I was working in a factory. I don’t know what was produced there.
Management was coming through to evaluate people, change positions, fire and promote, as they saw fit. Part of that, they were first going through a specific section that was designated personal work space. They would judge it and give us recommendations about our chances and where improvement was needed. Sort of feedback.
The personal section were about the size of a letter slot. Each had eight brass nuts on it. Space at the corners and across the middle, the nuts were to be there and tight. They were on walls from floor to ceiling, with a continuous varnished blonde wood bench in front of it.
My personal section was faded green, scratched, and worn. It looked like it’d been there since the factory’s beginnings. On the wall opposite were personal sections that looked black and newer. They almost appeared unused.
People packed the factory. Excitement boomed about this pending activity, but I was unmotivated and distant about the whole thing. Then, we came returned to our personal sections. Most people had red tags and were disappointed that they’d not been selected.
I had a note. It read, “Your nuts are loose and your box is dirty. Fix these and you have great promise.”
The feedback amused me but my co-workers and friends were impressed. Reflecting, I didn’t know what it meant in the dream. Others took time to explain that out of all these boxes, maybe one in a thousand had a note. That gave me a chance that most didn’t have, if I took care of the things that were noted.
A manager came by. He told me the same thing and then asked me what experience I had. I told him about my previous involvement with databases, CRM, and RM systems, and my analysis work. Giving me a thumbs up, he said, “You have strong potential, good luck.” Then he left.
Now motivated, I cleaned my worn green box and started tightening my nuts. One was loose and immediately fell off. I searched the floor for it but couldn’t find my nut. That dismayed me. Not having a nut meant a demotion, I’d learned. I didn’t want that and wanted a possible promotion now.
I went searching for a friendly co-worker to get his advice. “He’s been traded,” I was told.
“Traded? To another company?”
“They can do that?”
“They can and do.”
That amazed me. I wasn’t certain about being traded but I definitely wanted advancement. I needed a nut.
Looking at the black boxes behind me, I decided to steal a nut from down by the floor. I’d used it, get the feedback, and then put it back when I was done. It wasn’t stealing, but borrowing.
I started executing my plan. A young woman in black clothing saw me. “You’re stealing someone’s nut,” she said, pointing. Denying it, I hastened away with the nut in my hand. As I did, she said, “I’m reporting you.” Turning away and hurrying off, she called out to another.
I stepped off. Looking back, I saw her talking to a man and pointing at me. Swearing, embarrassed, and humiliated, I took off into the factory.
I went out onto the floor where huge equipment was located. I’d never been out to the floor before. What I saw awed me. A friend who worked in that section came by and asked me what I was doing. I explained my predicament. He said, “You’d better go back and put that nut back. You don’t want to be caught with another person’s nut.”
I knew he was right. I headed back with intentions of covertly replacing it. Of course, I wanted to avoid that woman and the man she’d been talking to. Not seeing her, I put the nut back where I’d taken it.
Of course, I still needed a nut. Now the future seemed bleak. Looking down the line, I saw the inspectors coming.
My friend from the manufacturing floor came up. With deft moves, he put my nut on and tightened it. “Now you’re covered,” he said, and rushed off.
The dream ended.