Up And Running

We made it to our new site location which is across the county from our old rapidly dying complex. In this part of Silicon Valley Bill and Dave had four manufacturing sites. Thanks to all the offshoring, outsourcing, and job cuts we only have one of those factories left. Six thousand people were employed between those four campuses. There are only 1,700 employees remaining. More of our staff will be forced out soon so I expect that number to shrink much further. Across the country many other company divisions have ceased to exist. To be honest I’m not sure how many are actually still operating at this point.

Our new home is a beautiful hillside complex built in the early 1970s. The campus is nestled into a quiet valley with four large buildings perched down the hill from each other. Views are scenic as there are nothing but heavily forested rolling hills in every direction. I have only worked at this site in emergency situations for short periods of time in the past. Now that my group is assigned here permanently I feel like I have a real job again because the site is so well groomed and maintained. Our old location was purely utilitarian in appearance. Here, the close proximity to nature and having a full crew of gardeners maintaining elaborate flower displays makes me feel somehow more important like I’m suddenly in a country club instead of at work.

It can be a little confusing trying to find your way around the complex from building to building. A rat maze of hallways and underground access routes are available to take or you can find your way around outside by walking on well placed concrete paths. I’ve observed plenty of little quiet spots outdoors that one can take a break in without being bothered by anyone. Many tables have chessboards built into them, and courtyards between some of the buildings have recreational diversions including shuffleboard and ping pong. Just outside of my department’s new home there is a basketball court with a separate outdoor break area concealed in an overhead trellis of grape vines. On nearby acreage we have a number of private hiking trails, a baseball field, and a huge picnic ground. A fully equipped exercise gym is open 24 hours 7 days a week on our floor of the building.

After Bekins movers dropped off the Button Up equipment B-Rad and I began unpacking everything. I was dismayed by the lack of space we were given, as well as discovering we had been shoved into a back corner of the building. We had to set up four technical workbenches and three EI test racks in two rows directly across from each other to make the best use of available space. That will cause us to sit back to back while working. Both of us quickly realized ventilation in the corner we had been shoved into was poor. For testing sensitive instruments we have to keep the department temperature hovering around 23C. If it rises a few degrees above that alarms will sound off and we have to shut down test systems. It felt too warm where we were going to be working. I was a little worried about that.

Probably of greater concern than the temperature was the fact that our mid-level managers forced us to move into floorspace that is not within ESD safe limits for production work. One of our team members measured the floor tiles for electrical resistance and found them to be far out of tolerance. Instead of fixing this issue by removing the tiles completely or replacing the flooring with suitable material they told us to shut up about it. Now we’re in direct violation of ISO:9000 requirements for selling products to European countries. Typically, British ISO auditing companies visit us a few times a year to check on these things and if we are caught for a serious violation like this we could lose their certification. It’s a huge risk to take not to mention we might be causing undetectable electrical damage to new instruments being built in the area that might fail prematurely in the field.

I frowned when I saw Bekins employees in the hallway delivering our Ergo Lift. They had placed it sideways on a wooden pallet and hand-trucked it inside the building. After dropping it off down the hallway from us Miss Auschwitz went on patrol through the department and reminded me to bring it in. Knowing nobody would use that hunk of shit ever and knowing I had zero square footage to place it, I went to talk to Big Dog one last time. Big Dog was of the same opinion that we should have ditched it at the other site but Miss Auschwitz gave us no choice in the matter. Frustrated and angry with that annoying wench, Big Dog and I conspired together on a plan to thwart her for good. All I had to do was run that plan by the Bossman.

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~ by factorypeasant on November 20, 2006.

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