Sunday, January 15, 2012


I really enjoy my job. Its rough and tumble, just like me, and requires me to be physical. I work for a company that supplies a large automobile manufacturer with its seats. I am an assembly worker. Ive never had a job like this before and its the most taxing position I've ever held. I worked in the food service industry for a while and I was also a Home Health Aid where I took care of older folks. Both of those jobs were tough but this one takes the cake.

I work on what the company calls Midline. It's the finishing of the seat right before it goes through a quality check with a handful of folks who basically just stand around checking seats all day. Standing around checking seats all day? I'd die from boredom.

There are 6 of us who rotate between 6 different positions. I'm considered a Midline Inspector, meaning I know the wire-up and all the specific parts on the seat and need to be able to identify whether or not a clip, plug, part, etc is in the wrong spot or missing entirely. This goes for whether its on the steel frame, foam or the leather or cloth trim. Everyone in my rotation needs to know the exact same thing I do and I need to know exactly what they do so the rotation can take place smoothly.

Another postion on our rotation is Stretching. Its literally where we stretch the leather on the hand. Its painful. Requiring brute strength and technique. We all have calloused and sore hands. Our arms frequently hurt, but its our job and the seats need to look good. If you are purchasing a 60k car, do you want your leather seats wrinkly? Nope. So we make them smooth and tight and it hurts. stretching the seats requires an inside stretcher as well as an outside stretcher. I mostly have outside stretching down but the Inside Stretching is still a challenge on some days. We also stretch cloth seats. Its a whole different animal all together. It requires both inside and outside stretchers working together in unison to pull down the back trim of the seat and tuck in such a way that makes your fingertips scream in pain. But we do it because its our job and we get paid well.

When you get into your vehicle and you go to adjust your seat height or position, your touching what we like to call "plastics". This is another rotation on midline that I handle. Its usually the most difficult to "get". And some still have a difficult time getting the plastic onto the seats due to the pain it causes in our wrists and elbows and also because its tough align the parts properly and to snap them into place. But we manage as a team of 6 and we get it done.

Putting the seatbelt on and torqueing it is another job that we perform on our rotation. Its simpler than the last two positions but it as well requires the ability to use a torque gun as well as you need to be quick on your feet so you can install a headrest and wire up the seatbelt all in about 58 seconds. Our line is usually moving at 58 seconds so each seat "job/rotation" needs to happen in 58 seconds and then you move to the next seat. This time allows us to complete around 400 seats (sets of seats) daily.

We also have a Backboard Installer rotation. Currently 2 out of our 6 folks install backboards because we are in the process of getting trained to install backboards, so we all can rotate to this postion in time. Installing backboards requires some upper body and shoulder strength, its tough. I do look forward to completing my training tho because I get bored easily and like to be able to complete all the tasks that are required of me.

So thats what I do everyday as a job. I get paid well, have great benefits and can possibly start back to college (if i can get the energy between work, exercise and the kids) and the company will reimburse me for it if I pursue some sort of business major.

I will say tho that I believe that as a whole my company probably keeps Tiger Balm and Advil in business. Due to the nature of our job we are dependent on some sort of pain remedy of the like. I've lessened my Advil and Naproxen significantly intake and have sought more natural techniques like stretching, hot baths, etc. But there are some days that in order for me to sleep I have to take painkillers to soothe the aches.

Life is crazy. But I really enjoy it. By all appearances my job doesn't seem significant, but I'm okay with that right now. I like that I'm not behind a desk, using a computer or on the phone, which I did last year and this past year. I still don't know what I want to pursue in college and could never comfortably settle on something so working a blue-collar job in a factory works. I never would have expected that but I'm content where I'm at for now. Its a cool feeling to be able to maturely weigh what's in important and whats not so important in life. I don't know if that makes sense and perhaps I'll elaborate on a future post but for now that's all I got.

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