Take This Job and Love It: New Balance Shoe Factory 

In this edition of Take This Job and Love It, Chelsey Anderson heads to Skowhegan. There Chelsey hoped to be a shoe in for her new job.Chelsey- “The New Balance Shoe Factory focuses on safety, quality, efficiency and effectiveness. They have to, to put out as many as 42-hundred pairs of shoe a day. So I got right to work and did my best to keep up.”—————Plant Manager Patrick Welch started me in cutting working with Lisa.Lisa, Cutter, New Balance Shoe Factory- “It’s basically like a puzzle.”Chelsey- “So, we’re trying to squeeze as many as these pieces on as possible.”After Lisa helped me punch out a couple more runs it was time to head upstairs, where they were excited to have us.Crew singing- “Take this job and love it!”One of the first things Patrick tried to instill in me was that timing’s everything.Patrick Welch, Plant Mgr., New Balance Shoe Factory- “At 12:04:48 this person right here, will be coming around the corner any moment.”So, I skipped pre-fit, where the fine details are added, and started at the first pass of computer stitching with Judy. I watched and tried my best, but I didn’t have the talent and speed these folks have. I was slowing the whole line down.Chelsey- “Sorry!”Patrick showed me how to do one of the stations…Patrick Welch, Plant Mgr., New Balance Shoe Factory- “I put the wrong one on. That’s why I don’t do this very often!”Chelsey- “Now I spin it?” “Yep.”I had to sew the New Balance N on, and dye out the tongue hole.The next station was a manual sewing station with a lot to it. I wasn’t sure I had the skill for sewing in the box toe, but with an 18 year sewing veteran helping me, I gave it a try.Chelsey- “Rrrrr!””These are fixable. They really are.”She’ll regret saying that.Chelsey- ” This is terrible, you don’t want this one.”Chelsey- “I can not have THIS job.”Patrick Welch, Plant Mgr., New Balance Shoe Factory- “I’ve seen creative stitching but that takes it to a whole new level!”After several more sewing stations it was getting easier and easier to see the final product.Patrick Welch, Plant Mgr., New Balance Shoe Factory- “This, for all intent and purpose, is a shoe, but for insert, lace and sole.” Chelsey- “It doesn’t have a soul yet.” Patrick- “It needs a soul!”I head over to apply the glue cement to the souls with Ray.Ray- “You want to put one in and make sure it’s flat and you want to put it in so it goes all the way back in there.”Ray- “If you look at it you can see it almost looks like a car wash.” Chelsey- “Oh that’s neat.”Ray- “Now, here comes the fun part, because sometimes they get away from you.” Chelsey- “Uh-oh.” Ray- “You’re going to have to hold it tight, and go from one side all the way around to the other side.”Ray- “See it coming up.” Chelsey- “And now I spin it. Oh, oh, oh! I’m losing it!”Like the other stations, Ray was much faster and effective than me, so he cleaned up my mess and I moved onto the final stations.Chelsey- “Wind it up, put it on the inside.”Instructor- “Check the distance here. See if it matches.” Chelsey- “Pretty good.”Now I inspect the shoes and punch them for sale before popping the pair in the box.Chelsey- “Well, there we go. There’s my shoes: not mine because we could not sell those.”So after slowing down the line, and creating a whole lot more work for each of the stations I stopped at, would I get the job?Patrick Welch, Plant Mgr., New Balance Shoe Factory- “You would. I’ll tell you why. Good attitude, you’ve got a good smile, and communicate really well. Those are the things we look for. We can teach you how to make shoes!””We’d love to have you and you’re always welcome.”————Chelsey- “I’d like to thank everyone at New Balance Shoe Factory for putting out a great shoe, made in the USA, by great people. You all have amazing skills.”If you have an idea for our next Take This Job and Love It email Chelsey at [email protected] or the station at [email protected]