Collaborative

Dear J—

Did I tell you why I chose to work where I’m working now, after taking the voluntary severance with the plant? It was the chance to learn new things and work with peers, I guess; the atmosphere in the office when I visited was one of quiet collaboration and sure, that was completely appealing but it felt like an academic setting, almost. Maybe not so much academic as, I dunno, adult: here’s what you need to do, go figure it out and get it done, which works remarkably well now that I’ve had a few such projects under my belt. Oh, you haven’t done that before? Well, there are guides and examples around, maybe on the internet, maybe around the office, and there’s lots of folks who know how, so just ask.

In a way it’s 1999 again and I’m at my first job, asking a lot of questions and not very confident that I can do this on my own. Or it’s even earlier, 1995 and I’m working through a course on plasma physics and trying to match units to the equations in the book that no one seems to be talking about directly, or looking at my notes and trying to sort them out into some sort of sense but failing again and over. (well, this give me the right units, at least, and even if I don’t know what it means I think I have all the inputs I need). There’s a lot of faking going on, maybe, but it’s productive and I can’t say it’s completely wrong.

I’m working on some illustrations for copper and zinc smelting for wikipedia, or not so much I’m working as copying and cleaning up, which sounds a lot less impressive than “oh, I’m working on wikipedia” which, come to think of it, doesn’t have a great reputation anyway, but that’s more about what you make of it, honestly. You can slap together an article with no sourcing and no lede and no infobox or you can take your time to get your stuff together into something that makes a lot more sense and is worth reading, right? You collaborate, we collaborate, we’ll make this better together.

Mike

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