Upon waking this morning

by Cynthia Vega

Upon waking this morning, I came to realize something sad. My life. Each day, excluding Sunday, I must go to my repetitive, horrific job. I work at this sweatshop making mainly shirts. The place looks more like an old gymnasium. It’s dark, dusty, {and} humid and has little to no ventilation. It has a strong smell of old cement basement mixed with a little iron.

With each day I face danger from those sharp needles and the fabric cutting area. There are these large blades, that look similar to a gilotine {guillotine}, and you place a large sheet of fabric and cut it down to the size you need. Countless employees have lost limbs that way. I must stay cautious when using it, so that I don’t lose my job. When needles stab you, which happens often, you need to just keep quiet and wrap your finger. If your blood drips on the fabric, whatever you do, don’t let the boss notice you discarding it to get a new one. My boss will fire you for just about anything. A runny nose, a slight cough, a simple question, messy hair, bad odor, a pierce from the needle, the wasting of fabric, the list goes on and on. He’s a big, burly man that is very sweaty and smelly himself. The hypocrisy of some people is amazing. Anyway, he spits and yells a lot, which makes my job like hell. Over all, though, what makes my job so horrendously boring, would have to be the repetition. Everyday is the exact same thing: sitting in a hunched position, constantly poked by needles. Also, the fact that if I make any type of mistake, even a minor one, I must make up for it in overtime with no pay, to make 10 more shirts flawlessly. Every mistake results in 10 new shirts. God forbid, I make 3 mistakes.

All the employees are mainly quiet because talking will result in losing your job. Lunchtime is quiet as well, because we have twenty minutes to eat our bologna sandwiches loaded with a ton of mayonnaise and a water bottle. That is the lunch provided to people like me that don’t have enough to make our own lunch.

The main and only reason I don’t quit this treacherous work is because I must help to provide money for my family. The little money my parents make is almost enough, but not quite. I made the decision to leave school and help my parents with our financial needs. Sadly, though, I can’t go on strike with my fellow workers because we’d instantly be fired and they’d quickly find replacements. Everyone nowadays is always frantically looking for work, so finding someone new would be easy.

I need to find a new job and fast, because I can’t continue to work in this hell.

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