March 6th, 2004

airplane

careers

I watched Norma Rae. I'd never seen it before. It's good. It's an interesting perspective, especially for someone like me, who works in an industry that's very unionized. We hear these horror stories about union workers, how their bosses aren't allowed to give them annual reviews of their work, or how if you see a light out and change the lightbulb yourself you get in trouble, because that's someone else's job you just did.

I see good things about unions too though. When I was 14 or so I read The Jungle and was horrified by the idea of a society where your job could be as dangerous as the employer wanted it to be, and if you got hurt you just lost your job. No worker's comp. Those were unions that fought for stuff like that. That's justice.

There's such a huge emphasis on safety at my company and that's how it should be. Everyone takes an ergonomics class where they teach you how to spot the first signs of a repetative motion injury. My own boss got on me for stretching across two desks to use a PC and an RS machine at the same time (I thought I was just being efficient, he said I'd have no shoulder in three years of I did that. sillyness.) So unions... I'm not in one. I think there's good and evil there, we see the evil, but there's much more good.

Speaking of bosses, mine asked me what my "career goals" were. I think he just went through some training class... "Have you hugged your direct reports today?" or something. I was confused.

My career goals? Like, don't break anything, don't kill anyone, don't end up in jail? I told him I'd think about it.

It's airplanes. You can design. You can certify. You can manage. Three basic paths. They ask me, "why are you back in school, taking more classes, getting another degree?" I'm not even sure about that. It seems like a good idea. I've always been in school. It's good for me, it feels good. Really, that's how I've lived most of my life... I pretend to be all logical all the time, and with little daily decisions, I am. But you get to these big decisions where you can't be informed enough to be totally logical about it so you just go with your gut feeling.

my gut feeling is that... I need a few more years at the bottom of the food chain to think about all of it.