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Early, Yet Disturbing, Signs Of Mini’s Career Aptitudes

Early, Yet Disturbing, Signs Of Mini’s Career Aptitudes

buzz lightyear pjs

Occupationally speaking, it has been my biggest fear that Mini would grow up to become an engineer.

And look: I don’t want you to tell me about all the fucking wonderful engineers you know, OK? Or about how you are an engineer and how you shit golden bricks. Because I get it, I get it. My brother is a nuclear engineer, OK? And we are thick as thieves.

No, I am talking about that other kind of engineer, like the undiagnosed Asperger’s engineer. The kind of undergraduate I was saddled with in a Shakespeare class who would say, “I don’t understand why there’s an English Literature requirement.” This is the kind that has stricken fear into me of the engineering profession.

Even with all the liberal arts people in my family, there’s enough of an engineering strain for Mini’s love of machines and robots to scare the shit out of me. I will do anything to downplay it. I’ll be like, “Hey look, buddy! Look at these books over here!” Or “Look at the flowers!” Or even, “Do you want a cookie?” to get him away from the gears and tools and shit. And dear god, the trains. In other words, the electric neon signs that are pointing to THIS KID WILL BE AN ENGINEER TO SPITE YOU.

Except lately, even more disturbing professional signs have been creeping up. And these signs are perhaps the only possible thing that could be worse than engineer because they don’t preclude engineer but merely compound the problem of engineer. Those signs are suggesting middle manager.

Witness the following conversations we have had recently:

Conversation Snippet 1

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry, buddy, I didn’t mean to do that.”
Me: “It’s OK, Mamma. Take a deep breath.”

Conversation Snippet 2

Mr. Right-Click: “Mini! We’re going to go get a haircut today! WOO HOO!”
Mini: “Calm down, Dada.”

Conversation Snippet 3

Mr. Right-Click: “Look at this, Mini, you’ve spilled water all over this pillow!”
Mini: “No, look, Daddy, this side is fine. This side is good as new.”

Conversation Snippet 4

Me: “Wow, look at this, Mini — two police cars blocking off this road. That’s weird. I’ve never seen that on this street before.”
Mini: “It’s OK, Mama. We just need to be patient.”

Conversation Snippet 5

Mini: [eating strawberries] Mommy, what are these new food containers about?
Me: What do you mean what are they about? They’re for your lunch.
Mini: You need to take these back to the store.

Now is this, or is this not somebody who is ripe for training in the profession of managing expectations? Or of getting people to do things for other people with a minimum of grousing and raging against the injustice of it all? Or, most disturbing of all — of looking at the decisions of an underling and deciding, after the fact, that they are faulty, and requiring them to do them over, for no apparent reason other than to exert his own authority?! And what if it’s not merely an engineer or a middle manager? What if he becomes an engineer AND a middle manager? What if he’s a middle manager at an engineering firm?

[Rending garments]

Of course if you ask him, Mini will tell you that he wants to be a rock star. This doesn’t lessen my worry much, but it does make for better party conversation.

Comments (32)

  1. Jul 14, 2010

    Mini sounds surprisingly like my immediate supervisor. Or in other words, the woman who stands between me and those that have the real answer, lol!! 🙂

  2. Jul 14, 2010

    My best friend from undergrad with the english lit ph.d was a post-doc at Georgia Tech for a few years before she got her tenure track job…I’m giggling at your undergraduate classmate, because about 70% of the kids she taught held that opinion and I heard all about it while she was there.

    Can you imagine having to deal with that for 3 years? She did say the other 30% were almost Renaissance man-like, though.

  3. Jul 14, 2010

    I like Mini.

  4. Jul 14, 2010

    I LOVE this. I am a philosophy major and I was just talking about my fears regarding his future. My outlook is that I don’t care if he works as a grocery bagger or a farmer or an engineer. As long as he can critically analyze his position in life and is smart enough to understand himself.

    Which after typing this? Totally makes me sound like the weird-o most liberal arts majors are categorized as.

    Crap.

  5. Jul 14, 2010

    That’s not an engineer. That’s an HR person.

    I’m really sorry.

  6. Jul 14, 2010

    Dude, you totally Manzo-ed with the “thick as thieves”. I can’t read or hear that without the imagery of Ronald McDonald in drag with a lispy, NJ accent.

    I think Mini sounds like my therapist. She just retired…. Is Mini taking new patients?

