I worked for a good number of my 20’s in a beer distribution warehouse, biggest in Europe as it happens. it was physical, tough environment possibly moulded me a little to who I am now.

Because I was young and strong I worked in the “empties yard” the god awful place, lowest of the low. It was outside, all day. My specific task, unstacking “lifts” (18 kegs) from a mish mash of incorrect into their respective correct stack. They weighed 10-12kg empty, my section was tennis court size in a U shape, the fork lift drivers (best of the lowest) took these stacks off the lorries violently dropped them down in front of me, I, placed each keg in its respective pile which was dependent on the banding on the keg, on a good day I’d get through 3-4000 kegs manually by hand.

This was a horrid horrid job, I was scum. But to me it was a challenge, the challenge of keeping up with the three fork lift drivers as they bombarded me with kegs after kegs all day long, they loved it before long my fitness was sensational I carried one keg in each hand, then one in each hand and kick one along the floor. Then two in one had and so on and so fourth into I could carry two in each hand (25kg each hand) and kick one along the floor, whilst wearing steel toe capt boots….

Everyone hated this job, our team consisted of 8 people, Paul the lorry Opener (now dead) Les, Tim & Chris the fork lift team (cool people) the bottle guy (Garry), he stacked up empty bottle crates, me stacking the 9’s & 11’s, Joe who did the 22’s & 36’s these were much larger but required little work just a straightening up mostly, then Jon, the guy who took the completed empty keg stacks away.

We were a team, until it came to me on my section, I got left always. My section would build up there were 50% more kegs that required sorting by hand, if my section built up so much, everyone would stop and just simply wait, or if it was raining they would go inside and leave me outside on my own whilst I finished, even in the snow, the depths of winter when being snowed on and lifting freezing steel containers that mostly have frozen beer in (sorry, memories). Looking back it’s what’s made me so bloody minded and I wouldn’t say I’m tough, but certainly somewhat physically stubborn…

Anyway, Same Old Faces. Les bless him, a cockney chap, proper cockney gold tooth, apples & pares the whole shebang! He was battered in his mid 50’s had a real hard life, I didn’t begrudge working hard whilst he chilled on the fork lift, I’ve always been a grafter like that. Anyway, he used to stop every now and then and simply say “same old faces” laugh in a tone which could be considered a cough and drive off. It took me a few years, but I got it, nothing changed in the empties yard, nothing. No one helped one another even though we had an overall goal for each day we were individual in how we completed in…

This grated me, but the lesson was learnt. Same old faces, same people, same jobs nothing changed. Just going about each and every day waiting for the end of it, so they could simply start it over again, over and over year after year. I guess this was a long post about a lesson I spent too long learning, have a look around you, how many same old faces do you see?
Maybe you’re the same old face?

Maybe you don’t want to move on, see something new. But for changes sake make it happen whilst you have the choice and the chance….

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