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Today, which I cannot believe, is an anniversary, which still gives me nightmares.
And I can remember so much about it.
I found out about a month before that well paid jobs were available in the local factory.
Little did I know that 35 years later, that I left the job with a half decent pension, this was 47 years ago today.
I look back on that day, as one of the longest days of my life.
I had to be at the reception room in the office block by 8a.m.
Which I managed. The bloke who took that introduction into the working ethic of the company and more importantly at that time the union.
I volunteered to go on a certain shift, so that I had a lift in from a neighbour.
Those that did, like me, were sent home with instructions to report back to the office block at the shift start time at 10p.m.
I got home and tried to get a few hours sleep, but I was too excited.
My mother gave me enough food in my box, to sink Bismarck.
And in the dark, late in the evening, quiet and tired, I arrived.
We reported in and were given instruction on safety and what to wear and procedures to work in this factory.
We went then, across the nearest block where there was certain production and stores.
We crossed the road that ran through the factory for lorries, then through another block until we again crossed the road and went through a machine shop that housed huge machines that pressed steel into parts, the noise was deafening, we walked for another 300 yards until we came to the section where I was going to be working.
I was introduced to the foreman and the leading hand and the shop steward!!!
I was not the only newbie on this section, so we were shown around were there was about forty men, (no women, they couldn't do this job, could they?) The section had to work together and ensure quality so that the production didn't stop. This was way before they brought in Kaizan, which is Japanese style teamwork.
I was given a job with another man, and shown on the job how to do this work the best way and easiest to keep the quality and quantity. However, at any time then the union could call the workforce out for little or no reason.
Anywho, the night dragged on and I could safely say that it was a long night and made up with how I handled the work. Then I was given a clock card to clock off, forty men queuing up to clock off!
I fell asleep in the car.
Got in and changed and slept for ten hours.
That was my first day of so many.
I travelled Europe thanks to the job, I rolled out new products being on the pilot in different cities around Europe. I have seen one of the biggest factories in Europe with a city built around it.
I have taught team leadership and lean manufacturing process. I have supervised a production line being in charge of thirty two men. I have had some really good times. The work was hard but rewarding most of the time.
I had the opportunity to retire early, so I did, because even though I had gained respect, promotion and was in line to go to Poland, I took the money, the work was a young man's game.
But at the time, this was when I had already had a few health issues, that was taking its toll on my body.
If I only knew then, what I know now!
Happy anniversary, the nightmare is of my really struggling to keep up with the work rate and failing. Because I'm useless! (Ha!)
Have a wonderful Christmas.
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