Friday, September 13, 2013

Michelle's Tales, Part Three, and please don't hate me...

In fact, why don't we go incognito...

So, HYPOTHETICALLY, in 1998, let's say I temporarily lost my mind, got blinded by dollar signs, and quit my job and school to go to work at an automotive factory.

I'd been working full time, going to U of L full time, being a single mom full time... and suddenly magical factory money was being offered to me on a silver platter. It seemed like a dream come true.


Factory work really isn't that hard. It can be very hot in the summer. You stand for up to 10-12 hours a day, so it's very hard on your feet. You can get carpal tunnel in all kinds of weird places based on what kind of job you might have on the line.

What I wasn't prepared for, though, was that it was MIND-NUMBINGLY BORING.

I've always been able to entertain myself. But not there. You couldn't drift off into your thoughts in the factory, because if you lost focus for a second you might get run over by a truck or sliced in half by some sheet metal or knocked out by an air gun.

So you had to stay alert the whole 12 hours you were trapped there in the most mind-numbingly boring job on the planet.

My first four weeks, I worked in all kinds of different places around the plant...driving trucks off the lot, stamping VINs on the engines, pulling carpets for the cabs, walking the aisles and collecting cardboard - really fun stuff.

My fifth week, they put me on the steering column.

This is where it gets good. Or sad.

There are some jobs that are more important than other jobs. Making sure the steering column is bolted in properly is one of the important jobs.

So important, in fact, that the line automatically shuts down if the air gun doesn't lock, signifying that the screw didn't bolt the column in.

So what's more important, making sure a bunch of steering columns get bolted in properly, or that the line does not shut down, because stopping the line means loss of production?


Well, according to the foremans at this company that shall not be named, making sure the company did not lose money was more important than any possible future 'incident' that might be caused from faulty workmanship.

So there I am, struggling with the stupid airgun to get this stupid steering column locked in, and THE LINE STARTS MOVING AGAIN.

A foreman shows up next to me and hands me this tool-thingy and says, we can't have this line shut down. Stay with this truck and work your way back using this.

Excuse me? I had trouble using the airgun so you expect me to be able to do it manually with this ridiculous tool-thingy? (I still don't even know what the thing was!)

I'm really not incompetent. The line was stopped for less than a minute. I think the foreman had an issue with me.

But, I do the best I can with that truck, and then this truck, and this truck... I realize I may never get back to my station and none of these trucks have been properly 'locked' in. I ask Omar for help, and I get union-speak in return, "I'm sorry, that's not in my job description."


Finally, I get back to where I belong. I'm very upset. I finish out my shift. And that Friday, I'm officially laid off.

I was upset at first. I was off the whole summer. But it was really a blessing in disguise. I got hired back at my old company in a much better job. I went back to school and got my degree.

I got called back by the factory, they were officially hiring all the people they had laid off. I very happily told them 'NO'.



I am not kidding.