Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Learning the ropes

View of a vegetable patch from my office window
The picture above is the view through the back window of the office where I've been working, onto somebody else's vegetable patch. The picture at the bottom of this blog post is the less picturesque view of the front of the office. My working hours are full to the brim, and getting longer as we approach the climax of turkey-selling season. I understand a bit more of the business every day, including the operation of the office convection heater. On Monday I couldn't feel my face by lunchtime, but I discovered on Tuesday that this was because The Boss had turned the heater down so that the office wouldn't get too hot. That's all very well, but he wasn't sitting in the office.

The turkeys are progressively moving from activity in the barn or the field to inactivity in racks in the fridge storage area. I took a quick look at the plucking operation going on at the moment, but I don't mind not seeing more or getting involved. The slaughter seems to be very quick, humane and almost noiseless, and I am getting used to skipping around red pools in the yard and hoovering pink, greasy feathers and straw from the office floor.

The main excitement on Monday revolved around a particularly important customer who needed to be impressed, so The Boss agreed to provide a sample dressed turkey in a presentation box in all its finery, along with five other birds in a similar state. This would have been just about manageable, except that he mentioned that they would come with "herbs, a sprig of rosemary or something." I spent over an hour establishing that there was no fresh rosemary to be bought in any of the local grocery emporia, and ended up bringing some in from my garden next morning.

The order management system is becoming a little more comprehensible day by day, and we have made progress towards understanding how orders will be managed between myself and The Boss on our site and the year-round staff at the other site. I have put a couple of 'safe' orders through the computer system to check how it works, although at this point it isn't possible to operate the whole thing end-to-end because the turkeys haven't yet been killed in sufficient numbers. I am quietly confident, though. The next challenge for me to understand is the transport arrangements for deliveries.

Friday is the deadline for orders to be received, although this is generally agreed to be unrealistic given that less than five orders have been received with only three days to go. The birds should all be hanging in the fridge by this time next week, when things will really start to rock. And in the meantime, I have been notified by one of the Dietetics departments that I have applied to that I should come for an 'assessment' on Friday - not an interview, an assessment. If I get through the assessment, that's when I get an interview, the following week, when it will be really hard to take time off work. Combined with the fact that a previous recruitment assessment ended up being one of the worst experiences of my life, I am pleased about the opportunity, but I am definitely not looking forward to it.

The outside of the farm office

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