Some times we find ourselves on paths that we didn’t know existed.  The thing to remember is stay open to all possibilities because you never know where they may lead.

Any of you that have ever heard me speak have heard me say that my dream job would be to run an automotive assembly plant; that is, of course, if I cannot be a rock star.  And since rock star days have most likely passed me by, well, you can figure out where the majority of my career has been spent.  My love affair with car plants started when I was a ripe age of 17 years old.  It was not love at first sight. It was a difficult time of life for me, my Senior year of high school.  Just when I felt my life was the best it had ever been, class President for 3 solid years, good grades, amazing friends, my Dad got transferred half-way across the country.  At Christmas time I moved to join my family. I missed my friends dearly, so much so that my heart literally hurt.  This area of the country was much different from where I had grown up.  I was hopeful I would get back to more familiar territory when I entered college.   My Dad had me apply to a school that had a 5 year program in which you were required to intern half the year and do your academics the other half.  I had never heard of the school, and you had to secure that job before being admitted, so I was sure that obliging him with that application was a low risk proposition.  I was sure I could get back East.  However, three months into my life in this new locale that my parents called home, I was contacted for an interview for a student intern position at a local vehicle assembly plant.  Being that I was unfamiliar with the area, and maybe less than enthusiastic about said opportunity, my Dad drove me to the plant.  At the conclusion of my interviews, I was asked if I would like to take a tour, and if the man in the lobby would like to join us.  I politely accepted for myself and invited my Dad.   As we stepped through a large beige door, a “people door,” a term I learned later, we entered a whole new world…the world of the vehicle assembly line.  It was loud. The floors were black and made of wood blocks.  People were working in pits in some areas, appearing as though they were truncated at the waist.  There were train tracks running through, as in not beside, the building.  I had never seen anything like it.  There were very few women in the plant, and the sight of me, in my navy blue interview suit and matching heels, being accompanied by HR and a man, whose arm in which I was overtly intertwined, was clearly a cause for whistling, whooping, and hollering.  I was so happy that it was such a rigorous tour and that my Dad had witnessed it first hand.   As my Dad is the most protective of all fathers when it came to his daughter, I was starting to believe in my heart of hearts that I might actually get to go to Penn State, my dream, as surely he wouldn’t allow his teenage daughter to work in such a primitive environment.  We didn’t chat very much on the way home; just shared some peanut M&M’s he kept in his glove box for good measure.  The next day, HR called and offered me a job in Industrial Engineering.  I asked them to please hold the phone while I consulted with my Dad…who did not even hesitate for one second before answering, “just accept it.”  “What about how rough the place was, Daddy, with all the cat calls and whistling…and that was when you were by my side???”  “Oh,” he said, brushing off the concern, “that was harmless; you’ll be fine.”  And so, it began…

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