Friday, July 22, 2011

It Was Thirty Years Ago Today

On July 22, 1981 I started working for Ohmtek, Inc. of Niagara Falls, NY. I was hired as a QC Technician to do final testing of the film resistor products manufactured in their brand-spanking-new plant.

Within the year I was promoted to QC Supervisor and kept failing upwards for the next 15-1/2 years until I was the "Manager of Environmental Testing."

Ohmtek makes ultra precision resistors with tolerances being spec'd out to 0.01% resistance ratios and 25 parts-per-million/degree C resistance change over temperature.

There were many demanding military and commercial customers that had rigid testing and performance requirements for their components. It was my job to ensure that the resistors produced met every last customer requirement.

Unfortunately, I was very unpopular when I had to fail a batch of material of report a poor yield at final inspection.

Also, many times there would be weeks and months of testing required and customers were NOT happy when the product didn't hit the lab until (or 'way after!) the delivery date.

Again, more unpopularity for yours truly.

There was no interest in these short-comings by either the sales department, engineering or manufacturing. The ass-covering, backstabbing and meeting-room gamesmanship always left me flapping in the breeze.

Eventually, the toll on my nervous system of always being wrong about everything pushed me out the door. In hindsight, I think I may have suffered a slow-motion nervous breakdown.

Like a person who experiences phantom sensations after a limb is amputated, the Ohmtek experience is always rattling around somewhere in my noggin.

I just can't help wonder where I'd be now if I had known enough to "play the game" and half-assed the stuff out the door.

Ah, well.

Happy anniversary to me...

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