Posted by : Sherri Cornelius Sunday, November 25, 2012

I started calling the sewing factory “the place where dreams go to die.” My brother pointed out that in “Dinner for Schmucks” they say cabbage is the smell of dead dreams. Two days later, early morning, I smelled cabbage. No way, I said to myself and laughed. At lunch I smelled it again, and a feeling of rightness seeped into my being. Cabbage, dead dreams, fits this place to a tee. Apparently, one of the girls can’t get enough cabbage and heats it up in the microwave, sending the smell wafting over to my machine. I told her about the dead dreams line, and she laughed. We shared a moment. One of the few bright spots I’ve experienced there.

I guess I had forgotten just how much it sucks out in the job world. I was expecting reason and welcome and cooperation. I had forgotten how everybody gets up in your business while you’re just doing the best work you can, how there’s always someone judging you and strangely willing to tell you how you fall short.


I had a job interview at the library. My interview was less nerve-wracking since the interviewer was my volunteer liaison at the library. I don’t know why, but she likes me a lot and is willing to go out of her way to help me. It’s good to have someone on your side.

The next step is waiting for my background check to complete. My advocate called me on Wednesday to make a provisional offer of employment, contingent on the OSBI report coming back clean--which, uh, yeah. No problems there. I had to suppress my joyous noises because I was in the snake den, i.e. the break area of the sewing factory, so I hope she understood how pumped I was. I think she did.

So the only thing I’m worried about is the part-time nature of the job. I’ll be making about as much per hour, but varying hours. It’ll be a challenge to fill in with a supplemental job if I need (or want) more money. That’s a worry that changes nothing in the way of the action I will take, which is to quit the soul-and-hand-crushing sewing job and cannonball right smack in the middle of a part-time question mark.

If everything works out I’ll be a shelver in less than a week’s time. Whenever I remember this tidbit my eyes well up and my body tingles. I belong there. You know how people say “you just know”? I knew from the beginning I didn’t belong at the sewing factory, and despite my natural optimism and every attempt to fake it till I make it, I haven’t had a single moment when I thought I might belong there. It literally smells like cabbage. However, I knew from the first time I set foot in this particular library that it was my place. When I go there I smile. I relax. So what’s the smell of vibrant, living dreams?

{ 7 comments... read them below or Comment }

  1. Well, I know why she likes you. Probably for the same reason I like you. You're likable. Smart, nice, thoughtful, all around good people.

    And I think if the work is soul killing, the people who you work with are not the way you experience at the factory. If everyone at the factory feels even a quarter of the way you do, they have to take their bitterness out somewhere. But I wish you luck in getting out of there.

  2. So, so happy for you Sherri- this news makes my whole day!

  3. Yes, I'm absolutely sure that's the case. I thought that when I started, tried to give everyone some leeway, but it does wear you down. I've finally started to feel some camaraderie, just a start, but it's not incentive to stay.

  4. Thanks, Sarah. And I think I've answered my own question--rain is the smell of living dreams.

  5. LOL That kind of fits - I hate that cooked cabbage smell!

    As for the smell of vibrant living dreams? Hmm. Maybe chocolate. :)

    Good luck on the new job. :)


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