I don’t know how it happened.  It must have happened so slowly, I didn’t notice.  But I came to a realization that absolutely shocked me today.

I’ve become my dad.

Now, this isn’t a bad thing, I love and respect my father more than anything.  But, because we’ve always been so different (so I thought), it never occurred to me that our lives would end up almost perfectly parallel.  How different are we?

  • My dad is a stern pessimist.  I am a cheery optimist.
  • My dad is as introverted as I am extroverted.
  • My dad is a man of few words. Me? well…
  • My dad is a huge bear of a man.  Me?  well, many of you have met me.
  • My dad was a machinist (before CnC); I am a programmer/web developer.

Yet, I look at the unfolding of our lives, and you’d think we were twins.

 It’s almost as if I had this pre-defined destiny, and no matter what I thought or did, I would end up fulfilling it.  That’s heavy stuff, when you realise that the unfolding of your life is not something you can do anything about.

There have been little clues.  Lintilla reminded me just last night, after I told one of the underfoot dogs to “git”, that I sounded just like my father.  Sure enough she’s right.

But – y’all bear with me here – what shocked me, what rocked me to my core, was my reaction to the comments for this post at Aunt B’s. I was quite interested in it because at first it was about women & IT, and being knee-deep in Information Technology, I like hearing about these things.  But, a the comments weren’t about IT at all, they were about math and science education.  All important stuff, but I was sorely disappointed.

I thought it was going to be about the real world.

It ended up being a bunch of academics, talking about academics.  Nothing real.

The last two thoughts were brought to you via my blue collar father.  Well, actually, they were thoughts that popped into my head – and that’s what shocked me:  the moment I realized that I was saying (to myself) a version of something I had heard my father say a million times.

You see, in my industry, people with CS degrees are just like mechanical engineers in my dad’s line of work.  They are always drawing up specs have to be re-written by someone who understands how the real work is done – whether it’s slinging code or using a lathe.  I have to totally retrain those newbies with CS degrees, because, either what they learned doesn’t fit into our business, or the school taught them 20 year old technology.

Computer Scientists just get in the way of those who do the real work.  Especially application architects.

Just as my dad use to say about engineers.

Now, on an intellectual level , I don’t agree with this.  But, it’s funny how attitudes are ingrained deep inside; you don’t even know that they are there.  How can a man in my position have old time blue collar attitudes?  But, there they are.

It’s amazing that our children learn lessons we don’t even know we are teaching.  As a dad, I must be careful.

One day, I’ll finish this thought, but I’ve rambled on too long.


9 Responses to “Unreal”

  1. tgos Says:

    The world has its own lessons to teach.

    Corporate management/academics in many cases have their up their ass. The successful ones are the ones that let the people that do the actual work run things.

  2. nm Says:

    Slarti, I love ya. But do you really not get it that for the women in that thread saying: “I took computer courses and guys chased me out, I thought I’d go into IT but was prevented by expectations that women don’t do that, I’m in IT and there are jobs I didn’t get because they involved male bonding in strip clubs,” that IS the real world? There are lots of smart women doing things in the academy because, for women, doing similar jobs in the world you think is more real have been taken away as options. You have a daughter. She’s going to be faced with this same stuff. How are you going to be supportive while she’s dealing with it if you don’t get that?

  3. Rachel Says:

    Slarti, additionally, many women’s first bad experiences around math and science happen in middle or high school, in the educational setting, long before they are legally able to work, much less be self-trained renegade computer programmers in a working “real world” environment. Even if they don’t happen until college, many women do decide what they want to do in “the real world” (like go into computer programming) while in college, another educational/academic environment.

  4. bridgett Says:

    I sort of get where you’re coming from (my dad had the same disgust for eggheads) but I feel compelled to remind you that a) we were asked about our academic experiences leading us away from the “choice” to major in a math or sciences field and so we all answered the question about our real world lives as kids; and b) academics, for me, is about as real world as it gets. It puts the food on the table and the shoes on the kid. It is my way of earning a living and it’s an honest calling. I know that you know that really…but maybe you need to have a talk with your inner father.

  5. Katherine Coble Says:

    Well, I’m not an academic but I did follow the thread closely. Unfortunately I had little to add so I stayed out of it. But I will say that academics may be the place to discuss part of this because, quite frankly, teachers are taught by academics and there is a real problem with how teachers teach.

    Classrooms often do not take into account the differing learning styles of the sexes and that shows. It shows in women teachers who fear math perpetuating a fear of math in female students. It shows in boys being disinterested in education because many classroom environments don’t adapt to the way young boys develop physically and mentally.

    Education methods are an academic problem, because the require overhauling of the Elementary Education programs.

    I’d also like to say that I have seen many “eggheads” screw up in real-world business situations, but I’ve also seen many non-eggheads know how to do THEIR job very well who then have no idea about the broader reach of a specific thing.

  6. Slartibartfast Says:

    I was afraid I’d give the wrong impression with this post; I think that might have partially happened.

    I mainly wanted to explore how our parents get into our subconscious minds, and no matter how we try to be different from them, we can’t shake them.

    I work in an office, I dress “business casual”, I work on a computer all day. On its surface, there is absolutely no reason for me to think like a blue collar worker. Yet, the thoughts pop up at the strangest times.

    I didn’t really want to diss any endeavor, academic or not. I was just freaking out because in all the battles I fought to be different from my dad, he “won”, and I have no idea how.

  7. Rachel Says:

    “On its surface, there is absolutely no reason for me to think like a blue collar worker.”- Except for, you know, how you were raised.

  8. nm Says:

    Well, Slarti, I started out by saying that I love ya. And that’s real, so maybe your father isn’t such a dreadful guy to be turning into? I’m willing to bet that things about him that you truly dislike (as distinct from things about him that irritate you) you haven’t repeated.

    I don’t think you were unclear, btw. But I can’t comment on whether you’re like your father, because I don’t know him. And I can comment on the “real world” stuff because I come from a long line of scholars but I married into a family that’s pretty definitely not like that, so I hear about what interests me not being real all the time.

  9. ford prefect Says:

    Does this mean you’re going to get mad if we break you myter box?

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