Image by Christine Renney
To imply his job was monotonous and boring would be an understatement; the work that Jackson did was mind-numbing, soul destroying.
He joined together little pieces of metal, to be precise they were triangles of stainless steel. These triangles were thirty millimetres in length and each had a half moon-shaped cut-out on one side. When pushed together this formed a hole through which Jackson inserted a short bolt. He also attached a washer on either side and a nut which he tightened with the wrench provided. And that was it; a simple task that required a little dexterity and little thought. The finished parts were of course diamond shaped with the washer and bolt at the centre. Jackson had no idea as to what purpose they could possibly serve and he didn’t care.
The job was well paid and the shifts were short, although some would argue that three hours was a long time to sit at a task so uncomplicated and so uninspiring. But it was manageable, it was do-able. And the money was good and if Jackson worked enough shifts it was more than good, more than enough.
The factory was vast but the work rooms were small. The employees all toiled in isolation, each locked in what was basically a cell, with a bench and a chair and space enough to pace but only just.
The pieces were always dumped on top of the bench, an unruly heap waiting to be sorted and the finished parts collected in a grey plastic basket.
Jackson couldn’t help but wonder a little about the others and the work they did. Was it identical or did it vary? Were there subtle differences? But he didn’t ask, he understood instinctively that this was forbidden and wouldn’t be tolerated. And anyhow, it didn’t matter. Jackson really didn’t care.
As soon as he entered the room he sat and set to work. He didn’t dawdle and he didn’t pace. If Jackson didn’t complete the Quota during the allotted time he would be penalised. For every minute he ran over he would lose money but if Jackson ran over it wasn’t ever by more than a few minutes and more often than not he finished before time. Sometimes by as much as ten, fifteen or even twenty minutes’ early.
Jackson wondered if the others were as quick and efficient as he. But of course they were. After all, it wasn’t brain surgery and time was money and time spent away from here was precious.