Why Work In A Machine Shop?

With all due respect to David Letterman, the following is my attempt to consolidate some of the top reasons why earning one's livelihood cutting metal is a good thing. Family and friends only ask you once what you do for a living.

Columns From: 7/1/2001 Modern Machine Shop, ,

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Chris Koepfer

With all due respect to David Letterman, the following is my attempt to consolidate some of the top reasons why earning one's livelihood cutting metal is a good thing.

Family and friends only ask you once what you do for a living. After the first two sentences describing what you do, your loved ones and acquaintances make themselves a silent promise never ever to go there again.

You get to go inside the white lines painted on the shop floor. This perspective lets you make fun of visitors who must, under penalty of OSHA, stay on the safe side of the line. Your view is better.

The cycle start button has nothing to do with Harleys, Hondas or Suzukis, and you're privy to that knowledge.

While your boss trusts you to operate equipment worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, at home you can demonstrate your incompetence to run a washing machine, dishwasher or stove.

When something bad happens and you must hit the E-stop on a machine, you are confident that the Internet has in no way been harmed by your action.

Wearing ties when working in a machine shop is considered a safety hazard. Seeing how close you can get the tie-wearing manager or salesperson to a whirling spindle is considered sport.

Any stroll around the shop floor while in possession of a clipboard or routing sheet is proof positive that you're working hard. You will rarely be questioned about what you are doing.

It's OK to decorate your work space with politically incorrect artwork. An old Rigid Tool calendar remains current because it never was intended to be used to tell the day and date.

You will grow to love the night shift. Without them, the day shift would have to accept responsibility for a whole bunch of stuff they don't even want to think about.

Being on the night shift lets you leave all kinds of neat little surprises for the day shift. What's that smell?

Having your lunch delivered to the company parking lot by a shiny silver truck is convenient. While some deride it as a roach coach, the food isn't that bad or that expensive.

Being "in the chips" means something very different to you and those in management. One thing that's for sure: They wouldn't be in theirs if you weren't cranking out yours.

Doing a "government job" rewards you, a friend, a boss—pretty much anyone except the government.

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