I know you are saying to yourself, "Does this guy ever do anything at work?" I can answer that particular question with a huge YES. Here at work we are operating at rates that are optimum and allow the process not to strain too much. This actually leads to more downtime than normal when the company decides, in all of it's collective wisdom, to push our feed rates to the edge. When the upper limit is pushed, all types of things can go wrong. (pumps failing, vaporizers fouling, leaks, corrosion etc.) The company pays us not for what we do, but for what we might have to do. Those of you who have worked with hazardous chemicals know what I mean when I say that. That being said, it makes me wonder what the hell am I doing?
I went to college and received a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science. I had all of these plans to attend law school at LSU and be well on my way to being wealthy and rich. Well, the teaching bug bit me late in my career at LSU. Yes, I became an uncertified teacher after I graduated. After one year as a 'long term substitute' in the school district that I grew up in, I was offered a teaching job at a small Catholic high school in Donaldsonville, Louisiana. I can honestly tell you that the years from 95-98 teaching at Ascension Catholic High School were the most challenging yet enjoyable in my working life. Reality set in early 1998 and had to offer my resignation to the school. Finances forced me to leave a job that I liked. The entire time that I was teaching there, I never made more than $18,500 for a single year. I was not able to complete school to become a certified teacher. This forced me to leave the teaching profession, possibly forever.
This all brings me to the job that I have now. We are VERY well compensated for what we do here at the plant. I now realize that I want to do more. I don't want to work shift work for the rest of my life. Don't get me wrong, I like the people that I work with and they are immensely entertaining, but I am finding that I want something else. I do have a plan, however. The company that I work for has a tuition reimbursement program for employees. I can attend classes, and if justified, be reimbursed for the cost of the tuition and fees.
I have decided that I am going to pursue a Masters of Science in Occupational Safety Health and Environment. This degree program is extremely close to what I do now. It is, however, more manegorial in nature. (Is that actually a word? It's almost midnight round time, I can't bring myself to actually look it up.) I am excited about the opportunities this could provide for myself and my family. Not the least being that I could get off of shift work and be with my family for Christmas every year. The two years it will take to get the degree is not going to be easy, but my wife is on board and is extremely supportive of the decision.
The fact that the safety field will be short a few thousand professionals by the year 2012 doesn't hurt either.