BABBLE ON – ODDMAN

When I took a week off of posting, it was done for two reasons:

First, I needed a break from uploading public posts. The blog does take a fair amount of time to do every day.

Second, I knew that I was going to start looking for employment and wanted to have enough posts on autopost to last over a week (done). I knew that if I started a job in the sector that I was looking at, I would be tired until I got used to it and the shift work.

I found employment at a car parts manufacturer via a great agency in Guelph and started working on a dashboard assembly line in the welding department this past Monday. After an hour, I thought that I didn’t fit the job. After 4 hours, I knew that I didn’t really fit the job. At the end of the Monday shift, I knew this wasn’t going to work out for me. I gave it another day to make sure of my thoughts and it only reinforced that fact that this job wasn’t for me. Plus, for the first time in my working career, I really sucked at this job…big time.

The people in my work team were great. They all helped out the new guy (me) as best they could. My team leader for the section I was in was excellent. She also did the best that she could for me, but I still sucked at the job, the easiest job on our line. I was operating three robots in a sequence, loading parts etc. I kept breaking the light bar, tripping the safety mechanism that stops the machine so you don’t get hurt. She was going to bring in someone to help me with additional training on Wednesday. I knew that I wouldn’t make the week out, so why waste any more of the company’s  time, effort and money on someone who was going to leave in the next day or two? The company was fair with me so I must be fair back. It would be best for me to cut both of our losses before any more training was invested in me. So I quit. It was the first job in my life I actually ever quit because of the job. I’ve changed jobs over the years, but not because I didn’t fit into the job and be able to do it properly in a timely manner.

I have worked in a hospital kitchen for 3 years, prospected for diamonds for 3 seasons in the northern Ontario bush, sold cars for 6 years and achieved the status of Sales Master for each of my final 3 years in the car business. I sold Nissan and then Honda automobiles. I earned two business degrees from the University of Ottawa. I was a Sales Representative for a pyrotechnics  company for 17 years. While there I looked after clients, forecasted sales and production quantities, did trade shows, as required I filled in as a printers’ assistant, jogging and cutting millions of fireworks covers, did warehouse work, worked production lines for special fireworks clients, designed & fired over 80 display shows, was a shipper, a receiver and drove a forklift. It was a small company so everyone in the company did what was required at that moment and forget about any titles. That’s what happens in small companies. Titles are for clients only and the rest of the time everyone just made sure that the job got done. It was the results that mattered, not who did it. My family were partial owners of the company during that time. And most importantly, I’ve been a stay at home Dad for the past several years looking after the ODDLING and Mrs ODDMAN. I did these jobs to the best of my abilities and have enjoyed them all, especially the stay at home Dad one. I also spent 5 months cycling around Europe after university (took the trains through the Alps though). I’m not afraid of work.

I am 57 and realized very quickly last Monday that it is too late for me to start a career on an automobile parts assembly line. I wanted to succeed, but I didn’t fit the the job. If I was 20, I’d go for the work and all the mandatory overtime in a flash because you can train your body very quickly while you’re young. It’s hard to start that training at 57 when perfection on the line is mandatory within a few days. Downtime costs a lot of money. I caused too much downtime.

This was a wonderful opportunity for me to learn new things. I love watching TV shows about production, I always have. I like to see things being made. Television does not do the manufacturing process/plants justice. This plant is visually incredible inside with all the robots and workers. The attention to safety, quality, wastage, the quickness of the techies fixing the robots when they go down along with many other things was impressive. Looking at the robots performing really impresses on you the incredible engineering that takes place to not only in the manufacture the robots, but to organize the lines for production. Looking on the floor you can then actually begin to see the incredible amount of organization required to run the plant. Then factor in all of the feeder plants to them and then factor that they are a feeder plant to other plants as well. The plant was clean. The cafeteria was spotless. The investment on the plant and robotics is incredible. This was noticed in just two days. I am impressed.

Unfortunately, it was not for me as I just didn’t fit what was required for the job.

So I go back to looking for other employment. Depending on what happens, I’ll see if I have to reduce the daily posts a bit, or not. I’ll play it by ear.

I just want to say this, I give my respect to all the assembly line workers out there. It isn’t an easy job and assembly workers make the vast majority of products that we purchase. No matter how many robots are out there, you still need a great team of workers in order to make it happen.

When a product is hot, you produce to the market demand and overtime is required. This company is meeting their clients demand.

 

David the ODDMAN

 

 

 

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This is the posts comments

  1. Rich February 9, 2017 at 5:08 am #

    I’m sorry but assembly line work sucks, always has, always will. Repeating the same process over and over does not require thought, it requires training. Once the training’s done you become effectively another robot.
    The only job I’ve had working on a production line was as a powder coater, and as it was a small business at least sometimes there were different jobs that needed doing. Ultimately though, my job was to stand at a window in a spray booth and paint hundreds of the same part for 12 hours a night (6PM to 6AM). I’d arrive home covered in powder paint and knackered. At 21 I didn’t mind too much as the pay made it worth it but I wouldn’t return to that job now at almost 40.
    My only other experience of repetitive production work was when an agency placed me at a cardboard box factory, noisy and lonely as although there were lots of workers, you stood alone feeding card into a machine, or taking it out of the other end. To relieve the boredom we swapped jobs every few hours. That was the longest 8 hours of my life and I never went back.
    I got into the motor trade at 21, as you know a tough business with pressure from all angles and often unpaid overtime and working through breaks to get the job done. A great bunch of people but these days just too regulated and high stress to do for long before burning out. I no longer work as such because my wife needed me at home due to disability.
    Moral? Maybe there isn’t one but at 57 I would suggest enjoyment in employment and a good work/home balance will be more rewarding than a big paycheque.

