Since amost 7 months builders have been renovating our appartment block. 7 months is a long time. Suddently in the last couple of weeks everyone is here: the electrician, the painter, the plumber. It seems to be the end spurt, the scaffolding will be removed next week and so they can no longer climb onto the roof or the various balconies. Those working above just drop the empty cans of cola from the top floors. They collect them before they go home.
When I was an export clerk in my working life, everything had to be despatched express. There seemed to be machines standing still all over the world waiting for the delivery of our tools. Some of the tools were not even manufactured, but still shapeless pieces of metal in the machine waiting to be formed. If you had a contract to fulfil, it all had to go express. Telephone calls to the factory asking when the tool series would be finished were daily routine. Somehow the job got completed, but it was all luck. I sometimes wonder how I survived, but did I?
When I began to work in the field of Swiss industry 30 years before I was retired, it was work to be proud of. Your job was to send tools according to the customer’s orders, and the customers were the king. They paid your wages indirectly and gave you work. You followed the orders until despatch. Telephone calls were made to other countries to clarify urgent details. You had a telex machine to write to your customers, which was later replaced with a fax because it was quicker. And then computer communication arrived. Suddenly things were even faster. You were handling independently. There was no need for a boss because you knew what had to be done. I am glad I am retired, because I got a taste of the future in my last months when express became a daily word and my health began to suffer. I had to stop working, according to the doctor as I was heading for no-man’s land.
Since being retired I can look at it all from a distance and realise how things have developed something like a science fiction novel. In my parents and grandparents time you had a job and a wage. Today a job has become an automatic process and it is not certain that it will exist forever, A does one part of the job, B does the next and then it passed onto C etc. etc. In a larger company you no longer have alone responsibility. There is no interest in what you are doing. I know that my job no longer exists. The products are now delivered to a centre over the border where there are delivered direct to the end customers, and no longer via your agents. This began when I was working and now has been completed. There is no longer responsibility, just a conveyer belt of work process churning out results. Interest is what you are doing? Forget it, just do it.
Of course, it is much quicker, and a day after the order is received the tools are on the machine in another country and everyone is happy. But are the workers really happy. I was happy the day I walked out of my workplace and knew that I had got my life back. I was now the unwanted material and even that gets recycled.