A dozen years ago I worked for Hyundai Semiconductor America (now Hynix) as a Process Integration Engineer. I was the token American in our department of 4, put in charge of Parametric Testing in a brand new facility in Oregon where I managed all the equipment installation, programming, and the day-to-day operations and troubleshooting for the testing of the company’s product. Another guy in our department managed the product introduction (although I did all the training though for the new operators for the factory). I have no idea what the other 2 guys did except for stare at excel spreadsheets to look busy. It was an interesting experience, on many levels. The company was run as a Korean company, so there were a tremendous number of nuances within the business that were completely new to me.
It was a challenge. It was a challenge for all of the Americans engineers there. When I started (as the facility was being built) I made many friends both American and Korean but after 4 years nearly all of the Americans had left (except in the QA department, who was run by an American woman, which was so potentially litigious and personally frightening for them that they bent over backwards to make it worth her while to stay). I kept on far longer than most of my fellow-countrymen hoping that the management be true to their word and Americanize, but it was not to be. In the end I ended up also leaving a company that started out with 60% American engineering and management, and ended up with around 20% American participation in those roles due solely to attrition.
As a sign off I sent out an email to many people I knew there, which I regret a little bit now in retrospect because it was perhaps unnecessary and because there there was a few who still believed the dream … that one day you could advance in that company without having to participate in some of the Korean traditions which were incompatible with my personal values and are just plain bad for business. But it was an honest message coming from one who’d made a huge contribution and who felt very dissatisfied with the reaction. It really burned me out and I started my next job exhausted, very disillusioned and quite unhappy with my career. I sent this:
“It’s been real, and it’s been fun …. and well, you know the rest”
The traditional adage, of course, is “It’s been real, and it’s been fun … but it hasn’t been real fun”.
That’s kind of how my blog has been. It started out many years ago as an effort to express some ideas in a more cogent manner than speaking with friends and family who couldn’t care less or might be offended by an opinion different than their own, that perhaps it might find an audience that could build on those ideas or at least appreciate some part of them.
That’s different than what most blogs tend to be today, and that’s okay. I really didn’t intend this blog to be a reflection on me … rather just a very small collection of some of my observations, but as I’ve come to learn ’tis human to classify others, and as a result perhaps this effort has made me even less understood by my peers though I don’t really know.
I like what blogs have become though … no longer someone’s effort to forward or support some political, social or scientific ideas, but rather a means for family members and close friends to interact about their personal lives. It evolution has allowed me to participate more in some way with the lives of my family and friends from far away, or nearby.
I still also like to read the blogs that strive to be a lone voice speaking up against an unending torrent of heavily biased popular media with it’s all-too-simplistic and predictable portrayal of world events. I guess I’m just a little tired of doing it myself and with the mass proliferation of blogs now such an effort almost seems completely wasted and ignored unless combined with the efforts of other bloggers into something with a daily punch. It wasn’t always that way.
I, in fact deeply respect and applaud those who use their blog for such purposes. We humans are after-all far more than just a collections of cliques floating through space sharing all the gooey goodness that makes our unique clique so good and comfortable, while ignoring the inter-clique problems or letting others with other visions or ideals shape the future of our own world. Blogs that try to understand and solve the bigger picture problems tell me that the author is totally sincere about their own life and that they’re honestly concerned about their fellowman and the world around them, regardless of what their actual opinion is.
I hope they carry on the torch … and especially those who don’t tout the party line of the mainstream media since we live in such a lopsided world today. I thought the internet was supposed to fix that. Well, it hasn’t and in some ways has made it worse … the commercialization of the net has drowned out those voices with big money and powerful news and opinion oriented portals, increasingly visited by gullible net-surfers who are increasingly lazy with their news gathering efforts, while the movement of dissenting opinions from traditional news sources have left those sources bereft of any sense of balance.
That said, if I did do another blog entry I’d call it Faux Hunting, exploring how popular it has become to foolishly deride and despise the only professional dissenting voice among public media despite what you might think about it (or maybe I’d call it “shooting the messenger”), with the very president of our United States stooping to new lows of immaturity and insecurity to become one of the worst offenders in this arena. Whatever happened to the good-natured adage past presidents had of their detractors when they said “Thank heavens for free speech”? Instead our executive government is rallying up an invisible force of anonymous supporters to make a list of critics under the misleading banner of “identifying misinformation” … a euphemistically put tactic employed by community activists to dignify their otherwise dubious credentials while debasing their detractors. But I’ll leave that issue for others to tackle. I’m disgusted and I’m done until I can figure out a more effective way to dissent.
Maybe someday I’ll join the corps of dissenting voices again, though I doubt it any time soon. Or … maybe I’ll start up another blog at some time with a different audience in mind … like my family and personal friends, sharing stuff I really value on a very personal level but that would probably be password protected.
Thanks so much to those who’ve commented and taken the time to let my blatherings bounce off you. You’ve been too kind.
For more blogging goodness, please check out my wife’s excellent blog: Sunshiney Soul (which is geared more toward our family which friends and family will enjoy more anyway) or the fantastic blog done by her and my sisters: Bossy.