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View Diary: My life as a assembly line worker (48 comments)

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  •  I spent many years in this business. (11+ / 0-)

    I met some of the best, and the worst, people there. Most of the work is very repetitive and mind numbing, but a skilled worker can move around a lot. With frequent opportunities for overtime these jobs are considered to pay well for the uneducated.

    Each job along the line has standards that an employee must perform to. These are usually set at 80% of what the average employee can do at maximum efficiency. Balancing out the staffing each day, often hour by hour, to gain the greatest amount of production is key to being profitable. The supervisors trade and borrow employees between them before the shift starts to best enable them to handle the workload and a production schedule is set for the day based upon the weakest link. Knowing about absences is critical to this planning, so the penalty for "no call" absences is stiff in every company I was familiar with.

    There is a "natural selection" process involved in the absentee policies. While the work is demanding, even upon the most fit, the goal is to continually raise the standards, and to weed out weaker employees in the process. Since I left the business most companies have doubled their job standards. Those who find themselves working at the maximum level of their abilities will not be able to maintain the grind for long, and it will first show in that employee's absenteeism as the job takes it's toll on weary muscles and immune systems. Remember that most of these jobs are in a 35 degree (F) environment.

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