Unskilled factory/packing work difficult?

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Unskilled factory/packing work difficult?

Post by cluttered »

Has anyone else here had repetitive, "unskilled" jobs in factories? Did you struggle, or is it just me? I want to know if the events I'm going to describe (among others) from a few years ago, might be the result of dyspraxia, or if they're not even normal for dyspraxia. I know it's not rational and shouldn't make a difference, but because I'm not sure if anyone else has this sort of problem, whenever a criticism or failure reminds me of this period in particular, I feel stupid, defective, useless and hopeless all over again.

Factory one: My first ever job was making various cardboard display units, involving folding, sellotaping, slotting and gluing, both individually and in pairs. I lasted a few weeks there before quitting after one particularly traumatic day in which I left in tears because I was clearly putting far more frantic effort into going fast than anyone else, but continued to produce only about a quarter or fifth of the units as everyone else, as the supervisor kept telling me. As well as speed, I had problems learning the steps of some tasks, e.g. there was a task involving a lot of folding. Everyone was shown once, and I wasn't the only one who hadn't done this particular job before, but I was the only one who had to be shown for the whole two hours over and over again, by a colleague, because I just could not remember the sequence of action.

Factory two: I was too slow putting bunches of grapes into little plastic boxes, so they moved me to discarding bad fruit into plastic bags that I had to keep tying to a rail next to me. Then, I couldn't work out how to tie the bags so that they wouldn't come undone from the rail. Someone showed me, but I often can't understand, remember or imitate other people's physical demonstrations of tasks, so I still couldn't do it. I felt so bad that I feigned illness rather than admit I couldn't do this either, and never went back.

Just recalling all this makes me upset again. Studying IT, I hope to spend most of my working life using the one tool I am comfortable with: the keyboard. I'm quite a fast typist (with the amount of time I've spent online, learning and socialising "from a safe distance" since my early teens, I should be!), but there can be occasional manual work involved as well, even if your job title is "Programmer", and I'm worried that the moment I'm asked to do something slightly more challenging with my hands, I'll fail and have no suitable explanation, and worst of all, cry and humiliate myself. :(
Tom fod
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Re: Unskilled factory/packing work difficult?

Post by Tom fod »

Hi and welcome

I’ve tried strawberry picking (hated it), and some casual work sorting out a bad lot of perm kits for a hairdressers suppliers where we had to locate and replace broken lids where a machine had screwed them down too tightly and they'd split/broken. The stuff really stank and you could feel it burning back of your throat and eyes in the air! Luckily the work only lasted a week.

I’ve also done unpaid work experience, envelope stuffing and saving some technical documents into ASCII format, the latter was the most interminable task ever and only managed a couple of days before I concluded it felt too much like exploitation for my liking. I later went and did four weeks data entry adding parking survey answers to a database but at least I was paid for that.

I know I’d struggle with what you’ve described for factory job 1 and would be equally disheartened by my slow rate compared to others. I reckon I would have done well to last 1 week.

As for the grape factory I might have been ok with tying the bags onto the rail, them staying there could be a different matter. I imagine it being a food prep job you had to wear some kind of hair covering. I just can’t seem to tolerate hats for very long before my brain and I overheat. In the current climate I'd be concerned that the DWP might unfairly penalise people like me just because I was unsuited to a job that was totally unsuitable despite my best efforts.

I don’t know what other duties might be expected of you as a programmer. The only thing that springs to mind is making the tea/fetching the biscuits. I guess in some jobs you might be required to attend meetings/meet customers to ascertain what they want an app to do in order that you can deliver something that only eventually does what is required in a completely illogical process with an unfathomable and equally illogical user interface. Still there’s good money to be made.

I find I like and something where I have variety can apply my knowledge and am allowed to see and can appreciate the bigger picture and have some leeway to develop my own way of doing the work to get to the desired outcome. I've suffered in the past where there is too much uncertainty or I have to compromise my high standards for speed/lower quality. I become stressed as I feel duty bound to point out the shortcomings of change but struggle to explain and often people just don’t want to listen as they don’t necessarily seem to want to understand the full picture or want to drive the change for their own ends and don't wish to hear that their idea is not fully thought through for all situations.

Best I stop ranting here

With a foot full of bullets I tried to run faster but I just hobbled on to the next disaster.
(from Peter and the Test Tube Babies, Foot Full of Bullets)
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Re: Unskilled factory/packing work difficult?

Post by Welshcakes11 »

You sound so much like me, I can't offer any advice as I'm struggling where I'm working, working fast but still working slower then the rest, well that's what it looks like but in truth the faster I work the more mistakes I make but if I worked slower I would still have pile ups, so basically I can't win, I feel as if the paper and everything else is against me. Just wanted you to know that your not on your own. All the best.
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Re: Unskilled factory/packing work difficult?

Post by screengreen »

I had to do a day years ago when training in catering on a belt they took me off early because I kept having to stop the belt because I was not quick enough. Luckily now I work with people but the most stressful part is still putting files together my finger just don`t seem TI do what my brain tells them to do.
Tim G
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Re: Unskilled factory/packing work difficult?

Post by Tim G »

I have had experience of working in a factory where I was doing tray wash - it was on a production line basis and the job was basically to eather stack or de stack trays - it was a fast paced job and really my first paid job when I was getting myself back into work so in at the deep end really.

I started full time but as i was agency they ended up cutting back my days as I wasent that good - I ended up taking another more full time job for a fue weeks so that ended the tray wash job which was a really crazy and hard job.

I work in warehousing now which has similarities to factory work but not as pressured, demanding and fast paced as a production line job in a factory.
The real Mr Potato Head
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Re: Unskilled factory/packing work difficult?

Post by Mr_Tom_one »

I think my dyspraxia is not too bad in this area, but I've found myself to be slow putting boxes together in temp work. I was always slow at doing everything really. I didn't become aware of it until I noticed I was always last out of P.E. at school, even if I tried my best to dress quickly. Recently I've been doing DIY for a friend and I charge a low hourly rate as I know I'm pretty slow. The good news is that if I take my time I can do a pretty decent job (I think).

IT sounds like the way forward though! I'm looking to get into graphic design for the same reasons.
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Re: Unskilled factory/packing work difficult?

Post by Philip »

I did a placement once in a charity place, where one task involved package items with cardboard/tape, my efforts were laughed at. This was work experience) also i did data entry which I was much better at, however much slowly than usually because I was using a laptop, even though I had a mouse attached, I just found using a laptop keyboard much harder to use.

Like Tom said about DWP is a worry. I think it going to get much harder what is going to be reasonable or not suitable

I don't find repetitive data entry a problem (even though breaks away from the screen is good)
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