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

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Stretching Question Four...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, and a contingent of invading welders, 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 ,TWO and THREE before going on.


"How can I waste time and effort today?"

This may seem like a no brainer for most of us who use Facebook!  Trolling through line after line of other people's timelines and photos and status updates; watching YouTube and WIMP videos; posting dumb jokes and leaving inane comments.  What?  That's just me?  OK, but you know what I mean.  It is so very easy to waste time online.

But it is not much harder to misspend valuable time in the shipyard.  A lot of the lost time is management's idea.  Like the "rollback" we had Friday morning.  For the sake of "slips trips and falls" prevention, hundreds of guys spent the first hour or so of the day rolling up every gas line, air line, welding lead, extension cord and  CO2 hose in the yard.  Fine.  And nobody was hurt in the process.  Then what?  You guessed it.  We then took all of those nice coils off the rack and once again, stretched out the lines we needed to get back to work.  I do appreciate the effort to keep us safe, but probably 80% of the gear went right back where it was .
Yesterday I went through a hundred yards of tunnel grinding off stars, as per orders.  I thought I'd be extra efficient as long as I was dragging the airline, by bringing a needle gun and prepping for a brace plate install (wouldn't you?) at the same time.  I even got a nice "atta boy" when I told the leadman what I had done.  So this morning I was told that I had to go through the same tunnel again because the mouseholes needed attention with a pencil grinder too!  I coulda woulda shoulda done that yesterday as well!

So much for management's contribution.  But none of us really need their help in wasting time or effort.  The attitude of workers everywhere (that I have been) is generally very self-interested, and not so much company-interested.  We find excuses to take walks up to the tool room.  We plead "safety" to get some one more "qualified" to move something or install a string of lights, when we could easily manage the task ourselves.  And each man knows exactly how many minutes he can quit early without getting in trouble, or where to hide out while waiting for the break time whistle to blow.

The instruction in the picture was meant for the object in the box.  It should not be "hidden" in the back of some rack.  But I took the picture, in a building frequently used as a hiding place.

How many months or years of our lives do we squander by pursuing pointless goals?  I like to challenge myself as much as anybody, and in a wide variety of ways, but can I really afford the countless hours it would take to excel at chess or singing or...writing, when there are real needs being left unmet all around me?

Jesus said one thing before He ascended.  "Go and make disciples."  Maybe he actually said "Go and watch Andy Griffith reruns till you have them all memorized" but something was lost in the translation?  I'm afraid not.  If there was something else He might have added to supplement His instruction, perhaps "Do Not hide" might have been it.

So while we reach out an arm and pull back on our fingers, let's think about QUESTION FOUR, and soon we will get to my very own QUESTION FIVE.

How can I waste time and effort today?

I could need a bathroom break, again.
I could stop and talk to everyone I pass.
I could do everything the way it's always been done.
I could always do things the easy way.

I could just do what I want to do.
I could think only of myself.
I could make sure I'm always "entertained".
I could trust that someone else will do the important stuff.

I could be careless.
I could be a perfectionist.

Spending time badly is probably worse than misusing resources.  There may even be a tipping point beyond which a certain amount of recycling is counterproductive (there, I said it) for that matter.

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

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