"One hand for you and one for your master"

As I left the office tonight, I had a conversation with a colleague. I thought that she seemed to be rather stressed. I related the following story.

When a student I worked during my summer holidays in various engineering factories in Fraserburgh. One was called the Consolidated Pneumatic Tool Company which made industrial compressors and a range of pneumatic hand tools. The sort of devices which can commonly be seen used to break up the road surface and holes are being dug to lay pipes and cables etc….

I worked one summer during the Trades holiday when the factory was closed to all workers. However, the maintenance team continued to work performing various annual maintenance task on the considerable range of heavy machinery that is used in the manufacturing process. One day we went to do a job on an over head crane, the sort than can pickup a whole compressor and move it around.

As we climbed up to the crane tracks which were located in the roof of the building the engineer I was working with said.

“When you are working overhead always remember the following. You have two hands, you have a tool in one had and with the other you must hold on to something solid. One slip on this overhead machine could result in a fatal fall.”

He went on to say something that I have always remembered, “one hand for you and one for your master”. This is obvious in that context but I think that this really applies even in a situation where we are not working in that sort of high risk context.

We need to ensure that as we apply to our work ( of any sort ) we remember to maintain a fair balance! Using the metaphor one hand for your master and one for your self we need to ensure that we maintain a good work life balance. When we are committed to our work its all too easy to give too much to our work some times at the expense of our health and social circumstances.

Food for thought?