By Ryza

How I Got Here

I certainly haven’t been avoiding the topic of where I work, but I certainly haven’t addressed it either. Therefore, I guess it is time to explain how I managed to become an Aerospace Quality Engineer the second I graduated ASU.

While I refuse to read all my previous posts I’m fairly certain I’ve addressed the topic of networking and emphasized its importance. Well, that shit is no joke so I’m going to drop the wisdom bomb again. Networking is the single most important skill I took away from ASU. Meeting the right person at the right time can literally be the reason your career progresses. Mine has done the following:

1. Unemployed
2. Recruiting Assistant
3. Recruiter
4. Recruiting Assistant
5. Lead Recruiter
6. Engineering Intern
7. Quality Engineer

The step from 1 to 2 was literally because I met a woman at a bar playing pool. Steps 2 through 4 were at the same company and I had to step down due to time availability constraints. After being laid off I RAN the recruiting/staffing side of a small company while being in school. After eight months of working there the same lady I met playing pool, and had previously worked for, asked me if I would be interested in an internship at my current company. After a year and a half, and graduating school, I find myself in my current position: Quality Engineer.

If you were unable to gather the take aways from my super condensed three year story here they are: Don’t be afraid to talk to people, and ask them what they do. WORK DURING YOUR COLLEGE CAREER, that is in caps because its stupid massive important. Lastly, work hard and show your worth. Before step one I squandered a job and had to run away with my tail between my legs before they fired my ass. Don’t be a young dumb shit head, be professional, put forth an effort, and don’t burn bridges.

A Months After the Fact

Well happy new year, I guess.

I’ve finished my degree and I managed to pull another semester of straight A’s, thus accomplishing my goal of graduating with a 4.0 GPA. This felt like an accomplishment for all of the 30 seconds it took me to walk back to my car after my en-route evaluation and drive off the campus for the final time. This isn’t to say I’m not happy about it, it just doesn’t produce any joy like I had hoped. It’s not like I smile when I think about it.

Apparently it takes six to eight weeks for them to mail a diploma, which is pretty pathetic considering some employers may not be so willing to hire a new graduate without solid proof of degree completion. I acquired my Quality Engineer position by simply supplying a unofficial transcript and an email from my advisor stating I would finish my degree if I passed my classes. However, this probably only sufficed because I had been working there for the past year and a half.

Checking in and checking out

Here I am again, writing after an extended period of silence when so much has happened. I’ve been offered a quality engineer position at work and have accepted it. I barely pulled out straight A’s again last semester. Bailed on the idea of ever becoming a dispatcher.  Failed another biographical questionnaire. Then as of tomorrow, I have finished my degree in Air Traffic Management.

As it stands I currently have a 90.6% in my enroute class. Tomorrow is my final simulator evaluation. Tomorrow should be incredibly spicy, and yet at I’m overwhelmed by a total lack of indifference. School in my mind is already over, and I’m already bored.

ATC Capstone and Internship

1-18-2017 18:53

Instead of studying for my FAA dispatch written exam like I should be, I’m going to foolishly write this long letter to nobody. As promised in the previous post I’m going to tell you why ATC 484 (ATC Internship) and ATC 491 (ATC Capstone) are important. They’re important for more reasons than just your grade, as they will teach you real life skills and give you something to put on your resume; which I’m guessing is bare because anyone who would have found this is probably a college student with no real world work experience. Most importantly, if done correctly you can combine the two to make your life easier and compound the effect it has on your resume.

ATC 484 for me was incredibly insightful as I did my internship at the Phoenix TRACON (P50) and Tower. Obviously having open access to these facilities is incredible, and an opportunity achievable no where else in life. The internship consisted of two parts: RPO’ing in the tower simulation lab and working in the Quality Control (QC) department. While working in QC can be mundane data entry related tasks, it will teach you valuable skills (which you probably don’t have) that the entire professional world operates under. Not to sound repetitive by harping on college kids, but I feel it necessary as the emphasis will be explained at the end.

RPO’ing in the training department taught me valuable lessons that I could use towards acquiring a job as an RPO for the FAA (not directly for the FAA as they contract out those things). For me personally this would equal a downgrade from my current position. However, it is a solid back up incase where I am at currently doesn’t work out and I am unable to acquire a position in the same field. For your typical college student, I’m sure $15/hr straight out of school sounds like sex. I will eventually get to what/where it is I am currently working, I promise I am not a liar it’s just talking about work when all I do is work activates my gag reflex.

