Working Without Papers

After his moment in the spotlight, Billy began working at a warehouse, preparing cardboard displays for department stores. He also packaged gloves in clear boxes, ready for retail shelves. The job wasn’t difficult, but the conditions were grueling. 

First of all, having recently arrived in the States, Billy was without a car and relying on LA’s public transportation system. He was required to take three trains and two buses one way to arrive at work. Since his job started at 6am, he left his house every day at 3:15 in the morning… or as I like to call it, the middle of the night! Being even five minutes late meant no work and no pay.

To help ease some of the commute, Billy used his first check to buy a bicycle. This allowed him the freedom to cut out one of the bus routes if the wait seemed long. Sadly, one month later, while he was talking with Guatemala on a pay phone, someone stole his bicycle. Welcome to America!

The job was also day-to-day work. Each afternoon, a list was posted letting workers know who was hired for the next day. If your name was not there, days or weeks may go by before you were called in again. The insecurity, pressure, and intense competition of the workplace made it highly stressful employment.

When Billy tells me about his first job in the States, it just sounds crazy. I can’t fathom commuting nearly six hours a day. (Oh yeah, he had to come home on another three trains and two buses…) Nor can I truly comprehend the stresses he experienced. As it turns out, this job would be the first of several gigs as an undocumented worker. And it would prove to be the least sketchy of them all.

P.S. I've been writing a series of posts about how my husband and I met and began dating, If you want to start from the beginning, click here or continue on to the next post, Free To Wait Tables and Dig Holes.

P.S.S. If you enjoyed last week's How My Husband Came to the States post AND hardcore Christian Spanish rock music is your cup of tea, you may excited to know that you can now download "No More Suffer" for your listening pleasure. Enjoy!

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