have little first-hand knowledge of manufacturing. I worked in a factory two summers when I was in college. That is 100 percent of my blue-collar experience. 

But those collective six months were an eye-opener. For one, I recall the job was hot and harder than I expected. At times it was so monotonously repetitive that I couldn’t stop my young and unbridled mind from wandering, and I nearly spot-welded my finger to sheet metal on several occasions. Other times, the job was so mentally confounding that I had to ask help to solve some conundrum or the other. I must admit that I didn’t expect to, but I quickly developed respect, admiration even, for the rough-hewn guys who worked in that sheet metal factory. (And yes, they were all men, back then.)

Another impression: I was struck by all the visits from outsiders. Trucks arrived on schedule to deliver raw materials, and others came to cart away our finished products. Repairmen showed up to maintain our industrial machinery, and various suppliers visited regularly to stuff our workplace with the specialized tidbits we needed to carry on. And it was my first experience buying from a food truck, which magically showed up three times every day at our exact break times. I remember a wise cracking co-worker saying something like, “Fifty guys work in this factory, but 150 others depend on it.” He was exaggerating, of course. But not by much.

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