After existing in my natural state – that is to say, being lazy and irresponsible – for almost a month, it was time to find a job. Rather than to exert any real energy or thought, I chose the easiest possible path. I applied for a position at Thor Power Tool Company, where I’m certain my father’s long service, and excellent reputation, helped to open the door.
The position I was offered would not have been my first choice, but a job was a job, and the $1.48 per hour, times 40 hours a week – plus some overtime – was a welcome enhancement to my personal cash flow.
In my new job I was to be a second shift milling machine operator. Implicit in this was the expectation that I would learn machine setup as well, meaning somewhat more interesting work, and a modest raise in pay. But first I would have to learn to run the machines, and to produce acceptable parts. To accomplish this I would work on the first shift for a 30 day probationary and training period.
I mastered the simple operation of the basic milling machine in very short order. But since I was not expected to be learning setups just yet, for the remainder of the training period I was assigned a never-ending series of mind-numbingly boring jobs. Led to a milling machine, I would be given a quick instruction by the Set-Up Man, and would then “run the order” by obtaining a part from a container and clamping it into the machine. I then would perform the predetermined series of motions required for this particular job.
These actions would cause the machine to remove the required amount of metal from the part, in the correct location. When the part was “complete” I would unclamp it and toss it into a different container. I would then do this again, and again, and again, and again . . . Until it was break time, or quitting time, or until I had satisfactorily run all of the parts I had been given. I would then of course be led to another machine, set up with a different order, to do pretty much the same thing.
But, to repeat myself, a job was a job and for the time being it was first shift (7:00 am to 3:30 pm), and I could ride to and from work with my dad, who worked in another department setting up and running some pretty exotic machinery.
At the end of the training period, I was indeed switched to the night shift. However, the whole issue soon became moot due to what I believe to be one of the most ill-advised labor actions of all time.
To be continued