Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What I learned from working in a nuclear power boots

Now, I thought I knew what work boots were. I have a pair of sturdy hiking boots I wear all the time. However, a friend of mine, who used to work for the BNSF railroad, offered to lend me his work boots. I will be required to wear steel toed boots on this job. I will be working on the "turbine deck" where everyone is required to wear steel toed boots, a hard hat, safety glasses and ear plugs.

I was warned to not get those cheap steel toed boots from Walmart. My shift will be from 6:00 PM to 6:00 AM. Twelve hours, 6 nights a week (with the potential of going to a full 7 day week) on a concrete floor. This is not a place for $70 boots. I was encouraged to spend the extra $100 for a good pair.

$170 for a pair of boots that I will wear for 6 weeks, then probably never wear again?

I called my friend from the railroad and asked if he could lend me his boots ASAP. I figured, twelve hours on a concrete floor is no place to be breaking in a pair of boots either.

Once my friend handed over his work boots to me, I was full of wonder and intimidation. These things must weigh 10 pounds each. They laced about half way up my shin and felt like Frankenstein shoes. Hard to walk in ....clump ....clump ....clump.... But they said "Red Wings" on them and from what I've read on-line, these are the best.

Suddenly, my years of experience in marketing were failing me. This was no place for a marketing, white collar guy. I was entering the world of the working men. Men who had tattoos back when men had tattoos, not musicians and drama majors. These were guys who were missing digits and called them "fingers" and "toes" not "digits." These were men who wore boots that weighed as much as a spare tire.

Next lesson? Learn to walk in steel toed boots and to look like you've done it all your life.

James Snider is the business development director for Accelerant Marketing Alliance, a full-service marketing start-up providing a corporate marketing hour at a time
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1 comment:

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