Admittedly, I've never been well endowed. It's never been much of an issue for me. You take life as it comes and be happy with what you've been given.
I've never been a clothes hog. It's never been a high priority much to Mother's dismay. Growing up poor impacts your thinking. So underwear is in that category. Not much of a priority.
After I understood the ornery operator was the ring leader and was leading an insurrection against me, I had to buy underwear. A bra to be specific.
When you're my size, there isn't much of a selection in the stores. For the first time ever, I bought a padded bra.
The first time I wore it to work, evidently it caused a stir. Soon afterwards, the ring leader showed up with a very nice, tight fitting shirt. She obviously had a new bra on, too, which really highlighted her figure. Her bra looked padded.
Shortly after I got into the area that morning, a fella' came through and casually commented to her, "Got a new padded bra, huh? You can't let her get anything on you, can you? Just because she gets one, you have to get one. You're jealous, aren't you?" She groused at him and he left.
She was obviously embarrassed by his remarks and somewhat flustered. To institute good will, I walked over and told her she looked very nice. She grunted some ugly words then turned her back to me, bowed up, and became sullen.
She was jealous and only Heaven knows the depth and breadth of it. It went deep enough for her to work against me and in an evil way.
I would have gladly helped her in any way possible. She was unteachable thus unreachable.
After I had been put on notice, which I took seriously, we were close to running rejects consistently. I quietly pointed this out to the operator on shift. She ignored me, as usual, like I was a flake to be ignored. She was the ring leader of the department and just ornery.
I thought for a few minutes and decided to make the adjustment myself. I couldn't afford to allow them to run rejects. If she wanted to file a grievance, she could. The adjustment got them in a much better spot.
Later that evening, they began running rejects due to a completely separate issue on that machine. That's the problem with fully depreciated equipment, i.e., it has a lot of slop and takes tons of TLC to maintain specifications. But, I digress. Again no one called me that evening.
The next morning I learned of the rejects. The same operator was still on shift. My Engr. Mgr. asked if I'd made an adjustment on the machine the previous day. I had and told him why. He asked me to demonstrate to him what I had done. We walked to the production area.
When we got into the area, the ornery operator blurted out, "She did it! I saw her! She made an adjustment here!" She pointed to an area on the equipment. I suppose it was a good thing she said all of that. She was wrong. I demonstrated what I had done and repeated why. The EM knew the operator was wrong immediately and said I was OK for now. That told me the Production Manager was after me.
The EM and I continued to discuss the rejects and the reasoning behind my actions. He understood I made the right adjustment and told the operator. She had already confessed to making an adjustment in the area to which she pointed to correct my adjustment. Since she was the one that told the Production Mgr. that I had made an adjustment, it began to appear she was trying to sabotage me.
She never did that again and I continued to try to work with her. She wasn't having any part of my efforts. She has missed out on so much good in life because she is stubborn about
Thankfully, my boss, who is a good, Christian man was trying to protect and help me. It was good to have him on my side.
Before I had been put on notice in this plant, my relationship with the Production Mgr. seemed OK. Things weren't perfect in production but they never had been at this plant. The equipment was old and fully depreciated. I was learning and analyzing the data to find ways to upgrade the equipment, which was part of my job. During the interview, new equipment justification was emphasized.
We brought a number of new parts online and some required a new, very small process. It had been engineered and temporarily installed until it could be automated. Since it was a manual operation, an operator was required to sit there and run it throughout the run.
They had been trained and were doing a great job for quite awhile. We had the necessary job aids to help them set it up and run it. Everything was fine. For awhile. Then. It changed. Well, crud!
Other operators and maintenance people learned that the operator on shift was there, couldn't leave, and was, therefore, a captive ear. That's right. Other people were talking to the operator on shift and eventually they began to engage in conversation with those coming in to talk to them and they began to run rejects.
I mentioned this to the foremen but nothing changed. I watched the data and kept trying to work with the foremen. Nothing changed.
One foreman tried but operators didn't listen to him. They knew foremen didn't have any authority to fire them even though technically they did. Their authority had been undermined and the hourly people knew it.
I had multiple conversations with engineering about automating the process but they were too busy. My problems were not an issue for them. The project had been funded but they weren't making time for it. Management knew this and they were OK with it.
Finally the Production Manager told me to engineer out the mistakes with even more signs and whatnots in the area. Wow. I didn't know how much simpler to get things and politely told him as much.
