Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What every manager should do- or that machine kicked my backside today--

I have been with the company I am employed by for the last 20 years. When I was first hired it was to run one of the machines in the department I am still in. I had never- ever seen anything like that before. I was a bit nervous, but not intimidated by it as I have seen others be. Once I learned how to run the thing I was good- not the best- but I was good at it. Depending on what we were running at any given time I could get some yarn off and I mean a LOT of yarn. Too bad it wasn't production.

Then after a few years I began to get ambitious. It took several tries and pestering the manager but I finally made assistant supervisor. A position I've held for thirteen years now. Off and on I've had to run a machine when things were slow and lay- offs were in force while waiting on things to pick back up. Most of the time I would run samples which is usually anything from one part cone to fifty pounds. Something incredibly boring to do. Especially when one is used to continuously moving. To be forced to stand in one place is purgatory.

This week.. we are slow. This week, I have had to run a machine. Monday and Tuesday were easy. The machine I ran cruised right along allowing me to send out a fair amount for the style I was running. Today----

Today the machine I ran was something straight from the depths of Hades itself. There were some problems with the job right off that I had to fix. This particular yard has nine different components in its make- up. That's a lot of different things to be running out on me. And it did. Just about the time I would get one thing caught up two more would fall apart. I will tell you this with no hesitation- I did not get bored. It was a constant battle, to keep the machine running good quality yarn, to keep it running on high speed and to keep waste up out of the floor-I tried- but I'm seriously out of practice. Then to top it off- we started running out of part of the materials that go into this yarn. All I could do was the best I could do to keep as much of the machine running as possible.

And then of course we had visitors come through. At least I think that was visitors, I was too busy trying to look really busy and competent to check out the parade passing by not too far away.

At the end of the day I was crawling- I'm sitting here now yawning repeatedly. I will say this- every manager needs to step down from their pedestal every once in a while and run the job they are managing. They need to be reminded of what the non-management people deal with on a day to day, minute by minute basis. I think that it is too easy to get so caught up in "manager's stuff' that you can forget exactly what all is involved, what problems, hassles, frustrations the regular folk are dealing with. Once reminded, you are better equipped to fight for them in meetings. You are more sympathetic when they are pounding on the machine and threatening to throw things. You have been reminded, you can go back and talk to them on a more one on one basis of understanding.

and then just don't let them know that their job kicked you butt--

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