What’s Your Dream Job?

Check out this post on sustainability that I found to be interesting. I just randomly came upon it when I went to search for environmental sustainability (don’t ask why I would search for such a thing).

It brings me back to the enlightenment I also had when I went to Spain and what I think sparked my interest and concern for environmental sustainability and conservation. And I know that I am not the world’s best conservationist or even that I am really a role model but it is something I am passionate about and something I love to bring into conversation and something that I try at (though in all honestly I really don’t TRY to be sustainable it is just pretty natural now).

Someone asked me the other day that with my degree what would be the ultimate job I could have. As cliche as it sounds I think that my job right now would be really hard to beat as far as alignment with my own goals and morals. Take first my company for instance. I would say a third of my coworkers ride their bike to work on a daily basis. They do not drive their cars in and if they aren’t commuting by bike then they turn to the bus system. This includes myself. Then you have people in the office who demanded that we have real silverware, plates, dishes, glasses, and mugs so that they could be reused instead of using paper. When no one in the company ponied up the funds for it individuals went out to garage sales to get items and now we have a complete (and nice!) set of reusable dishes and silverware to use in the kitchen. People harp on watching what you print and copy and similar to my house, the recycling and composting bins are far larger than the trash bin in the kitchen.

But mainly I feel like the project I am assigned to hits the nail right on the head. Being able to design the city’s first light rail system to make the public transportation options and choices even greater is huge. I never wanted to work in transportation services (and I’m not) but yet I get to help design for mass transport. That is awesome. Seriously, nothing better came to mind. Sure, designing a “Green” building would be cool and allow for engineering creativity but I’m still not 100% on board with the country’s green building criteria, also known as LEED. Like a lot of things in the U.S., LEED is heavily mandated, requires a lot of paperwork and hoop jumping, and in the end can sometimes cause more pain than gain. I’m not totally against the LEED rating system but I have seen it’s pitfalls too. So when people ask me how I like my job and my career even if I have an annoying or unproductive day or am just tired of dealing with a model or not knowing how to perform the right design or analysis that I am asked to do or envious of people with less schooling at the same college could be making an arm and a leg more than me, I can honestly say that I love my job so, so much!

Since we just caught up as a company at our monthly staff meeting I feel like I have a very good grasp of several different projects my company is working on right now…and we are working on a ton as well as lead bids on several other projects. My newest assignment is for the design of a dome bulkhead for the Gorge Tunnel project just a little Northeast of Anacortes, WA. I had no idea what a bulkhead was but now I do. Think of those little domed glass barriers you see on submarines. The main purpose of those little glass windows are to provide a view of the water but to still keep the water and pressure separated from those inside the submarine. Well what I am designing is exactly that but 22′ in diameter. It is going to be used to separate two flows of water (the old tunnel and the new tunnel that is being constructed completely parallel to the old tunnel). 75% design is due October 10th and final design is due December 9th so it is a much shorter timeline and smaller project than the North Link.

A typical domed bulkhead cover.

My company is also working on some other very cool and interesting projects. They are working on this tunnel for this 10,000 year clock (?) that I’m guessing is some kind of time capsule or trying to prove something against/with relativity in Van Horn, Texas. There is a project (I really want to go to) in Honolulu for this extensive bored tunnel complex that was unknown until the 70s that is built, monitored and used by the Navy to store all of their oil for their fleets. There are several hydropower dams going on, railroad tunnels, a bike tunnel in Northern Oregon through the mountains, a proposed project in Abu Dhabi, and we are now the PRIME construction managers for the infamous Alaskan Viaduct tunnel that is all the talk about town.


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