I informed him of my observations and discussions with the foremen. I politely said since I was not a member of management, I couldn't tell the operators to do anything. Well, that didn't go over good at all. He blew up about making more signs for the operators and training them again. I pointed out that rejects were run only by certain operators, who had friends. When they weren't disturbed, we had far, far fewer rejects. Zero points earned.
I was not being disrespectful at all. The operators were kept aware of our performance through control charts that were posted daily. We had department meetings to cover all necessary issues, including training and any needs or issues I didn't know about. I did what I could on my own and was allowed to do by management.
Somehow I suspect this must have contributed to me ultimately being put on notice to be fired. I felt like the child telling the Emperor that he had no clothes on.
I went into that plant a few years ago. That small process was still a manual process and in the state I last saw it. No signs were up. No production aids were around. They still run rejects, when they are distracted.
As I walked to my cube one morning reporting to work, I heard the Production Manager talking to the Engineering Manager. It was not a good conversation because the PM was angry and going through his usual routine of ranting, raving, yelling, bellowing, cursing, etc.
It didn't take long to determine who the target of his ire was this time. Moi. One of my departments had run 2.5 hours of rejects, which ran into hundreds of thousands of dollars at that point in the process.
I ran down to the morning meeting room to see the defect. In bad lighting, poor position, and with no correction on my eyes, I could see the defect. It couldn't be missed. This kind of defect happened periodically. Usually it was caught quickly because an operator would see the cause as the product arrived in that department or would catch it at the next inspection. I quickly walked the plant gathering information. I went back to my cube and waited for the inevitable.
My boss, the EM, defended me. He was quizzed about why I wasn't at work during the evening hours. My boss calmly answered with, "She had a night class. Did anyone call her? She lives 5 minutes from the plant. She would have come, if someone had called her." The PM angrily huffed out with, "She just should have been here!"
The PM then came to my cube and proceeded to ream me a new one. Both of us stood. He was so angry his skin was beet red, his jugulars bulged, his body was shaking, and his fists were tightly clenched. He was about 9" taller than me and slightly large thus intimidating as all get out. I kept an eye on his clenched fists. You never know what anger will do.
When he finished, I politely told him that I looked at the defect and noted how obvious it was to see. I politely told him:
The Production Manager previously informed me that I was not management thus was not to tell the operators to do anything. I was to tell the foreman or his boss, the line supervisor, and let one of them tell the operators what to do. I followed orders. I reminded him of my station in the plant.
This situation was clearly not an engineering problem but a management problem. Consequently, I asked him where his operators and foreman were. What were they doing for 2.5 hours and 10 inspections in my department? What were the other operators doing down the line? That angered him further and he bellowed some more. I politely held to my position and questions.
He angrily left me with, "You just should have been here!" That was the only evening that happened. How could anyone know future events including him?
Not long after that, he put me on notice to be fired. His announcement came without any warning or reason. He clearly disliked me for some reason. I don't think it was me. He didn't seem to like anyone including the Plant Manager, who he talked to publicly very disrespectfully and practically called him an idiot in one meeting. The Plant Manager said nothing to him. It was an amazing dynamic to watch with so many in the meetings.
The PM railed on everyone so often it was ridiculously old. He would go from calm to angry in a NY second and over the silliest "problems." People had begun to tune him out months before. They tired of his yelling, bellowing, cursing, and screaming. They knew his reputation before he arrived at that plant and knew what to expect. They hoped he would be different in our plant but he wasn't. They waited for him to be rotated out. The more timid people kept a very low profile to keep their stress to a minimum. They felt they couldn't handle any more stress than they already had.
That particular evening the most problematic operator was on shift. She was capable but disliked management and was lazy. She wouldn't acknowledge me at all. She ate in the clean room. She talked on the phone often. She would leave her station. She painted her nails in the clean room. She made out her grocery list in the clean room. She routinely walked through the plant without safety gear. No one in management said anything to her about the safety gear. Ultimately, the PM held me accountable for the operators's behavior so I had to tell her. Even with great diplomacy and concern for her health, she didn't change her behaviors. She still has the same reputation, by the way.
My job rested on her stubborn rebellion and the decisions of a crazy manager.
I have spent years in the bowels of manufacturing plants helping to bring numerous products to market that touch virtually every aspect of life.
|Pamela Quillin, P.E.