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