I tend to conflate the word industry with heavy manufacturing, preferring to use the word business for anything less rigorous. So it’s the steel industry and the banking business. That’s still pretty common, although some people use them interchangeably.
I have a degree in Production and Operations Management, which as you can guess by the name has a lot to do with managing manufacturing operations. We studied two topics, Motion and Time Study and Statistical Quality Control, that were actually courses in Industrial Engineering, taught more from a business perspective than an engineering one. Mom always wanted me to be an engineer…
I received the Production Management Key at the end of my days at Loyola, which I can no longer find because it probably was inadvertently thrown away. I didn’t know what to do with it, so it sat in its little plastic case until around the time we moved to Atlanta, whereupon it was discarded as just a little more flotsam and jetsam that gets thrown away when you get ready to move 750 miles (that’s 1250 kilometers for you metric fans) to a new home.
I chose a particularly lousy time to get a degree in it, because it was right around then that many manufacturing operations left the United States for other locations in the world (primarily Mexico). They knew that, of course, but didn’t bother to tell me. They figured I had a Bachelor’s degree, which documented the fact that I was smart, and I’d figure out what to do from there. And I did: I got into IT, which was called EDP at the time, and wrote COBOL programs for about six months until I got the itch to try to get a job that "used my major."
I spent a year and a half working for a food manufacturer, supervising a crew of three in making cracker meal for use in breading chicken and fish. I worked third shift and my job consisted mostly of drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes, and watching my guys do what they already knew how to do. Finding this a little dull, I sought out and found a new job, working for an auto parts manufacturer, supervising a crew of sixteen on the second shift. They needed someone who could stand around for eight hours, smoking cigarettes, drinking coffee, and watching men and women do what they already knew how to do. That job lasted six months and ended when they decided they didn’t need a second shift and laid me off. Needing a job, I fell back on my computer programming skills and left manufacturing behind for good.
I realized that making stuff was no longer as important as it had been twenty or thirty years earlier. It was all being done elsewhere, places where they already had guys to stand around for eight hours, drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes, and watching people do the jobs they already knew how to do.