Seven months ago I started a new job at a factory.
Now, I can’t speak for everyone, but it’s not exactly the kind of job you dream about. That didn’t mean I didn’t like it! I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved the job. I make a particular car part that I never knew existed, and I certainly don’t understand how it works even now!
At my job I am the only worker in my area and I operate six machines. There are two processes in my area, so divide those machines in half per process. It was so much to learn, and even once you learn how to operate them you still aren’t quite there yet. The first process is actually making the part, which involves a lot of adjustments and measurements. I’ll say it: it’s damn hard. Training is anywhere between thirty and ninety days.
The factory I work for is in a period of change–they have a new set of managers, several supervisors have been replaced, and the president has also just been changed. A lot of this change, I gather, is the result of a previous plant manager running the entire place poorly. The factory’s parts quality is…let’s say, “below average.” We have a lot of scrap as well, measurement-wise I’d say we have a fuckton of scrap. Yup.
Being a perfectionist, I took this to heart. When you first start operating your numbers are gonna be lower until you gradually gain speed. We’ll say my factory measures the amount of parts you handle each shift by “sets.” The average goal is five sets per shift.
This was not my average and it was fine because I was new. I was also told it was fine because for a trainee my quality was exceptional, and it was clear to everyone that I wanted to do my best.
Then, three months in, Chad arrived. My new supervisor.
The shift in my work day changed immediately. Chad was hired on because my shift only had two supervisors and he was supposed to lighten the load. He was assigned to my area, as well as a few areas next to mine. When a supervisor makes the rounds, it’s to check up on you and to see if you need anything. This was not the case with Chad.
Chad only had one thing to say, “How many sets are you at?”
Let me explain why this is the doucheiest thing: I operate the machines and now that I’m on my own shift I’m also the only person in the entire factory that knows how to work them. If something goes wrong with any of my machines, I fix them. Me. Maintenance? Nah, man, forget about it. There are two machines that maintenance could help with–and that’s with only specific issues. Otherwise, it’s all me.
Oh, and p.s. these machines break down or fuck up all the damn time. To the point where I have to leave a machine down until the next shift, which is my former trainer, can fix it. Chad can not comprehend this to save his soul. The other supervisors understand that they don’t know shit about these machines, but not Chad.
On Monday, Chad patronizes me for not getting five sets–something I hadn’t yet accomplished ever. On Tuesday, Chad actually raises his voice and complains to me that my machine is down–let me say again, a machine that only I can possibly fix and it’s his job to help me and bring me anything I need. Not to fucking whinge at me.
On Wednesday, Chad comes over and tells me that he’s been to the area that performs the next process on my parts after they leave my area. He tells me that they absolutely need six sets. He is speaking quickly, fidgeting like he’s panicking, and repeats again that if they don’t get six sets they are fucked. So I have to get six sets by the end of my shift.
I am immediately yanked into a panic attack.
I black out for the next five hours, and skip my last break. By the end of the night I get six sets, but by the time I’m at home I completely break down. Thursday, I come into work and a coworker tells me about the conversation she had with Chad yesterday before I arrived:
Chad: So, how many sets should Becca get in a shift?
Coworker: Uhh…. (this is awkward for her) I don’t know, she just got off training, she could get four probably. The average is five.
Chad: Okay….okay….. So we’ll shoot for six. *immediately walks away*
This asshat lied to me on a whim, and for what? Six fucking sets when we weren’t even behind on the product! He had me convinced that I would get in trouble if I didn’t do what he’d said. He took away any sense of satisfaction I would’ve had doing more sets than I’d ever done, just because he thinks I should be faster?
In under one week, I went from really enjoying my work, to never wanting to set foot in there again. I didn’t even want to do my work, because now getting numbers was for Chad, not for myself. This is even more of an insult because the company is trying to change it’s work ethic. We have meetings with higher-ups every month telling us to stop mindlessly running our machines to get big numbers and instead run our machines intentionally.
I wanted to invest in this place because I believed in the goals the managers had, yet somehow they’ve hired Chad: A supervisor determined to manipulate the employees who count on his leadership and authority. I can’t stand it.
Employees don’t leave jobs, they leave management.
Keep a lookout for the continuation of my story–
What could happen to bring Chad and I together?
Another new supervisor, that’s what.
Thank you to everyone that took the time to read this.
Share your own work experiences below!
♥ Becca N.