After the alcoholic electrician incident, a foreman and I were talking. He was a pretty good guy and interested in doing his job. He knew there were alcoholics in the plant and drug addicts. Nothing could be done about them because of management and the union.
Early one morning as he drove to work he watched an employee on shift that day stop at one of the bars. He clocked in and waited.
That particular man was late to work because of his stop at the bar. Consequently, the foreman fired him. He was not only late but on his way to inebriation. Both are against company rules and the foreman was within his full rights and job responsibilities to fire the man.
The man was below average in performance due to his problems. He finally crossed a line clearly enough to fire without much documentation.
It takes a lot of documentation, meticulous documentation, to legitimately fire a union worker. I had been trained on that issue with the directive to not worry about it because it's too expensive to fight and you'll never get all the documentation anyway. The union will win.
The plant manager called the foreman and told him to call the man and rehire him. The foreman was disgusted and humiliated but he did it. He lost quite a bit of respect for the plant manager that day.
Due to that, the hourly workers could and did run roughshod over the place in many instances. They knew they could get away with a lot and never face any punishment.
What the plant manager failed to understand is that his actions completely undermined his foremen's authority. Therefore, they were apathetic about confronting poor behaviors of any kind within the hourly ranks. In this foreman's words, "All they have to do is call the plant manager and complain and you're the one in the wrong even when you're right."
In this same plant, lots of motors ran a lot of equipment. They were interlocked with switches all over the place for safety as well as processing reasons.
One day the line was down due to a switch. It didn't take much to determine which switch kept it down. When the electrician arrived, I told him which switch was holding us out.
He immediately moved to within about 3" of my face. His face was very, very ruddy like an alcoholics would be. We were about equal in height. His breath and body wreaked of alcohol. I moved back a couple of steps. We continued to talk and he moved towards me again with about 3" to spare again. I backed up again. This continued until I was completely backed into the assembly line. Thankfully it was down.
He smelled so much and so badly of alcohol I could hardly stand to talk to him. Every pore of his body wreaked with alcohol.
Once backed into the line, I was trapped. The electrician would not relent until he had said his piece. He was angry that I had told him which switch was keeping us down. He didn't want me telling him what to do. After all, in his estimation, I didn't know how to troubleshoot a switch.
Once I apologized for upsetting him, he moved away to an acceptable distance. I had asked him to move out of my personal space prior to the apology but he refused. He insisted on making a point. What he didn't realize was his aggressiveness in doing so. I could have turned him in to management but didn't. That was his livelihood and his treatment of me wasn't that big a deal.
That apology was all he needed. His attitude shifted dramatically and he became quite congenial. It was almost like watching Dr. Hyde and Mr. Jekyll.
I didn't know what else to do other than let him air his grievances towards me and apologize for my behavior. He never did apologize but I am only responsible for myself.
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.
A lot has been said in the last week about the Aurora shootings. My emotions have swung some because of it and people discussing the shootings.
There is no making sense out of something like that. I cannot. After George Sodini did what he did, I contacted a few medical professionals to learn more but they never returned any communication. I don't think they have answers. Who can but God?
I have not been angry but I have been sad this week. Sad that we make our problems others' problems. Everyone does it to some degree. The young Holmes is an extreme example of that.
Sadness arises because of the pain Holmes has caused so many including his parents. Sadness because we live in such a broken world and Jesus Christ is the answer but He is routinely rejected.
The victims and their families need continued prayer. James Holmes and his parents need continued prayer. Everyone involved has been affected and will be affected by this for the rest of their time on earth.
A young man, Pierce O'Farrill, did an interview about the incident. He was wounded twice in the shootings. He has forgiven Jim Holmes because he is a follower of Jesus Christ. He also understands the pain that Holmes must have lived with to cause him to do such a thing. Only God can touch lives like that.
It's refreshing to hear O'Farrill state he has forgiven Holmes. Rather than anger over Holmes's actions, gun rights being threatened, etc., he has forgiveness on his mind.
We can all learn a lesson from O'Farrill and practice what Jesus Christ tells us to practice. Hopefully O'Farrill will have an opportunity to talk with Holmes about The Word.
My dad abandoned us in 1966 in Abilene, TX. That produced a lot of changes for us. The way he left my mother made it very difficult for her to remain afloat. Thank God for her sisters and brothers-in-law.
