At a recent trade convention, a speaker questioned whether or not a job needs to be fun. Because I wasn’t certain, I asked readers for their input. I also asked one and all to define the word “fun.”

The responses have been enlightening.

Art Dobson’s e-mail message summed it up this way: “Fun is, simply put, enjoying what you do.”

He went on to detail his life in hvacr.

“I entered the trade in 1947 and have, for the most part, had fun ever since. Like everybody, I have some better and some worse days. But that is just life. What I do is help people. I help them solve their problems. In turn they pay me, helping me solve my problems.

“I am a senior service technician and educational coordinator for a large company in the Seattle area. One of the most ‘fun’ things for me is teaching the young folks coming into the trade and watching them grow. It is very satisfying to see youngsters struggle and succeed in a trade that encompasses parts of so many other trades that is constantly changing.

“In my humble opinion, anyone who doesn’t enjoy solving problems and helping people shouldn’t be in our trade.”

Rising to the Challenge

Timmie McElwain, of Gas Appliance Service Training & Consulting, remembers meeting me at one of the Honeywell Source training classes that he taught. He writes:

“I have been in this business for 35 years now and nine years before that in the U.S. Navy. I have always worked in very technical jobs. For 44 years or so, I have found it to be fun most of the time.

“What has made it fun? The single most exciting and fun thing has been the day-to-day challenge of customers and finding new ways to appease and please them. There is nothing better than having an angry customer who wants to choke you when you arrive, but when the job is finished that same customer tells you that from now on you are the only one they want to service the equipment.

“The next most fun thing to me is that there is always something new and more technical. The more technical means the more likely to fail. I always tell trainees when they complain about something always breaking down, to think that if nothing ever broke down, they might not have a job or could not sell a new piece of equipment. The challenge comes in learning something new and developing a skill level that makes you feel proud. That’s fun.

“So if nobody tells you that you did a good job — well, pat yourself on the back. That stretching is good for your back and your ego.

“The next fun thing is being called to a job that the last three guys who came could not get it fixed or find a part that was obsolete. There may have been several callbacks. Being able to finish that job with no more callbacks or finding a replacement part that stays within the operating capabilities of the equipment and is safe, and within code — I can really get into that.

“The last thing is constantly looking for easier, safer, more efficient ways to do the job. That helps the creative juices to flow and certainly makes the daily grind a lot easier.”

Work Hard, Play Hard

A brief comment also came via e-mail from someone with the screen name “Talloaktree.” It states: “I can’t define fun, but I know that fun isn’t linear.”

Maybe that reader was trying to say that there are more ways to have fun than just on the jobsite. As I said before here, service techs work hard and then play hard. If you have better definitions and/or words of wisdom, do not hesitate to e-mail me accordingly. Are we having fun yet?

Powell is refrigeration editor. He can be reached at 847-622-7260; 847-622-7266 (fax); or (e-mail).

Sidebar: Lab Aids in Food Safety

Folks concerned about keeping food safe can get help from a laboratory in Pennsylvania.

Air Products and Chemicals, Inc., of Allentown offers a variety of services through its Food Laboratory to help customers evaluate freezing parameters both for existing food products and products under development.

The lab offers Cryo-Quick® liquid nitrogen freezing systems and testing methods for such products as meat, poultry, seafood, dairy products, baked goods, prepared foods, fruits, vegetables, and snack items. Because different foods react differently to freezing and chilling, the hands-on observation and analysis provided through the facility give customers a picture of how a particular product will react under specific processing conditions, according to the company.

The facility can also simulate several freezer types, including liquid nitrogen, carbon dioxide (CO2), and mechanical. Officials said stations in the lab can predict residence time, belt loading, and dehydration losses for different foods.

Dietmar Gamm, Air Products’ North American marketing manager for food, said, “Sampling in our Food Laboratory provides customers with the critical data they need to successfully launch new products, reevaluate existing frozen and chilled products or determine the feasibility of freezing a particular food. And within the lab, our industry professionals can use the freezer technologies and data to develop complete freezing profiles for customers, enabling them to validate freezing parameters and ultimately make wise equipment investment decisions.”

For customers who are unable to visit the Food Laboratory for food freezing trials, Air Products said it had the capability to perform limited testing using smaller-scale portable freezing equipment at the customer’s site.

For more information, visit (website).

Publication date: 10/01/2001