The next stage in the development of my “authority” followed with rapid promotions first to crew chief—a position covered within the bargaining unit—then to first line supervision at which point I entered into a separate contract directly with the company 1. My responsibilities changed from doing assembly line work to assigning that work to others; training them in how to do it (if required); making sure they had the parts, tools, equipment, and necessary support services necessary to do their assigned work; and, helping them resolve problems they encountered that prevented them from being successful on the job—often requiring tough decisions about the appropriate level of responsibility for the supervisor, as a representative of the employer, to take, especially when attempting to heed the call to be of service to others 2.

With the additional responsibility came a commensurate increase in authority. By being a member of management, supervising employees and their use of departmental resources to do so, added legitimacy to the exchanges I had with my counterparts in other areas. I was no longer roaming around outside my work area to simply relieve my boredom or secure what I needed to complete my own work, I carried agency that stemmed from having a purpose well beyond myself. Now, matters associated with production schedule changes, workload balancing, shortage recovery, bringing new products on the assembly line, etc. introduced me to a diverse range of actors 3 with whom our collaboration served the greater good of the company. As a result, beyond checking off the day’s activity list, I gained considerable working knowledge about how the processes of production came together to build aircraft—more granular, detailed “maps,” if you will—which would serve me well in my next step on the journey to greater authority!

  1. Bosserman, Steven L. “From Labor to Management.” Steve Bosserman, May 9, 2021.… [return]
  2. “Each one must be the servant of the others, thoughtful of their comfort and welfare.”

    ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 215.

  3. “The psychological self begins life as a social actor, construed in terms of performance traits and social roles.”

    McAdams, Dan P. “The Psychological Self as Actor, Agent, and Author.” Perspectives on Psychological Science 8, no. 3 (May 1, 2013): 272–95.