Wednesday, February 18, 2009

One trick pony? Not today

Today I began by running to the central offices of Redd Shyft to get some new documentation proofread, pickup a handful of modified matter-transformer brackets, drove back to a customer to help pull out a bad coolant pump and replace it with a new pump/offal separator, design a new fixture for a cartesian matter transformer, and finally put some new tooling in a rotary machine. A half dozen different disciplines, without any transition between one and another, all continuous.

As I do this, I work with a dozen or so colleagues, all specialists of one type or another. SOme are OK at what they do, some are good. Three, today, are classic One Trick Ponies. Guys who do one thing, and do it extremely well, do it so well that when they do it it looks like poetry. A guy, today, setting up a droid transit unit that alows the droids to deal with loads even beyond their normal payload. He tightens the bolts and gently taps the rails, using a microscope with an optical comparator to make sure the rails are perfectly aligned, his every motion synchronized, his every move coordinated with his apprentices and his tools. It looks incredible and when he's done, a piece of equipment will exist where it didn't before, and it will outlast him and me, and our children's children, if maintained properly.

Sometimes I look at the incredible elegance of those one trick ponies, and think, man, I wish I could do one thing, so well, so elegantly, so wonderfully. Instead, I do the things that I do with some measure of skill, and some level of learn-as-you-go, but I get the job done. And I rely on te masters for some projects that wouldn't otherwise be possible. And I learn when I can.

I master some things. I've mastered a half dozen disciplines, am adept at a dozen more, am adequate at a thousand. It's my nature to be bored by repetition. Still.

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