“Show Me How You Engineer”
Kid demands insight into office work; Daddy struggles to explain post-industrial capitalism
It’s a little hard to explain to a child that your job doesn’t look like anything in particular, and requires no particular tool. I can’t pantomime being in engineering management, as hard as I think about it. My job, if we’re being super honest, looks mostly like me hunched over a desk, staring at a screen full of rectangles and saying as little as absolutely necessary.
Late-stage capitalism makes for unfulfilling demonstrations of what it means to be a productive member of society, as it turns out, and it’s not entirely something that I care to model for my kid. I just want Kina’s answer to this same question someday to be a little more demonstrable and connected to the world around her in ways that she herself can understand.
I’m not saying that I want Kina to turn bowls for a living1 or become a steelworker2, but I do want her to feel a sense, in her job, of specific purpose and contribution that she can watch evolve, day by day. What that job might be, in twenty years, is both inscrutable and slightly frightening from this vantage point, but I’m hoping that we play our cards right in the near term (ahem Congress3) to retain some semblance of civilization in which there are still hammers to be swung—because I see Kina, in her essence, as a swinger of hammers. In that essence, I haven’t yet figured out if she’s tearing something down or building it up, but I’m confident she’ll have something to show for the work, either way.
And it’ll be a lot easier to explain to random kids.
have not done it.