Listen To Your Elders

After a particular successful startup, where I sat around doing nothing (this is good), I went to another plant to install and get running the exact same piece of equipment with the same software.  It went horribly wrong for numerous reasons that I don’t even remember but half of them were my fault (or if not fault then a failure to plan properly).

There’s nothing like having a gristly old plant manager (former marine) smoking a cigar right behind you tapping his watch while you’re sitting on a 5 gallon bucket with your laptop sitting on another 5 gallon bucket in 95 degree heat as his workers are sitting around waiting for you to finish.  It’s not a position I particularly enjoyed and thankfully it didn’t happen like that ever again.

After the problem was fixed and the entire plant could start working again I said something like, “Well, at least the last one went better.”  In all seriousness, he looked at me and said, “Bob, one oh shit wipes out 50 that-a-boy’s.”  No truer statement was ever uttered.

Forget about your successes because people don’t remember them but they sure do remember your failures.  If that plant manager is still alive I bet he still talks about the day where some stupid engineer shut his plant down for a few hours!