Line Workers

If you don’t work on the assembly or production line, ever thought much about those who do? Like all jobs, there are people who excel doing this kind of work, in this kind of environment and those who do not. I am thankful for the people who call themselves Line Workers; who perform their jobs with pride and produce quality work. Your efforts make all our lives better, and you may or may not get the recognition you deserve as often as you should.

Whether it’s the car or truck you drive, packaged food you buy, electronic gadgets you depend on, or any of the many of the products you use on a daily basis, a great number of them are produced by people working on a line.

When you stand in the aisle of your local supermarket and eye all the cans and jars on the shelves, if you’re like me, you expect all the labels to be affixed properly, all the cans to be dent-free, and the jars all vacuum sealed. You don’t really think much about the production consistency until you run up against a defect; an abnormality. If you do, don’t you find yourself skipping that one item for another which appears to be in better shape? I do. That item sits there like an ugly duckling, passed over by fellow shoppers until someone selects it by accident or the staff remove it and return it to the manufacturer for credit.

When it comes to larger purchases we insist on and expect perfection or we don’t buy. We take the car out for a test drive, sit in it, fiddle with the knobs and buttons, look under the hood and check out the trunk. What on earth do we really expect to find under the hood anyhow? Nuts and bolts just lying about that might suggest poor workmanship? While we might take a chance on a dented can in the store, the car in the showroom had best be as perfect to the eye as it can be. If not, no sale.

Line work requires people who have specific skills just as all jobs do. Look at advertised job postings, and you’ll see a call for physical stamina needed to stand for extended periods of time. Teamwork, the flexibility to work a variety of shifts, the willingness and ability to be trained in multiple areas and attention to detail are also common qualities required. I have run into people; (many people in fact) who have a low opinion of assembly line work. Not necessarily the people who do the work but rather the work itself. They tend to think these jobs can be done by pretty much anyone and therefore their view of the job is that it’s a menial job. But is it really?

Line work – either on an assembly line or a production line – requires workers to be actively engaged in their work at all times and their work is measured for quality constantly. How office workers would cry foul if they were monitored and supervised the same way the Line Worker is! All that standing around chit-chatting in the office would be eliminated and restricted to breaks and lunch and how the daily activities would change. Just as goods on an assembly line can be tracked back to the workers that produced them, can you imagine if all the filing, data entry and keyboarding could be traced back to the people responsible? When you are held that accountable on a line, you work better or you’re on notice.

I suspect I don’t have it in me to work on an assembly line or production line. I imagine myself using a power tool to tighten bolts for hours on end and can’t help but think I wouldn’t have the required mental stamina to be successful. I’d be better for the experience on a short-term basis to fully understand and appreciate the job from the workers point of view of course, but long-term, I’d fail. Hence, I find myself sincerely appreciating those who do this kind of work and who do it well.

When I get in my car I want the seat comfortable, all the knobs and buttons to produce the desired results each and every time without failure. I want the engine to start right away, the headlights to work, etc. In fact, if all the workers who put my car together did their job, I won’t likely even be thinking about what isn’t working because it all should. The only time I’m thinking about the car is when something goes wrong. If you’ve ever bought a product that has ongoing problems, you certainly think of the line workers then! (As unfair as it is to only think on them then.)

If you are considering this kind of work, take pride in it just we all should in the work we do. Never forget the end user, the people who will benefit from the quality of the work you perform each and every day, on each and every shift. Stand behind your work for all to see.

Line work isn’t for everyone – or just anyone. Your skills are appreciated and needed to keep the economy rolling. And you, who like me benefit in so many ways from those who work on the line, how about a pat on the back for these men and women?