I got to thinking about Vic the other day. Specifically, Vic’s job. I’m beginning to wonder if Vic had the right job. Here’s what got me thinking about this..
I work with many engineers and a few accountants. I don’t like to stereotype, but there is a noticeable difference in each professions’ skills and interests. For example, accountants can look at page of numbers (for example a balance sheet or a cash flow statement) and glean all sort of things about the performance of an enterprise. It’s a skill that takes a lot of training and years to develop. Accountants usually don’t care much about the underlying technology of the products a company produces, but rather their interest lies in more holistic view of the firm and its financial health.
Engineers are naturally curious. They see something and they immediately want to know how it works. Often this means they’ll take it apart! They generally don’t have an appreciation for the larger view of the firm and its economic performance. Rather they are fully consumed by the technology and the underlying engineering principles that support it.
It’s not always the case but there is a marked difference in the way each profession thinks and in the way they approach problems. It’s not good or bad, it just is. (full disclosure: I’m an engineer)
Now consider Vic. We know he likes to take clocks apart and we know he likes to explain mechanical things to Sade, like the operation of a washing machine (oh ish!). While he never seems to get the clocks back together again, he seems to have a genuine curiosity about mechanical things. He also like to spend time tinkering on cars in Razorscum’s garage. He even makes the distinction to between just working on a car and tinkering, in that tinkering is more exploratory, more cause and effect, and more scientific - whereas swapping out tires on Fred’s car is just uninteresting manual labor.
Vic’s accounting work often seems trivial – adding and copying columns of numbers or reconciling invoices. This doesn’t seem consistent with his title of Chief Accountant. I suspect that since Vic worked at Plant #14, his role was more about cost accounting for his local factory, with the roll-up and company performance accounting being done by the corporate office. He often seems a bit annoyed with this work – especially when he brings it home from the office (admittedly, the Gook household often conspires against him when he “brings home a job from the office”).
Clearly Vic has a head for numbers and math, which is a prerequisite for both engineering and accounting. But given his interest in mechanical things, I imagine him wandering around the Consolidated Kitchenware factory being curious about how the machines worked that made the kitchenware products (and maybe less interested in his accounting work). So, I’m wondering – would Vic have been happier as an engineer?
Apologies to all the engineers and accountants that I’ve offended!
- Dave Duckert