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I'm A Certified Forklift Operator

As I completed my first year of college, my parents let me know that I needed to find a job for the summer.

We were within 30 minutes of a city that had several manufacturing plants that produced things like building insulation, industrial extruders, and pharmaceuticals. Many of them didn't hire directly so I worked with a staffing agency to find my summer employment.

I ended up working the 4 p.m. to midnight shift in the fabrication department of a plastics plant. The fab department took the materials the massive extruder machines produced on the “floor” of the factory and made them into usable items. This included drain hoses for automobile sunroofs, squeegees, and cooler table legs‑these were legs that stored in the lid of a cooler that would then fold down to turn the lid into a table.

They were kind of neat actually but had to be bent into a u-shape. If it was made of plastic this plant probably had a hand in making it. 

I spent several days scraping plastic burrs left behind by a saw blade from the little things that hold the price tag on the shelves at Wal-Mart. Those start out as 8-foot pieces. I also "welded" window gaskets together.

This type of welding involved heating the material then mashing it together with a hydraulic press. 

When I wasn't welding or scraping, I became a certified forklift operator. My dad was slightly horrified but only because he knew what I was like driving a tractor. Thankfully tractors and forklifts aren't terribly similar. 

Years later when I was working in marketing for an agricultural manufacturer, I earned some street cred with the guys in the shop when I told them of my certification and proved I could use a metal bander to secure products to a pallet. It had never occurred to me to mention those skills on my resume but if I had I probably wouldn't have ended up in the marketing department.

If we listed absolutely all of our skills on our resume, would they help us get the job we wanted? Would knowing that I can scrape plastic burrs off of little plastic sleeves help me land that marketing job? Would employers see it as a hindrance or an example of my willingness to get the job done?

I think I could still maneuver a forklift safely but I will definitely not add welder to my list of skills. That seems like a recipe for disaster.



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