Balls of Steel

In September, as part of a campaign celebrating America’s unsung workers, I wrote about my father-in-law’s career as a truck driver. It gave me some insight into what his job is like, and allowed me to eliminate “truck driver” from any future job searches.

You think I’m joking, but it took me a long time to figure out what I wanted to do with my life and by “a long time” I mean, I’m still not sure!” Truck driving might have stayed on the table. I’m determined to help my son find his way sooner than I did, and now that I’ve seen this month’s “1 in One Hundred Million” video, I know he will.

I have found his one true calling.

#workforcestories, #1in100MM, #spon, dad and buried, parenting, parenthood, kronos, moms, motherhood, future, careers, job, funny, dad bloggers, mommy bloggers, mike julianelle If Detective Munch is anything like me (and judging by how stubborn and drop-dead gorgeous he is, I think that’s a pretty safe bet!) truck driving is probably not in his future. Nor is alligator wrangling.

But the latest career featured in the Kronos “1 in One Hundred Million” video series looks like it may be just right for him.

The 1 in 100 Million website is “devoted to sharing the personal stories of the people who do the many important and too-often unrecognized jobs we all rely on.” The short videos are a cool, easy way to gain some insight into some of these gigs, and lately I’ve been watching them with an eye towards my son’s future. So far, along with the aforementioned truck driver and alligator wrangler, the video spotlights have covered teachers, trauma nurses, and a baseball bat maker.

The latest video focuses on a 27 year-old game tester at Chicago-based Stern Pinball. His “job” is to test pinball games, which means he has to play each pinball machine and tweak it before it can be shipped. He receives it already put together, ensures all visuals are perfect, the game looks flawless, and tests the working functional parts, including a running a diagnostics process to make sure the customer receives a perfect game.

“We all compete with each other at the factory and at arcades.” Spotlighted game tester Zach Feary says “[He] was born with a controller in [his] hands.”

My son wasn’t born with anything in his hands, thank God, because that would have made an already surreal birth experience even more traumatic! Also unlike Zach, my son has hardly any experience with pinball machines – or arcade and video games of any kind. I was never much of a gamer myself, but I love pinball, and ever since I watched “Silver Spoons” and saw Big, I’ve dreamed of having those balls of steel in my house. #workforcestories, #1in100MM, #spon, dad and buried, parenting, parenthood, kronos, moms, motherhood, future, careers, job, funny, dad bloggers, mommy bloggers, mike julianelle

If my son gets a job testing them, that will definitely happen, assuming he can fit a machine down his pants without his bosses noticing. I just wish I could go back in time so he could test the awesome “Appetite for Destruction” game I used to play in college!

Obviously, my son can be whatever he wants to be (except these things), whether it’s a well-known profession or something more obscure like some of the ones in these videos, and my desire to own a pinball machine will ultimately have little impact on his future. But if he struggles making a decision? I’ll step right in and decide for him, as a good, not at all domineering and soul-crushing father does. 

Choosing a career is not easy. When I was a little kid I wanted to be a superhero, a wide receiver, and an archaeologist. So I can’t blame my son for not knowing what he wants to be, and it would give me no joy to have to step in if in twenty years he still doesn’t now. That said, one moment of hesitation and “Pinball Game Tester” will be my kid’s job, no ifs ands or buts. Even if he doesn’t know what he’s good at, and even if I can’t tell what he might have an aptitude for, something tells me he’ll like pinball.

No, he may not love the fact that his old man chose his career for him, but his days will be spent playing an arcade game! So if nothing else, at least he’ll be happy.


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