This is Part 3 of an on-going series courtesy of Writer/Producer Cindy Baker Gilbert who struggles to find employment while keeping her career intentions alive.

When is it a block and when is it just survival? I may be busting through blocks, but I still need to eat and pay bills. No one has responded to my resume which is why I am here to take the lift test – the one remaining hurdle prior to being hired to pack pallets at this grocery distribution warehouse. It’s my turn, and I grab two layers of twelve cans each, smash them against my chest and lower down to the second pallet, bending my legs and not my back. Up and down. again and again. I make comments like, “This feels like I am a participant on Survivor” and “It’s like trying to figure out a Rubic’s Cube.” After 10 minutes the supervisor says, “Well, that’s it. That’s the job.” I act like this is the most fun I have ever had and reiterate, much like I did in the office the previous day, that I want this job.

If I don’t hear anything by Tuesday, they have passed. Tuesday comes and goes. How did I not get chosen for this warehouse job? I call my temp agency who finally tells me yes they passed. ”There’s been a huge mistake,” I tell her. ”Call them back and tell them they made a mistake. ” I know this is my job. I don’t know what went wrong.

They tell my rep, ”We were just reconsidering her,” they say. ”We think we should have put her through.” My rep persists, “What made you pass on her the first time?” The surprising answer, ”Her personality. She had too much. Sometimes that can be annoying in a warehouse environment.”

They can’t penalize me for having a good personality. My rep said, “I told them you were just excited about the job, that you were not that way all the time.”

Once hired I find out I’ve been assigned to the freezer section. Let me clarify. I wear insulated overalls, sweatshirt, jacket, wool socks, insulated boots, ear muffs and several gloves, because it’s minus 18 degrees. Heavy boxes of frozen food have my fingertips numb with cold, my nose hair is frozen and my eyes are glazed over with icy tears. It’s like working for an outdoor moving company at the North Pole. A couple hours in there and I’m happy to go to Produce where it is a balmy 54 degrees and a box of lettuce weighs more than my dog. I call Judith. “What villain is this?” and she assures me it’s simply called survival. Because I am still sending out resumes, I am following up on leads, I am working for a better tomorrow.

The up shot of this job is I don’t have to pay to work out at a gym, this company pays me to work out. And it comes at a price. My knuckles and elbows are stiff and swollen. I am exhausted, in bed by 8 PM and have no trouble sleeping. Meanwhile, I get up at 5 am, feed the dog, make coffee for my husband and I, stretch, meditate and write through my blocks before showing up for work at 7:25 am. Ready to pack those pallets. I’ve even come up with a couple “save the world” ideas. Now I’m reeling myself in and just looking for a way to be of service and have fun doing it.

JUDITH’S NOTE: Now, that’s what I’m talking about. There’s a lot of truth to clichés like, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Sure, there are some questions left for Cindy to explore: What is frozen in her life? What needs to be lifted from her in order for her to move forward? What does this heaviness and struggle represent?

But there is also SURVIVAL, and Cindy demonstrates a spirit that will not break but will break through – blocks and all! She does what she has to do while she keeps pushing forward to her calling. She doesn’t give up. She recognizes and hangs on to her core values and talent. She keeps her intention burning bright and she moves toward it – sometimes inches at a time, but she keeps moving, and she keeps who she is alive.

Cindy is a talented artist in so many ways. And, she’s a gifted writer who is making a living with what’s available while she finds her voice and hones her craft.

Categories : Blocks in the News


  1. Akshat Verma says:

    Hey Cindy,
    Been reading your writing on Blocked to Blockbuster – so, so good, funny, sharp, bittersweet, I’ve been forwarding it on to friends struggling with their own creative demons.

    More please.

  2. Shorty says:

    That hits the tgaret dead center! Great answer!

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