The 'BARKING OWL' always has something to say, and like the feathered version, can be either WISE...............or ANNOYING!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Stretching Question Three of...Five

Every day in the shipyard, workers gather in manageable groups of a few dozen, generally separated according to the various trades, and "stretch." Along with dozens of other fitters, I stand outside in whatever weather is beholden and go through a series of ligament warming, muscle waking, and bone bending exercises designed to prepare our bodies for a safe and productive day.

During this grind, one of the leaders begins to ask us some of the FOUR questions we should ask ourselves throughout the day. A QUESTION FIVE always comes to my mind on these occasions.  I will get to that in good time.

Please read QUESTIONS ONE and TWO before going on.


"How can I hurt any tools or equipment today?"

Yes, things are people too! Or something like that.  Ok so it's people first and THEN things.  But you will notice that things do have an important place in the pecking order.  They come third.  People are second, right after GRANDKIDS!

The shipyard has an important interest in the tools and equipment they supply. And they let us know. On his first day each man is issued a basic set of tools necessary for the completion of his duties.  I remember feeling like I had won the jackpot!  I walked into the North Tool Room (NTR) in my brand new shiny red helmet and was assigned a fancy set of long blue fire retardant gloves, another pair of leather gloves, a flashlight, a striker, a hammer, a torch, a green face shield, a 9"grinder and a 4"grinder, ear plugs, a clear face shield, a welding whip, a welder's helmet, a stick ruler, a tri-square, a center punch, green sleeve protectors, a fairing lens, a paint marker, a soapstone, knee pads, a jitterbug, a needle gun, and a great big steel tool box in which to stash it all.  I stood there waiting for my very own fork truck to haul this pile awayfor me but they just laughed meanly and bade me go find a couple of old steel 5 gallon buckets.

These were all mine?  I love tools!  But my euphoria quickly turned to a watchful dread when I was told "Oh, by the way, if ANYTHING is missing when lay off time comes, you'll be charged twice the going price for each item, so don't let anything out of your sight."  Oh.

This deliberate policy transfers care of each toolular item from the company to the worker. Consequently, while some important work is accomplished every day, among the average shipyard worker, very little supersedes tool-watching!  The good care of each tool is easily measured by the amount that might be removed from a future paycheck.  Who wants to hurt or lose any tools?  I sure don't!

Some of "their stuff"
The other category of inanimate object that we are expected to protect from harm is the company's own equipment.  This is not supplied directly to any one worker, but is simply available for general use whenever or wherever it is needed.  Hoses for air powered tools, gas lines for torches, power leads for welding and electric extension cords fall into this department.  Such lines are dragged out and left running across decks, around sharp corners, and subjected to major streams of molten sparks.  Hoses are driven over, walked on, pinched and cut in two on a regular basis.  But who cares?  They just belong to the company and such abuse gives old Chuck, the hose repair guy, work until he's 105 just to get through the current mountain of broken, burnt and battered hosiery.

I might suggest, though it would be very impractical, that each man be assigned a number of hoses in each category.  The repair pile would disappear and Chuck would have to find another job.  All because people gladly take care of stuff that they have to pay for, or have paid for; but care very little about what has been given them cost free.

As you lean forward and slowly pull that hamstring, ponder QUESTION THREE.

How can I hurt any tools or equipment today?

My Tools
I could make sure I have no ownership.
I could stop guarding my stuff from thievery.
I could lend out my tools without regard to past delinquencies.
I could use whatever is in my hand as a hammer.
I could give and give and give and give...and never receive anything back.

Their Equipment
I could actually care less, and be careless.
I could remind myself that "this ain't mine!".
I could let the next generation of shipfitters pay the bill.
I could pretend that the rich company can afford anything!
I could simply imagine that nothing I can do will save the company resources.
I could go get a new pair of gloves every day.

Good stewardship, the Bible calls it, is essential for the maximum use of all important resources.  Whether it be heating oil, drinking water, electricity, jobs, hoses or even a pair of big blue fitter gloves; every item should be preserved and fostered and used to meet its utmost potential.  And whether something is "mine" or "theirs" must not matter; let everything we have or use be considered as a gift to be appreciated and cultivated.

Please leave a comment.

By the way...MILLERWRITES copy is COPYRIGHTED. Why cut and paste when you can simply copy the link?

No comments:

Post a Comment

I can't wait to see your response so, unless you can leave a pizza, please leave the next best thing; your comment!