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OT182: work experience

Work somewhat delineates an adult from a youngster. It somehow provides a huge demarcation line between being physically and emotionally mature than being dependent and single-focused students before. Work settings are really a different world from that of the school grounds. Upon entering the grounds of one of the huge export processing zones of the country, I had to admit that I kind of felt strange. It was rather a mixture of nervousness, reluctance, and ironically, sheer excitement. It’s truly a different environment. Anyhow, I’m nervous because I had no idea what to do, what kind of work they’re going to allow me to venture and I never really felt a single streak of confidence or competence at least, for I lack adequate knowledge regarding such work setting. However, this work experience that I had at KAC gave me a wide array of knowledge and new experiences, most especially on the whereabouts in blue-collar jobs such as in a factory setting.
As a part of my work experience, I was initially placed under Warehouse where I get to stack and monitor materials and help in the inventory. I was also placed at the Assembly section where I get to assemble insulators and file F connectors. Work is mostly manual and a bit mechanical in Assembly. I have worked from 7:30 in the morning up to 4:30 in the afternoon with three breaks in between from November 9-11. The first break is at 9:30, in a span of ten minutes; the second one is the lunch break itself at 11:30 until 12:30 and; the last break time is at 2:30 in the afternoon, in a span of ten minutes as well.
In my assigned task at the Assembly, the position maintained throughout the time is sitting, in a folded chair, with the table edge in a height that approximates that of an armrest. While in the Warehouse, more often you are standing and walking around to accommodate the welders and workers’ item requests and material issuance, or your sitting when writing the inventory and reports. Moreover, the use of protective devices was strictly reinforced. In assembling materials, I was required to wear finger cots or cotton gloves, or even an apron, because the materials are greasy and it would be slippery to handle precisely. I was also required to wear an extra clothing aside from the clothes that I already wear because the work is messy and I might stain on my clothes with the cutting oil so I had to change in a white shirt which is similar to the other workers’. In the Assembly, the physical demands of the job include having a good muscle strength of the upper extremities, good coordination, dexterity and hand manipulation. It also calls for an effective bilateral hand use, fine motor skills precise grip and endurance. The task of assembling also requires a good visual figure-ground and visual memory. Psychosocial demands include good orientation to time, person, place and event, and good concentration. Sustained attention and effort, and good problem-solving skills should as well be better established. The task is mostly individualized and there is minimal contact and interaction among other workers and with the manager unless if you have inquiries or complaints.
During my entire 20-hour work experience at KAC, I was convinced that working in a manufacturing firm or any factory for that matter is twice as complex as we would perceive it to be. I have worked in a variety of job settings but most of which involves clerical task assignments unlike when you were integrated in a work area where you can really literally sweat it all out. Although being assigned at the Warehouse, or at the Assembly section, or at the Production office didn’t give me as much utilization of manpower as to that of the machine operators, I could still call it a physically challenging experience. Like for example, when I assembled the insulators for the F connectors. At first I thought it’s as easy as this-then-that and voila, there you have the insulator. Then again, the task of course requires good hand dexterity, a fully functioning vision and good eye-hand coordination, and most importantly, effective bilateral use of the hands. The task is also repetitive so as I was getting on with the task, I’m beginning to feel some muscle strain on my elbow and shoulders. In addition to this is the static posture of the body in sitting that contributes to strain and eventual pain at the back. So it is really worth noting to take a rest once in a while so as to not force yourself to the limits.
Next was when I was allowed to file the assembled F-connectors. The task requires a well developed fine motor skills and precise pinch grip. It would put a strain in the elbow flexors, occasional strain at the back and paresis of the fingers and hands if short breaks to rest were set aside and ignored. Amidst all this, it is not only the physical demands of the job or the physical capacities and skills of the workers that affects the job performance. Psychosocial factors such as the worker’s relationship with the employer and with the other workers could as well impact on the engagement of occupations in a job setting. It might as well pose as an occupational hazard in the work environment. With regards to my experience at KAC, I had not a single problem when it comes to getting along and interacting with the other workers or with the managers. I was thankful enough that all the people there are very friendly and accommodating. They indeed facilitated in my course of learning. Of course it is not unusual that in any work setting there may be issues among the workers but this condition is only triggered if the members of the company – workers, leaders, managers, employer, has no clear and open communication among each other. Another factor is the work environment itself. I must admit, sometimes it really disturbs me to hear all the noises coming from the machines. Anyway, it would be impossible to be working in a manufacturing firm plus all of the machines being operated without a single noise being produced.
All in all, being integrated in an actual work setting gave me at least the knowledge on the workers’ welfare in such field. I was able to observe and experience first hand the existing physical demands and occupational hazards in a manufacturing industry; and even the process on how the automotive and precision parts are manufactured step by step. Even though I had a difficult time in pursuing this work experience, I must say, it’s all worth it and I’m thankful that I did. Now I know how hard it really is nowadays to actually seek for a job.

**This is just an overview of my entire Job Site Analysis.. I just wanted to provide a glimpse of what I had gone through and the experience I had this past semestral break. ^_^

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