View Full Version : Work and World-Shattering Events

08-04-2006, 07:29 AM
I bring up this topic because of another thread going in Sucky Customers where lots of people are discussing their memories of working or being called into work on September 11.

On that day I happened to be off and was going to visit my boyfriend down the mountain in Greenville, SC where we lazed around all day and managed to find a restaurant that was open later that afternoon. It was actually a little surreal to be so unaffected.

It hit a little closer to home later that week when I went back into work at the bookstore. One of our flagship stores was located in the shopping mall in the base of the World Trade Center. That store had murals painted around the walls inside, and within another week or so, corporate had printed up bookmarks with those murals that we sold for a ridiculous price to raise money for relief efforts -- they were of terrible quality, would tear at the slightest touch, and yet we were trying to get $5 for them. I agreed with the cause, but thought that if we were selling something like that we should at least not try to gip generous folks.

Further back in time, one of most important events in my area's history occurred in 1967, when a plane en route from Asheville Regional Airport to Washington, DC collided with a small private plane and crashed on the east side of Hendersonville, killing all 83 passengers and crew aboard. Debris and remains rained down all over the east side of town, and the main bulk of the debris narrowly missed a summer camp, the newly completed Interstate 26, and a hotel that I can see from my workplace today.

My mother worked at the tampon factory (really -- but they also made diapers there too) in Hendersonville at the time, and recalls it was a bitch to get to work that day what with all the roadblocks. I also used to work with a retired sheriff's deputy who was on duty that day, who told me about what it was like to work that scene. Most of what he told me is not repeatable here, but one story that is, was rather amusing. He came across a looter attempting to remove jewelry from a victim and hit him over the head with a shovel, knocking him out. He later learned that the looter, mistaken for another victim, was taken to the morgue and woke up in a body bag, giving all involved quite a scare.

How have major events entwined with your work life?

08-04-2006, 02:35 PM
I can remember 9/11 as I was working at a hotel that day. I as off and was the manager of the property and I got called in as we had a huge rush of customers who were stranded airline passengers. I vividly remember 2 things form that day. One is that I can remember looking at the TVs we had in the lobby, and seeing the Towers first fall. I remember the hush of quiet that came over the entire lobby, it was packed with like 100-130 people. We just all sat their slack jawed at that rather intense moment. The Second was that we had a lady who was supposed to fly out to New York that day and meet her husband, who had gone to the Twin Towers that morning. I remember it so well because she recieved a phone call from a family member up in NY and she just turned pale and almost passed out, but she never said if her husband had lived or died.
On a more local note I can remember how upset with my job I was last year, they were really jerking me around and I was frusrated with them to the point I was thinking of coming in and quitting on the monday I went back to work. It was damn interesting that Hurricane Katrina decided to nail New Orleans and pretty much shut me out of that job anyway. Strange thing is I am now working for those same people, and all that rage and frustration I felt have seem to just fade away. Wierd how big things sort of make the little things just seem to trivial.

08-04-2006, 08:29 PM
I don't think there was any earth/work shattering events when I was working. The closest was the big north east balckout right before I started working for the electric company around here. They went all sorts of crazy over it.

As for 9/11 I was not working at the time, as I had recently quit my job because I was going off to school. On 9/11 itself I was sitting on an airplane at Heathrow airport waiting to take off when everything happened. Stuck on the plane for like 5 hours until we were finally let off.l Got stuck in the UK for another week.

08-04-2006, 09:47 PM
I wasn't working during 9-11, but I was here at the paper for Katrina. Our city was a major evacuation hub and shelter for thousands of evacuees and we dedicated entire pages of the paper to the local services and shelters available. We hauled bags of clothes, toys, etc., into the office and sent them out on the trucks to be distributed through the area. I temporarily dropped all my duties besides obits to handle phone calls from evacuees and read them the information to get them help, because we had dozens of people calling us, and helped with the efforts to take free papers around to all the shelters so they could be used.

Halfway through the day, I was getting frazzled already, so I had left the building to call a wrestler friend of mine from Little Rock. He and several others in the group had emptied the ring van, packed it with chainsaws and gas, and started driving south to start cleaning the roads so more people could get north. I checked in with him and he told me that it had taken them the better part of the day just to get through the northern part of Louisiana, just because of the sheer numbers of people trying to get out the other way, and the exhaustion in his voice was the straw that just broke me.

I came running back up to my desk in tears, babbling that I couldn't do anymore, and the editors dropped what they were doing and came over to sit me down, calm me down, and gently remind me that everything we were doing was helping these people regardless of how bad it seemed at the moment. Almost everyone in the office had breakdowns at some point or the other, and everyone else would do what they could to get them through it and get them back to work because there were people who needed everything we had to give them.

Needless to say, even with the vast quantities of crap I put up with from them, this group has completely earned my loyalty after that. We scream, we cuss and fight and bitch and backstab, but the fact that we put everything aside for weeks just to take care of people who couldn't take care of themselves really showed the characters of the folks I work with.

...think I'm gonna run out and buy everyone in here some doughnuts now. Just cuz. :)

08-05-2006, 12:31 AM
I think I was in the library at my old school, watching CNN or something on the tv with about 20 other students. Didn't really care what was going on on the tv, as it didn't and still doesn't affect me. Meh. That's a western Canadian for you. ;)

08-05-2006, 02:30 AM
I didn't have a job back when September 11th happened because I was only 14. I remember watching the news all day at school though. The teachers had their TVs on in every classroom.

08-06-2006, 01:31 AM
The only earthshattering event during which I was working a retail shift was the death of Princess Diana, and me being in middle America rather heavily muted the impact of that.

