12July12 – Part 2, more thoughts on my dad
So, I realized more today, the longer I thought about it, about how I am my father’s son.
The best way to describe it is to look at what I do as work now in compared to the 3 “engineers” in my family growing up.
(1) Pap. He was the best kind of engineer. The kind that could do anything (or at least that’s how I remember it), even though he didn’t have a degree. He just had the experience and intuition to get the job done. Realistically, I never figured I would be like him, mostly just because corporations and all require degrees and all now and Pap never would’ve been able to make it through all the reviews and interviews cause he didn’t have that “piece of paper” saying he was plenty smart and experienced for the job.
(2) Uncle Larry. He was a mechanical engineer, and he worked in an office at CTC. I never knew exactly what he did, cause it was classified, but he worked on stuff for submarines and other cool projects. Honestly, I always figured to follow in his steps. Get a degree, get a job, make good money, work in an office during the day, and spend spare time with other hobbies/doing ministry stuff.
(3) Dad. He was a “field service engineer” by job title. I always thought it was a weird title, cause he wasn’t actually an engineer. Kinda funny in hindsight that I have no problem calling Pap an engineer without a degree, but would hold it against the technicians like my dad. I guess part of it was the actual job too. Instead of working in an office, he would travel in the “company minivan” to wherever a customer’s machine was broken and fix it, even as they expanded his coverage zone and he would have to drive 4-5 hours to get to the location. Sometimes despite the fact that the customer just was an idiot that didn’t know how to run the machine. He had to balance doing his job well on a technical level with actually being a good person in dealing with customers. Plus, he was on-call and had to respond when a customers machine broke, even if it wasn’t during “work hours.”
So, his job didn’t look like what I thought an engineers should look like.
Makes it kinda funny now. I always figured to be like Larry. To work in an office, and be the smart guy behind the desk, making the big money.
Turns out, I ended up being like Dad. And I’m quite proud of it.
Now I’m remembering his lessons well.
His customers knew him by name, and appreciated him. Sometimes we’d run into them somewhere random (like the Richland Mall…lol), and he’d have a conversation with them, asking about their kids’ sports teams and other stuff that mattered to them. They would know Josh and I’s names despite never meeting us. All cause he actually built a relationship with them.
He drove long distances, but didn’t complain about it. And he’d come home and be like “I was thinking about this as I was driving.” Now I totally understand how that works.
He was on call, cause if the machines stopped, work stopped. Now I see what it means, since I am on call, and when the machines stop, the lights go out.
He never worried about the fact that there may have been other opportunities to “make more money.” God had provided what we needed as a family. Sure, with a piece of paper, there may have been more money available, but through his work with Kodak, I learned a lot about being responible, having a good work ethic (something I’ll be honest, I can’t nearly live up to him, but I’m trying to improve), and doing your whole job well, both the technical and the relational.
Plus, his job with Kodak showed me how God takes care of us. They managed to keep him around through a major downturn in the microfilm market, just long enough for us to get through college and get through our biggest financial obstacles, and then lay him off. With the layoff coming right when he needed to become much more involved in the ministry.
Sure, finances got tight, but God provided through it all and pushed him right where he needed to be.
So, this is my post to say I’m proud to be following my dad’s footsteps as a field service engineer, and I’ll take the lessons I learned from watching him to heart.
Granted, I do have to be thankful that I get an even better employer than Kodak as now my only employer is God himself.
Maybe I could have saved this post for his birthday or father’s day or something, but I write what God teaches me when He teaches me, so here it is today, about halfway between those two holidays..lol