What a headline right?
If I was the one reading it I would automatically assume the person writing was talking about office stress. Deadlines that are impossible, long gruelling hours, being attached at the fingertips with my boss 24/7. Living in a cloud of blue screen and carpel tunnel. Sounds familiar?
That was my old job...
After a decade of overtaxing office work in Southern Ontario, I decided to change my life. I wanted to detach from the keyboard that was keeping me up all night and try factory work. The pay was more and closer to home. You will read why that is important in a moment.
I was more than qualified for the jobs... Except for one thing, the Forklift Training. I was ready to flip switches, lift packages, mindlessly fill containers. But, Fork Lift driving was not on my "let's go" list.
It's embarrassing to say, I spent the majority of my adult life using GO Transit or Taxi Cabs (yes I just dated myself). 3 walks of shame is how many times it took for me to be able to walk away with a regular drivers license. 3. And vehicles weren't filled with Bluetooth and buttons for everything back then. Now it's a stress-bucket dashboard of hell. How can anyone concentrate on the basics when my elbow keeps unlocking my doors.
Reversing and parallel parking were my weakest links. So how was Fork Lift driving going to compare? I could only assume my 3 was going to turn into a big fat 4. Or begging my previous employer to take me back. I can blame mid-life crisis, right?
Googling Forklifts to Perfection
I spent the better half of a week sipping my coffee and googling how to Fork Lift. YouTube was the comical relief I needed. I couldn't possibly be as bad as what I have seen. And those people seem to be really liked for it.
With my confidence boosted from hours of YouTube I decided it was time to reapply to the job listings and hope this wave of "superwoman" wouldn't dissipate. Thankfully that evening I had received an email asking for me to go to an in-person interview. The next day. I'd be lying if I didn't say it was time to apply 1 inch thick deodorant and start sweat testing my interview outfit.
During my interview the next day I was asked the dreaded questions "Are you Fork Lift Certified?" "Have you had any training?"
I won't leave you in suspense, I soaked through my outfit. And I killed it! I have never been more proud of myself. The company I was hired by was so understanding and thorough. We were a group of 5, all new employees. All starting from the same zero experience, nervous and eager.
When I first thought of Forklift Training, I didn't realize it was a 8 hour day session. That's it! None of that drivers license mumbo gumbo weeks of drivers education. At the end of the day I was a proud owner of a Temporary Certificate. As I continued progressing with confidence my supervisor can write me off as no longer in training.
I'm sure you want to know all the fun and terrifying moments. I'll start with the easy stuff. For the first portion of my day we studied in-class. We learned about regulations and pre-inspections. Plenty of diagrams to help us learn what we needed to know without hesitation when in motion. The company had nailed the lesson. Or shall I say they "forked" it? Nah.
After our in-class getting to know the basics we headed out to the hanger. It was huge. Somehow it felt colder out of the air conditioned room. Now I know why all those reflector vests are so thick, moving crates out here will be cool. Ontario winters are long. Which works in my favour, anxiety sweats were kicking in.
When it was my turn to sit in the forklift I was surprised how well you could see. Fork Lift - 1, Car - 0. The instructor walked me through the first steps you should always follow. Pre - Operational checks. Learning the depth of the forks. Checking for the pathways, ramps and where other Fork Lifts will be.
During my instruction I was taught how to stack and rack. I'm going to go into depth with this one. How was reversing my most feared portion? I was in a larger Fork Lift so my loads could be larger/heavier and yes, more challenging. I was slow and steady, and those forks slid right into the skids just like a kabob. Internally I was squealing. Now to reverse down the ramp and over to the transport. I had beads of sweat dripping everywhere.
The instructor was so precise and calm with the directions I instantly felt in control and loaded with a smile. Thank Fork for this forklift training company. (see what I did there :)) Filling up the machine was just as easy as a car. I really don't know why I was so nervous for this day.
Paperwork For The Win
After crushing my day and proving to myself I could Fork Lift, we returned to the ac room with hard chairs. Never thought I'd miss having a shock absorbing "bouncing" chair.. as an adult that is. The 5 of us had to finish our day with a Written Certification Examination. It took less than 30 minutes and ended with a temporary certificate.
All 5 employees passed our examination with confidence.
I hope this post reaches out to someone who was going through exactly what I was. Laughs at me, and makes a new chapter of their life with me in the corner of their mind. Sweating, nervous, anxious, and succeeding with flare. Flare being black clothes hiding sweat, 1 inch of deodorant and a smile so big you couldn't possibly not return.
Now excuse me while I go reacquaint myself with my car.