21 August 2014
For the first time in my life, my worth as a person was judged on how I unwind a nut. Oh boy you should know how my nail crushed and scratched just to unwind that one damn nut, and even so, the nut won’t cooperate. I shamely had to give up unwinding after few decades of trying. The boss shook his head unapprovingly, and perhaps while thinking what the fug I was thinking applying the job with a Master’s degree and that I was proof of our education system failure. He took over the job and constantly made remarks of how silly he thought I was. Then tadaa! The nut just gave in to the boss.
But it was the nut’s fault! I retaliated to my own made-up script of what he was thinking. I was never a technical person and judging me and skills solely on my unwinding the nut sounds damn unfair to me.
I hate technicalities; or whatever adjective there is to describe technical skills of a person. I could name you every furniture that I know, but I never knew how to construct one. I can’t even use a spinner or a wrench properly, if you’d ask me. Least I’m being frank. I hate to say that I have other talents and that this job does not cut out for me – that not being able to use tools properly just an indicator of my talents on other ‘tools’ – if you catch my drift. This job does not bring the best out of me. Then again, I AM an engineer. My contract pays me as an ‘engineer’.
My roommate would roll his eyes if ever I told him particularly that I am now (surprise!) an engineer. He’s a proud engineer – an electrical at that. He took all the tests and paid all the fees to qualify him as one – thus putting his name on the Malaysia Engineer Board or whatever board there is for engineers in Malaysia. I should say I am in my field and that engineer title in my field is so different from his understanding, but then again engineer for him should constitute more than just a title.
I would, perhaps he thinks – cheapen the value of the engineer title.
I will not beg to differ. You see, my superior found it fits to berate his workers because of the ‘engineer’ title – though in truth, he was the one who came up with it. Whenever he sees something not to his liking, he would rather exclaim “You’re at engineer level, not a technician level! This report does not show your in depth understanding of the subject!” By the way, just so we clear, he did not scorn them on me, but to my predecessors which I had come to know from their old e-mails exchange on Microsoft Outlook. Sadly though, the employee left not long after he received the email.
What constitutes engineer for him anyway? No, the right question is, what constitutes an engineer?
Does engineer means doing degree with the word ‘engineer’ intact? Or passing the tests to be an engineer? Or got paid within the range of ‘engineer salary’? Or paid the fee to be on the Board? Or simply, know how to use tools?
It is not a secret anymore that the ‘engineer’ title is being used so ubiquitously like confetti being thrown. Air-cond engineer? Check! Sales engineer? Check! Customer engineer? Check! Engineer is interchangeably used with officer and even technician.
I do not like working. There I finally address the elephant in the room. I hate that my self worth is judged solely on certain skills that I possess and not as a whole person that I am. I hate that my other talents are nothing at my work place, but all my shortcomings and faults to them are what holding the company back. I hate that I could not express myself, that I could not be the funny, social person that I used to be before I started working. I hate that my whole day all my energy is wasted to profit a company, but at the end of the day I feel nothing. And I hate that one tiny word on my job title defines my whole career.
It does not occur, or maybe will never occur to them that these differences are what diversity is all about and that making mistakes are a part of making experiences. Making mistakes and wrong decisions are what driving us to be a better person. But along the way, berating us would only lower our self esteem, hence changing altogether the direction of learning.
And it is known that job is not something that you could wish give you happiness. It might make your life full, but it won’t give you the happiness you find. Unless of course, if you are a comedy actor. Hence the work-life balance B.S and yada yada yada. Truth is, no work-life balance exists if you have to sacrifice everything you have in life for your work. Family, friends, happiness, privacy. Yup privacy even, because even in my most private moments the thought of work occurred to me so prevalently and the face of my superior come into my mind that I feel so disgusted with everything. And even when I am not working, the only people I know within the 10km radius from my home are only my officemates.
Life, in all truth and definition, only means what happens when you are not working. And this kind of life is so pathetic.
Then again, the engineers in Malaysia now finally know the first ‘engineer’ who cannot unwind a nut. (And at the back, my roommate would beg to differ – “He’s not an engineer!” he shouts.) Well you might say not all sales ‘engineer’ can unwind a nut, but that is still not proven. Let’s give those sale engineers the benefit of doubt shall we.
So after all, the measurements that we did for the whole thing using the nut was wrong, and then my superior asked me to do it again. Alone. Oh and in future projects where winding and unwinding nuts are a requirement, he might simply ask me to undertake the project alone.
I choose not to fight his idea and opted to be quiet this time because you know what; I am an engineer. Duuuuuuh.