My First Job

Sizzling summer nights: Working in a bacon factory

Mukta Mohan Apr 27, 2015
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My First Job

Sizzling summer nights: Working in a bacon factory

Mukta Mohan Apr 27, 2015
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Do you remember your first job? It might have been radically different from the career you ended up with.

Rita Carbonari works in the development office of a liberal arts college, but in the early 1970s she worked the night shift in a bacon packing factory.

“My friends and I would go to the beach every day, and about 3 o’clock in the afternoon, I’d go home, take off my bathing suit, put on a big heavy sweatshirt, warm pants and I’d spend the rest of the evening in a refrigerated bacon packing factory,” she says.

Carbonari worked her way up to being a weigher, where she controlled the speed of the line.

One day while she was working on the line, a chunk of bacon got caught in the slicer. It was tough to see just how large the machete-like blade was.

“I was poking my finger in there trying to get that bacon out of the way, and one of the supervisors came up and asked what I was doing,” Carbonari says. “And he said, ‘Oh, well this is what happened when I did that.’ He held up his hand and he only had three fingers!”

She never poked her fingers into the slicer again.

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