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:
2. Recruiting Assistant
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
So yesterday I went over to Mesa Airlines to discuss the details of their internship with my future professor. Good news is it is paid, bad news is it is generally just during the summer. Therefore, with where I am credit wise at the moment I will have to do it on a non-school related basis. Which is obviously more work in the grand scheme of things but it also allows me to intern at PHX which is obviously something I want to do. Regardless, the interning at Mesa seems like a real possibility, but I will have to get rid of my car and get a new one immediately after this semester ends…
On the subject of this semester the pressure is starting to build with finals fast approaching. Local South was proving to be a considerable problem in ATC 431 until this past Thursday when it started to click. I’ll try and write a report as to how to succeed at local control, because its a serious learning curve. Regardless heres what I’m up against over the next couple weeks:
ATC 431- Simulation Graded Eval., Written Final, and the take home test thats 100 something questions.
ATC 332- Final exam
AMT 442- Book review (halfway done), and final.
AMT 214- Stage 3 exam, homework questions on all the chapters, and the final exam.
On top of this I have this Professional Women Controllers conference I will be attending the week before finals. I’ll be writing an article for their newsletter, so I have to find some way to fit that into my school work. Regardless, I need to try and attend this even as much as possible as it is a great networking opportunity.
It’s been a little while since my last entry, and big shocker: a lot has happened. First, I’ve officially been offered an internship at the Phoenix TRACON/Tower. Now you think this would be a cause for celebration as it is where I’ve wanted to do my internship since I started school for ATC. However, given the FAA’s current hiring practices regarding controllers, I have to seriously consider whether or not this internship is worth it. This is because it currently won’t further my chances of being a controller. How fucked is it that I have to question my dream internship for a dream job for something that will help my back up career? Very fucked.
However, this brings up the other bun I’ve got going in the oven. During my writing hiatus I looked up a dispatcher on LinkedIn and asked for, and got a tour of Mesa Airlines dispatching office. I definitely think I’d enjoy working there as dispatching is a very neat and misunderstood occupation. So, I’m currently trying to get another visit scheduled so that I might be able to establish an internship there. Reason being, an internship within dispatching would make me a very viable candidate for a real dispatching position, which is what an internship is supposed to do.
Honestly, if it came down to the two, I’d have to go with Mesa Airlines.
Side note: You have to pay for your internship credits, how fucking ridiculous is that? I have to pay to go work somewhere for free. What a scam this is.