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Dick Bakers Magic Words: My Workplace Miracle
By Burt Dubin

These words changed my life. They inspired me with belief in myself.

This belief in what I can do sustains me. It sustained me through many crucibles. Through many crucibles in the years that followed.

Here's how it happened: At 17 I quit high school. It's not that I wanted to quit in my senior year. It's my father. He ups and leaves us flat with no notice. No notice and no money. The "us" is my Mom and my 2 little sisters. There's no means of support. No cash to pay the rent. And the food . And all the rest.

So I took the noble action. I quit high school. I went to the nearest large factory. It happened to be RCA, in Camden, New Jersey. I lied about my age. They believed me. They believed me because they needed people now. There's a war on. They only knew they needed people to do the essential work. They needed people now.

An electronics enthusiast, I bumped myself up. Up and off the assembly line in just a few weeks. I got myself assigned to the Test Cage. The Test Cage was electronically isolated from the rest of the world. No signals can enter. No signals can leave.

I love working with the CRT, the various meters and the alignment tools. It's a Union Shop. Did you ever work in a Union Shop? If so, you'll recognize what followed. The Shop Steward works along with everybody else. And he watches everything with the object of protecting and preserving jobs.

My job was to test and align electronic equipment destined for the USA Department of Defense. The Time and Motion Study folks have established 45 minutes as the allowed time to complete one procedure.

After a few weeks, I figured out how to do this job in 15 minutes. And I did. Instead of turning out 12 procedures per 8 hour shift, I did 36 complete procedures. The Shop Steward had a little talk with me. I resist his recommendation that I slow down. There's a war on, I told him.

He's not happy. So, he got 2 engineers, guys with white shirts and neatly pressed navy blue trousers, (You know the type, their suits come with 2 pair of pants!) to visit me. They didn't just visit. They brought their yellow legal pads. They stand behind me. They stand behind me for 2 full shifts. When one has to visit the bathroom, the other watched me with eagle eyes.

After the 2 shifts, 16 hours of observing my every move, they file a Report. In essence, they said, "the kid's right." (I, a late bloomer, was not even shaving yet.) The kid's right! This means they rewrite the procedure. Now my every motion becomes the prescribed motion for the whole 30-person group.

And they require someone to train the other in this simpler procedure. Who do ya' think they picked? I'm the only one available. So, at 17 I showed the 29 others what to do and how to do it.

Wait, there's more. They bumped me up. off the line, to new responsibilities. I'm now the Troubleshooter for the whole group. This meant when someone ran into a problem, they called me to solve it.

When I can't figure out what to do, I went to the Shift Supervisor, Dick Baker. He's from Green Bay, Wisconsin. His religion was football. The Green Bay Packers were his heroes. His Gods. Every other word out of his mouth is Green Bay. (You've met the type.) He always solves the problem.

Here's the scene: I'm hunched over a work station. I'm staring down the CRT and the perplexing problem. Dick Baker, a few feet away, quietly speaks to the person he's with: "That young Burt is so good at what he does--he never has to call on me for help any more."

I'm moved by those words. (They proved to be magic words.) Someone believes in me. Someone believes I'm better than I know I am. Maybe he's right. Let's find out.

I scrunched down addressing the problem. The sweat poured from my brow. I broke through and solve the problem. I never had to call on Dick Baker for help ever again.

Because someone believed in me, I tap into a power I never knew was there. Now I believe in myself. I believe in my power to transcend perceived limits. This proves to be my workplace miracle!

Ever since that tender moment, thanks to Dick Baker, thanks to one person believing in me, I've shattered perceived limits again and again.

"Think you can, think you can't, either way you're right." So said Henry Ford. And you, dear reader, can transcend the perceived limits of your life.

Simply believe in yourself and your power. Then do what you must to create the conditions and circumstances you desire. That's all it takes.

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Copyright 2003 Burt Dubin

Burt Dubin, a 20 year veteran of the business of speaking, mentors speakers and wanna-be's world-wide. Burt works with people who want to be speakers and with speakers who want to be masters. For samples of the wisdom available to you, simply go to

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