  7. Jul 14, 2010

    With an English major and an Art degree in our household, we’re convinced that Jackson is going to grow up and play football, join a fraternity, and become an accountant or stock broker. So I feel your pain.
    But I have to say, I pretty much love those snippets. Mini may be a middle manager, but he’s definitely got you two handled.

  8. Michele
    Jul 14, 2010

    Ha, Mini knows how to manage Mom.
    My son wanted to be in Special Ops when he was younger– dear god I CRINGED at that. I tried to redirect him to other things as well.

    Now @12 he wants to be a theoretical Physicist. In the end you never know where they’ll end up.

  9. Suki
    Jul 14, 2010

    I don’t mean to scare you, but could he have “the knack”?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlJsPa6UwcM

  10. weezy
    Jul 14, 2010

    He’s a lot like my nephew — who now outearns both his parents’ combined incomes in his first job, is which also comes with aging parent continuing care insurance as one of the many bennies. CULTIVATE THIS.

  11. Jul 14, 2010

    How do you feel about lawyers? He sounds kind of attorney-ish to me, especially #3.

  12. Jul 14, 2010

    Wouldn’t worry about it too much just yet, I think he just sounds like a totally chill little dude. And hey, at least middle management is better than being one of the peons. I think?

  13. Jul 14, 2010

    My kid used to play with The Wiggles, and they have lots of lawyers. He says that no way is Mini going to be a real lawyer.

    (is that in the glossary? because it should be)

  14. snarkoleptic
    Jul 14, 2010

    You are certifiable. How could you not want him to become an engineer? What if he could study tuition free? Would that change your mind? I’m gunning for mine to show an interest in engineer-y things (beyond beer drinking, the only engineer-y type thing I excelled at) http://www.cooper.edu/
    And please don’t remove the link. They aren’t trying to steal traffic from you.

  15. Jul 14, 2010

    I can imagine having to deal with it for six years, in fact. Unfortunately. It wasn’t my classmate, it was my student.

  16. Jul 14, 2010

    That’s what worries me. Then again, he’s only three. If he’s got this skill set down at three, who knows what he’ll have mastered by the time he’s ready to start working.

  17. Jul 14, 2010

    Me too. I still don’t want him to be an engineer.

  18. Jul 14, 2010

    I think Mini’s likely to end up a pretty self-actualized engineer, if he does end up being an engineer. But still . . . I might die a little.

  19. Jul 14, 2010

    OH DEAR GOD NO. I was wrong, it could be worse.

  20. Jul 14, 2010

    Well, that’s for sure. There’s no question who is running this household.

  21. Jul 14, 2010

    Scientist would be OK. This morning they had scales out at school and he was WAY INTO IT. Anything with measurement or science in any kind of way and drop off is a breeze. When they did the butterfly cocoons and worm farms, etc., I had no problem either. So it may be that he’s just into the sciences in general.

  22. Jul 14, 2010

    Hah! Yes. But I don’t think he’s socially inept. He seems to make friends like a normal kid, with maybe a little bit more empathy than the average kid (like he goes and hugs kids when they get hurt — do not ask me where this came from because I don’t know). But the fixing stuff, definitely.

  23. Jul 14, 2010

    Well, that part sounds OK. But I’m skeptical of engineers being capable of doing this unless they are inventing something new. I have a really biased view of engineers I guess. I think of them as being cogs in corporate machines, which is probably totally unfair.

  24. Jul 14, 2010

    People in this family always run the risk of becoming lawyers.

  25. Jul 14, 2010

    Oh, man, that whole episode needs to be added to the Glossary. I don’t even really know where to start. I mean, what are the key terms? The BlogHer Debacle of Spring 2010?

  26. Jul 14, 2010

    Well, maybe. But I worry about his soul.

  27. Jul 14, 2010

    I don’t think you understand what it was like growing up with my grandfather, is what it is. As for his tuition, eh. I’m not counting on any breaks. We are saving our pennies.

  28. LC
    Jul 14, 2010

    Aw, he sounds so reasonable! A fine trait for an engineer, middle manager or fine arts dude. I’m hoping my kids take up landscaping or cooking or some other useful household skill.

  29. Jul 16, 2010

    That’s true, he does have a kind of calming, reassuring voice — like he’s used to dealing with crazy people, which he is. LOL.

  30. Jul 16, 2010

    He’s an old soul.

  31. Jul 17, 2010

    Ooh, that “Take a deep breath” thing? If he wasn’t your son, I’d totally tell you to sell him, and quickly.

  32. Jul 22, 2010

    I was going to say this exact thing.
    To where shall I send your condolence flowers?

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