Be Careful What You Ask For

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First off, I want to do remind folks that this blog is as much a journal for reflection for me as anything else.  What I have found is that I have had so many incredible experiences working within lean manufacturing and I often try to recall specifics and fail miserably.  This is a simple and free way for me to log my reflections and if it sparks interest or helps someone else that is a bonus.  I don’t want to sound weird but I just wanted to clarify the purpose for this blog.

Today I had a really interesting question posed to me during an interview.  It was the first time that someone had asked me it and it really made me define why I am a supervisor.  The question was this: If you had a choice between working in a department that had been practicing lean principles for years and was rather quite stable or working in an environment that was just starting to learn the lean philosophies which would you choose?  What an incredible question to gauge a persons passion in life.

I am sure that it would be no surprise to anyone that I would prefer the team just starting their journey.  The reasoning is simple.  I love working with and developing people and that is where the most opportunity would be.  Their reply was “and you understand that is where the most hours and stress are, right?”  Of course I did.  Look at my last 15 years of supervisory experience.  Let’s just say that stress seems to be a prerequisite of a supervisor.  When you divide the pay by the hours, no supervisor really makes a “fortune.”  When others can just punch out and go home, a supervisor often carries the work home with them if nothing other then in the blank stares they sometimes share with their families at dinner.

Bottom line, being a supervisor is not an easy job.  But I can’t think of a more rewarding one.  I have never found a job that stimulates my emotions, mind and body the way this one does.  So to my fellow supervisors, my hats off to you.  It is a thankless job at times but I hope you find it as rewarding as I do.

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