"A View From The Road"
Volume 5 - June 2018
Job Title: Electrical Psychologist
The routine of my life includes traveling often, mostly by car but every month or two by plane. Recently on a trip to Florida, I left from Newark, connected in Charlotte on my way to Melbourne, FL. For me, connecting in Charlotte is a small inconvenience, but allows me to have several mental breaks over the course of 6 hours. My time on the plane and at the gate during my connection is my time, an opportunity to think about everything, or nothing. I am not one to talk to my fellow passengers and it is not uncommon for me to make the entire trip without talking with anyone.
On this day in April, I boarded the flight in Charlotte for the brief 1.5 hour trip to Melbourne, got to my window seat, 11A. There was an older gentleman in the middle seat, I excused myself and plopped down assessing my view out the window. The window seat allows you the opportunity to stare out the window for the entire flight, always trying to figure out where you are without the aid of Google Maps. The seat also provides a nice hard surface to rest your head in case you want to nap, also preventing you from sleeping and falling on your neighbor.
Before I could even get my options for the flight arranged, that includes music, podcasts and downloaded newspaper, the gentleman next to me made a comment and we struck up a conversation. We talked generically as you do with a stranger, him telling me he was going to visit family in Florida, and that he lived near Boston. Somewhere in the introductions, he asked what I did for a living, which is always tricky for me because it is not typically a simple explanation and depending on the audience they become interested or glaze over. I mentioned I was in the electrical business, doing technical service work, one day with contractors, the next with engineers. He responded that he went to college and became an electrical engineer. My interest was peaked a bit, because this can potentially make the conversation easier or more interesting depending on the direction we go. He said that he did that for a few years and became unemployed and disinterested in the profession somewhere in his 20s, I suspect the gentleman was now about 66 or so. The former electrical engineer then told me he became a psychologist
I have always been curious about psychologists, how they do it every day. I liken this to a friend or family member that is always telling you their problems, you try to be accommodating and provide a sympathetic ear, but occasionally you just want them to stop talking. But a psychologist, that’s their job, listen, process and provide observations and helpful suggestions. I have always been curious about this and I asked him, “how do you listen to people every day, taking on all that emotional energy, some so negative, it has to be a significant load, what do you do with that in your life”? He said that he can’t talk to new people every day, he must plan out his visits, so he gets someone in each stage of the process, its all not problems, some people are near the end and he gets to hear about the progress and successes. So, in the scheduling of his 20 hours per week, he gets a little of everything, a balance.
Our trip continued as did the conversation. I believe in these situations I go into businessman/technician mode, asking questions, each answer creating more questions. This wasn’t a completely one-sided conversation however, he went into psychologist mode and asked about my business and what I liked and didn’t and found out quickly that I was passionate about what I do and really enjoy the work, the people and the places I get exposed. I told him for my career it was really about the people
A little over an hour into our flight, the gentleman stopped and said, “this has been a really strange trip for me, I don’t ever think I have talked this much, I am always listening” I paused for a bit and then it dawned on me. I told him I have always struggled when people ask me what I do, but now I have the answer, Electrical Psychologist. My job is to listen, observe, process and provide guidance and recommendations but not in the mental state rather, the electrical state of the facility I am visiting. I do believe if you complete a search for Electrical Psychologist you will get some neuro-science drivel not the cool electrical stuff. With all the changes in the corporate world, and everyone needing a creative and dynamic title, I am putting forth Electrical Psychologist as a new job title. And to keep it consistent with current corporate speak it will be referred to as “ePsych”.