July 30, 2007

To Infinity, And BEYOND!

Other than the funny stuff, I don’t blog on work much, and even then it’s not a big part of my blog. I have a ‘do no harm’ policy and I never want something I post, that I’m laughing about inwardly, to hurt anyone’s feelings. I have to work with them and to date, I’ve got a very good working relationship with my co-workers.

I think most know I was furloughed end of June. Essentially work ran out on the project I work on and the higher ups thought they found more… and they did not. So although we all thought I’d be back to work in mid-July, not only am I not back, it appears it may be September or October until there is work for me.

And even then that’s if the planets are aligned correctly, the moon is blue, and it’s not raining. One just never knows.

Meanwhile, my tech-lead is scrambling to find anything to bring me back. I told him, “You best not be losing a wink of sleep over my not working. This is not your fault.” And its not. But we’ve known each other for going on 20 years and we work well together, and he’d like to bring me back if he can.

Which brings me to why I’m losing my job, for real. This is something I’ve not blogged on in the past and it’s difficult for me to step out and say it… I fear I reveal too much of myself and who I work for. I treasure the privacy of that, very much. But it doesn’t take a Rocket Scientist (no pun intended) for some of you to figure out what I do and what I work on.

So, without being too specific, in case you did not know, I will just say I work on military aircraft. What part… well, that is really irrelevant to what I’m about to post here because it effects all aspects of our military fleet… airframe, propulsion, avionics, weapon systems… all of it.

I’m losing most of my job due to outsourcing. Funny as I work for an outsource company. I don’t work for any of the big companies anymore… companies whose names you would readily recognize… Boeing, GE, Pratt &Whitney, Lockheed, General Dynamics, I do have job experience (12 years worth) with one of them and equally as much working with the others, but I work for a company that works very strongly with those big companies… taking their overflow and… outsourcing.

We are an American firm.

What has occurred however is that American outsourcing engineering firms are not as cheap as our overseas brethren. Our work is top notch, but our engineers demand more money. Companies can outsource engineering work to India, Puerto Rico, and other countries for less than $20 an hour. That includes overhead. Benefits. All of it.

Cheap engineering labor. It has taken a four year degree (which really takes five years) with tremendous studying and pressure, and turned it into cheap labor.

And as insulting as I find it to be… so be it. Free economy and all that… so be it.

So you think, “Surely not our military work, right? Our secrets to our military being outsourced?”

Ahhh. Well. It would seem logical we would not allow it and I do believe there are laws against it… but it is easy to skirt those laws when the big companies buy into outsource companies, owning a nice share so that the outsource company is now under the American corporate umbrella, even though the engineers are NOT American, not having ever set foot in America.

And that is how it is gotten around. So much of our military engineering is being outsourced to India, Puerto Rico and other countries. It is not just commercial, but military too.

Question me? Ahhhh, do not. The recent attempted bombing in Scotland had an Indian aeronautical engineer on the team. He worked for one of the foreign outsource companies that does work for Boeing and Airbus… to name just two. I know for a fact they work with others.

Of course there is some serious scrambling going on from the outsource company to assure their customers that American aero secrets are perfectly safe with them… of course.

But it brings to the forefront, that we are in fact outsourcing to foreign countries, our competitive edge… our military engineering and I find that most troublesome, and not just because I’m losing my job to it.

And some will say, but we are only giving them pieces or not giving them ALL the information and I will say in turn, “Where there is a will, there is a way” and “Reverse engineering is not that hard if the people are smart enough.” It is what it is.

So it would appear that I’m moving on. I’m not sure what is next. My tech lead is bothered. I can hear it when I talk to him, but I told him today, “It should not ever be lost on you, what you have done for me in bringing me back to the workforce three years ago. I thought I’d not anything to offer anyone, having been a stay at home Mom for 5 years, but you proved me wrong and I will always be appreciative.” And I meant every word.

I am hearing I could get on a space team. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. I told him I’d like to play Spaceman Spiff! It could be fun.

And it is a wake up call to me. I will need to find permanent work eventually. This has been a GREAT three years. I love working with Company X, I love working FOR my current company, everyone is appreciative and treats me well. I come and go as I please. I make my own hours. They pay me very well. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I’d get to ply my trade and be a Mom, and not have the stress of when kids were sick, or vacation planning, or just… life vs. work. It has been a dream come true.

But with every plus there is a minus… our universe balances itself out… and with the wonderment of how great my job has been, I have the downside of the fact I can be let go in the blink of an eye when money runs out. As it has.

I’ll eventually have to go to a more rigid job, where I’ll have the worries of the usual working Mom. But we will see. Come September I might be Spaceman Spiff, moving from working periods of time in hours to seconds.

I may very well become a Rocket Scientist. How fun could that be?! What an excellent twist it could be in my journey.

But until then… I wait. And Hope…

Posted by Boudicca at July 30, 2007 08:08 PM | TrackBack

I fear that we are witnessing the beginning of the end of the United States, certainly as I grew up knowing it.

Damned shame.

Posted by: Jim - PRS at July 30, 2007 08:59 PM

well, you know, that WOULD be awesome!

Posted by: caltechgirl at July 30, 2007 09:11 PM

Being a Rocket Scientist would be great, insofar as I have no idea what one does... sounds good, though. :D

The rest just makes me sad for our country. We knew the slope was slippery when outsourcing started so many years ago and it's come to this... I'm afraid Jim is right. :/

Posted by: pam at July 31, 2007 06:00 AM

I would be very afraid of what is only now starting to happen in the military outsourcing business ..

Been there, done that, have the t-shirt.

If you don't think things will get worse for military business just take a look at the auto industry right now, more stuff is outsourced then is built by any automotive company (american and japanese).

Posted by: Quality Weenie at July 31, 2007 07:29 AM

Wow - I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for you! I am sure the perfect something is just right around the corner...

Posted by: Richmond at July 31, 2007 10:03 AM

I hear there's lots of jobs as maids and lawn mowers that Americans won't do...and you've obviously got lots and lots of experience with one of those two... ;)

Nah, good luck! I'm fighting the same battle with computer science, believe me!

Posted by: Ogre at July 31, 2007 10:57 AM

Can I tell you that my husband (an engineer) is constantly worried about this little issue of outsourcing secrets. As you say - it is what it is and really we've brought it on ourselves with all the pressure on reducing costs (at any price - heh). I know (don't just think, but KNOW) we will one day find out just how much that price reduction will cost us. *sigh*

I am so hoping you get the Spaceman Spiff job - that would be awesome!

Posted by: Teresa at July 31, 2007 11:36 AM