I went to Colorado earlier this week to interview for a field engineer position at Schlumberger. It’s hard — damned hard — to get these energy companies to even look at my resume, so getting to talk to real people and be considered for a job in an oilfield was an accomplishment. I went to the Houston Chronicle’s Oil and Gas career fair a few weeks ago. Nothing came out of it, except a deeply burned memory of the Halliburton recruiter rolling his eyes when he saw my resume. (The National Oilwell Varco guy was good enough to engage me with legitimate questions about my experience and capabilities.) There’s something about having aerospace engineer on my resume that screams effete and ineffectual to someone recruiting for a mechanical engineering position. Nevermind that half of the aerospace engineering departments in the U.S. are joint mechanical/aerospace engineering departments because of their similarities.
OK, I got a form email from Schlumberger this evening. I didn’t get the job. /curses
It’s too bad I’m not in the business of being satisfied at near-success, else I’d be happy by now. Do you know what scares me? Mediocrity. Or: the idea of mediocrity. I’m not cut out for it. I’m allergic to it. I’m repelled by it. I’m knee deep in it and sinking. One thing I learned from this rejection is that I still have an ego somewhere; I felt it deflate a little tonight. Another thing I learned is that I must have some confidence left somewhere; the swift, steel toed kick to my confidence is still reverberating.
You know, I just wanted to know that I still have it. What is it? It is responding to a challenge. It is exceeding expectations. Inevitably we all move forward. Tomorrow happens, and it’s a product of today and yesterday and so on. That worries me. That’s what seemed so promising about this job opportunity. It seemed exactly like what I needed: a position that required work in uncomfortable places and uncomfortable hours, and he who survives thrives. It seemed like a position that required hard work and rewarded hard work. I wanted to catch up; I’m behind. I’m not working hard; I’m not in a position where there is hard work to do. As a bonus, it was outdoor work.
So… how can I turn this from a disaster into another opportunity. I’m not sure. See, a million years or so ago, I was a runner in high school. I have a collection of four medals from the annual regional track meet; only one matters, but it really matters because of the other three. To qualify for the state track meet, you had to place first or second. First year, 3200 meter relay: we got fifth; no state meet. Second year: we got third; no state meet. Third year: we got third; no state meet. Fourth year: we got second, and qualified for state. I still have a bag full of perseverance that I acquired from that experience. Now, however, I don’t have any patience to wait for the fourth and final round. Every day feels like falling another step behind someone else. And I hate to lose — despise it. What I’m looking for is a opportunity that can harness this.
Maybe you want to hire me. OK: Kirk Kittell on LinkedIn.
Until then, I don’t know which way is up. I hope that coughing up these words is a step in moving on — rid myself of the poison of uncertainty and disappointment, rid myself of these things and move.
Tell everybody waiting for Superman
That they should try to hold on as best they can
He hasn’t dropped them, forgotten them, or anything
It’s just too heavy for Superman to lift
–Flaming Lips, “Waitin’ for a Superman“
What does that mean (to me)? You can’t wait for Superman to fix things for you. Save yourself.