I know I talk about work a lot on this blog, because it takes up so much of my life. For those of you who don't already know, let me show you what I do. This picture is not one of our coils. It's just a random picture I got off the internet. However, what we make is similar to this. Not exactly like it, but the same general idea.
I am a sub - brazer. I make the copper tube assembly that is attached to the front of the unit.
That big tube with all the little tubes sticking out of it, I put those together, then pass them on to someone else who attaches them to the unit. What I make is called a header or manifold assembly. The thing it is attached to is called a coil. The coil consists of two slabs. Those are the things on the side with all the little skinny bits of metal, called fins -- the thing that looks like the radiator in your car. Slabs are made on a machine we call the Fin Press. I don't have anything to do with those. I'm just mentioning it in passing, for no reason whatsoever... just so you know what it is. There are other parts to the coil, but they aren't important right now.
I get to work bright and early this morning. I walk across the still dark parking lot, fill my cooler with ice, and clock in. I head to my work area, and before I even get my bag off my shoulder, one of the people working third shift turns around and barks, "Becky! These headers are wrong!!!"
Hey, I just got here. Don't be blaming me for it.
Nevertheless, they're all looking at me, like it is somehow my fault. The third shift sub-brazer has by that time, wandered off, like she usually does as soon as I get there. I later told the third shift group leader, "I don't mind coming in to help, but I'm not coming in to do her job for her. If she's going to stop working as soon as I get here, I'm going to stop coming in early. "
I don't think he will get the chance, though. Two third shift people were over there trying to fix those wrong headers, when one of them got fed up. She called the sub-brazer and told her to come fix them, since she's the one that messed them up. The brazer walked over to her stand, grabbed her bag, and walked out the door. I told third shift group leader, "I don't think she's coming back. She left all her tools behind. I think she quit."
I gave him my phone number and told him if she doesn't show up tonight, and you need me to come in at three, clear it with your supervisor and call me at home. I cautioned him to call me from the company phone, or I won't answer.
Aaaand my day just went downhill from there. Group Leader was in an especially naggy mood today. She was really driving me up the wall, so much so that I told her she needed professional help, because she had an unhealthy obsession with calling my name. She said, "I have to, or you'll think there is something wrong with me." I replied, "I already think there is something wrong with you!"
The highlight of the day was about 1:00 PM, when she walked over and asked me -- ME--,"Were you two slabs short on that last order?"
Now, if you'll remember from my casual observance above, I have nothing whatsoever to do with the slabs. Why was she asking me? I just stood there, dumbfounded, with my mouth hanging open, until the words burst forth unbidden,
Do I look like a Fin Press to you?
Sigh, is it any wonder my nerves are shot?
I thought briefly about requesting to go to third shift if that brazer really did quit, but it wouldn't do any good. It's been this way on every line I've worked on. I'm sure it'll be the same on third shift, too. I always seem to end up being a sort of default group leader, even though I don't want to be. People always tend to look to me for answers. They look to me for leadership. It got so bad on line 2 that I hung a sign on my stand that said, "I am not your group leader. Ask Fernando!"
All those Facebook quizzes that say I'm a natural leader, I'd always scoffed at the idea. I'm beginning to think there might be something to that after all.