I Didn’t Choose The Forklift Tire Life, The Forklift Tire Life Chose Me: Ten Year Anniversary
It was a Wednesday morning in February, in Charlotte, North Carolina. I was twenty three years old and headed to my third temp job within the last six months. I was driving down the road in my green, 97-Ford-Taurus, that I called Verde, hoping that this job would be different than the last two assignments I was given. My first crack at a temping position was short lived as on my second day they dismissed me for not having a “girly” voice. Ouch! That one hurt my ego a little bit, but I can’t help the way my voice sounds. My second temp job was a bust, as they refused to hire me permanently after my ninety day grace period. Apparently, it was something that they were known for; working their way through the temps in the Charlotte area so they wouldn’t have to pay for anyone’s insurance and 401K’s. A turd of a company, but I’m sure they aren’t the only ones that did that. I got tired of waiting around for some benefits, so one afternoon I decided, “Fuck it!” and walked out with my small communal candy jar and my pride. I was out of a job for two months until this opportunity presented itself, and I had my fingers crossed that this wasn’t going to be a wasted trip across state lines. The sun was blinding as I made a left onto Nations Ford Road, taking a few quick glances at the directions I had printed off of MapQuest the night before. A couple of turns later and I was parked in front of a rather large office building. I took one look at my face in the rearview mirror, grabbed my purse and walked through the front door. I was greeted by a pint sized receptionist, with short, red hair, a warm smile, and a big personality. I gave her the name I had written on a sticky note, and she took me into a small conference room to wait. A few minutes later I was shaking my managers hand. She was a woman in her early to mid-forties, had short, dark hair, wore a pair of jeans, a black three quarter length shirt, and had dark rimmed glasses. I felt a little overdressed as I had on my most professional looking outfit at the time; beige dress pants, black buttoned up blouse that tied at the waste, and a pair of black pumps. She informed me that this was the last week that the company would allow casual attire, and that I was to continue “dressing up” moving forward. She seemed nice, was polite and to the point. She ran through some introductory information about the company, and what my responsibilities would be within ten minutes. It was obvious that she had gone through this temp process a few too many times, and I wasn’t even the only temp she had starting that day. She was just going through the motions hoping I wasn’t another failed attempt at completing her team. A few moments later I was thrown into a cubicle and introduced to my trainer, and life in the industrial tire world began for me.
It has been ten years since my first day at work and it is unbelievable how much has happened and how much I’ve grown. When I was a little girl, if you would’ve told me that the better part of my adult life was going to be spent talking about forklift tires I would have laughed in your face. I always imagined myself teaching or writing for a living, and I find it interesting how life, destiny or the wind has pushed me into directions I never thought that I would go. I give myself a hard time about “not living my truth,” or not doing something that “matters.” However, now that I have lived a little bit and have spoken to a lot of people I’m realizing that most of us “adults” are just big kids still trying to figure out what we are going to do when we grow up. You can be a New York Time’s Best Seller or a Ballerina at heart, but the reality is that everyone doesn’t always get to live out their dreams. Maybe being an adult actually means, just making the responsible decision to get the bills paid no matter what your title is. The fun part now is finding new dreams along the way; attainable dreams. I used to feel so lost, thinking I was wasting my life away but now I see more than ever that I’m exactly where I was meant to be. I have a job that helps me provide for my family, that gives me the stability to give my daughter things that I never had as a child. Isn’t that the ultimate dream? Being able to offer your children a better life, with stability, time, and immeasurable love. I was a baby when I first walked through those office doors ten years ago, and whether or not forklift tires were a part of my dream back then, they play a huge role in them now, because I get to do everything in my power to make sure my little girl gets a fighting chance at making her dreams come true.
This month I’ve been looking back at my time spent behind the desk, counting tires in a warehouse, traveling to visit our OE’s, or fighting with my navigation system and traffic to deal with our customers face to face, and it amazes me that all the little pieces of my life had to work out and fall apart in such a way that I would make it here. Something that started off as just a temp position has played such a huge role in molding me into, me. There are so many important relationships I’ve made, lessons I’ve learned, battles I’ve lost and won, and so many wonderful moments and memories that have all happened because of this temp job. I’ve made some strong bonds and friendships, found a mentor, met my husband, and have blossomed into a semi-mature adult, all because people all around the world are in need of forklift tires. If you stop and think about how many things have to happen, how many lives you needed to touch, how many struggles you needed to get through to get to your place, it is an overwhelmingly beautiful thing. I can’t say that I’ve always appreciated this job, I can’t say that there weren’t days that I wanted to say, “Fuck it!” and walk out, and I absolutely can’t say that my journey the last ten years has been an easy one. But, it was the journey that I needed to take, the story I needed to have and the lessons I needed to learn. I can say with 100% certainty now, that I would not take back or change a single day that I’ve worked at this company, because I’d be afraid of how it would’ve changed my life. I’m on my fourth job title, third state, eighth living space, fourth car, and second last name, but one thing in the last ten years has stayed constant – every day I come home smelling like rubber, and I feel blessed that I’ve been able to support myself and my family. It’s not the job I thought I’d have when I was a little girl, and holy crap does this company like to test my patience, but everything I have right now is because I walked into that building ten years ago, and never gave up. I look forward to seeing what the next ten years will bring me and my family. I might still be talking about forklift tires, I might win the lottery or finally become a published author. I guess I’ll just have to see where life, destiny or the wind pushes me and my family this decade, I’ve still got high hopes on the whole Ballerina thing.