Sunday, October 30, 2011

A few calculations and how not to become a Watchmaker

Watchmaking is intense.  More so when you are learning the trade and trying to concentrate to your fullest.  We didn't have jobs while going to Watchmaking school.  The opportunity cost of that decision was about $50,000 per year.  The cost of school was conservatively $15,000.  The move to the new job was about $5000, but I will not consider our real estate losses as that may have happened anyway...if we had moved for a different job (in no way a certainty), but it was well over $100,000.   The result of not being made a Watchmaker at Rolex was very conservatively over $125,000 for us. 

I expect that I will never know the real reason why I was kept a Technician while others were hired immediately as Watchmakers and would only spend 1 or 2 months as a Technician before moving on to a Watchmaking position.  Myself, I was kept there as a Tech for 2 years, and while I was not the fastest nor the slowest of our group, in the end it did not matter.  All of us were coached on a monthly basis and informed that we were neither good enough nor fast enough at what we did.  The fastest lady had ulcers.  Others in our group showed signs of stress in different ways.  None of us was good enough.  Near the end I was informed that if I didn't improve that it was unlikely I would be promoted to Watchmaker as I had origonally been promised.  That was how bad that "coaching" became.  Shortly afterwords, upper management parroted the same line to me and it was then that I new my career was over.

Please understand, It takes at least 2 years of intense training to even begin to be safe working on a watch, with many years more of working in a probationary type of mode.  You must be so careful!  And this is only if you can make it through 2 years of classes and then to make it through all of the final tests.   Finally you must take a bench test at your new job if you are going to find employment at all.  Again, I was not near the bottom of my class, so I did pretty good throughout, but at Rolex, I was required to basically take 2 years off and just install dials and hands.  I am unaware of anyone that can retain all of that information, not to mention that intense level of skill without using it for 2 years straight.  Especially when your self respect and dignity are whittled away on an at least a monthly basis until you are basically ashamed to go to work any more.

Maybe if I was thinner, or younger, or dressed better, or even had attended the Rolex school as had the other more favored employees.  Maybe if I was a social butterfly or was a total suck-up.  Maybe then.  I expect to never know the why of it, and if I was told, I would probably not believe it at this point anyway.  

You don't have to lie if the truth is at your back.