Looking Through The Keyhole
As soon as I turned 16 I knocked on doors (literally!) until I got a job. I worked in a store room and spent all day putting security tags onto clothes. Fun!
Later in life whenever I didn’t feel like revising I remembered that store room and it made me do the extra hour I knew I should. I was determined to make sure I never ended up back there or anywhere else like it. I believe all kids should get the chance to do a terrible job early on, but that’s a different rant.
What I did love about that job was it gave me a sneak peak into how a clothes store worked. I now realize much of my career has been founded on that same curiosity. My first “proper job” was as a simulation consultant. I loved, and still miss, that it allowed me to go on site to so many different types of places. I got to find out how they worked and how things are made, without having to join the production line.
The initial meeting with the client was where I would usually get the tour of whatever we were simulating and I’d get so excited. The best place I saw was the fighter jet manufacturing plant. The worst place I ever saw was a sausage factory. The old lady at the end of the line counting 7 mini frankfurters and putting them into tubs all day broke my heart.
I always liked seeing car plants, the scales are epic. I especially like the ones where they use the empty head space above the production line to store WIP. You walk around looking at all these cars hanging in the air, half crouching because you’re sure one of them will fall!
I did get to see lots of contact centers, office based ops and hospitals (not the knee operation my colleague got to watch and nearly fainted in though!). But it was the manufacturing ones that would get me the most excited. I think it’s because it’s like walking into a different world, a world you never usually get to see. Also seeing how the everyday objects you use get made is fascinating, well to me anyway!
Being responsible for all our products I still ensure I get to meet and speak to our customers as often as possible, it’s just not usually on the plant line anymore. Tomorrow I’m meeting NATO, now that’s one customer I’m glad NOT to be meeting onsite! I’ll let you know how it goes.