Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Letter to William Shatner

Recently on Facebook the great William Shatner posted the following:
William Shatner

I’m looking for true stories on how watching Star Trek (any series) affected your career decisions later in life. Did you go into a career in Science or Aviation or even become an Astronaut due to Star Trek and Science Fiction?

I want to hear your story. Please send me an email of your story on what about Star Trek made you choose your career path. Send a email with your story in the body of the email to: ShatnerScifi@gm ­ail.com

My best, Bill
 So I took up the challenge and wrote one of my heroes in life to discuss my career path and how 'Star Trek' fits into it:
Attention Mr William Shatner:
First off allow me to say it is an extreme Honor to be writing you Mr Shatner. With me being a 'Star Trek' & 'Boston Legal' fan and a Canadian, you are one of my heroes. I had a chance to meet you at the Calgary Expo in 2011 at it was a thrill of a lifetime.
Anyway when I graduated high school I was unsure what I wanted to do with my life. I worked for 9 years in the lumber industry but was never really happy with what I was doing for a living. So I did some brainstorming one night and thought about some of the careers paths I admired throughout my life, then I got thinking about 'Star Trek'. I always loved the characters of Trek, but the ones whose jobs I enjoyed to watch on screen where those of the Engineers. Scotty and Geordi where two characters whose jobs I would want to do if I were on the starship Enterprise. Knowing how the Enterprise really works, being able to fix the problems with the ship when needed, using your mind and hands to save the day really appealed to me. Of course this is fiction and Engineers like Scotty do not exist...but they do.
I never really paid much attention to my Dad's career path. I knew he had a 'Steam Ticket' and worked with large rotary kilns which were used to destroy hazardous industrial waste in Alberta, but my Dad never really talked about work with me and he had assumed I was happy with working in the lumber industry. But when I began to talk to my Dad about changing career paths he suggested I take up 'Power Engineering'. When I asked him what a power engineer does he explained that's what he is. My Dad as it turns out has a 'steam ticket', but it is technically called 'Power Engineering', and my Dad has his 4th class ticket. A Power Engineer works in industrial facilities (plants) operating equipment, learning how a plant process works and repairing equipment and process when needed. Put simply, my Dad is a real life 'Scotty'. Granted he does not work in space, he has not been on a starship, and he's never been in a bar fight with Klingons, but he in his own way does what Scotty & Geordi did as Engineers, but for the real world.
I quit my job in the lumber industry. Now 6 years later I work at a facility where I destroy hazardous waste through the use of large rotary kilns and incineration. Like Scotty I use both my mind and my hands for my job. I work with equipment, I fix equipment when needed, and I finished my schooling for my 5th Class Power Engineering, I am currently studying for the Provincial exam. At the facility where I work I also act as my crews 'Control Room Operator'. I have 6 computers which I monitor/control and in essence run the facility as we safely destroy waste, making the world a better place. Again like Scotty when he would 'run' the Enterprise from engineering, I run our plant from the control room. Very cool, and I am so much happier now with my career choice in life. When people ask me what I do for a living, I say "I'm kinda like Scotty from Star Trek".
I have 'Star Trek' and my Dad to thank for showing me the right career path to walk on.
Thank you for your time Mr Shatner.
- Chris Lockhart

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