Sunday, September 30, 2012


No one wants to be ordinary.

I’m sure, at some time in our lives, we’ve all harboured the belief that we were meant for something a little grander than the lot we’ve ended up with.  We bemoan the fact that, when we look back over our lives, there seems to be a serious lack of accomplishments to speak of.  It’s all so mundane. So everyday!
Just recently, after running her own business for years, my daughter has been working as a temp in a few different factories.  She’s been telling me about the different jobs she’s been doing, and in most cases she’s been part of an assembly line.

All day long she will be involved in doing one small job that is part of a sequence.The workers are rotated every half an hour or so in order to make sure everyone has a turn at doing each particular job.  The first stage on this one assembly line was to hold two small bottles at a time over an air jet to clear out any impurities, and then the bottles were put onto a conveyor belt to go through a machine to fill them with medicine. The bottles were then capped and went on to a labelling machine. After this they were gathered into carrier trays which are then boxed. The boxes went on to be taped and then packed into larger crates for shipping to various stores.

So, for half an hour at a time my daughter would stand there, take two bottles, quickly put them over the air jets and then back onto the conveyor belt to go through the filing machine. At the next rotation she would put the caps on the bottles and then send them on their way to be labelled. 
And so it went; the same little job over and over again until she was moved to the next station, which is the lot of factory workers everywhere.

But, as long as everyone does the job required of them, the product will emerge at the other end, all neatly packaged. If someone mucks up, as they did a day later on a line producing cans of coloured hair spray, then it's a different story altogether.

Perhaps it was a moment of inattention on the part of one of the operators, but suddenly there was a deluge of blue plastic caps spewing out of one of the machines. People were ducking as the caps rained down on them, bouncing off heads and conveyor belts and onto the floor. Eventually the machines had to be turned off until the mess could be cleaned up.

Now, of course, eventually the cans of hairspray still got to emerge all neatly packaged and ready for shipping. But there was time lost, which equates to reduced profits. Someone, at sometime soon, will have to submit a report explaining why, on that particular day, the section for which they are responsible, didn't meet the quota requirements for the day.

It doesn’t sound nearly as impressive to say ‘I work in a factory’ as it does to be able to say ‘I run my own business,’ It sounds very ordinary in fact.  However, remember, the next time you reach for those bottles and packets on the shelves of the various stores, that they are only there for you because people stood for hours on assembly lines in factories.

And remember too that for every superstar in this life there are thousands of people working in the background to take care of the ordinary, everyday things.  It’s only when everyone does their part that things come together successfully and the superstars get to shine.

And really, when you think about in those terms, there is no such thing as ordinary, is there?

©Lyn Murphy 2012

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