Sunday, March 23, 2008

Situation Update #2: The Thrilling Conclusion

Let us now pick up the thread of my intense week of anxiety-filled Career Crisis.

WARNING: Christian content ahead!

WEDNESDAY: LUNCH TIME

I escaped the plant to grab a $5 "Meal Deal" at the local SubWay sandwich shop. On the way over I had the Anne Graham Lotz audio tape "My Heart's Cry" in the tape deck. (Since I have two hours' worth of commute every day, I've been listening to tapes from my church library.)

I stopped at the SubWay and got my "usual" SubWay Club, medium drink and a bag of Doritos. While I was eating, I remembered that I needed to get an Easter card, so I decided to go to the card shop at the other end of the plaza.

It was a windy day, so I returned to my car so as to drive to the other end of the parking lot. When I started up the engine, the tape picked up where I had left off.

Anne was relating how she had visited the Tower of London to see the Crown Jewels. They were all displayed, she said, on black velvet. The velvet was there, she noted, to show off the character and sparkle of the various grapefruit-sized diamonds.

She then related that one day, soon after her trip, her son called to tell her that he had been diagnosed with cancer. Well, what mother ever wants to hear that?

Once she regained her composure, she told her son that this was his black velvet. Regardless of what happened, it would serve as the background against which the Holy Spirit could be displayed and glorified. He could have cancer, undergo chemo and die and still let the character of the Holy Spirit be displayed. He could have an operation, his cancer could go into remission and this could be the backdrop for letting God shine through. The adversity, the situation, would provide the setting against which people could be shown WWJD!

I switched off the car.

I prayed that my situation would be used to allow the Holy Spirit to shine through; that the character of Jesus would be displayed.

At that moment, I felt as if the glowing embers of my panic and anxiety were extinguished. I pictured a big, warm, wet blanket smothering the flames of fear and panic that had been ruling my life for the past week. I felt a measure of peace that had eluded me since the previous Wednesday.

I said a quick prayer of heartfelt thanks, bought my card and returned to the plant.

For the rest of the day, I worked with my inspector and the VP of Quality to tick off as many "to do" items as could possibly be ticked off. I went home and managed to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Aaaah.

THURSDAY - THE AUDIT

I took care of a few last-minute tweaks prior to the auditor's arrival.

At 9:15am, the customer's Quality Engineer arrived. We held an opening meeting attended by the Plant Manager, VP of Quality, the visiting VP of Operations and the Branch Manager. The "big guns" then excused themselves and the PM, VP of Q and I stayed on.

Turns out the quality systems audit was the red herring, or Hitchcock called it, the "McGuffin" part of his visit.

Yes, we would review issues associated with certain parts of the audit agenda. Yes, we would give this fellow a plant tour so he could see how the quality system was being used on the shop floor.

The primary agenda had to do with reviewing a half-dozen problems they were having with our product. These bullet points would be reviewed in the afternoon. In the mean time...

The VP of Quality gave an overview of how the quality system was structured and some other corporate-related issues. We started into the audit and I was able to reference the relevant selection from our two 6" thick binders of Quality System documents.

We had lunch.

We did the plant tour.

The PM dropped out at 2:45 for his daily production meeting and we ran down the list of "real" issues the auditor brought with him.

By 3:15 he was gone.

The VP of Quality, Plant Manager and I had a quick review wrap-up meeting to summarize what was needed to answer the half-dozen issues the customer brought to the table and we broke for the day.

THURSDAY, END OF THE SHIFT.

There were a few pressing items that I had to take care of before I left for my three-day Easter weekend. I went about signing in some raw material shipments, pulling up reports and interfacing with the second shift inspectors.

I had survived the day. Rather than be left to twist in the wind, I ended up getting help from upper Management and also my coworkers. In fact, I received "atta boys" from the VP of Quality, the Branch Manager and amazingly the Plant Manager! This was the first bit of praise I have heard this fellow give anybody in the four months I have been there. Perhaps he subscribes to the "criticize in public / praise in private" school of thought? Who knows.

LOOKING FORWARD

Well, my prayers were answered. I have come through that career crisis and now have only the rest of my life to worry about.

Since my department is now officially short-staffed, I will be spreading some of the work I used to do among the inspectors. (It will be mostly filing and clerical stuff.) I have an idea or two on how to streamline some functions that should get us more bang-for-the-buck. And, oh yeah, there's another important audit coming up in April.

LESSONS LEARNED

I cannot handle everything myself. Help will quite often come from the most unexpected places at the most unexpected times.

The most important time is now. This moment. Sure, plans need to be in place for the future, but NOW is when the future starts. The past is over and can only be of use in learning from it. The future isn't here yet, so all we ever have is NOW.

The Holy Spirit is real and can be counted on, even if I doubt myself. The bad times, the conflicts of life and the adversities can be a backdrop against which the Holy Spirit can be displayed and life can be lived to its fullest.

I appreciate everyone's support, prayers and comments this past week. Much other stuff happened and other people were involved; this has been the "Readers Digest" version, believe it or not.

It looks like I am going to be very busy. I hope I can still visit everyone's blogs. I hope I can get back to writing about funny stuff soon.

Lord willing...

P.S. Happy Easter!

12 Comments:

Blogger Allan said...

Well done. Time for cartoons, I'd say!

March 23, 2008 10:55 PM  
Blogger furiousBall said...

Ahhh yes, the blessed $5 "Meal Deal" at the local SubWay. Thanks for the Christian content warning.

March 24, 2008 8:56 AM  
Blogger Xbox4NappyRash said...

I'm not a religious person (never would have guessed eh?) but I loved the story.

Good is good, hope is hope, and inspiration is inspiration regardless of where you seek or find it.

I'm glad things look better for you.
Take care.

March 24, 2008 11:43 AM  
Blogger RED MOJO said...

I would just like to add my signature to xbox4nappyrash's comment!

March 24, 2008 1:14 PM  
Blogger whimsical brainpan said...

Great post Craig!

I'm glad everything has worked out and hope your Easter was a happy one.

March 24, 2008 3:33 PM  
Blogger Gale said...

Grow where you are planted. Happy Easter

March 24, 2008 4:46 PM  
Blogger more cowbell said...

So glad things are looking up! And I must say, I did appreciate your WARNING!. Plus it was funny. I used to be very religious, am not anymore, but like others, I liked this story, and am relieved the jangling of nerves has settled down some.

March 28, 2008 1:05 PM  
Blogger DirkStar said...

Uh, Amen?

Ok, now for funny stuff?

March 28, 2008 2:24 PM  
Blogger citizen of the world said...

My name also on xbox's comment. Glad it's bringing you peace.

April 03, 2008 6:06 PM  
Blogger DirkStar said...

What?

Did they revoke your computer privileges?

April 03, 2008 7:54 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Glad to hear it all seemed to work out for the best!

April 07, 2008 8:10 PM  
Blogger Allan said...

If there is list of Good Craigs (as opposed to craigslist) , you are certainly on it! Tops, like.

April 12, 2008 3:25 PM  

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