I was flattered when asked to write about a day in my life. I don’t think I was ever forced to think about what a day in my life was like; I just try to get through them. I could easily tell you about yesterday or last weekend, but for someone to have a typical day in this age might be a foreign notion. Over the past fifteen years I have been through layoffs, “restructuring”, homelessness – gathering discarded food and secretly showering with a hose behind a gas station at night – and what I was striving for was just to have some simple stability and security.
As a child, they diagnosed me with what was then called ADD. My grandmother, a long-time educator, was very much opposed to me being medicated. Her argument was “we’ve always had kids like that and we never had to medicate them. The problem is they just aren’t challenged enough.” This could probably explain my work history prior to finding the maintenance and reliability field. To summarize, it wasn’t difficult, creative or rewarding work and I quickly lost interest and moved on to the next opportunity searching for that elusive stability.
Fast forward a couple of decades and I find myself in the maintenance and reliability consultant life – networking and talking with others in my own or adjacent industries and developing acquaintances and fostering possible future collaborators or business leads. One day you may find me discussing projects with existing clients or discussing solutions with potential ones. Being brand new to the maintenance field at one time, I know many people are just thrown into it with unrealistic expectations and no clear direction or guidance and I empathize with plant leadership who are struggling to develop their teams with the limited resources and time they have. Part of my day that I truly value is being able to teach and help those that are currently where I once was; whether it be through facilitating a troubleshooting workshop, making a short tutorial video for YouTube on basic maintenance concepts or getting feedback about an article I’d written that someone has found helpful.
Many days have been spent sitting at my laptop, listening to Lofi Girl among other things while building BOMs and condition monitoring tasks or standardizing a clients store room parts descriptions. It’s death by spreadsheet, but it reminds me to take time to go outside and enjoy the sound of the waves, the bay breeze and perhaps some fried rockfish or snakehead on my lunch; The hovering seagulls boisterously reminding me to save half of the boardwalk fries for them. Then it’s back to the grind. Perhaps I might take a short break later to shake things up by studying or to see what is trending in the maintenance world this week.
Other days it may be much more intense with travel by ferry, car, train and plane all in one morning culminating with an intensive maintenance assessment – scouring through hundreds of reports, work orders, job plans, work flows, interviews and observations. Followed by days of report writing and collaborating with other consultants. One of my favorite perks of the job is getting to travel. Some of my favorite cities are Detroit, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Philadelphia and of course Baltimore. So, if anyone in these areas has maintenance and reliability improvement needs, but simply don’t have the time nor staffing to get it done… in the words of the great philosopher Al Green “Here I am, baby!”
There is no shortage of work as industries continue to grow and evolve; this ensures a continued challenge and change of scenery. So in trying to describe a day in my life, as I said… there is never a typical day. My days as a consultant for IDCON INC are always full of challenges, urgency and surprises which… I guess is what I love about it and what I’ve been looking for all along.