual work than anyone with an office job I’ve ever known.

The staff generally wanted to move away from the model, but there are certain program requirements the agency had to meet to get state funding, and the cash flow from subcontracts was hard to pass up for an impoverished social services agency (I had an annual budget of $700 for my program, minus my $31,000 salary and two part timers at $11.25) - the whole thing is was very fraught. And that's why I took on hideous student debt to "advance my career."

Got lots of good stories from the job though. Reminiscing now about the time we had job recycling DVDs (stripping the paper inserts out and separating out the plastic cases) but when the shipment arrived the dvds turned out to be gay pornography

@“exclamatia”#p93670 Yeah…

This is an assumption I'm making, but it's a pretty informed one, and based on how it more or less went in Ontario where I live.

A great deal of the explosions in legal expansion of the industry that happen in the wake of legal cannabis industry shortly following legalization or decriminalization, tend to really disproportionately favor the same sort of gutless, incompetent failson and scumdad "Smart Conservatives." What makes them Smart isn't because they're, like, intelligent, they're just smart enough to, like, not really buy in to the whole Fox News Bible Belt, brain rotting out of your ears grifter conservative thing. They don't want to be associated with that sort of ignoble parodying of low class culture with a high class bank balance, nor do they want to be associated with the New York/oil baron/monopoly man conservative. They are the quintessential people who want you to think of them when you think "socially liberal, fiscally conservative," even though they're not actually socially liberal either. They just want to be rich and do whatever they want and not be so easily identifiable as the bastards they actually are. These kinds of middle rich, don't-mind-me conservatives flooded the legal cannabis production market (or at least were eager to put up investment capital) because they were uniquely poised to do so, and probably wanted to all along, even while they supported harsh criminalization and enforcement. Actually, I can bring up an at least semi-relevant example. There's always [Julian Fantino](https://www.cbc.ca/radio/asithappens/as-it-happens-wednesday-edition-1.4403187/julian-fantino-who-once-compared-weed-to-murder-defends-opening-medical-marijuana-business-1.4403194), the ex police chief turned conservative politician, who once compared weed to murder, who also tried to jump on to the legal cannabis bandwagon after federal legalization over here. Of which, I should note, was enacted on by the centrist party nationally, but provincially happened during the current Doug "My Brother Rob Is The One Who Smoked Crack On Camera" Ford's right wing populist failson administration. If I remember correctly, it happened at just such a specific time that the newly elected provincial government was able to scrap marginally more sensible plans for certifying legal dispensaries made by the former centrist government, in order to come up with a lottery system instead, that seemed to have conveniently favored applicants with personal connections to the premier. And, now, there is a huge surplus in cannabis production, so much so that the government dispensary is able to sell it for cheaper than privately owned ones because there is just too much gotdang weed here.

But, I digress. A lot of the legal cannabis industry just seems like it is headed by the sort of conservative who thinks being rich is the equivalent to being competent and intelligent, but also involved themselves or invested in an industry that they still hold a lot of deepset contempt for besides just not knowing a goddamn thing about it. But, a lot of that is just... speculation.



me too Major

@“captain”#p96151 queen…

every once in a while Bob Mackey does a tweet that i just vibe with so hard and then reference for years afterward. this will be one of those:

https://twitter.com/bobservo/status/1600570159420186624

[upl-image-preview url=https://i.imgur.com/AcWt0b0.png]


I had an internal interview for a junior management promotion this morning. I had a test that involved writing a PR plan and writing a load of social media for one of my work‘s more intense campaigns, and an interview of 14 questions. Also there’s a second stage interview next week with even more senior people, as if I needed any more pressure added to the process. I could really do with that dang money too.

I've been in my current job for 8 years next month and I am 100% due some actual recognition for it. There's been four people start whilst I was away for surgery (three other people went on maternity leave at around the same time as I left) and all but one are very inexperienced. I don't have any qualms with helping folks out but it feels a little telling that they all come to me for help rather than ask their actual line manager.

Anyway, I somehow managed to talk about videogames in the interview which was a bonus.

@“LeFish”#p96232 It‘s a little ridiculous how rigorous interview processes can be for a job in the company you already work at where anybody can just ask around and find out what you’ve been doing there for years.

I spend a few days out of the week working in “the field” so I‘m out and about during working hours. One thing I’ve noticed are these military aged males walking home from a starbucks or whatever at 2:15 on a tuesday carrying a drink and a little treat bag they got for themselves. I call them treat guys. Is this a WFH thing or are they just unemployed? I‘d prefer it if they’re WFH so I can continue looking down on them, pettily

@“yeso”#p96237 well now I want a treat

@“wickedcestus”#p96235 I totally agree though I work in the public sector so everything has to be done exactly the same for internal and external candidates to make the process fair, which I understand, but the folks interviewing me could just speak to my Head of Department and a couple of people at the same level as me and get a much more glowing review of my work than I would dare have the arrogance to utter in an interview.

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@“exodus”#p96242 yeso well now I want a treat

Damn, yeah, I want a treat so bad now?? @yeso I'm unemployed can you paypal me 10 bucks to get a little treat