"Well, what if I do start crying?" I ask the woman who warns me to keep it together no matter how awfully I'm treated. "Are they really going to fire me for that?"
"Yes," she says. "There's 16 other people who want your job. Why would they keep a person who gets emotional, especially in this economy?"
Still, she advises, regardless of how much they push me, don't work so hard that I injure myself. I'm young. I have a long life ahead of me. It's not worth it to do permanent physical damage, she says, which, considering that I got hired at elevensomething dollars an hour, is a bit of an understatement.
As the sun gets lower in the curt November sky, I thank the woman for her help. When I start toward the door, she repeats her "No. 1 rule of survival" one more time.
"Leave your pride and your personal life at the door." If there's any way I'm going to last, she says, tomorrow I have to start pretending like I don't have either.
It's a long read, but it's an important one, since these are the jobs that are coming to Tennessee. I think it's important for us to acknowledge that these jobs, which we are touting as a great coup for Tennessee, really, really suck.
On the other hand, a job that really, really sucks is still better than no job. So, I'd hope the state would treat these jobs as a good place to start — a good place for a person to prove that she'll show up and work hard. But I hope the state also works to bring in jobs that, frankly, people can do for a long time without ruining their bodies, since we will inevitably have to pick up the cost of their medical bills.
And I'd hope that Tennessee and other states would be keeping a close eye on giant Internet warehouses of all sorts, to make sure that people are working under humane conditions and aren't being exploited.