It occurred to me one morning, while texting with the dear friend of mine who encouraged me to blog about this adventure, that I have not told you about the day to day workings of my job. So guess what… here we go.
Work starts at 8:30 which is for me was odd but turns out really lovely. Although I have to get to work early to get a parking spot. I have to park on the street. (I will not ever take employer provided parking for granted.)
So I sit, usually knitting, with my friendly coworkers for 20 to 30 minutes in the “cafe.” No baristas here, not even steamed milk. I guess cafeteria was too big a word for such a small room. There are 3- 8 foot long laminate picnic tables and those square little gym lockers around 3 walls. the 4 wall has 3 refrigerators and 4 microwaves. This is usually where breaks are spent unless everyone (approximately 125 to 150 of us) is working out of the warehouse then I retreat to my car for a free seat and quiet.
At 8:27 we pile into the warehouse for the morning meeting. Get the who’s who and what’s what for the day and then head to work.
The warehouse is where everything it stored- the Giant Angels from Rockefeller Square, (from the blog – Fly the Coop Crafts)
Huge Candy Canes (From the blog Tasting Independence)
Big Overgrown Christmas lights (from the blog – Fly the Coop Crafts)
Huge Nut Crackers (from the blog – Fly the Coop Crafts)
Sometimes you might be assigned to work on these wonderful things and get them all ready to be installed, mostly I have just been walking past them in awe.
All these people are divided into 3 teams, Production, Decorators and Logistics.
Productions are the ones who make and decorate all these beautiful things from garlands, to trees, to swags and wreaths. These people are amazing. At anytime I can be surrounded by 5 enchantedly decorated Christmas trees or wreaths so elegant they appear to be encrusted with jewels.
I am a Decorator. We go out on site and install all these amazing, magical things. We also get to work crazy hours all over NYC and travel from Washington DC all the way up to Boston. We also seem to get in the way of Production, making them crazy as they try and keep us busy until they need us to decorate.
Logistics is just that, they organize, store, prep and pack all the right stuff on the right trucks to get it all to the right installation. (I have to say, logistics is all men and the sexism at ACI drives me a little bonkers, but even at 45 years old I am still stronger than some of the guys I work with.)
The people I am working with are very interesting. I have to say, for the first time in my life, I am, the little caucasian 100% American girl, in the minority, so much so there are only 3 maybe 4 others in my minority. The rest is made up of Latinos, African Americans, Russians, Jamaicans and Ukrainians from inside and out outside America. Latinos from Porto Rico, Columbia, Dominican Republic and the Bronx, and 2 Ukrainians from Moldavia.
The ad for the job said all applicants must “Speak English fluently” – Fluently has a sliding scale from understanding to speaking which is alway influenced by the immediacy of the situation… Glad I’ve I got my knitting to keep me company. I must say, my Russian-English accent is getting really good. I was hoping to learn Russian of Ukrainian but these ladies want to practice their english with me. I was learning a bit of Spanish, until my merry team Bergdorf girls was broken up.
The rest of the day progresses like a regular mill work, 2- 15 minute breaks and 30 minute lunch. No piece rate for Decorators, but I guess there might be one for Production people. At 5:00 the bell rights and there is a mad dash to get out the door.
All in all it is a crazy mix of making beautiful things in a mill/production like structure, where every one has some sort of accent, other than me of course.
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This week started out like last week. Then I got the adventure of removing a BaZillion Lights from a 60″ big fluffy wreath-
Then we started working on Garland for Ann Taylor, Yup THAT Ann Taylor. These items are being sent to Ann’s headquarters for them to install, not sure where and to be honest- they are sophisticated, but low on the Holiday Magic Scale.
This are starting to kick in and Decorators are heading out to install. I know the inside of Radio City is done. I didn’t get to go, but I know some who did. Rumor has it that schedules will be handed out soon so stay tuned,
Until next time!!