Essay on Learning at Home During Lockdown
This year has been one of the most challenging years of my career. Of course, only now, in reflection can I understand why I am much better off because of the challenges I have overcome. I couldn’t be happier with my choice to join the BIW family as I have been presented with new opportunities and experiences that I will take with me for a lifetime. From working and training as a buyer, to working as a P10 in the yard, I have learned that being flexible is a big part of any task I will take on in this company.
My first challenge as a new buyer was learning and training remotely during covid-19. When covid-19 first broke out we didn’t know what to expect. Shortly after, we realized just how big of an impact this would have on our company as a whole and our daily tasks. I began working remotely back in March and while many employees really enjoyed the comfort of working in their own home, I struggled. Training on new tasks through skype was challenging for me and often times Sarah and I would not be able to meet every day. The Puritan Project was a top priority at that time and a main focus for Sarah. It was in this time that I learned I needed to focus on what I could get done and prioritize my time well. I would make a list of all my questions/roadblocks and go over them in our meetings. I began to improve with placing PO’s and keeping up with the Metrix.
Shortly after returning to the office, I was told I would be working in the yard as a P10 during the strike. While I was a little worried about the time I would lose in the office, I was excited at the opportunity to work on a Navy ship. Although there were days of heat exhaustion, frustration and returning home with more paint on myself than the ship, there were also some take always that made the experience worthwhile.
While working in the yard I was able to make many connections and improve my skill set. Toward the last few weeks of the strike, when new people would come out to the yard, my supervisor would put them with me and have me show them what we were working on. We spent several weeks cleaning, sanding and painting the intakes and uptakes of hull 604. Some of the guys out there had little or no experience with that kind of work and it was exciting for me to show them some tips and tricks I had picked up.
Working in the yard, I was able to see some of the valves that I buy. It’s crazy to think that many buyers don’t know what it is that they are buying. Here I was, out on the ship, spot cleaning a Hellen Strainer Valve for final inspection. I also, have a much better idea of how parts go missing and why we have such a high volume of MAR’s coming through. I was very tedious when cleaning spaces and would keep any loose pieces in baggies near the parts they belonged to because I know how much of a pain it is when materials go missing.
When I returned from working in the yard I got a call from Bob Murray asking if I wanted to participate in the Feed the Hungry Challenge. I had gotten to know Bob in the yard because he worked in the paint shop. It was through that connection I had made with him that sparked him to reach out to me. He said he thought of me right away when looking for new volunteers. At first, I was hesitant to join because I had a lot on my plate after returning from the yard, but I realized it would be a good opportunity to get involved. It was very cold the morning I stood out and took donations, but it was amazing to see how giving people are, even in these hard times.
Another challenge I was faced with this year was losing my team lead. When Sarah left we were unable to fill her spot right away. During that time, I took on new tasks as well as keeping up with P33’s Metrix and vendors. Taking on P33 was an added challenge, but really helped me to get more proficient at placing PO’s and working through MAR’S. I was taken off my probationary period and able to place PO’s and complete tasks without having them approved. I also started training on contract work and completing score cards.
In conclusion, I am happy with 2020 and the lessons it has taught me as a buyer, P10 and team player. I have a lot to learn and I know this year will have its own set of challenges to push me to become a better buyer. Continuing to be flexible and accepting opportunities is how I will continue to improve in my career as I have a lot to learn.