45 vans an hour, 8 hours a day, 360 vans every shift. That’s 360 times you have to tighten the same nut, clip on the same part, et cetera. Sounds pretty monotonous, right? Technically, you’re right, but there’s so much more than the labor. The people around you who become family and the pride you take into your job provides me with something I feel is uncommon in most workplaces.
1. The Co-Workers
With other jobs I’ve had, I’ve never been a very sentimental guy when it comes to my co-workers, outside of a select few people. However, after 3 months of spending 9 hours a day with the same 6 people, I’ve learned so much about them: how they came to be at the plant, stories about their spouse and kids, and things we agree on and disagree with (as well as which topics to avoid). The biggest difference (and best part) between this job and past jobs I’ve had is that I’ll get to watch their lives unfold over the years, and that is awesome.
2. It’s a Thinking Man’s Job
When you’re not in a position to talk to your co-workers, you only have your thoughts to entertain you. Outside of listening to music, this job offers hours of time to self-reflect, plan your day/weekends, and even learn! Audio-books make wonderful companions on the line; my favorites have been A Song and Ice and Fire series and books about Tibetan Buddhism.
The automobile industry is incredibly stable. In 2008 the government bailed out GM, Chrysler, and Ford in order to keep it running. In most cases, your job security as an assembly worker is in your hands. The Union helps make sure that you aren’t wrongfully fired, so unless there’s a legitimate reason, your job is one of the most secure.
4. Leave Your Work at Work
Every day, I come home and usually see my roommate hard at work after-hours either in meetings or trying to get more done than he could at work. Nothing makes me happier than knowing that as soon as I walk out after a shift, I don’t have to worry about anything work-related. The only way I could see myself worrying about work at home is if they built the line through my living room, which I’m confident in that not happening.
I feel that it’s uncommon for employees to see what their hard work has accomplished outside of the workplace; now, every time I see a vehicle that we build, I get a swell of pride knowing that my co-workers and I built that. Obviously I don’t build every single vehicle, but it feels pretty great to see the fruits of your labor out in the real world.
All in all, while I first had my reservations about working in a factory, I’ve come to find that it’s an amazing environment surrounded by some of the most diverse work-forces in the country. While not necessarily my dream job, I’ve found that I am very content with making my living, and look forward to the years to come.