My dad tried once to reconcile with Mother. She was not interested. I didn't see or hear from him again. Occasionally his parents would "drop by" from Dallas, TX for a visit. Invariably insults about Mother or Grandma would arise. Grandma was a spitfire in their presence. She had good reason to be. Otherwise, she was pretty docile and fun loving.
When I entered the first grade that year, The Quillin's sued Mother for custody of us. They made claims about how unkept we were, running footloose through the countryside, unfed, dirty clothes, not being properly educated, etc.
Once they made Grandma so mad, she told them to get off her front porch and leave. They refused. She threatened to get her shot gun after them. She didn't have one but they didn't know that so they left. We were on the porch, too, standing behind Grandma. Grandma was my hero. She stood up for us!
I didn't understand it all. Still don't. I understood then they were trying to take me from my mother. That instilled a great deal of fear, anxiety, dismay, sadness, etc. in me. Mother was my safety blanket.
Sometime in 1967 the court ruled against The Quillin's. My dad didn't want us but his parents sure did. They thought they could raise us better than Momma. They could have looked at their own son and realized the lie they told themselves.
When they failed, they again sued Mother for custody but only for my older brother and me not my older sister. We looked like The Quillin's.
I understood then they were trying to take me not only from my mother but my sister, too. Again, I was terrified because not only was I a Momma's Girl, I was a Sister's Girl, too.
Sometime during the winter of my 2nd grade year, The Quillin's lost once and for all. It was such a relief to me I found my 1st grade teacher making her rounds during recess to tell her the good news. She had been involved somehow in the case as my 1st grade teacher. I told her I was not going to be taken away from my mother or my sister. I was going to stay right where I was. What a relief! I was happy about that and the stress was gone.
I didn't understand then why The Quillin's disliked Mother so much. I don't today. Mother was a sweetie pie.
The explanation given during that horrible time and every time after it was brought up was, "They did it all in the name of the church." It was all done "because of the church" or "all that because of the church" or some variation of that theme.
Grandfather and Grandmother Quillin attended a Church of Christ in East Dallas called Mt. Auburn. At that time, the Church of Christ believed and taught that only they were going to Heaven. Further, out of all the Church of Christ, Mt. Auburn people were the only ones going to Heaven.
They must have believed themselves to truly be an elite group of folks and The Quillin's were part of it. Mother, being Southern Baptist, must have been a real disappointment and such a pitiful soul to them.
That caused a great deal of confusion and distrust in me about religion and the church. I understood Mother's church and beliefs were different. Yet, some churches taught stuff that ultimately harmed kids and were to be distrusted and viewed with a very skeptical eye.
I have a distrust of religion but I trust my Lord Jesus Christ.
Disclaimer: I have been told the Church of Christ has changed and is not the church of my grandparents.
Back in the day, when diversity was just heating up, I was the only female engineer in the department. One would think that would open doors to me on an Engineering Council for Diversity. Bah! You would have to think, wouldn't you?
The diversity council was comprised of all men from the department. There was no room for me. I asked.
One of the men resigned from the company, which left an opening on the diversity council. I asked to be put on it as the only woman in the department in engineering. It seemed a proper course of action. Again, I was denied. Another man was put on the council. A firm statement of they had who they needed on it was issued and there was no room for me.
I didn't understand his decision but this manager was a few levels above me so it didn't seem fitting to inquire further. After all, I was just a token.
Perhaps there was a good and valid reason for me to be shut out. Maybe they needed to decide what kind of underpants are best. I prefer Jockey sport for the breathable mesh and secure H-fly support.
Aunt Grace is my great-aunt through my Grandmother Quillin. I never thought about the age difference. She was born in the early 1900's. She never appeared that much older to me. She was engaged and knew current events. She was intelligent, too, and full of wisdom.
Aunt Grace was a real sweetheart and would often love on me, when I was a kid. Her two kids, David and Rosalind, would, too.
Since we had minimal contact with Mother's family prior to my parent's divorce, about the only people I knew were Grandmother Quillin's family. David and Rosalind were always the best in the few pages of my life's book. They were beautiful, fun, happy, and always made me feel special with their attention.
Aunt Grace's health was always fragile but she still had an inner strength that must have come from the Lord. She was bedridden the last few years of her life. My last memory of her is very sweet. She loved me quite a bit.
Aunt Grace would often put a scripture in her correspondence with David and Rosalind. Rosalind said that scripture over me today. What a heritage! A little family history was passed down today!
24 "The Lord bless you and keep you;
25 The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
26 The Lord lift up His countenance upon you
And give you peace.
I am blessed to have cousins who love me as they do.
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.||