Who would have thought that being a toll booth collector could be stressful and VERY tiring??! Certainly not me!!!!
I must admit, I'm one of the legions who always believed a toll booth collector's job was pretty cushy. I mean, seriously... collecting money for 8 hours? How hard could that be? Getting state wages and retirement benefits? I always thought it was a great job and I envied those people with that easy job.
Trust me. Not easy, not cushy. It's a good thing I'm part-time right now. An 8-hour shift leaves me beat to the ground the next day. I need a day off just to regenerate some energy so I can go back the next day!!!
Since I work at the south terminal of the Kansas Turnpike Authority, there is rarely a minute to relax. (Check out the link to their website... the photo in the header shows the terminal where I work, so you can get an idea of what my "office" looks like.) We are busy the entire shift, whether it's daytime or evening. I'm sure it probably slows down considerably in the overnight hours, but I haven't worked the night shift. Yet. I'm told the onslaught of summertime bugs will make up for the relaxation time that the "hoot" owl workers enjoy.
I'm not complaining. Nooo, actually, I rather like this job. If only because it is so different from what I have done my entire life. In my previous tenure, I served as office manager and media buyer for a small advertising agency. Prior to that, executive administrative assistant at a large corporation-type business, and prior to that, a senior administrative assistant and marketing coordinator at an architectural firm. So you can see I'm used to being in a nice temperature-controlled office on a plump, comfy chair.
Now I fight the bees as the bee trucks head north from Texas, slam my little booth doors shut as the livestock trucks go by, and crank the air conditioning to 55 degrees just to get some cool air circulating when it's almost 100 outside and the booth doors are open almost all the time. My feet hurt from standing all day, as does my lower back from the constant reaching ~ up to trucks, and down to cars. There are K-Tag issues that must be dealt with -- tags that don't read, people who think other state tags WILL read (they don't), people without tags who think they can run the lane -- there are also people who think they don't have to pay at all and run the lane, people who lose their tickets, accidents, disabled cars, possible drunk drivers, ticket readers that decide not to work when you have a stream of cars waiting to pay, and of course, people who decide to empty their piggy bank and pay with a plastic bag full of pennies! (Yes, that just happened to one gal last night!!)
I will say that I've discovered 90% of the people in our world are friendly, nice and polite. They understand the purpose of a turnpike, what their ticket is for, and they have their money ready to pay upon exit. But as you well know, there is always that other 10%. I guess that's what will keep my job exciting!
Bonus ~ I am allowed to bring my camera with me to work. So I'm going to start doing so, perhaps as soon as tomorrow. I'll give y'all a peek into my world on the interstate highway. And if you are ever driving south through Kansas, keep an eye out for me at the south terminal and say hi... as a side note, you will find that the Kansas Turnpike keeps their road in top-notch condition. It's such a pleasure to drive; I usually receive at least 2 customer compliments each shift that I work.
It's certainly a DIFFERENT job.
The newest addition to our animal menagerie...
another story, another day!