A writers angst in the Engineering field

A writers angst in the Engineering field

A Story by alter

A short rant on the foibles of the engineering world. And life. And whatever.


When I was a younger man I took an english class at a local (at the time) community college.  The teacher was lovably flamboyant and passionate about his work, and there never seemed to be a dull moment.  One of the exercises he had us perform was a "6 Word Life Story".  The results from this venture were astounding; everyone came up with something that seemed to personify exactly who and what they were.  I wrote mine to be silly, and in retrospect this defined me more than I realized, and left feeling like I had accomplished much with the few chuckles it received.  This small essay is not about this class or this english teacher, but rather the opening to a grand announcement in the form of my 6 Word Life Story.


"Carpet, chair, desk.  I have ADHD."


At the time I had just transitioned out of the military due to difficulties with ADHD, and my adult Identity was underfire.  I joined when I had thought the foundation of my beliefs was strong and invincible, but several years in an environment demanding attention to minute detail had left the foundation cracked and broken.  I struggled through the final months of my military career wondering who I was and what I wanted to do, despite the reassurance by my superiors that I had untapped reserves of talent that would be incredibly useful in the civilian world.  I am still not sure where they were looking when the saw this alleged talent or charisma, but I thanked them and moved on with a small laugh and a fake smile.  I had been diagnosed with ADHD when I was a child, around the age of 5.  My parents had  undergone several consultations with various doctors, all of whom came to a unanimous agreement on the diagnosis.  I took medication until I was 18 with a brief break in high school to test the effects.  After high school I could not afford it and spent my early college and professional life off of it.  With no real experience off of the pill I began to deal with problems I had no solution for: my attention span had shortened, my self control had dissapated, the money I had saved up melted through my pocket.  I spent the days wondering why things were so hard when they had been so easy previously, no correlation drawn between stopping the pill and the advent of these problems.  So what was my response to these problems?  I joined the military of course...


The military worked for a while, with school taking up the majority of my time.  In this environment I excelled, a repeat of high school.  I don't attribute this to determination on my part, it was lauded as a "pass or get fired" environment.  There was no place for  failures, and to do so resulted in the command docking your pay and lowering your rank.  That and being required to spend 30 hours a week on top of five 10 hour days inside of a classroom.  I will always believe that I was forced to do well, and that it was never a choice.  When I made it to my first boat things were more of the same.  All progress was forced and I continued to struggle.  After several years I left, jaded and confused.  I had gone to counseling while I was in and I was rediagnosed with ADHD (although at this point it is Adult ADHD).  I would hear for the umpteenth time that I was very bright and that I would find something that I love to do.  The engineering world (of which I had been a part of) had done its best to stifle any creativity I might have had.  It had left me with a bureaucratic view of things, tending more towards the commitee and less towards decision making.  I had been left with a sense of worthlessness in a corporation that cared about the bottom line more than the single employee (this may be familiar to a lot of people but this was a new experience for me).  I left telling myself that I would go to school to find something else to do, something I enjoyed.  One month into school I contacted a Veteran Placement agency and I was placed in an engineering position.  This placement forced me to drop out of school and move several states away.  I had convinced myself that things would go differently this time because I was on the pill and that it would not be a repeat of my experiences in the military.  To a certain extent, I was correct; my experiences were not repeated.  This was not the case, however, and I saw each and every single problem again (albeit to a lesser extent).  The pill helped but I was still unable to perform at the level of my peers.  I am not going to lie and say this story has a happy ending, it is 2 years later and I am still with the same company.  I have learned to deal with the stifling environment, the lack of competant leadership, the overabundance of process and the lack of action.  I cannot be an individual in this environment because I get ushered back in line.  I cannot innovate with a company who has the motto "the safest risk is the one you don't take" plastered on every wall.  I cannot successfully learn when a company does not organize their information.  A lot of these things I incorporate into a large pile titled "ADHD and my problems with it".  At this point, I have entered into nuclear family mode and am only awaiting the 2.5 children to be complete.  I seem to have given myself the excuse that "everyone has a mortgage to pay".


I love the fact that I have ADHD.  I love the person it has turned me into, despite the tone of this article.  This article doesn't really discuss a single point at length, but instead touches on some feelings that I felt at one point in time.  I ahve been feeling tangential lately and am likely to stay that way for a while.  My experiences with the engineering world have left me with several conclusions.  One, this section of the engineering world is not for me.  I have no interest in a world that deals with machines like this, altoughth I have not given up hope on this field as a whole.  Two, my passion lies elsewhere, be it in working with people or channeling my creativity.  Three, I really want to go back to school and find something that I can remain passionate about in a day in day out routine.  The only point I am not sure of is number three, as long as I can make a comfortable living I will not mind the job that I have.


Thus ends a poorly written essay/rant with no real point.  I feel a lot better now.

© 2013 alter

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Author's Note

I didn't really have a point. Introspection on past events was the goal here and writing helped with that.

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Added on May 14, 2013
Last Updated on May 14, 2013
Tags: ADHD, Creativity



Portland, OR

I enjoy writing, and would love to let others help me grow with my hobby. more..

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