My name is Kevin W. and I'm a relapsed overtime junkie. NDon't pull that face. Remember a couple years back, when I wrote about overtime being like crack cocaine? I was clean then.
I'd pulled that time-and-a-half monkey off my back and stomped it silly. Clean, though not necessarily sober, I even got invited to meetings where I extolled the virtues of a less-than-40-hour workweek.
That monkey had plans for me, though. All the while, it watched and waited for the right moment.
A minor bout of writer's block put a major crimp in my finances. (Have I ever talked about how addictive moonlighting can be?) That was the week the foreMan came down the line, with his list.
"Sunday" was all he ever said. It wasn't even phrased as an interrogative. I glanced at his canvass sheet, at the overtime list that places a number next to every worker's name. The number is based on some arcane formula of overtime hours worked and/or declined, plus inputs for lunar cycles and willingness to sacrifice one's firstborn.
The worker with the lowest number who agrees to the canvass works the shift. My name was at the top of the list.
In my vulnerable (broke) state, I took my placement on the list as some sort of omen. I told the foreMan to mark me down for a "yes." He looked startled for a moment, then grinned broadly.
He had the same look that purveyors of other addictive substances have when a deal closes. The only thing missing was his saying, "It's all good, baby. It's all good."
A four-hour Sunday overtime shift is some good pure stuff. On Sundays, you get paid double-time in my workplace.
When the next canvass took place, a clerical error had me back up at the top of the list. Before I knew what I was doing, I was saying yes to the supervisor for four more hours.
Three weeks of juiced-up pay stubs had me thoroughly hooked and in complete denial. I was in control, man. I'd stop as soon as the writer's block faded. That's all. I wouldn't do anything stupid, honest.
The day after Labour Day clarified just how badly I had fallen. The foreMan canvassed for a far less pleasant and lower-grade fix. Did I want to work four hours over and above my regular shift? Since it wasn't a Sunday, I'd only be getting time and a half, and it was on the midnight shift.
The clean Kevin W. would've just sneered. The new, skanky me couldn't say yes fast enough. I admit it. I'm the industrial equivalent of a crack ho. Unfortunately, the power greater than myself that can restore me to sanity will have to wait a bit.
It's all good, baby.