Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Late Shift Musings

Many years ago, I worked the late shift at a newspaper. I started off working in the mail room and worked my way out of that dirty and muscular job into the composing room, where I made color overlays, pasted news type to grid sheets, made ads and composed the classified section of the newspaper. It was a fast-paced job that was constantly integrating new technologies.

First came half page pagination, where the ads could be composed on a computer and printed out, ready to be pasted onto a grid sheet. Then came the pagination of newspages, and classified pages. Ultimately, the compositor went the way of the typesetter.

The newspaper wasn't willing to fire good workers who weren't of retirement age, I was sent off to the corner to be a proof reader,  And then the software to do that made me once again, obsolete. So they sent me to work in the morgue, or, in less morbid terms, the library.

For a while I wasn't obsolete. I researched information for the general public and for reporters in need of a quick fact check. I stored images and typed all the news stories into a computerized database. And in my spare time, I read the New York Times and the New Yorker, feeling smug and satisfied in my new digs.
Until I once again became obsolete. Software and the internet made that job evaporate.

And then I came to work in a bakery. In our bakery, the recipes are all quite old, more than eighty years old, in fact, for a good number of them. Our pies are made from recipes, our dough isn't made in some other bakery, frozen, and then shipped out from Jersey. We make it ourselves. All the rolls, buns, sticky buns and artisan breads are made from scratch. It's labor-intensive, muscular work. And just plain old-fashioned.

And last week, we hired a new baker. She used to work for a large printing company. Until she became obsolete! Now she's baking with us!

Best job, ever!

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