Posts Tagged ‘places’

Mid Week

18 May 2011

Dear J-

When I worked for Worldcom (in those days MCI Worldcom; does anyone remember Microwave Communications International today?) our presence in Sacramento was split into three distinct locations: White Rock in Rancho Cordova, our office at Creekside Oaks, and the terminal close to West Sac. What struck me was the families you’d see — husbands and wives, sisters and brothers — working around those three places, the casual way you’d let slip that so-and-so was your husband out at the terminal or that your new manager was his sister coming from the tech center. Not unusual and actually encouraged — they offered a recruitment bonus to employees who got employees on board and who better than your unemployed, lazy brother who might otherwise be a productive member of society?

There’s the same feeling where I am now in that there is what seems like some long-running soap opera of whole families being forged out of long hours at work and after work. You have to remember that we have a large contingent of 20+ year veterans of original construction on site and given that you spend nearly half your waking life at work it’s only natural to assume that you’d be getting to know those folks. People come and go but you end up seeing the same faces over and over again, whether separated by weeks or years, it seems once you’re part of the family it feels like the Family — in the Mob sense. Together they comprise a good chunk of the last twelve years of my life — my entire working life — and I’m sure that’s shaped me in ways I can’t begin to suspect.

If I had gone to work for smaller companies or myself I’m sure I wouldn’t be where I am today — the uncertainty would be killing me and the security of the big company has been quite helpful though stifling. I wouldn’t have learned the lessons of loyalty and family I saw — I see — in my waking life. If I stayed the course in academia I would see the world differently just based on the people you come to meet — schools are generally filled with bright young students and I’ve not seen that everywhere I’ve gone, for good and bad (academic engineering demands you understand why the solution works, while practical engineering emphasizes repeatability and effort). It has been as great an education as I could find everywhere and I’m grateful to have had the chances I have had.