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A manufactured life

Until I started writing, the absolute best job I ever had was working as a manufacturing engineer. While I don't miss the hours, I miss the great people, and being surrounded by really cool machines that turn raw materials into something (usually) useful. In fact, my favorite part of grad school was the factory tours and working with local manufacturing companies on class projects.

So when our family took a tour of the Hyundai plant in Montgomery, Alabama on Monday, I was back in my element. I don't honestly know much about Hyundai, but the three year-old factory is impressive. It's clean, highly automated, uses Just-in-Time (JIT) delivery of parts, and spits out a new car every 50 seconds.

No, this is not a sales pitch for Hyundai…

While I was on the tour I kept thinking how much I miss being part of the manufacturing world. Maybe after we move this summer I should consider working again, I thought. But then, by the end of the visit, I realized that as much as I miss parts of my old job, I'm happiest writing.

I'll always have a soft spot for lean manufacturing, continuous improvement, Six Sigma, and the like. Heck, I may even find some way to get involved in it again. But not at the expense of writing or time with family.

It's good to go back and visit that world, but I no longer want to stay.

The Daily Squirrel: soda

Maris looked down at her white shirt, now covered in diet soda. It just figured. If she'd been wearing red, she wouldn't have spilled anything. She should have known better on her first date with Josh.

She felt her cheeks heat as she looked at him, and choked back her tears. He was so handsome and nice. Now she looked like a spastic twelve year-old. All she needed were pigtails and braces and the image would be complete.

“Hey,” Josh said playfully. “Didn't your mom teach you to share?”

What was he talking about? Her jaw dropped as he picked up her half-empty glass and poured it down the front of his own shirt. Then he winked and gave her a smile that made her head spin. At that moment Maris knew.

She was in love.

Tell your friends!


  1. Martha W


    As I read your post today, I think “wow. We could be twins.” I used to work as a quality engineer in a tier one supplier. Every now and then I think the same thing. Then I remember how much I enjoy life outside of automotive…*grin*

  2. Christine


    I occasionally revisit the idea of working outside the home, but then I remember about the pantyhose and I shove the idea aside. I think writing is great, but there is a loneliness factor. There aren’t water cooler breaks and people time is sporadic. It’s a solitary journey and the rewards are few and far between till you get published. Even then, it’s still lonely and one must continually strive to improve.

    But pantyhose? Nope. Back in the chair I go….

    • Reply

      I’m totally with you about the pantyhose. I shunned skirts throughout my career. Writing is solitary, but then I have friends like you and Martha and the great folks in SM, FTHRW & PRO Org to fill in for the “water cooler”-type chats. Besides, I’m kind of a loner at heart. ;-}

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