Experiment: Woman Power in Production

This post was originally published in 2012. The tips and techniques explained may be outdated.

by Tina Davin (guest post), , 0 Comments
What is it like for a commercial trainee to work in the production department?

My experiment began with exactly this question. The plan was for me, a trainee in sales for office communication, to slip into the role of an employee in the production department for two days. And before I knew it, it was Monday morning on the day I was to begin.

My first shock came as my alarm rang at 4:30am and I had to ask myself if the night had really gone by that fast. After a quick glance at my watch, it was clear I had to hurry; the clocks run differently in the production department. 😉

Production Board?

Still not quite awake, I arrived at my new work place in “Off-Grid Solutions”. While looking for my supervisor, I came to the startling realization that about 95% of my colleagues for the next two days would be men.
At this point it was 6:00am on the dot, and everyone gathered at a so-called “production board”.
What is our goal for today? Who is responsible for what today? All of these questions are addressed with a sign posted daily on the production board.

production buttons

Here I have assemble the buttons for the inverter.

My Tasks

Together with another female colleague, I was responsible for the assembly. Our first stop however, was at the ESD testing station. Shoes and ESD bands are tested for grounding here. My first task was to do the pre-mounting of a carrier plate. At this point, it became clear that I would have fun for the next two days. An impact wrench is not something I get to use in my daily life and it wasn’t exactly easy to handle at first. I wasn’t expecting it to have quite such a kick to it, and my first attempt sent pieces flying high above my work station. 🙂 I had instantly revived the “women and tools” stereotype.
Also on my to-do list were attaching things to a circuit board and doing the pre-mounting for the display unit. After the lunch break, the same tasks were to be done again, and I started to think it would be challenging performing the same tasks day after day. I have really come to enjoy the variety in my current department, “Employer Branding”. Nevertheless, it was great that I was able to get right to work on my very first day and was able to accomplish so much. And getting up so early didn’t seem so bad once my work day ended at just 2:00pm.

Tina and the board

Now I assemble the boards.

Day 2

Day two of my experiment began with just as much excitement as day one. My colleagues greeted me and each other again with energy and warmth (keep in mind it is 6:00am), which really impressed me.
Armed with safety shoes, an ESD coat and an ESD band, I got back to work.
Around lunch time, my work station changed to shipping, which gave me a chance to get to know another subdivision of the “Off Grid” department. I was impressed by the strenuousness and physical demands of working in the department. It quickly became clear to my colleagues that stacking the crates should not be part of my responsibilities ;). Packing up the Euro-pallets was more my speed, although my first package would certainly not have won any beauty contests Inspired by many exciting and interesting experiences to put in my first blog entry, I started to make my way home.

To sum it all up, working in the department was really a lot of fun (if not for a few minor snags). My colleagues were very helpful and supportive. And getting my very own hook with my name on it to hang my coat for the two days really made me feel welcome.
My experiment was a success!

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