I had to succumb to a broken spirit, but I didn’t get a migraine.
I had to fall so far that I lost hope, fell into a routine — died inside. It’s a similar place to where you go when you’re a kid and your parents are having a blazing row. Withdraw. It’s just that today I withdrew a little too far. I had to keep withdrawing and falling — getting angrier and angrier! I would’ve preferred not being angry in the first place but I can’t seem to stop that bit.
It begins with pride. My pride. I don’t like shoddy work. I detest it in me and I don’t like it in others. When I complete one of these electric circuit boards I don’t want it coming back from Quality. I want it to be a-okay, ready to go. I take its return as a sign of failure.
The problem is, I’m not designed for such fine and fiddly work — these boards are crowded with tiny things. I mean, some of these things I can barely see. Teeny-tiny. Like half-an-ant tiny. Some of them are even smaller. Now, these tiny things need to go very specifically amongst other tiny things, and often amongst some big things. The theory is, the machine does the niggly work. I check it and add whatever it couldn’t, and I pop it in the oven. Then off it goes to Quality and then on to the customer.
In practice, the machine has some spaz attack all over the board, or it won’t pick something up, or it will refuse to move, lose its settings, forget how to machine, destroy things. There are boards that come out that I suspect have been specifically sabotaged. The piss really does get taken by this poxy, ignorant, lazy fucking machine.
As you can tell, I adore it.
A messy board wouldn’t be so bad if I had the hand-eye coordination to fix it. Working under a magnifying glass, unfortunately, makes things worse because now I can see it, I think its bigger. It’s not bigger. They are never bigger. And I never seem to learn.
Also, spending my day looking through a magnifier starts doing funny things with my eyes after a few minutes. This doesn’t help the situation. I start knocking things, start making the board worse, and this is anger’s inroad.
It also doesn’t help that the current board I’m running has 2,000 components on it. I just don’t notice little tiny things that haven’t been placed right amongst other little tiny things that do funny things to my eyes.
And so we get back to my pride. Most, if not all of my anger is because of a machine that I can neither fix it nor the shit it produces. Despite my best efforts, lots of boards have been returning from Quality. Last week, they complained to management. The sum of their effort in guiding an inexperienced and struggling member of staff was to come over and say, “Keep an eye on your boards”. She said that twice and then went taddling.
Before today, and before their complaint, I would shout at the machine. I would knock on the window. If it refused to pick something up for absolutely no reason, I’d grab the head, pull it to the component, push it to the location on the board, and go: “It’s that fucking simple! You just don’t want to do it because you’re a fucking ignorant heap of shit! Now YOU, pick THAT UP and DO IT NOW!!!!!!!”
After about an hour of this oneway disagreement, I lose my rag completely and soon after comes a migraine.
Not today, though. I was determined not to.
The machine was doing its thing, fucking over my life, and I will admit that Quality’s complaint has ground my goat a bit. I think that people should help before they criticise to management, especially when their own standard of work isn’t all that. They should think, ‘My colleague is having a problem, he is inexperienced, the machine is an arsehole, it’s a complicated board, his team is understaffed, and he’s not doing what I want, what I need him to do. I know, I’ll pop over and spend some time showing him what to do.’ Instead, she made enough of an attempt to say that she tried and taddled to management. I look at the boards she returns to me for rework and I see the endless void of information, and I think to myself that she can’t even pick up a pen and yet I’m meant to find a way to make her life easier. Er, no. As of yesterday, I’m rejecting all returned boards from Quality that do not come with full information attached. I am very strict. I need the board location ID, marked by a little arrow-sticker, full component details, and a description of the issue that needs to be reworked. If she wants to play the Improve The Quality Of Your Work game then I’m all in. And I play dirty because I’ve a cherub face — I’ve always looked so innocent when I’m being a little bitch.
Needless to say, all this coupled with that machine started to get me angry. I didn’t want to get angry so I withdrew. I succumbed to helplessness. It was a dark place because I was powerless to change the outcome. Despair. I think taking 10 minutes to sit outside to cry on the little grass bit was my lowest moment.
But tonight, no migraine
It’s not a viable solution, but it worked.
I didn’t get all that angry — I was sarcastic and shouted a bit but other than that, I moped and cried. And look at me tonight, no migraine! I’m fine!
But again, all this was because of (bascially) a machine that hurts my pride.
When I say it like that it sure sounds pathetic. Little crazy.
What to do?
How do you curb a rage that’s very eager to shout, and ergo, get fewer migraines?
Apparently, as a broken spirit, but I can’t help but think there must be a less tearful way.