Cogito Patris

Random Thoughts for Random People

What a Waist…

When I was growing up, especially as a teenager, I thought that money was waisted on the old.  By the time a person has saved enough money to be “affluent”, for the most part they are beyond the desire for a Corvette or trips to Europe.  

To a certain degree, I still believe that.  But recently I have made another discovery.  Education is waisted on the young.

My bride and I were talking this last weekend about this subject because our wonderful babysitter is a senior in high school now.  She isn’t sure where she will be going to school, though there is a chance she will remain local (best news I have heard in a long time). 

So my wife and I both thought we made the wrong decision when we went to college.  That’s too strong a word.  We didn’t make the wrong decision, just maybe not the best decision.  For my wife, she wanted to be a doctor and got accepted in to a fairly prestigious medical school out of college.  She chose JMU because of the band.  Although she enjoyed the band, music is no longer part of her life.  But she is still interested in a career in medicine.

My decision was a little harder.  I found my skill before I found my passion.  Programming (my skill) has a small amount of invention.  But with few exceptions, nobody really knows what I do for a living.  Especially since I am not a programmer, I am a tester.  Testing is better for me because I get to use my imagination more.  A programmer is given a set of requirements and simply “translates” those English requirements in to computer code.  There is no imagination with the possible exception of a particularly elegant algorithm.  A tester is supposed to break the application.  The best testers not only verify the requirements are present in the final application, but also think of requirements that are misdefined or not defined.  In that way, I get to use a minute amount of imagination.

As it turns out, I want to be an inventor, but I didn’t figure that out until recently (within the past couple of years).  Most of the inventions that I have thought of (primarily in the area of robotics) involve the trifecta of Robotics:  Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Programming.  I have the skill now to do the programming.  Mechanical Engineering I think I could muddle through.  I may over-engineer something, but it should work.  However, I don’t have the first thought on Electrical Engineering. 

But I feel trapped.  I can’t go back to school, my family couldn’t live off my wife’s income.  It also would be difficult for me to turn my back on a well-paying job in IT to take an entry level job as an EE.

I don’t know what the purpose of this post is really.  I would love to see a societal change that would prevent this from happening in the future, but how would that occur?  Communism is the only thing I can think of that might approach an “ideal” situation.  But humans being humans means that Communism only works if there is an abundance of everything.  Otherwise, some people will always “jump the gun” on a high-paying career that maybe isn’t their ideal career, in order to get ahead in “life”.  Which I think is more likely a jump on the trip to retirement, when a person has money to do what they want, but has passed the time they can enjoy it.

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February 26, 2008 - Posted by | Random Thoughts

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