Back when I first started working in the Defense Realm - not my Army Days, mind you, which I have always viewed as just something you give back for all the other opportunities you have in this country - but when I started working in the Defense Contractor World, it was a strange and wonderful place.
My first jobs were at Lockheed and Hughes, two of the biggest contractors of that time. I was a junior security rep on several interesting programs, but mostly I was the kid who made up charts, did briefings to the cleared folks about not committing crimes or getting into debt or otherwise making themselves vulnerable to blackmail, and helped everyone with their voluminous and complicated security clearance forms. I met lots of interesting people and got to see some truly spectacular things.
Once, outside the Lockheed buildings in Burbank, a bunch of us looked up into the sky to see a missile launch failure of some sort out of Vandenberg turning the sky a thousand different colors. Another time, I got to see the Chairman of the Senate Joint Services Committee when he came for a meeting and I was badging visitors.
I had previously worked in libraries and for financial institutions, so this was a new and fascinating world. I really liked it, and was pleased that it paid so much more than what I was used to making. I had bounced around various jobs before, but I knew I would make this my career.
And for nearly twenty years I did. I still bounced from job to job, but this time it was because contracts come and go and in the contractor world, you follow the work. Also, companies merge, split, swallow up other companies and change their names. During one job that lasted a good nine and a half years, I worked for four different companies from the same desk. The next position - in the building next door - sent me to four locations for the same company, which changed its name three times during my three years with them. I even spent three years at a manufacturing company which had a government contract.
But it is coming to an end. The Dork Side - the Defense Contractor World - has changed dramatically since 9/11. Heck, it changed dramatically after the Wall came down and the Soviet Union broke up, too. But this is different. My world is darker, scarier.
My physical limitations are making it difficult for me to continue working in this field. I gave up being a soldier with some reluctance, but no regrets. I guess I'm going to have to give up the Dork Side as well.
The good news: I will be writing more, taking better care of my health, and having a healthier and more positive view of the world.
THREE BEAUTIFUL THINGS
The red Eames DCW - Dining Chair Wood - in the living room. It's a vintage beauty.