Thursday, December 17, 2015

Thinking out loud, in words.


Lets try this again. I tried writing it last night but my head was too muddled from a tiring an seemingly unproductive day at work.  Had I tried writing it the night before last it likely would have worked out, the composition was fresh.  Yes sometimes it is the time to write something and then it passes.  Yesterdays writing was turning into a disjointed word salad.  So lets try this again.

About a year ago I took a contract. It was in far away Delta, coming from East Vancouver it was a ninety minute transit trek.  I was told something about photocopiers.  Once I got in the building I was handed a pile of printed instructions, a 5.5mm nut driver, and presented with a box and large photocopier.  The objective, to get the parts in the box into, or onto the photocopier.  It was an uncertain start, that was the first time building things was my main job.  So I did what made sense, read the instructions, laid out the parts and figured it out.  Nine months later that first build that inimated me had become my bread and butter and I could fly through it.  I occasionally had the opportunity to install bigger more complex things.  It was routine enough to get boring, it was also interesting enough to keep me there. My regret being I never had a chance to learn more.

Two months ago I took a demolition job. It had less to offer, but better pay.  It reminded me that in I am comfortable in certain industrial setting.  That there are even some advantages to sites where there are risks and machines.  The demands of situation awareness take advantage of my brains desire to be omniscient, it really wants to know about everything going on everywhere. Squirrel!. In combining these to experiences, with some qualities I want to find in a job I found myself needing to look into the trades as an means to a better working life.

Now three paragraphs in I can start to get down to details.  I am trying to narrow down things to a trade that I can both use as a branching off point, get into at a novice level. I want to both expand end employ the mechanical thinking that built up, but always existed, at the photocopier job. I know I am able to work comfortably in a construction, or industrial setting which is good because that's where a lot of the work is going to be.  So the problems start to be, I really don't know what's out there.  At some level I break it down to pipes or wires, and exclude wood.

I choose to ignore carpentry because the demolition job proved one thing clearly, my joints can't take impact loads.  Moving heavy things no problem, being on my feet no problem, repeatedly absorbing shock and vibration, big problem.  A reliable source tells me that carpentry requires repeated, nearly all day hammer use.

So what do I want to do, don't know exactly.  I know I liked figuring out the mechanical connections involved in building things. Even if my work was large prefab out of the box stuff.  My brain loves systems, I am more engaged on working with the small things when I have a grasp on how it fits in the bigger thing. This is a general truth and does not exactly help me narrow things down.  There is a long term goal, being great at a useful skill set, working with even more skilled competent people. I want to dig into their deep knowledge and earn my own.  Thats the there I want to reach. So whats the path.

Here are the questions, and other things.

  • Optimistic plan A. Get hired as an apprentice, like trade, stay on said path. 
    • Plan A Modified, Redirect training as I narrow down what I like more. 
  • Plan B: Take on construction or other trade related work without out direct path to apprenticeship.  Gain access to experience and narrow down interests. 
  • Plan C:  Pick a foundation training program, or coop program, in an appealing trade and hope it's a good fit before sinking too much time and borrowed money into it. 
Plans A and B involve doing the one activity I fail at most consistently.  Plan B could be started by approaching day labour places as they often bring in grunt labour. However at zero job security, and even worse wages there is good reason to be reluctant.  Plans A and B are largely dependent on who will have me.  A thirty something failed geologist, the worlds slowest computer programer, and nerd. Once started I expect that any starting point will be off the mark and trimming the course will be an ongoing project.  I can no long hold on to the notion that I can plan one path and expect it work as imagined the first time.  Plan C is the comfort zone, of hitting the books and hoping something comes out at the end.  

The recent addition of body art to my skin sits as a permanent reminder that the differences between what I imagine and what is rendered is small.  More importantly the art is the product of thought planning, research, and communication, and proof that I can trust my tastes.  Neither of the pieces are exactly how I envisioned them, neither is so far off that they failed to fit the vision.  Being comfortable with those differences makes me more confident that I can steer my work life closer to stratifying. 

Some more questions I am trying to answer. 

  • Do I want to work in a workshop.
  • Do I want to work at a job site.
  • Both?!  I like that both idea
  • How much schooling am I willing to take at once. 
    • Largely conditional on how exciting I find the final outcome.
Now I must really engage in the uncomfortable job hunting work that will make plans A and B possible.   And when it comes to Plan B, whoever will have me will be a good start, I need to get my hands on site and learn what I can get better for the next move.

1 comment:

Ien in the Kootenays said...

Just one thing: you are not a failed geologist. More a lapsed one. The lifestyle that goes with the science was not a match. (Geez, what does that reminds us of.)