I wasn’t making parts for machines that saved people’s lives; I was interrupting people’s dinners. But I had enough time and energy to pursue my design interests after work, and I could hang out with people on my break, and I commuted to a respectable little urban plaza instead of the middle-of-nowhere warehouse where machining shops are usually located.
I helped ruin American factories. I’m not proud of it, but I’d do it again.
I think we all have stories like this to tell.
I remember as a kid visiting the printing business my Dad worked at and being shown the big Heidelberg printers that were impressive, but dirty. Then we were lead upstairs to watch the people use the early scanners and computers to modify photos and I thought the future just had arrived and I had to get a taste of it.
Yes, at some point in my work career I also worked at an assembly line, putting car batteries into Mercedes-Benz E-Classes but it was commonly understood that the job to aspire to, to dream of and work for, was a job upstairs, at a desk, behind a screen. A clean job. One that would allow you to live and enjoy life outside your 40 hr workweek.