3-2-1 Contact was one of the few educational kid's shows I was allowed to watch when I was young. I don't remember much about it except for the opening song. If you were a child in the 80's you can re-live your childhood here: 321 Contact theme song The song got stuck in my head today as I was trying to think of a blog post because I am working on a project for my boss.
Our company makes electrical contacts and sometimes companies send us their old switches to figure out why they failed. My boss has decided that I should get experience in this so, on Monday, I came in to find a clothes iron on my desk with a sticky note that said "See me". When I went to his office he said that his iron stopped working and he wanted me to find out why. I was free to destroy it if necessary because he had already purchased a new one.
At first I thought about dropping it off of the roof or running it over with my car but that would have been extreme. I asked our engineer for some tools and he was able to help me get the plastic cover off. After that it was just a matter of unscrewing different parts. I couldn't find anything wrong until I got to the tiny switch for the heating element. It looked like this.
That is bad. The contacts melted and stuck together. It's a good thing my boss bought a new iron because this one was not repairable and, well, I couldn't have put it back together anyway. The next step is to mount these contacts in epoxy and sand them so that we can see what the contacts are made of. I was working on that today but I got tired of sanding.
So, the engineer was saying how great it is that I am learning new skills and becoming more valuable to the company. I said yes, but. And he continued, if I have more skills then if there are lay-offs then I won't be one of the first to go. I said yes, but. And he kept going because he had this whole speech that he usually gives to high schoolers about being a good employee. He finally slowed down and I said yes, but eventually, when I have saved up and money is no longer a factor, I will look around at the people that I work with and ask myself if I really want to spend all day with them doing this job. Of course, my answer would be no. He got really quiet and then said "Before you got here they made me do your job as well as my job and it was horrible so I don't want you to leave. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help." Aw, that's nice, but he already does some of the work that I should be doing so he does helps me. That still won't keep my from my early retirement (or shall we say career change?) goal. Without that light at the end of the tunnel I don't think I would go back to work tomorrow. Even if the tunnel gets longer and I have to add a few years on to my plan, as long as that light is still there I will continue to forge ahead with my plan.
I generally kept my ER plans to myself except for a trusted friend/coworker. I didn't want to be treated differently by my superiors or perhaps let go before I was ready to leave. I worked part-time for 7 years before I ERed in 2008 so I feared I'd be expendable if they had to cut costs.
I'm not too worried about it anymore. If I got laid off it would be a challenge but I think I would manage. My boss is looking to retire and be some what self-sufficient also so we have that in common. He sends me links on rocket stoves and wofatis and I send him links on tiny houses and keyhole gardens. It gives us something to talk about.
I had one of those days on Tuesday...the one where I was out sitting at the tiny patio table in our parking lot, looking around at the beautiful day, and wondering why I had spent the last nine weeks working 12 hours a day. Um...no good answer. If Jacob wasn't in college, I know I wouldn't be working there full-time. If at all.
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