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 or the station at