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Loneliness of the Long-Distance Engineer

Updated: Jul 1

Shop floors can be difficult - that's probably why most training-delivery companies prefer to cosy up with the management team who've already bought into the concept of continuous improvement. Shop floor staff don't really want anyone getting into their heads - "we'd rather stay where we are, thanks, in the dusty darkness where a good day is one when you're left alone."

Fortunately for those long-distance engineers who've been at that lathe

a long time and see no hope of anything changing around here, there is hope. There's engagement, and it can be fun - should be fun while you're learning to get ahead of the curve alongside easy ways to change things just by thinking about them differently, not demanding any effort at all. Constructive communication and cultural positivity mean more energy of the productive kind, and no-one has to do anything different to suddenly find themselves doing more with their working day. All you need to change your perspective is a new line of enquiry about the reality you're facing.

Realistically it's the same for all of us - if you've ever been to 'therapy' or talked to a counsellor you'll know that the only thing they can do is get you to think differently about stuff. They can't make changes for you and they can't advise what to do in specific situations - you have to figure that out for yourself.

Line managers can get tetchy about human nature at play. They can fall into the trap of resisting change for different reasons, not realising they're digging their heels in and claiming all kinds of things to avoid getting caught up in the experience - "it's a waste of time," [they could be spending fighting those fires], "it's immature, you'd get more out of going down the pub," and so on. Anything but engage on a level playing field with people they're employed to control.

The heady mix of subversive undertone and discordant harmonic is anathema to many, including upper management tiers who frankly don't know what to do about it. Training companies won't touch the matrix for fear of getting burned while intelligent, sensitive human beings are left to deal with their own despair in oblivion to the negative impact they're having on the workplace they rely on.

Brave hearts with the biggest battles on their plates put the rest of us to shame when they come out with their truths, and one thing you could call 'a saving grace' today is that talking about mental health is actively encouraged. Nobody can ever turn round and poke fun at a colleague for declaring his or her inner turmoil. Giving peace a chance in today's industrial environment may be a step too far for many professionals. Are you ready to man up to that task and find the people within your company do want to clear higher bars? While change is inevitable, it's in our hands to do something constructive with it and there is in all honesty no time like the present, for the present is all we have.

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