At the end of the line, a product was inspected, its quality assessed, and when deemed suitable, it was boxed up and transported, wherever it was needed.
Eron didn’t concern himself with the quality of the final item. There were others that worked in the plant, that produced the product, that was transported, wherever it was needed.
Eron didn’t concern himself with worrying over whether the product was deemed worthy, or discardable. There were others that made that decision before it was transported, wherever it was needed, or relegated to the trash heap.
Eron’s job was to manage one aspect of the production of the product that ultimately, was transported wherever it was needed.
He knew that what he did produced some manufacturing impact on the final result. He controlled a filtration process, a sort of gateway by which some, little, none, or a lot of an agent flowed through a conduit on its way to affecting, the product.
Through a panel of gauges, dials, lights, and interfaces, Eron received the appropriate feedback by which to change a particular filter, or to increase or decrease the intensity of the flow through the conduit.
He had gone through the training materials, of course. And, he had tutelage for several weeks from the prior operator. He also had the experience of years in the job, and therefore knew that his part in the successful making of the product, that was transported wherever it needed, was always consistently executed with competence.
After years in his role, Eron began to develop a feel for his responsibilities that seemed to outweigh what he could recall from the manual. He began to read the hums from the machinery, rather than reading the gauges. He listened to the whooshing sound of the flow through the conduit, and could adjust the filters without needing to look at the lights to verify that he had the right filter in place. He became so in tune that he could actually sense changes in heat, when the machinery was overtaxed, and in danger of damage.
He made slight changes to the filtration, when he smelled sulphuric notes and heard low pitched whines from the piping.
No one ever came back and told him he had made a mistake.
He felt unusual vibrations of the conduit, and readjusted the intensity of the flow, ignoring the manual-dictated procedural recommendations, and the products continued to roll out at the end of the line.
One day, Eron intuited a glut of alarming readings from various parts of his station, so he made a decision he never had before.
He completely shut down the conduit.
The products, due to be transported wherever they were needed, ceased to emerge for inspection. Whatever part Eron played in their manufacture, was clearly more important than he had been aware, though he took his job very seriously.
A check in with the supervisor, resulted in providing a summary of his actions, a thorough check of the gauges and lights at his station, a double check of the filters, a triple check of the conduit, and finally, a debriefing whereby Eron was encouraged to explain his rationale.
His response was simple. “It just needed to shut down for a little while. Allowing the flow to persist for so long, was causing long term strain. Regardless of how it is carefully filtered and regulated, it just needs to completely shut off occasionally. It’s good for the machinery, and it will be good for the product.”
The line rebooted eight hours later, and Eron manned his station.
He didn’t revert to reading the gauges and buttons, nor his long dormant knowledge of the procedure manual, but continued to trust his honed instincts.
The machinery hummed steadily, and the flow moved effortlessly.
He chanced a glance towards the end of the line, where the products emerged, going wherever they were needed.
The junk pile was empty.