Saturday, March 7, 2015

On My Own - The Tradesman (My Job Journey Part 3)

After one year of college, I had several strong feelings that were leading me away from returning to a formal post-secondary institution:
  1. Financial fear of going into debt.  I didn't have enough money to go back to school full time without going into debt.  I really didn't want to borrow money to get an education (my perspective on this has changed since then - knowledge pushes out fear)
  2. I couldn't sit in a classroom and learn theory anymore just for the sake of 'jumping through an educational hoop' and getting a certificate.  I needed to do something with my hands and be 'productive'.
  3. God was doing something in my life - I needed to figure out what He was trying to tell me...

Texas Highway 16
In the end, I travelled to Texas to go to a Bible school for 10 weeks.  In the mornings there was teaching, in the afternoons we helped around the campus.  I was assigned to work in the cafeteria because of my previous experience in the food industry (read more about that here).
Here I got experience with:
  • Daily food prep (in the afternoons) of main meals for 200+ people
  • Working as a team to get a lot of work done.  I got to see the division of work - how the responsibility for making a 'meal' or 'dish' was divided up between team members for efficiency sake.  
  • Small beginnings.  Most times, there is a reason for 'the way' or a method to how something is done (like food prep).  I learned not to be afraid to question the 'method' and learn from that answer.  It turns out restaurant franchises are build (like all the fast-food restaurants) using tried and true methods that 'work'.  Tricks like using cold water (instead of hot water) to get the suds out of the sink after a huge load of dishes....

Here I am running a job on the 4 unit Didde Conserver press.  You can't tell
from the picture, but this press (with splicer, tinter, 4 print units, gluer,
folder, cutter, and stacker/conveyor) is over 60 feet long
After school was done, I decided to go on staff and volunteer with them.  They offered me a job in their print shop where I gained a wealth of experience over the next 2.5 years.  By the time I left, I had picked up two trades - printing/binding, and pre-press (or film layout).  This was full time, unpaid, non-profit work.  Here I learned:
  • Print Shop Operations - operation of forklifts, industrial folders, industrial paper cutters, an envelop stuffer, a Didde Conserver web press, a Ryobi sheetfed press, a Multi 1250 sheetfed press, a Multi 1850 sheetfed press, and be part of a team that ran a Solna King heatset web press
  • Patience in problem solving.  Invariably a press or a folder (some piece of machinery) would work properly, so we'd have to trouble-shoot it.  There is a process of logic that is important to follow when troubleshooting anything.  This was where I started to learn that logic.
  • Responsibility.  I was essentially responsible for the entire operation of the Didde press - all the job orders were mine to expedite.  I had to prioritize them, manage the quality of the printing and the folding (perforations, tinting, and gluing at times as well)
  • Team work  I had a team that worked with me packaging product off the press.  I had to shut the press down if there were issues with packing.  Team management - small teams of 2, and larger teams of 5 - depending on the work.
  • Planning - I had to have all the pieces in place before I started a big run (paper rolls, brick ends, twine, pallets, ink, etc)
  • Integrity and honesty -  I watched myself tell a lie to try and get ahead.  I subsequently learned that being dishonest isn't the right way to get ahead - even if no one else knew.  I couldn't live with myself like that.
  • Getting some film ready for the press
  • Push my Limits - I tried to learn as much as I could - pre-press/dark room - burning plates, putting film together, stripping film.  Because of that, I essentially picked up another trade - Pre-press/film layout.
During this time I also did 2 overseas trips (one to India and Pakistan, the other to Europe).  This traveling broadened my perspective and changed the direction of my life.  Click the links above to find out how.

For the rest of my Job Journey and to read other career profiles, check out my Career Path Profiles page here or follow the links below:

No comments:

Post a Comment