Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Painting the lines
When I graduated from high school, I took a summer job working in a manufacturing environment. If you've ever seen a textile mill with cloth running from one machine to another, you've seen some of the large rollers. The company I worked for would take these rollers (after they had worn considerably) and strip all the rubber off of them, then apply new rubber. The new rubber was then sanded smooth, to the exact specifications the customer demanded. Typically, this was within a few thousandths of an inch.
The machine I worked on had the ability to put a "crown" onto a roll. That is, the diameter of the roll was more in the center than on the ends. So, it may have a "crown" of 0.025 inches. The ends had to match each other, the crown had to be in the center and the crown had to be the exact specified amount.
Business was very good in the summer, because textiles took time off. During their lulls, they would send us the work. I start out working 55 hours a week (10 hours/day, 5 hours on Sunday) and kept that up for most of the summer. Top that off with an above-minimum wage pay and I was living! (and spending it all too).
Occasionally, work would get slack. No new orders coming in, so overtime was cut quickly. When the workload dropped even more, we painted lines. The lines were required by OSHA for safety. it showed where forklifts could go, where other equipment could go, etc. When times were very slow, we painted our machines.
So why am I posting this, thirty years later? The company I worked for no longer exists and other than a few scars on my two small fingers of my left hand and some memories, there's nothing left.
Well, here's my point. There are times in your life when things are slow. When this happens, you need to paint lines. If life is slow, your job is boring and things aren't going your way, paint the lines. Study a new topic. Stay in school (or go back). Complete a few projects that you didn't complete when life was hectic. Focus on the essentials. Maybe even (gasp) read a book.
Or if live gets very boring, post a blog entry.