Toy Factory: Conflict

    Harold Anderson knew all the jobs in our department, and he helped everybody learn them. He showed us the procedures and taught us which parts to use, where to find part numbers, and the like. It was about that time he was put into another department in another part of the building. I didn't work with him again.
    It wasn't hard work. We were off the assembly line in an area where parts for the machines were assembled before the assembly line then carted to it either by hand or by forklift. The toy factory was pretty small back then as it was restarting operation under new management. In our department there were five or six people, mostly women, who did various tasks to complete this particular part. 
    One of the younger women seemed in-charge and was peculiarly brusque to me, I thought, a situation in which I became somewhat powerless (read: wimpy) because I thought she was the foreman. I needed this job and told myself to endure her criticisms. I thought I was the only one in the department that she didn't like and that I must be doing something wrong to deserve such treatment. I got along with everyone else and had no idea when or where I crossed her but I grew increasingly intolerant, my impatience gnawing at my better judgement, until I heard the woman next to me angrily mutter something about 'JoAnn' acting like a bossy, know-it-all- - and her being on the job just two weeks longer than the rest of us. "You mean, she isn't a foreman?" I asked. When I asked Harold, he confirmed it. That, changed everything.
    The next time JoAnn said something out-of-bounds, I gave her a dose of her own medicine to which she responded, in her nasal twang, and her expression contorted, "Well, you don't have to get mad about it." I told her that she'd never seen me mad, but if she wanted to, just keep mouthing off like she'd been doing. I said to stay out of my business at work or we would find a foreman and resolve the issue once and for all. (Or words to that effect)
    I probably was pretty upset, but the others in the department thought our verbal exchange good humor. JoAnn never bothered me again, though she would smile sarcastically when we met on the shop floor.


Popular Posts