Saturday, January 07, 2012

I don't often blog about work, but then I rarely think about the future.

I seem to be settled into another one of those weird phases of disconnect, where I'm removed from the rest of my social circle at the same time I begin to consume media created by others rather than make it myself. It's weird, you'd think these periodic fits of reclusiuveness would be the perfect time to order my life, do creative projects, or even just blog but instead I read, go through all of the analysis and reaction in my head and never sit down to type it out.

I don't consider this a depression, though. I've been depressed in the past and my avoidance of creativity and society coincided with withdrawal at work. This is more like when I first got to Germany, when I threw myself into my job and found myself without energy for the rest of my life for a few months. I'm doing the same at my new base. I've gotten very energetic at work, where I'm currently filling the position of what's not even a glorified secretary, where I answer phones, track jobs for the other shops, and give briefings. For a few months I was on the lovely, relaxing night shift and was able to spend most of my time focusing on getting fit. Then I spent a period of time where I rushed into work and spent my first hour in preparation for a briefing which was actually in preparation for another briefing that turned out to be in preparation for a third briefing later in the day. In between this I answer phones and coordinate things. When I'm not doing that I'm spewing profanity because I've run across inefficiency, incompetence or sexism. I spend a good 95% of my day talking. About once a week I lose my voice.

This isn't my actual job, though. Sometime in the near future I'll be moved to my actual job, which is still removed from the parts of my job that I love, which mainly involved taking things apart and putting them back together. It's still technical work, but less of the blood and bones of the machine than I'd prefer. I'm in a unit that's filled with software technicians, and I am a hardware technician. I don't know what they're required to know, but a disproportionate number of them suffer from Alpha Male Nerd syndrome and I'm too old now to be dealing with that sort of bullshit from people who were in middle school when I was getting Ace Awards in Electronics Principles. (I don't even think most of these brats took Electronics Principles.)

I was getting quite depressed for a little while, because I'd worried a recent career field realignment had forever taken me away from the basic electronics work that I enjoy so much. Then I got my promotion study material, and found that even though a lot is cut out there's still enough of the basics to keep me happy. Still, the further I get from circuits and signalwaves the less joy and pride I take in my work. Which brings me to the ever-present question of what I'm going to do when I leave the military. No one stays in forever, and my first enlistment was basically a way to push final plans for the future down a few years. Sooner or later I'm going to have to take up a second career. All my life when I've considered higher learning I and everyone around me assumed I'd go for the softer social sciences or liberal arts, because I find it so easy to dedicate my leisure time to that and I disliked math so much in school. The idea of physics, engineering, or any of the hard sciences was not even brought up. But I'm beginning to wonder if I shouldn't go into engineering. It's not something I study on my own, but it's the natural direction to go now that I've spent so many years in an electronics career field to realize what parts of the work I enjoy, and more importantly what parts of the work I can do best.

1 comment:

  1. For whatever it's worth ... back in college in the 80s, I majored in both German and physics, and ended up using neither degree after I left. But, while in college, I worked in a department where they got a newfangled computer (an original IBM PC with an 8088 processor) and someone had to figure out how to build a database and write programs. That someone was me, and I've been programming ever since.

    My career found me quite unexpectedly; sounds like your career has found you as well, and I say go for it.

    Hey, I suppose I should ask: How would you translate "you have GOT to be shitting me" into German? An overly literal translation would be "du musst mich scheissen", but I think you'll agree that's not a very good translation. (Though I'll be damned if I don't want to find a native German speaker just so I can see their reaction.)