Mike’s Dump

June 23, 2005

Worst Job Ever – Live Hang

Filed under: Uncategorized — mikesdump @ 1:56 pm

Ahh Rory. You had me hooked with The Liars, scared me a little with Naughty, naughty, naughty, and opened old wounds with crappy jobs.
My crappiest job ever was working for Lillydale Poultry. For those that haven’t heard of them it is a poultry processing plant which takes chickens and turkeys from the farms all the way to being frozen and shipped to the local grocery store.
The first thing you might ask is, didn’t you know that would be a crappy job going in? I guess at the time I thought how much worse could it be than pizza delivery (I’ve had a few crappy jobs).
I have a pretty weak stomach so my biggest concern at the time was I’d puke all over the place once I saw what went on in the building. The smell in the office area alone had me thinking about making a run for it. I’m sure they expected a few people not to last to long (I was hired in a group of 35) so on the first day during orientation we received our plant tour. Before we walked through the plant they said if you can’t handle it just leave and a few people did.
Later that day I found out that I was going to be in packaging. Which for me and my weak stomach I thought this was great because everything is in a state that you’d be buying it in the store anyways.
On my first day I underdressed. I didn’t know that they keep the temperature a couple degrees above freezing and with high humidity. I was always cold and damp. I would go to work in the middle of summer wearing long underwear because I didn’t want to be cold at work.
Here was an average day:

  • Cutting whole turkeys into parts on an assembly line
  • Removing the skin from the from thighs and breasts and putting everything in boxes
  • The more exciting days involved putting the meat on trays instead of boxes which were wrapped individually. (I got to put stickers on them!)
  • Taking chickens from a conveyer belt and putting them on an assembly line for automatic cutting
  • Throwing the chickens onto the conveyer belt

If you didn’t perform to the foreman’s satisfaction you got yelled at. If you took too long in the bathroom someone would check on you. If you felt sick and wanted to go home they tried to give you drugs and get you to lie down for twenty minutes. If you talked to much they found you a worse job. If there was overtime to be done and you are lowest on the totem pole you had to stay. When they had an ammonia leak fans were brought in so we could keep on working (isn’t that thoughtful?). There were days that my hands hurt so bad I couldn’t make a fist. Remember I was in packaging and this was one of the best areas you could work in.
A few times I was sent to evisceration (gutting the birds). Yes, it is as gross as you can imagine. Before I started I thought this had to be the worst place I could be sent… I was wrong. “Live Hang” is by far the most disgusting thing that I’ve ever done and hopefully ever will. Imagine a truck bay large enough to enclose a semi with a trailer. It is kept very dark to keep the chickens or turkeys calm. It seemed like there was no ventilation whatsoever. There were thousands of birds on each truck and six guys to hang them upside down by their legs on shackles at a stupid pace (You’d often feel the legs snap if they didn’t go in just right).You had to where a mask to keep all the dust out of your lungs but there was nothing for your eyes. Being a new guy in the area the others thought it is funny to squeeze the chickens to make them crap on you. After you finished unloading the truck you went down and picked up the birds that got ran over or chased the live ones down to hang on the shackles.
I did this for a year almost ten years ago now and it still makes me sick to my stomach thinking about “Live Hang”. I guess the mind numbing experience in packaging gave me enough time to figure out what I wanted to do. One of the happiest days of my life was giving my notice and going back to school. Thinking about this also helps put some things back into perceptive. If a project manager is trying to push an unrealistic delivery date, it could be worst; I could have s-h-i-t in my eye.

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1 Comment »

  1. I read this interesting post
    this morning over at Management Craft. In the article it contained a
    list…

    Comment by Mike's Dump — August 11, 2005 @ 8:47 pm | Reply


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