24 October 2008


I haven’t talked a whole lot about work recently, mostly because it’s been pretty quiet (read: boring) around here. The project that I was working on when I started has wrapped up and in the process netted me my first publication*, so that’s pretty cool. Aside from that nothing much has happened. That project was all but through about 2 weeks ago and since then I’ve been struggling to find ways to fill my time at the office (read: a lot of fucking around on the internet). It has recently come to my attention that one of the reasons for my perpetual boredom is that there has been some issue with funding. Apparently the economy isn’t doing so hot right now. Who knew? According to the chief engineer at my company I’m not at risk to lose my job (whew!) but he thinks that there will be some restructuring in my future. It’s like I just got my palm read by the world’s most boring gypsy. What it means is that before too long I’ll probably be reporting to a new boss and I’ll be working in an entirely different area of my field.

It’s that new ‘area’ that is giving me cause to blog, you see. And not necessarily in a good way. One of the troubles that come with working in aerospace engineering is that without some careful canoodling and kissing of keister** you likely won’t have much control over what kind of projects you end up working on. Another of the problems is that the ever-increasing military/defense budget and a waning public interest in space exploration has caused the aerospace industry in recent years to move even more towards total domination by the dreaded Military Industrial Complex. That means that most of the work that’s being done in Huntsville these days is military work. Without going too deep into detail I’ll say that I’m not a fan of military work because of moral objections that I have with what I feel is the misplaced emphasis on the role of the military in the modern world. Since I don’t want this post to be about my sociopolitical leanings I’ll just leave that there for now.

By now I’m sure you’ve figured out what’s been asked of me because you’re all so damned clever. My company does a lot of military technology development and they want me to help with some of it. Up to this point in my short career I’ve been able to avoid it and I was hoping beyond hope that I could continue to avoid it ad infinitum. I even had delusions that should the option come before me I would refuse it outright. I guess the problem occurs when it isn’t really an option. Sure, they may have asked me if I would like to work on these projects but I got the impression that it would not behoove my career should I object. That’s not to say that I felt intimidated in any way but rather that with the work that is presently available to me if I’m not willing to bite the bullet (so to speak) I might find that their willingness to pay me for time spent updating my blog is diminished. So that’s where I stand right now. The question now is whether I should voice my objection before I take the work on the off chance that they can find some work that’s not so morally taxing for me? Let me make it clear that I fully intend to take the work despite my moral objections to the nature of the task. I’m not happy with it but I need to have a job and with any luck it won’t last for too long. [It took me a really long time to come up with a way to justify that decision and that makes me feel even more like shit.]

*It hasn’t been published yet so there’s still time for something to go wrong but I’m holding on to hope

** Kalliteration! [Skirting decency for the sake of wordplay? Count me in!]


Sarah, etc. said...

It seems like remarking that you're morally against the work you will do regardless of that objection just makes everybody uncomfortable forever. And possibly worse.

I don't envy you your conundrum.

Apollo said...

You're probably right. I don't know what I'll do. I'm not even sure that this is the task I'll be given.