“The Man” is a slang phrase that may refer to the government or to some other authority in a position of power. The phrase “the Man is keeping me down” is commonly used to describe oppression. The phrase “stick it to the Man” encourages resistance to authority, and essentially means “fight back” or “resist”, either passively, openly or via sabotage.
The term has also been used as an approbation or form of praise. This may refer to the recipient’s status as the leader or authority within a particular context, or it might be assumed to be a shortened form of a phrase like “He is the man (who is in charge).”(Wikipedia)
I submitted an application and resume in response to an ad in the local paper for production foreman at the Ford Louisville Assembly Plant in Louisville, KY. Ford was adding a shift to their heavy truck production line. Soon after, I received an invitation for an interview.
Since I had been working for about two years at the glass plant, I had some idea what being a production foreman entailed. My bosses were production foreman. It was clear that the job was demanding but the prospect of increased income, better benefits, career opportunities trumped any concerns at that point. A big downside to accepting the job included moving to a new city where we did not have any family or friends. This would be particularly difficult for Ann. Additionally, accepting a job as a salaried employee would meant that I would no longer be a union member and would lose any of the protections that came with union membership. If I should not succeed, there would be no safety net. If I had a complaint, there would be no union rep to address my grievance with the company.
I traveled to Louisville for my interview. The first person to interview me was a salaried employee representative who worked in the personnel office ( that would be the human resources office today). It was a strange and prescient experience. The interviewer’s name was Royal Graham. He was an older gentleman, maybe in his sixties. As we began, he was reviewing my information and started the interview with a question that threw me completely off guard. He asked, “Where do you go to church?” I answered “Church of Christ”. I am sure that my face betrayed my uncomfortableness with the question. He realized that and immediately explained that he saw I had attended Abilene Christian College and he was an elder in a local Church of Christ. He set me at ease on that subject but then proceeded to encourage me to not accept a production foreman job because he believed it would not be a good choice. Although he did not express it directly, he implied that it was no job for a Christian young man. By the time the interview was over, I was confident that he had my interest at heart but I was not persuaded. Several other members of management interviewed me and after reaffirming my desire to be a production foreman I returned to Nashville.
After a few days I received an offer to become a Production Foreman at the Ford Louisville Assembly Plant. I immediately accepted the offer and thus began my journey to become “The Man”. Little did I know…