Martin was an epic worrier. He was the kind of worrier who worried when there was nothing to worry about because something must be wrong if there’s nothing to worry about.
Worrying on such a magnitude had a profound effect on all facets of Martin’s world. He had a meticulous attention to detail. No matter was too insignificant for his notice.
That was how he became the Quality Control person at the automotive weather strip factory. His job was to inspect each moulded piece of latex weatherstripping before it was shipped to the car manufacturer.
Martin took great pride in his work. His standards were uncompromisingly stringent. They were so high that in one particular shift he rejected all but four pieces because they were inappropriately trimmed.
At first he worried that he was overstepping his authority. He was pulled a few samples to show his supervisor.
“Pull ’em,” said his supervisor.
Martin watched with a swelling pride as his supervisor tromped off, sample in hand, to the front office. He returned to his station and worked with a renewed enthusiasm.
After last break Martin was visited by two supervisors. One was his own supervisor. He looked uncharacteristically meek. The other supervisor was from the vulcanizing department. They ignored Martin as they examined the pieces he pulled. The noise of the factory prevented Martin from eavesdropping. It added to his growing sense of uneasiness.
Eventually the supervisor from the vulcanizing department left.
“See these? Push ’em through,” said Martin’s supervisor. He pointed to the pile of rejected shifts.
Martin’s heart dropped. “Why?”
“They’ll be okay.”
“But they’re not right,” protested Martin.
“I know, but we gotta hit our quota. Don’tcha want your bonus? Push ’em through,” said Martin’s supervisor. His face looked tired and wrinkled.
“Then why have quality control? I mean, what if every factory did that? All the cars would be junk.”
The supervisor smiled. “What kinda car d’you drive?”
Martin threw up his arms in defeat. “Whatever. I’ll push them through.”
Martin’s supervisor slapped him on the shoulder and left. Martin finished his shift. The next day he was moved out of the quality control department.