Statistical Analysis Class

I was excited and happy because we got word that the plant would shut down for one week while they were performing some critical machine maintenance. No production work could be done during the teardown of the area. Since none of us would be directly involved in helping out with whatever it was they were going to do it sounded like we would have a week off. I couldn’t wait for it to happen. My anticipation and hope for a week off from this hell hole was dashed a few days later. They informed us during an update meeting that we would be required to attend a week long statistical analysis class for eight hours a day at a local upscale hotel. God damn was I angry at the news. They did it again, they were forcing me to do mandatory company stuff on dayshift hours when I should be sleeping. I knew this was going to be tough. I’d have a difficult if not impossible time paying attention because I’d probably fall asleep every few minutes. Or at least try to.

Jennifer has actually been fairly sympathetic about it all and she’s tried to make things a little more enjoyable for me while I’m stuck at the class. She knows I’m really angry about it. Her favorite author is Oscar Wilde and I told her I really liked the black and white film adaptation of “The Picture of Dorian Gray” so she got me a paperback copy of the book. I’ve never read it and she suggested I take it with me to the class for any downtime. I should have anticipated they would cram as much as they could during the week we were in that class but I didn’t. The really frustrating thing about it is there’s only three employees on the shop floor that work in the lab and have to take statistical measurements and record them for reports every day. The rest of us are just machine operators that don’t do anything besides flip switches and press buttons. I questioned why we were all being forced to take a seemingly useless class that only three people need. Management’s response was that we “may” at some point transition into a job where this information would be necessary. Bullshit. The company probably just got a discount rate for sending as many bodies to the class as possible. It’s a complete waste of my time and I know it. When and if I moved to a lab job it would be months down the road and I would have forgotten all of this stuff anyway. If I don’t use the knowledge on a daily basis I lose it. So what’s the point?

The first couple of days in the plush conference room at the hotel I was extremely agitated and very tired. I was a hater. I did my best to pay attention and do the excercises from the book we were following and actually did quite well. But then I got bored with how long it was taking everyone in the rest of the class to complete a module or section. There’s always stragglers everyone else has to wait for. I decided I would finish up a couple of lessons ahead of the rest of the class and then bury my nose in the copy of Dorian Gray. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but this was a bad choice. Since I was already done with the next couple of classroom assignments and just loafing around reading a few other employees noticed I wasn’t following along and concluded I simply wasn’t paying attention. One or two of them pointed it out to a supervisor without my knowledge. I got hassled about it outside during an afternoon smoke break and it made me even more angry. When I explained what I was up to, that I was working ahead of the instructor and completing the excercises early I got more of that “you’re not a team player” attitude. Fuck me. What the hell was I supposed to do? Sit there and pretend I was working the calculator like a good little factory peasant while a few bone headed guys who sweep the shop floor got brought up to speed on charting statistics? Gimme a break man.

By the third day of class I gave up on the whole thing and figured that they could fire me if they wanted to. I was sick of this class and sick of the Optical Lab’s lack of planning. I hated my job. In my mind I was daring them to throw me out. Send me home today so I can get some sleep already, you bastards. Nobody from management bothered to confront me about it for the rest of the week. I did get a few dirty looks each day in class. I kept right on reading in Dorian Gray and gave them all the finger. The book was enjoyable and the hotel food they served us each afternoon was quite good. I made it a point to pester the hotel staff into kicking down seconds or thirds. I was damn hungry. Most of the servers were cool with it but a couple of them were a little put out by my antics to get fed more grub. Too bad.

You know, if I had a need in my daily work for this class and the information presented in it I would have been one hundred percent into it the whole way through. I just get so mad when I’m forced to attend classes or meetings that have no direct impact or relevance. Sure seems to happen alot in these tech companies. They love to send you to training classes or long winded meetings that have almost nothing to do with the job.

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~ by factorypeasant on October 28, 2004.

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