Tuesday, October 4, 2011
RESPONSE TO "A TEACHER TOUCHES FOREVER"
In response to the article "A TEACHER TOUCHES FOREVER", my friend Arminta wrote a very touching comment:
"That's a nice story but a better idea. I think a lot about kids who feel they don't fit in or that others don't like them. It's always been something that bothers me so much, seeing people who are uncomfortable around others because they didn't measure up in some way. Kind words DO stay with a person. There was a girl from my class who I admired because she was very smart. She was really quiet and didn't participate in many activities and you never saw her hanging out with any "group" as most of us did. She didn't wear make up or trendy clothes, but she was always neat and clean and she was pretty, but didn't try to impress anyone. I asked her for one of her senior pictures and on the back she wrote: "To Arminta, a very pretty, smart girl who is nice and seems to care about everyone. Thank you for speaking to me every day." Until I read that on her picture I never realized that saying "Hello" to someone could be so noticeable and impact them in some way, but it has stuck with me. I had a boss who made a point of greeting every employee every day. I've always tried to be like that myself because it does matter. Making a little difference is rewarding. That teacher made a big one."
THANK YOU, Arminta!
Speaking to people is very important. Within two weeks after retiring, I realized that I should NOT have retired. I began looking for part-time work and I answered an ad for a part-time supervisory position which would be to take the place of supervisors to enable them to have days off because the plant was on a 7-day schedule with 3 shifts. One week I would be expected to work 1st and 2nd shift, the next week 3rd and 1st shift and alternate each week.
During the interview I was asked if I didn't believe I was over-qualified for the position and I answered, "Of course I am over-qualified and that's WHY you should hire me." The interviewer, a Department Manager, obviously taken aback, said, "Well, I've never heard that answer before!" During the interview he asked if I would be willing to work 12 hour shifts instead of the 8 hours which was advertised, and the other supervisor could work 12 hours. I stated that would be easy. After being offered the job, he called and asked how I felt about working 16 hours on Saturday and 16 hours on Sunday. I said, "Sure." I had been used to working long shifts. So there I was working 32 hours a week in two days. I admit that it took me all day Monday to recover.
By the way, there had never been a female supervisor before although there were as many females as males employed there.
I was to be trained on 1st shift for a week. I saw a great number of problems because of lack of discipline and work ethic. On Thursday of the first week, I asked the 2nd Shift Supervisor if I could pass out the paychecks on that shift. He looked stunned and asked, "How would you know who they are?" I said, "I introduced myself to them on Tuesday and Wednesday; I wanted to know them before the weekend." He asked, "And you remember them already?" I said, "Of course, why wouldn't I?" When we went into the office to pick up the checks, the Supervisor said to the Manager, "She knows everybody's name already." The Manager answered, "Too bad you don't!" The Supervisor typically had allowed the Team Leader hand out the checks.
The work itself was the easiest I had ever encountered and there were good workers but there was also a pronounced lack of discipline and work ethic accompanied by poor productivity. However, within two weeks we had set a new production record on 2nd shift. I brought cupcakes for the crew. When the Manager saw the production records on Monday morning, he called and asked me to come into a meeting Monday afternoon. I walked into the meeting and the Supervisors from all 3 shifts were there. The Manager opened the meeting by saying, "She's only been here for two weeks and has set a new production record. What the f*** is wrong with you guys?" All of them were looking askance.
The Manager was absolutely STUPID to handle the situation in that manner. Although those Supervisors wanted me to be there to take their places so that they could have days off, they still resented the fact that I had somehow made them look BAD!
The Manager continued, "I went out and asked several people who have NEVER met production before HOW they did it and you know what ONE of them told me? Because at least Sue knows MY NAME and treats me with respect and another one said because Sue is always on the floor." He continued by telling them they needed to be on the floor instead of in the office and that they needed to know their people.
After the meeting I asked the Manager, "You realize that those three are pissed off at me now?" He said, "They better be pissed off at themselves. Trust me, they want you to take their places more than they are pissed off at you." His was not my method of motivation!
It was summertime and I brought in extra garden produce and labeled it "Free To A Good Home". One person asked, "You mean you brought that in for us?" I brought in a file box of extra coupons and started a coupon club. The other Supervisors made fun of me behind my back.
I stayed two years. When I saw that first piece of equipment moved to Mexico I knew that the plant would be closing although the Company kept reassuring the employees that it would not. I told my husband, "I don't want to close another plant." Recently, at a gathering, one of my former employees told people, "Sue made people work who'd gotten away with not working for years because she worked just as hard as we did."
I always tried to treat people the way I would like to be treated.