    • ODDMAN February 9, 2017 at 5:57 am #

      I thought that I’d give it a try. The fact that I would be missing so much family time is the main reason that I didn’t like the job. They do change machines every 2 hours but since I kept screwing up, I was on the same machine for the two days. And that was rather boring. It may have also been why I kept messing up, boredom.

      Mrs ODDMAN never wanted me to apply in the first place for the reasons you stated. She was correct, but I am a stubborn one. So I learned the hard way.

      This was a learning experience. I do try to put positive spin on most things and I will with this experience. I’ll find something else that suits my skill sets better and involves people and not just machines. I like the term “enjoyment employment.” That I will swipe from you. 🙂

  2. Gonzo1955 February 9, 2017 at 7:46 am #

    Guess I’ve been lucky, got into IT over 30 years ago and never looked back. Over 60 now, and still look forward to going in every day. Moved around a lot but always in the same field. Have seen a lot of changes over the years. I was once an ARCNET node.
    Hang in there, some of us just take a little longer thea others to find that niche.
    I do assembly line work at home, it’s called washing dishes……

    • ODDMAN February 9, 2017 at 9:58 am #

      I do that too. LOL

  3. Jeff P. February 9, 2017 at 7:48 am #

    I worked an assembly line for a few years as a welder. It was hot, dirty, and tiring. I then got the chance to become a supervisor for the production line and that’s what I have been doing ever since. I have been a production supervisor, materials manager, transportation manager, and now a warehouse supervisor. At almost 56 years of age I don’t think I could go back to the physical jobs. Maybe, but I doubt it.

    Several years ago, my father (who turns 80 in about a month) retired from his job as an engineer for a plastics company. I don’t know how long he worked for them, maybe 35 years. He called and told me about his retirement. A few weeks later I called him and asked how the retirement was going. He said “Oh, I couldn’t stand not having something to do.” He started working for a car rental company as a driver and worked there for several more years until his joints and hearing finally caught up to him and he had to quit.

    I keep telling people that even though I have been basically in the same line of work (business management) for most of my life, it’s not what I want to do when I grow up. I don’t know what it is I want to do, but maybe someday I’ll find out. Maybe you’ll find something you love. Maybe being “The Oddman” is what you were destined for. Only time will tell.

    Good luck!

  4. Jim February 9, 2017 at 8:07 am #

    “He who works with his hands is a laborer.
    He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.
    He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.”
    ― Francis of Assisi

  5. The Fan February 9, 2017 at 8:58 am #

    Good luck with the job hunt! Hope you find something you like AND are good at it! 🙂

  6. Paul February 9, 2017 at 9:10 am #

    Good luck David. Jobs can be tough. I’ve been lucky to have a good one as a locomotive engineer for over 18 years now. Best of luck to you.

  7. ODDMAN February 9, 2017 at 9:25 am #

    I’ll find something that I’ll like and am good at, at least reasonably so. 🙂 I have no worries about that. I just chose the easiest route for employment without actually thinking it through. This industry has plenty of line jobs available at the moment and I thought that I’d try it. I did and it wasn’t for me. Not a big deal.

  8. Dale February 9, 2017 at 10:09 am #

    Nice to finally know a bit about the mysterious Oddman.

  9. John Baker February 9, 2017 at 10:21 am #

    Hi David,
    Having done multiple jobs over the last 45 years (too many to list) other than computer programming I can honestly say I had the most rewarding time in the care sector. No two days are the same and you actually do something worthwhile rather than just making a profit for a faceless company. You need a sense of humour but you definitely have that in spades. Good luck with whatever you do.

    An old Englishman.

  10. Bill February 9, 2017 at 11:11 am #

    Oddman,

    You write so well — too bad you couldn’t get a job in the company’s communications department.

    I’ve been a fan of yours for years — best of luck to you!

    Bill

  11. sharpiepen February 9, 2017 at 10:43 pm #

    I worked as an assembly worker for a small company making plumbing parts and every time I walk by PC glue I can still smell it and having it stuck to my apron..>.< It work, hard work, but I'm glad it but now I'm happy I'm not. 🙂

    Have good one,

    Sharpiepen

  12. Ja February 10, 2017 at 6:06 pm #

    You never know what’s going to fit your style.
    I’d employ you if I had a budget!

    • ODDMAN February 10, 2017 at 8:05 pm #

      Thanks. I bet that I’d have to move though… 🙂

      • Ja February 11, 2017 at 12:07 am #

        Well one of us would! The again I’m thinking Canada looks pretty good these days!

  13. Bren February 12, 2017 at 1:23 pm #

    Well said.

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