Wednesday, July 01, 2009

A Major Award

And a New Job...
I typically don't talk about my "real" job on this blog but I couldn't resist sharing this. I recently won a major award at work and every time I heard it referred to as "a Major Award" I couldn't help but think of the movie "Christmas Story" and the exchange:

"What is it?"
"Well, why it's a Major Award"

I was honored for more than 10 years of work on a ground breaking experimental program and the careful documentation of said program creating a living document of over 3,000 pages for those to learn from all my experience AND mistakes. I don't want anyone to fall into the same "holes" as I did - especially those containing sharp pointy spikes! This way, future test performers will only fall into holes of their own making - hopefully minus the sharp pointy spikes.

This program was probably a once in a life time endevour which was my "child" for so many years. I must admit I was sad when the apron strings had to be severed. But I got lots of kind words, a fancy dinner with my spouse, and a nice plaque that I can send to my Mom.

With that project done since the beginning of the year, I'm now off on a new job. I'm still in the same location, I even kept my same desk. But different boss with a different style and a really different project. I don't know anything so I'm learning from square one. Because I love to learn, this is a lot of fun. But at the same time it is totally terrifying. I feel I don't know enough to be useful yet and that stresses me. I know this will quickly (I hope) change. I hate feeling non-productive.

All of this I expected to feel. The one thing I'm surprised to feel, at least temporarily is...relief. In my other project I was it - I had no one to learn from and no backup. The buck did indeed stop with me. I never had any problem with that and was proud of the fact that I was point-man up the entire chain of command. But at the same time there was the stress of whenever something went wrong - I was responsible - PERIOD. Again, I had no problem with this. It was my project, my baby. If the baby was naughty, it was for me to address it.

Now I have a mentor at least 20 years my junior and I'm proceeding under his guidance. He's a great young engineer who has advanced quickly because of his talent and hard work. He also has a great positive attitude which is so helpful because the work is very difficult technically and also has a strong legal and political aspect to it which can be frustrating. I am very happy to be working with him.

Needless to say, my overall responsibility is quite low at the moment. I'm only required to learn and work on the project. I now have many "backups" to check my work. My overall responsibility will grow as I learn, but for this short time, that stress of being the lone program administrator is gone.

The experimental program of my "pass life" did fortunately transfer with me to my new job. I'm still supporting prep for the next program, but that does not require much effort compared to the those required during program execution. The program has been suffering continuous delays and there is a good chance that the data collection portion will happen after I am retired.

So, I do miss my "baby" and don't know if I'll be around for the "birthing" of the next one. I hope I will become productive quickly in my new job. Life changes and we change with it. And along the way, life sometimes gives us a "Major Award."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your MAJOR AWARD (yes, just like A Christmas Story which I watch every year). I’m so proud of you because I know how hard you worked on your mega-documentation project. I’m also so glad that you got recognition for it. Your learning curve on this next assignment will be short and you will add to your work environment once again, of this I am certain. I feel privileged to have you as a dear friend. QK