Getting back on course, now its time to talk about ATC Capstone (491), and then how they can tie together. Capstone consists of you working with an industry partner and in the most basic explanation, pitching a solution to a problem they have. For my capstone I worked with the Air Traffic Control System Command Center (ATCSCC). Without getting into incredible detail I made them a way to quantify the data they collected to allow them to gauge the performance of a new program they implemented. More arrogantly speaking I created a quality control program that helps fine tune the efficiency of the entire national airspace system; doubt any other student has done anything that profound.

Stepping back off my high horse it is now that you should see the similarity between what I did for my capstone and working with the QC department for P50. The QC work fed the mind set for creating the capstone project. On top of that I was able to do quite a bit of work for my capstone during my internship. Meaning I was able to do school work during my internship. Now I can add my capstone project on my resume under the FAA Internship section, sky rocketing it upwards far above and beyond anybody else’s experience there. Which is even more important for a college student with limited professional experience to display on a resume. Hopefully that sinks in otherwise I just wasted valuable studying time.

Seeking Control

2-26-17 16:56

I wrote a while back about a resurrection of writing poetry again, but never followed it up with much of an effort. Needless to say it was much like my effort towards writing in here. Life is pure undiluted chaos, and focus must be redirected constantly. Thus, how I spend what little free time I have is critical to my sanity. I started this poem one late night I don’t even know how long ago, and suddenly decided to finish it.

The essence of the writing below is the concept that I don’t feel like I control much of my life. School and work twist and pull me in so many ways that my life at times is too contorted to make sense of. Thus, I find myself envious of those who have dismissed society and live their life free of mundane concerns like money (basically being a homeless hipster). While the romantic inside me can identify and recognize such a life, the logical side of me can’t even comprehend walking across such an unstable bridge.

Life is a track on which we are forced to race,
countless outside influences setting the pace.
Gasping for air and some semblance of control,
falling ever so deeper inside their blackhole.

A byproduct of humanity that we’re forced to bare,
some are enlightened while most are unaware.
Envious of those who live in that ignorant bliss,
too scared to follow them into that blackish abyss.

Such a formidable leap with an unstable landing,
an uncertain future with no idea where you’ll be standing.
To much invested to suddenly turn back,
ready yourself for another lap around their track.

Fall 2016

1/8/2016 18:46

Last semester was a success academically, the 4.0 GPA is still alive. However, it was a grueling semester and I damn near lost it with the Dispatch Ground course (AMT 360). The other classes I took last semester were En Route Operations (ATC 333), Internship (ATC 484), and ATC Capstone (ATC491). ATC 484 and ATC 491 are very important, and will require their own post. However, I will discuss AMT 360 and ATC 333 in this.

ATC 333 is much the same as ATC 332, or at least it was for me given the circumstances. ASU finally got a real center controller to be a professor, and Professor Delugt is a great guy. Both fortunately and unfortunately for me it was his first semester teaching. Therefore, he hasn’t had time to mold the curriculum of the class. Thus it was easy, but very educational.

AMT 360 on the other hand is a three headed monster, and your only weapon is a squirt gun. That entire class revolves around the memorizing the questions out of the GLEIM book. The first test was fairly straight forward, but the second one was harder, and the final was absolutely brutal. I damn near had a panic attack in the middle of that final because I was getting so many questions I had never seen before. I have yet to take the actual FAA written for the dispatch rating because of its brutality.

While I did okay on the final it was mainly because I got extremely lucky with a lot of my guesses. My plan was to study a little bit more and take the FAA written over winter break. That plan however blew up in my face like a turbo’d civic. The motivation to pick up that book and run through the questions is nonexistent. Now winter break is over and I HAVE to get on it before the semester gets up to full speed.

Lost Comms

1/8/2017 18:16

It’s been another four month period of lost communications, and as always a lot has happened. Given the topic at the end of the last post, and the gap up until now, I’d say its fairly obvious that I failed the BQ again. I think this is largely in part the reason I quit writing as it was quite a blow. Even four months later I’m still flabbergasted on how I could have failed it again. Regardless whats done is done and speculating about it only further irritates me.

The candle light of hope is very dim. I have to say with each passing day the feeling of helplessness in achieving my dream increases, as does the acceptance of never achieving it; which depresses me. Actually sitting here and thinking about it makes it real again. Not to say that I haven’t been feeling it the past four months, because I have. It’s just that over the past four months I’ve been so busy it was easier to brush off; especially because I was interning at PHX/P50.That crutch however is gone now, and its time to get back on the horse for the new semester (which starts tomorrow).

