My work "productivity" is measured in how many invoices are counted to my credit each week. Not a lot was said about desirable numbers when I was hired, but Bob the boss mentioned that he'd like to see 70 in a week, which is about 14-15 a day. I tackled that with no problem and was routinely coming in around 85 for a few months. Then, in the early summer, something clicked and I hit a stride that was around 100 each week and sometimes more. So he gave me a raise, and then somehow, I managed to pull even more out of my hat. There are about 20 people who are "just" drivers and many other people from the shop end up doing deliveries, so a list is tallied each week and usually the numbers span from one to 150 or more. During most of the summer, I was at about the fourth position where it looked I could not rise above the so-called trio of gods upon Olympus—three guys who have fixed routes that are not too far from the shop but also very dense ones at that, and who tended to work six day weeks and overtime each day. They had a lot of favorable conditions. But, since there has been a crackdown on overtime for a couple months now, I've nudged into their space. I got the third spot once and was all smiles, but this last week, I saw that I got the top spot with numbers to spare—131 deliveries over the next guy's 116. Some recent talk from Bob and his co-owner brother was about how I am the best driver there, but more so that no "short driver" (non-route) has been at the top slot before.
The case for being a short driver—for me anyway—is that I don't have to wake up at 3 am in order to work at 4 am, and also don't have to do the same damned places every day, even though that might have its advantages. I have usually started at 9-10 am and work "straight eight" with no lunch break, and my shift is the last of the driver shifts that can be occupied doing driving only. The next later involves parking trucks and gassing them up, which is not really what they want me to do since they fancy me too worthy a guy to do that for 1/8th of a shift when I could be zipping around in the "Milkwagon" —the beat up and chronically troubled 249,000 mile old white F-150 that I drive, that even after having seized up the engine this summer, they still let me drive daily (while other guys are shifted around from one vehicle to another each day). I do anything I can to avoid having to drive a refrigerator truck, which just disrupts my flow and always feels out of scale for me. I cram that F-150 full if I need to—the bed, the Xtra cab, and the front seat if need be. It is often hard to get around in since it has a matching shell on it, so I requested a tool to help reach in and pull stuff. It is silly as fuck but they got me the hoe I asked for (resulting in many lewd jokes about how my hoe is good in bed, etc.) It turns out that it is quite a good thing to save my knees from climbing inside. Likewise, its good for my back to not be contorting within the covered bed space. Until I can grow arms like Inspector Gadget, it will have to do!
I don't really know what the milk joke is or how extensive it reaches, but the truck has been dubbed the Milkwagon, and I the Milkman. I didn't know that term till someone else got the title for a while before he left or was canned. This title goes to those who spill milk. For me it was about a gallon of heavy cream back in my first month. But for this other guy, it was totally losing some big share of a 24 gallon order as a stack of crates toppled. One day, I was in the shop as this made word and spread like wildfire, then before I know it, someone chimes in, remembering my heavy cream incident of months before, and says, "well, I guess you're not the milkman anymore!" Of all the things I've spilled repeatedly over the ten months I've been there, I wonder why the milk thing sticks like it does.