You Are Brilliant

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It is not just the title; it is true. You are brilliant. Do you take care of yourself? Bathe as needed? Sleep when needed? Take care of your finances? Take care of your home and help those around you? Well, don’t ever let anyone put you down. You are a valued person, and you are brilliant.

When I was a trainer at a contract manufacturing plant that built sophisticated computer systems and servers, the manager of one of our departments used to rant and rave that people who worked on the floor didn’t know and were incapable of doing anything. Some managers used to say if they knew something, they wouldn’t be working there.  I think they got that reversed.

 I believe it is sometimes easy for management to forget that they really don’t earn anything directly for the plant. The plant only makes money through direct labor doing value-added work. Building products, assembling, packaging for shipment are all value-added work. Those who buy the product are paying for value-added work. Overhead is charged as a ratio of what is being paid for that direct value-added work.

This means that if the people on the floor who were actually doing the work, failed to do it, or did it wrong, there would be no money to pay management. The workers on the floor were very sophisticated workers. They soldered integrated components onto boards with contacts not much larger than a human hair, working under microscopes. They were able to spot problems in machinery and fix them. They could identify problems using x-ray equipment, and they could manage their schedules to work as much is needed, especially at the end of the quarter when output is critical.

Although US citizens, many of our workers had come to us from other lands. People who evaded persecution in their own countries, those who had helped the United States when we needed assistance and then were brought to the United States because they were not safe in their own countries. Those who escaped on boats and rafts, and came to build new homes and to be citizens of the United States. They all came to add their part and to make our country greater.

The one thing you could say about these people and all the others who were proud to work for a living is that they knew what they were doing, and they have always done it with their own style and grace. Just because English is your second or third language, just because some of your customs are different and just because you have a humble and serene character, does not give anyone the right to look down on you. Why? You are brilliant.

Thank you for being with me today. I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Author: Mike Balof

A retired Air Force Master Sergeant, Mike used to lay in bed at night and worry about what would happen if his plant closed or found himself without a job. One day his plant closed. Rather than panic and hysteria (OK, maybe a little) Mike found himself carried away on the adventure of his life. Mike started with the best job he ever had working at Home Depot. He spent 8 years working with job seekers at a local workforce center, helping them to find employment. He then started his own company developing courses, writing books and urging others to follow their own paths into the future. Mike holds a Master of Arts in Adult Education and Training and a Bachelor of Business Management, earned through the University of Phoenix and an AAS degree in Electronics Systems Technology from the Community College of the Air Force. Mike is a member of the Delta Mu Delta Business Honor Society.

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