Needless to say we have a lot to talk about.

Long Time No See

8/9/2016 19:42

It’s been so long I don’t even know where to begin. For some reason I never felt the need to write even though so much in my life has changed this summer. Now that the 2016 ATC bid is looming I feel the need to put the pen back to the paper.

I guess I’ll start about the new job I just started this week. I finally made the transition from working with aerospace companies to working in one. Getting out of staffing/recruiting is fantastic, I’m so glad to have left it behind me. The morals of that business are so corrupt, but at the same time the people you have to deal with drive you to it. A job that depends on the direct actions other others will almost always lead to  failure. As for what my new job is, I’ll describe that in a later post when I better unstained what it is that I’m actually doing there.

Second, I got my new car. I finally got around to selling the my first car that I’ve had since 2008. To add to that I bought my first ever new car. While this is exciting it is at the same time terrifying. Car payments and student loan payments, life will surely smack in the face when school is done.

Now for more ATC related news: the 2016 bid is currently underway. I just uploaded all the documents I will be submitting with my application. With the new law that passed I will be required to apply under the OTS (off the street) bid; meaning I will have to take the biographical assessment again. I haven’t applied yet. This is because I am still in school, you need to graduate first before you can get around the BQ. I was going to apply tonight but I decided not to as it is open all week. I think I’m being apprehensive about it for multiple reasons:

1. I’m trying to see what other people are saying about it to get a better idea.
2. Taking it is just going to suck, it’s very long.
3. I’m scared to see the results.

Which ever way this bid goes there’s a major downside. If I get picked up, I may have to drop out of school and quit my job, obviously a huge fucking gamble. If I fail I just missed out on a huge hiring bid, the likes of which won’t be seen again again (hiring will take a huge decrease over the next couple of years). The only way this works out perfectly is if I get picked up and get a call time for over a year from now; like thats going to fucking happen. Well I guess theres no reason to pick this apart until I know if its going to happen or not. My next post will likely be the results.

The Renaissance

5/1/2016 09:26

Recently I’ve met an artist that has inspired a renaissance within me. I’m a very complex individual who dabbles in many things, a lot of which are contradictory to one another. However, this is about writing; which is something I’ve always enjoyed. Crafting words together inspires unlimited creativity, and can be an incredible release. This, and an appreciation for poetry, was taught to me back in high school by an english teacher named Mr. Dicus.

Supposedly, writing poetry isn’t something a man does, so needless to say I succumbed to society and it was eventually phased out of my life. Unfortunately when you’re a male of that age almost everything takes a back seat to impressing women. However, with age comes wisdom and harder skin. So with the encouragement of my friend, I’ve decided to give poetry another shot. Since I find myself knee deep in the shit of finals at the moment, I thought it’d be best to write about what I’m currently going through (although I will say it is considerably embellished). So here it is:

Where It All Funnels In

As time withers away concern starts to rise,
You must keep going regardless of tired eyes.
Wearing a calm and collected face like a poorly made disguise,
Secretly drowning in anguish, surely this will be my demise.
All bases must be covered, every fact and date memorized;
No room for failure, every potential question analyzed.

Papers are now bleeding in yellow highlighter ink demanding attention,
Brain losing focus, struggling with cognitive retention.
Thoughts of surrender as self doubt starts to creep in,
Unfortunately times over, time for the finals to begin.

Your Time Has Come

4/27/2016 20:18

Tomorrow marks my graded simulator evaluation for the local control position. This past week was basically taken off of work to refine my skills on the local south position. Followed by taking today off so that I could shake off the weekend rust before tomorrow. While I hope I receive local north, which only has one runway and is considerably easier for me, I don’t at the same time. While other students probably don’t feel the same, this evaluation is an important milestone. A milestone that pushes ones limits and demonstrates ones ability. Succeeding in an easier fashion will fail to do either.

Pushing my mental limits to the breaking point is in large part the reason I wish to become a controller. My sights are set on working at a high level facility, thriving within it, and eventually making my way to the command center. That being said the fear of maintaining my 4.0 GPA is outweighed by a fear of a realization of my own incompetence. I’ve completely enveloped myself to passing this evaluation, and I want and expect nothing more then to tear the shit out of the hardest problem he has.

Oh I also have a commercial stage exam tomorrow too…