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It was with some trepidation that I boarded the #1 bus at Penn Station. A summer job at Stanley Tools seemed to be the next best thing to an actual internship in industry; and the summer between junior and senior year at Newark College of Engineering demanded a significant notch in my experience belt. Besides, I didn’t have many other options.
After a few days of meeting people getting used to the office routine (including learning to operate the terrifying switchboard), I settled in as an all-around back-office person. Within a couple of weeks, I’d transitioned into a temporary role as the Assistant to the Production Manager. The work itself was fun, as I familiarized myself with SKU’s and specifications, for the full line of hand tools; and assisted the PM in running production stats, quality reports, and throughput projections.
Along the way, I became enamored of the switchboard and its spiderweb complexity of criss-crossing lines and potentially devastating toggle switches, when I wasn’t otherwise immersed in the fascinating world of ball peen hammers and hand tools.
But it was a natural facility with scheduling and the ease with which I conquered the steep learning curve, that allowed me to become a contributor. I loved the work and genuinely liked my boss, who took me under his wing. Unlike other summer gigs (i.e. the summer of ’65: 10 weeks of long, hot days, ‘imprisoned’ in an oppressively confining room of file cabinets and an equally oppressive clique of girls and women – workmates /cell mates) this was a team of ‘adults’ who appreciated that I had adaptable skills that could benefit their operations.
In the years that followed, I would recall this summer with fondness, grateful to have had the experience. It was here that I first realized my penchant for Project Management, for viewing all things as logical sequences of activities; and for being part of a well-functioning team.
The summer of ’66 flew by, and I was sad to leave; but it was with great anticipation that I rejoined the game, the final sprint on my journey to become a Chemical Engineer. Turning the page that ended the “Stanley Tools” chapter of my journal, I opened to the next: “Senior Year.”
This entry in my Engineer’s Journal, was inspired by the Friday, July 4th Light and Shade Challenge, with the prompt that included a photo of a well-used, Stanley measuring tape.
The Light and Shade Challenge