Reflect Back, and Surge ForwardDecember 1, 2018
Several years ago, I penned in this space part of a letter from a reader, who reflected on his lengthy career in the metalforming industry by writing:
“As I grow older, I realize that there is so much more to life than tonnage and thousandths.”
As this issue marks our last for 2018, we here at MetalForming magazine and the Precision Metalforming Association eagerly look forward to a fruitful 2019. And so, I thought it appropriate to inspire our readers to reflect on the year that was, focus attention on the coming year, and all the while strive for the perspective shared by the above-mentioned letter to the editor.
The letter’s author, a tooling engineer named Clarence, was responding to an earlier Editorial that I had written bemoaning the (sad) state of our nation’s educational system. Clarence harkened back to a time when “industry was built by a nation that had values not measured, quantified or packaged in a seminar. All our attempts to rekindle that success have failed miserably.”
Then Clarence arrives at the best part—insights that surely apply as much or more in this day in age as they did 16 years ago. The letter read:
“The emphasis has been on what to do rather than why. Ours is a culture obsessed with continuous improvement…and none of our efforts to instill decent values in our children seems to be succeeding…and some of these people come to work in our factories every day. Getting people to think logically and apply their knowledge is not a mechanical endeavor but one that is carried out through a worldview of values. My only hope and prayer is that the home has real values to teach a child, and then we will have that workforce that we all covet.”
So much is written these days, everywhere we turn, about the lack of sufficiently trained workers—the workforce of the metalforming industry’s future. And almost always, attention turns to the specific and lacking skill sets. While certainly a good part of the future of our industry rests on those trained in reading dimensioned parts drawings, turning wrenches and adjusting equipment to keep it running ship-shape, perhaps the greatest value the next generation of workers can lend to our shops are the “real values” stressed by Clarence, 16 years ago.
I’ll close out 2018 with this inspirational verse from an Edgar Guest poem titled, “Have You Earned Your Tomorrow?”:
Did you waste the day, or lose it, was it well or sorely spent?
Did you leave a trail of kindness or a scar of discontent?
As you close your eyes in slumber do you think that God would say,
You have earned one more tomorrow by the work you did today?Happy Holidays. See you in 2019.