Skeptical Optimism

Lately I’ve been struggling with trying to remain upbeat and positive about this company’s long term success. Honestly, I’m skeptical things are going to work out well for us. Supergeek has launched an internal propaganda blitz trying to get employees like me to buy-in to his vision of the future. Corporate filmed a video recently that listed many of our product divisions, the markets we sell to, and management’s near-term business plan. The video was glitzy and I have to admit when I came away from watching it I had a feeling maybe things would be okay after all. I mean, we do have some pretty cool shit in the works. A recurring theme in the video was that even though our company name has changed, everybody still knows who we are. The competition is supposed to be scared now that we’ve been cut loose. Yeah, right.

Here’s what we have left on our side of the house since the PC division kicked us out. We’ve got component manufacturing (stuff like programmed ICs, LEDs, microchips, etc.), medical instruments, chemical analysis, life sciences, electronic test and measurement, and automated test equipment. Our products are used in commercial applications as well as the aerospace and defense sectors. That means the specific products I work on can be used to make a cell phone or tune the seeker array on a cruise missile. It all depends on what the customer’s end use is.

Perhaps one of the biggest new things we’re working on is a kind of white ultra-bright LED that can be used in everyday household applications. LEDs consume very little electricity and they can last for tens of thousands of hours. The component division is trying to produce these special LEDs to replace incandescent lightbulbs. The market for this will be huge if they get it right. Everybody could ditch regular lightbulbs for good which would result in a much cheaper electricity bill every month. You could put these things in just about anything that requires a lightbulb. On this alone we’ll make a killing.

Autumn and I went out to dinner with her aunt the other night. Autumn’s aunt has some money to play around with on the stock market. Over dinner she asked me what I thought about our company’s prospects. I think I went a little overboard talking about work stuff. That’s a problem I have. During social gatherings people make small talk by asking each other where they work, what they do for a living. In reality nobody cares. It’s just a way to pass time with strangers and feign being polite. My problem is, when people ask me about working here I go too far into details describing it. I’m a tech nerd and I get a little too excited about what I work on. Inevitably they don’t understand what I’m talking about so I go into overdrive trying to make sure they “get it.” They never really do. There’s a lot of head nodding and people saying “Mmhmmm” or “Uhuh” when I ramble on and on about this junk. I always regret it afterward because I must have been obnoxious to be around. The worst part of it is, Autumn has already heard about my work dozens of times already and I’m sure she’s completely sick of it by now.

Speaking to Autumn’s aunt about what we’ve got going on in the research and development labs I gave her a strong sales pitch without even realizing what I was doing. Looking back on it now I wish I hadn’t. Especially if she buys a bunch of our company stock and it takes a nosedive. She’ll be left holding the bag, there will be bad energy, and I will be the asshole. From now on when people ask me what I do for a living I should just tell them “Electronics” and leave it at that.

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~ by factorypeasant on March 16, 2006.

3 Responses to “Skeptical Optimism”

  1. I play piano in a whorehouse.

  2. i think i’ll use that next time. anything is better than the truth, right? actually now that i think about it maybe i WILL play piano in a whorehouse. sky’s the limit these days.

  3. I think I read somewhere that asking someone what he or she does when you first meet them is an American thing. People from other countries, apparently, either think it’s rude to ask or they just don’t think it’s important.
    The nice thing about this job is that you can really get to know the girls. As a customer, you’re forced to make a snap decision based on purely superficial details. That and the benefits package is sweet.

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