I love factories

I love factories. I love warehouses. I love getting my hands on machines and learning how they work.

I worked in the semiconductor industry in Japan from October 2002 to May 2004. My job was marketing, but for the first six months I trained in the applications lab, learning to run the dicing saws that cut wafers into chips and the grinders and polishers that gave wafers the right size and texture. I even learned how to use the laser dicing saw.

The machines were beautiful. The dicing saws had spindles that could revolve at 60,000 rpm–1,000 revolutions in just one second! It is difficult to imagine, even when you are directly staring at the velocity.

We did experiments on various workpieces–semiconductor products of all types–that really helped companies create the products they needed to create. Doing so gave me a considerable feeling of accomplishment.

When I worked for a trading company in Japan, I also spent many hours in warehouses, packing products. For example, one time we bought 1950s dimes and packed them with nostalgic Coca-Cola-themed banks we were selling on TV.

I have had my dream job of writer for the past five years, but my experiences of working with gembutsu (real things) in gemba (real places) has had a big impression on me. In doing my writing work, I still love visiting client’s workplaces and learning about their operations in detail. One of my new clients is a dry cleaning company, and it has been fascinating to learn how dry cleaning works, too.

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