Inevitable Inflection[i]Inevitable, is from the Latin word inevitabilis, meaning unavoidable. If we say something is inevitable, we give the sense that no matter what scheme we come up with to get around it, it’s going to happen sooner or later.
My first job after arriving in California in the 1960s was as a production line supervisor in a wafer fab at Fairchild Semiconductor. I had come here from Indiana after tornados had blown away my home and my office. My new boss was John Ronald, a man I looked up to and respected greatly. He was a few years older than me and had vastly more professional experience, much of which I could learn from him. As General Foreman, he had several others like me reporting to him – one for each of the three shifts in the production areas of masking, diffusion, and assembly. Because he was also greatly respected by his superiors, it was only a few months after I arrived that he was promoted to take over a new company division that was to build the first TTL digital integrated circuits.
I was very disappointed when that happened because John had hired me and had taught me an enormous amount in those few short months, but it was inevitable that I would be getting a new boss. His name was Tony Steimle, also a veteran in this brand-new, exploding industry. I have no doubt that he was just as experienced and capable as John was but, being immature in my early 20s, idealistic, and independent, I decided to resist the change.[ii]This was at a time in my life, before having learned about that familiar adage that says, “The boss might not always be right but he (or she) is always the boss.” I don’t know why I didn’t like the new guy but it didn’t matter – he was not my friend John so I resisted every change he tried to make. In retrospect, I am sure I was disappointed that John chose not to take me along with him to build the integrated circuits that would power the Apollo guidance computer a few years later – but inevitably the friction grew and I found myself being transferred to another group in the Company.
That was a humiliating and costly experience for me. I recount it now as a metaphor for a challenge that I struggle with, all these decades later. After more than a half-century of personally managing my overgrown-hobby Christmas tree business, as the years tick off, the time is quickly approaching when the entire enterprise will be taken over by my daughter. Piece by piece, she will continue to relieve me until such time that I can sit by the fireplace, and watch all the excitement of the tree harvest on big screen video monitors. Her energy and creativity will undoubtedly lead to many changes. I endorse and encourage those inevitable changes, much the same way that my superiors at Fairchild did 60 years ago when I was not wise enough to see the inevitable. Some customers, suppliers, and employees, currently involved in this Christmas tree business will welcome Kelley and embrace the changes she brings, and sadly, some will resist and experience the same inevitable result as I did back then.
Written: December 7, 2022
Published: December 7, 2022
Revised: March 19, 2023
Reader feedback always appreciated[iii]. . thoughtful commentary perhaps more so than shallow thoughts
|↑i||Inevitable, is from the Latin word inevitabilis, meaning unavoidable. If we say something is inevitable, we give the sense that no matter what scheme we come up with to get around it, it’s going to happen sooner or later.|
|↑ii||This was at a time in my life, before having learned about that familiar adage that says, “The boss might not always be right but he (or she) is always the boss.”|
|↑iii||. . thoughtful commentary perhaps more so than shallow thoughts|