“My Main Vocation, I Believe”
Written 17-Jan-2007 by James Flores
My career is being a CCD expert and test engineer for a company that makes space instruments. Here most people seem to know exactly what to do and when tasks will be accomplished. Not me. I live most askew to the world in my belief that each moment can offer any one of endless possibilities and therefore planning can only be based on gauging probabilities. In other words, my work is a stream of vicissitudes, and success depends on how well I plan, cope, and improvise. Anyway, I find hardware insensitive to budgets or schedules.
Moreover, I used to think that my main vocation was my job, in which I endure the usual stresses of testing device accurately and completely, with minimal cost in time and money, and without ever damaging hardware. I conduct this job in a generally supportive milieu. On the other hand, the world in general and American capitalism in particular, while both good providers, can also be ruthless. Consequently, stress occasionally makes me frustrated, angry, or cynical, all of which I find distasteful in myself.
I thank God then that somewhere along my life’s journey some book gave me the belief that I should incorporate virtues I admire, from heroes I admire. From the book, “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” I believe that my my main vocation should be character development along this line. From a book by John Wooden, I believe that if I devotedly develop virtues, then I will probably like how most of my endeavors will eventuate.
Now I work on both hardware and my character. I see stress as a kind of barbell against which I exercise my deportment. When I flounder, I seek humor. When I am criticized, I use the discomfort to propel me to learn. Overall, I now believe that my main vocation is to carve a good man out of myself.
My next vocation is to, in the words of Marley’s ghost, make mankind my business.
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