ironphoenix (ironphoenix) wrote,

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From commodorified

I think this expresses my new job, at least as I see it currently.

Hymn of Breaking Strain

The careful text-books measure
(Let all who build beware!)
The load, the shock, the pressure
Material can bear.
So, when the buckled girder
Lets down the grinding span,
'The blame of loss, or murder,
Is laid upon the man.
Not on the Stuff - the Man!

But in our daily dealing
With stone and steel, we find
The Gods have no such feeling
Of justice toward mankind.
To no set gauge they make us-
For no laid course prepare-
And presently o'ertake us
With loads we cannot bear:
Too merciless to bear.

The prudent text-books give it
In tables at the end
'The stress that shears a rivet
Or makes a tie-bar bend-
'What traffic wrecks macadam-
What concrete should endure-
but we, poor Sons of Adam
Have no such literature,
To warn us or make sure!

We hold all Earth to plunder -
All Time and Space as well-
Too wonder-stale to wonder
At each new miracle;
Till, in the mid-illusion
Of Godhead 'neath our hand,
Falls multiple confusion
On all we did or planned-
The mighty works we planned.

We only of Creation
(0h, luckier bridge and rail)
Abide the twin damnation-
To fail and know we fail.
Yet we - by which sole token
We know we once were Gods-
Take shame in being broken
However great the odds-
The burden of the Odds.

Oh, veiled and secret Power
Whose paths we seek in vain,
Be with us in our hour
Of overthrow and pain;
That we - by which sure token
We know Thy ways are true -
In spite of being broken,
Because of being broken
May rise and build anew
Stand up and build anew.

--R. Kipling

Design is about stuff; manufacturing is about people and processes. Design is prestigious, the stuff engineering schools gear curriculum towards and the stuff that gets patents and publications and awards. Manufacturing is seen as lower-tier drudgework. Quite a lot of people have asked me whether I like the change, with the subtext being "isn't this a step down for you?"

Manufacturing is harder to get right, and gets more blame when there are problems. It sounds easy, to anyone who doesn't have to do it. It's hard even to articulate why it's not easy, but it really isn't. When anything goes wrong, it's made out as somebody's fault, and while there's some justification for that, it misses the bigger picture of the context which made that error possible or indeed likely.

My work is to make it easier for people to do things right, and more effective and efficient when they do.

More than that, though, something I've been working on in my personal life for the past few years is this: when people fail, or don't measure up, or do or say things they shouldn't... be compassionate. Understand that we feel regret and shame, and that those feelings, if they get reinforced too much, can stop us from rising again.
Tags: philosophy, work
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