On 9/11, I was in Japan. I had just gotten home from a welcome party that the office threw for me, and I had drunk a lot of beer. Turn on the lights, turn on the TV, BAM instant sobriety.

The next day I was in the office, shell-shocked, and everyone in City Hall came to see how I was doing.

08-06-2006, 04:24 PM
only one I was employed during was Katrina/typhoon (Which didnt affect much aside from signs saying 'help support hurricane/typhoon victims' across town) and 9/11.. .which did affect me

Honestly, I went to work oblivious to the events... it was about 11 am mountain time and I was working the ice cream shop at the Calgary soo... I was smiling in my cheerful way, handing out cones, and noticed how many people there were... unusual for september but hey, it was a beautiful day.

The zoo is under the flight path of landing airplanes at the airport ninety percent of the time, and about noonish or so I turn to my Coworker and say:

"There's a LOT of planes landing today huh? There's a third one in an hour!"

She just stared at me and asked "You dont know what happened??"

Then she told me about the WTC... At the time I admit I didnt remember/know WHAT the WTC was or even where it was. After work I called mom to get more info (I was living on my own and literally did work - go home - and that's IT for a full year. No newspapers or anything), and she said "I just saw the news clip. It was unbeleiveable - like a movie!"

I wasn't working the day Challenger broke up, but dad woke me up at like 7 am or so to drag me out to see the TV. I dont remember what I thought of that aside from 'let me sleep!"

Day of Princess Diana and Mother Theresa, I wasn't working and kind of didnt notice until later :/

I still feel a little sheepish about being so smiley on 9/11, but I hope some people had their day be a little bit better because of my cheerfulness.

08-07-2006, 10:21 AM
I was working as an IT technician in a secondary school when 9/11 happened.

We all got called over from the server room into the science office next door and watched it on a TV they had set up.

It didnt really hit me until later that day when I was looking through clipart for a webpage. I saw one of the WTC and thought
"thats on every pc with office on all over the world, and its not there any more".:(

Lace Neil Singer
08-07-2006, 01:14 PM
I had a day off on 7/7 and I spent that day terrified for the lives of my friend, dad, boyf and little brother. Eventually, I managed to get thru to my dad, brother and boyf... but I couldn't find my friend. I left several messages on his phone, but nothing. Eventually, his mum rang me in tears to tell me.

08-07-2006, 06:12 PM
I was working when Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990. At the time, I didn't really know what was going on over there, so I was a bit shocked when I saw the headline on the Pittsburgh Press newspaper that afternoon. However, for the most part, it was still 'business as usual' here.

El Barto
08-08-2006, 04:07 AM
I've havent been at work durning any major events. I was in my 3rd period class in the 10th grade when the principal made the first announcement about 9/11. There is an extra 10 minute break between 3rd and 4th period and everyone just hangs out in the cafeteria or halls, it was kind of weird to hear all 2000+ students talking about the same thing.

The closest thing to a major event that happened to me at work actually happended the day before I worked. The big northeast poweroutage only last about 30 minutes here, but it was still a big deal. I was working the next day and at the time the two automatic sliding doors in our entrance werent working (one of the damn things still doesnt work all the time) so we had both door wide open and some :censored: walks up to me and says "You idiots need to keep your doors closed, its morons like you that caused the power outage wasting electricity." He walked away as he was finishing his rant so I didnt get a chance to tell him the doors didnt work.

08-08-2006, 10:57 PM
I remember that on 9/11 I was the only person in my office with family in New York. Everyone else in the office left as soon as I got there, claiming that they had to take time off for the strain or to go to church to pray for people. I was left with instructions to keep the office open until 5. It was 11 am. I was not allowed to make personal calls while on the clock, whether on the office phone or on my phone, and I was specifically reminded of this as my last co-worker walked out the door.

So, as one does, I promptly picked up the phone as soon as I was sure they were all gone and tried to get through to someone in the city. In the end, it took us almost a week to find the whole family, because some people had gotten stranded in weird places by the trains. I never did get any time off during that.

08-09-2006, 09:01 AM
I was at work the day of the London bombings, it came on the radio that there was some "incident" occuring and I have to say, all that training I'd had as an army kid abroad kicked in right off, I knew damn well what was going on and my boss, also a forces wife once upon a time, did too.

She just looked at me and said "Take the phone out the back and go find everyone we're missing, I'll deal with the shop."

Took me the better part of the day but I did eventually track down, my father and husband, her husband and eldest daughter and all our mutual friends, ALL of whom where working within 2 miles of the blasts. We got them all together at my dads office and they WALKED out of London together since there was no public transport.

I think that was the first time I was actually scared to live near London.

08-09-2006, 09:11 AM
Lets see...9/11 I was working for DishNetwork. I was a year out of military school and worked 4 days a week with Mon-Weds off. It was a Tuesday, I'd been up late the night before, and so I woke up around 1 PM. Hopped online to have an RP buddy say that what happened was so surreal. So I turned on the news and just stared.

About an hour later I was in my car and driving south toward my military school. I got there Weds morning and stayed all day, mourning with my old friends. I got home a day later, skipped my shift from exhaustion and from frantically trying to get in touch with my Dad who worked in NYC at the time. Ended up quitting Dish over political differences regarding 9/11.

Challenger, I was working in another call center, Intuit software. Though I had that Saturday off. A recent acquaintence of mine worked for NASA at the time, still does actually, and later emailed me updates on how the recovery was going. She was sent out to Texas to find and collect all of the debris and a few of us from the group sent her care packages for her and the others in her crew.