Monday, June 27, 2011

What / Who influenced my life

Who were the big influences in my life?

As I reach retirement, in this stage of semi-retirement, I have a bit of time to reflect, and answer for myself questions like who and what have been the influences, the turning points in my life?

My philosophy of life has in the early years was running from the farm, what now would be considered as an abusive environment, not toward anything. After escaping, I worked a few years, and one cold winter, decided to get a bit of education so that I would not need to work outside at a temperature of -54 F. I selected Civil Technology because I could qualify to enter the program, and afford it. The field I selected was soils, largely due to numerous jobs in it that year, and I did not like surveying or drafting, the other choices. The job I choose upon graduation was the first one offered (desperation). I did not even get an interview with the government, and they had lots of jobs that year (My English was not good enough).

I stayed at that job due to the lack of direction in my life, and parts of the job was interesting; I got to see much of Northern Alberta, a few days here and there, a few months here, a few months there. No fixity, drifting as directed, no real long range plan, in reaction to the construction industry, the whims of developers, the requirements of government, specifications, building codes, and occasionally because someone wanted or need information. Some of them actually listened to what we found and used the data we collected. Others did not. I thought I could do as well as they did. And I was still in the cold in the winters. It had become time to settle down. I needed roots. Entered engineering, not as the first choice, but as a potential career with decent prospects. I looked at psychology, or other soft sciences, but as Dick put it, after 6 years of study, you will likely be making less than you are now.

So off to Civil Engineering I went, graduated, and returned to my former employer. After a few years, I needed a change, and tried some peripheral areas of what I had been doing, and then went back. The crash caused by Trudeau's National energy program came and jobs engineering tried up. I tried, did bits and bites of this and that, but did not work steady for ten years. I took master level courses, and then I would get a job for a while. I ended up with the course work for more than a masters, but never got the requirements in time or did the thesis.  I considered moving to where the economy was better, but my parents were old and I felt tied to Alberta, to be close enough to help them occasionally. Trapped by guilt, duty, or the like; a source of resentment, and obligation, without any acknowledgement. Not a good situation. Then in the early 90's, the surplus of engineers was gone, and the economy had returned, but I no longer had the energy, the drive necessary to work the long hours that is required for the technical introvert with poorer English and a dislike of writing.

The psychological / philosophical influences can be simply listed, Dale Carnige, Norman Vincent Peal, Gabrante, Kay McKenzie Gold,  AA/OA, Engineering Management, Buddhist readings, and the Internet blogs. These all combined to form what I am today, a twisted work in progress.  The people that influence positively and negatively are numerous and as some remain active, I will not list then. For those that know, Harold, John and 'Wilson and Smith', change my life many ways. There was the girl that knew she was going to raise kids and sheep, that cause me to redirect my life toward something, rather than away from something.

Once I started down the canyon that my career was, there was no escape, just carrying on. When I got tired, I just drifted, and dealt with what came up. I took some detours, some dead ends, and many misdirects. Some were my own decisions, and some were bad information, fraud, deceit, and lies.

Along the way I realized that most people are motivated by there own values, usually greed or the pursuit of money, fame, not the good of humanity. They would do anything for money, or avoid failure. Fraud, theft, deceit, anything.

One of my former employers sold leased vehicles to a different leasing company and leased them back. He got some cash, but was paying two leases. He also stopped remitting the premiums to an insurance plan, and for a while paid the expenses, until it was discovered. He was COD most everywhere. Interesting times. Paychecks bounding, final expense claims not paid. Such fun. See you in hell, Billy.

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