First Day In Skid

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Uni-Burn and I drove in to work together for our first day in the Spokane site. I didn’t know what to expect since I had never set foot in this division before, but I was reassured by the familiar grey architecture of the main building as we drove through the front security gate. It looked just like a number of the sites I had worked in before down in California. It also reminded me of the Boise site although it was drastically smaller in comparison. The site itself was east of Spokane proper and close to the Idaho border. It was just off the interstate and only took Uni-Burn and I about ten minutes on the freeway to get there. We passed an automotive graveyard and a sod farm on the way. There wasn’t much else out there. I thought to myself on the drive to work that short commutes with a weirdo like Uni-burn in the car fucking rule. Yeah!

Strangers came and got us in the lobby and Uni-Burn was headed to some other product line. I was glad about that. I definetly didn’t want to commute to work every day with that moron and then get stuck having to work shoulder to shoulder with him all day. I was lead to an area on the first floor of the building all the way at the back, near the cafeteria. I was a little nervous and felt awkward being introduced to everyone on the product team I was to work with. None of them were familiar to me. I had hoped some of the people on this transfer project would have been from the PC board department I worked in a couple of years ago. None of them seemed to have PC board experience.

There was a mix of Spokane employees and California employees on the line. I suppose the idea was that for every Spokane worker there would be a Calfornian to train on what they did. Pretty straightforward really. Of the Spokane folks there was Sharon, Don, a mutant, and Chuck all in the assembly area. They were the trainers. We had plenty of technicians but I wasn’t going to be dealing with them for some time so I was focused on getting to know the assembly people as quickly as possible. The California employees had all been here for weeks or months already and were fairly well established in the area and already friendly with the Spokane employees. I was the odd man out. No matter, I was going to do my best and try to get along with everyone. From our divison back home there was a pudgy guy we called Slobbering Mouth Kid, The Fisherman, The Squirrel, Troll, Toothless, and Golden Boy.

My training started with working on a test and measurement product family and they wanted me to learn it from the ground up. I would be a much more effective line Material Coordinator if I knew everything about the boxes. So, they got me buried in building the instrument’s sub-assemblies right away. I was dealing with a bunch of mechanical stuff which was easy enough but what made me smile was all of the PC boards were immediately familiar to me. I used to build hundreds of these PC boards when I worked at Bill and Dave’s previously. That was kind of cool since I always wondered what they were for and what kinds of products the boards went into. It was like seeing what was on the other side of the fence at long last.

A couple of years ago when I was building Spokane division PC boards they always came through our process areas with a tag maked “SKD”. We used to joke about it and call the division “Skid”. Like being on Skid Row, a bunch of derelict bums lying face down on cold sidewalks in a puddle of pee with a bottle wrapped up in a paper bag clutched tightly in their fists.

The supervisor I was to be working for didn’t seem to be available or around anywhere. Even though I was hired in by Squirmy, my boss here was going to be some woman I didn’t know. The manager I used to work for in the PC board days remembered me and heard I was going to be coming back to the company. She apparently put in a recommendation to snag me and vouched that I was a top-notch worker. She was friends with my new boss here in Spokane, and that good word she put in carried alot of weight apparently. That was nice of her to do, but I still despise my old PC board supervisor for being such a hands-off dingbat. She caused me alot of headaches. I never forgot about it. Squirmy was supposed to show up in a few days to take care of some business and check in on me. First thing we were gonna talk about when I saw him was the company car problem. Sharing the ride with Uni-Burn was not going to do. No sir.

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~ by factorypeasant on January 6, 2005.

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