Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

Today was cool because I finally started actual work.  I know it is my 7th day on the job, but it has taken this long to truly start working independently on something instead of sitting in a classroom or following people around.  The big project that I will be working on over the course of the next few weeks is updating SWIs.  What are SWI's you ask?  Standard Work Instructions.  At JLG, they make various machines.  One line is devoted to assembling telehandlers, which are essentially giant forklifts that can put pallets and other various objects up a few stories high.  These badass machines can lift up to 12,000 lbs 55 feet in the air.  Standard Work Instructions give you step-by-step instructions on how to assemble them at each station.  Pictures, directions, arrows, and colors are all used to help the worker understand as much as possible.  Naturally, many of these guys have been doing this for years and certainly do no need these.  But anytime someone new comes in, or substitutes for them, these SWI's are very important.  Also, during the occasional audit (god forbid), they are vital.  Almost all of these SWI's are outdated and I am the lucky one who gets to update them.  What I do is look at the old one and work with the guys on the line to find the discrepancies, and do what I need to do to fix them.  It is a lot of work, but fairly interesting.  It is cool because I have to understand as much as anyone what is required to build these machines.  So if you want to know how to build a JLG G9-43A, I will be able to tell you.  The challenge of interacting with the men and women on the line, as I discussed last week, is certainly coming into play with this project.  So far, almost all of them have been helpful and it has been a good experience.

After work, I had to go to Hagerstown, MD (30 minutes away) to take care of a few chores.  I took my mom's car to get an oil change and they said it would take an hour and a half, so I walked over to the mall to hang out.  I saw a bookstore and decided to go in so I could get a gift for my sister for her graduation.  Right in the front delay were two of my all time favorite childhood (and maybe current) books: The Giving Tree and Oh, the Places You'll Go.  So without even hesitating, I took the books and found an empty isle to sit in.  Plopped myself on the ground and started reading.  Memories of laying in bed and having my Mom or Grandma read these amazing stories to me flushed through my mind.  I liked them back them because of the cool artwork and comfort of my family.  Now, I understand what those stories truly mean and I love them just as much, if not more, than back then.  Just like when you go back and watch a kids movie from your youth and pick up on so many things you didn't before, I started realizing why my family read these to me.

Reading these stories reminded me of the saying "all I ever need to know I learned in Kindergarten."  So True.  The values of perseverance and caring taught by these books are among the many things taught to us at a young age that are more important to our success than any college degree can ever give us.  The golden rule, what is right and wrong, and how to tie your shoes.  What else do you need?  A person that can utilize what is taught at a young age is much more likely to excel in life than someone who disregards all of that but can do higher level calculus statistics.  Essentially what I am saying is not to forget your foundation.  Without a good foundation, any good structure will fall (you don't have to be an engineer like me to know that).  The same is true with a person.  I believe that the foundation of a person is in their beliefs and values, and if we cannot maintain those, we have nothing.  I am not saying turn around the way you are living live, just always remember what your parents and kindergarten teacher taught you and you'll be just fine.

Couldn't find a good quote from my limited source of quotes (my imagination and twitter), but I think this TFM applies to me and my newfound corporate setting,

"Straight shooter with upper management written all over him." TFM.

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