Gripes and concerns

Last night I put up a somewhat panicky post about some very real concerns about work.  I redacted the post this morning after finding out the situation may not be as dire as I originally thought.  However it still is showing up in some RSS feeds, so maybe a little ‘splaining is in order.

There have been numerous quality issues as of late at work, at one point costing us a coveted certification from our biggest customer, a very well-known name in America and most of the rest of the world.  There are numerous reasons for the quality issues, but from where I sit it’s a direct result of inept and incompetent management.  They have absolute zero respect for their workers, and their attitude is of the “beatings will continue until morale improves” ilk.  There is no leadership from the management, only tyrannical rule.

In a nutshell, virtually everybody in production has had their jobs threatened.  I was held responsible for a quality issue a couple weeks ago, mainly because they concocted a theory that just so happened to fit what few facts they had and thus declared me guilty because I couldn’t tangibly prove my innocence, and told me in no uncertain terms that any further major quality issues traced back to me would result in my termination.

Yesterday, right at the end of my shift, I was made aware of another quality issue with product that had my service number on it.  Having been made clear as to what the consequences would be if it turned out I had screwed up, I spent all of yesterday in a panicky and depressed state, hence my previous post.  Though I still don’t have all the details and may not be out of the woods yet, preliminary investigation indicates that this time I am likely not at fault, that the product in question passed all the checks I was supposed to do and I did them correctly.  So unless they try to scapegoat me again, I should be in the clear.  This time.

This is the environment I work in.  The pay is pretty good, especially with all the overtime and the fact that I just got another (mandated) raise, and the benefits are first rate.  But everyone’s on edge, and I feel like it’s only a matter of time before something else slips past me that I should have caught.

I’m tired of working jobs like this.  And being in a panicked state when something goes wrong, not knowing if this is going to be The Last Straw.

At this point, anyone reading this is likely saying, “you need a different job”.  But the truth goes further than that.  I need a different career.

I’m tired of standing all day (or all night) in a sweaty manufacturing environment running machines and counting parts.  I’m tired of being getting so bored that my mind starts cycling in different directions, sometimes to the point where I lose focus on what I’m doing.  And I’m tired of being so burned out after work that I have no energy left to spend with my family.

I’ve taken numerous career assessments and only two things regularly stand out: I like to drive around and I like to use and tinker with computers.

In regard to the former, truck driving is out because virtually everyone has to drive long distance over-the-road to start out in that industry to get anywhere, and I’m not willing to spend that kind of time away from my family.

As to the latter, I have no certifications or formal experience in a workplace (though lots at home), and even if I took classes to get certified or even an associate degree, the market is so oversaturated I have no clue as to where I’d fit in and still make enough to support my family.

Kids, take note if you’re reading.  This is what happens to a double college dropout, when you can’t figure out what you want to do in your twenties, end up chasing the cheap pleasures of life at that age, and secure just enough dead-end employment to pay for that life, without an eye to the future.

Somebody suggested to me I take classes to become a radiologist.  If I found such classes around here, was able to afford them, and was secure in the knowledge that after a year or two of classes I could get into the field while working enough to support my family in the meantime, I’d seriously look in that direction.

But at 43 years old, time is not on my side.  I need to figure out what I want to do when I grow up, and quick.  I don’t want to be one of those people that works for the same company doing the same thing for 20+ years, like too many of my current co-workers.  And I don’t have enough of the entrepreneurial spirit (or funds.  Or courage.) to start my own business.

I need to change something.  And soon.

But I’m not sure of which direction to look or go in.