Posted by: cordy74 | October 4, 2010

Welcome to Work… SOS

Birthdays are great. As a little kid you look forward to your birthdays because of the parties and, of course, the presents. When you get a little older you look forward to them because it means you are one year closer to being a grown-up. And the presents. I’m all grown up now and I still look forward to my birthday, if a little bit less than I did a few years ago. Yup, I still love getting those presents.

I am extremely fortunate to work for a company that is fairly relaxed as far as corporations go. We even get to look forward to receiving something for our birthday from the plant manager.
I am currently serving under the third plant manager in my current location. Each one of them have handled birthdays in his own fashion. Each of them have tried to inject something of a personal nature into celebrating their employees’ special days.

If I remember  correctly the first manager would circulate a birthday card around to the managers of the various departments in the plant.  Each of these managers, along with the big cheese, would sign the card. Said card would then be mailed to your home in time for your birthday. Considering there were somewhere around 500 employees at the plant you have to sit back and appreciate the amount of effort required to sign all those cards.

The next plant manager shook things up a little bit. He decided to walk around the plant once a month, with the head of Human Resources in tow, to personally congratulate each employee with a birthday that month for beating the Reaper for one more year. He would also offer each employee their choice of several items emblazoned with the company logo as a gift.  The choices seemed to change every few months. You could walk away with a duffel bag, an insulated-fabric lunch cooler or a multi-tip screwdriver with a built-in flashlight. Nothing fancy, mind you. It was the thought that counted.

Our current plant manager is big on efficiency and reducing waste. Admittedly the monthly trips around the plant performed by the previous manager had to be pretty time-intensive. The new guy decided to gather all the employees born in each month into a conference room and shoot the breeze in a sort of informal and relaxed atmosphere. He would ask if anyone had heard any good rumors lately. He would then tell us some of the better rumors he had heard being spread about. There were also cookies, pop and presents. We musn’t forget the presents.

The last of these gatherings I attended offered a choice between a flashlight and a multi-function screwdriver. Neither item, much like all of the previous offerings, was of the highest quality. The flashlight was equipped with a row of LEDs on the side for use as a lamp, a set of two LEDs on the end functioning as a standard flashlight and a single red bulb which would flash as a sort of distress beacon.  Each of the separate functions was cycled through by pressing the single switch. I chose the flashlight.

It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I discovered a hidden functionality in the light. While this trinket was sitting on my kitchen counter I pushed it aside in order to make room to set something else down. In doing so I inadvertently pushed the light such that the button was depressed and held down for a few seconds by a book on the counter. This action resulted in every light being flashed simultaneously in the standard SOS pattern. I picked up the flashlight, turned it off, then pressed and held the button down again. Sure enough it started flashing SOS once more.

I cannot help but wonder, did the powers-that-be at my plant know about this “hidden” function? Do they intend for me to use it at work? Am I going to encounter a circumstance at some point during my daily duties that will require me to signal for help?

Happy Birthday to me. Now I’m afraid to go to work.



  1. Sir – Mr. Meeting is your fourth plant manager.

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