Original Post Date: Friday, February 6, 2009

Last week I was asked to participate in Career Day at my son’s elementary school.  I was both honored and humbled.  Honored because the school felt that my career was something the children would be interested in and humbled because I was forced to concoct a story that would make cost estimating and analysis both understandable and interesting to children from kindergarten through grade eight.  Fortunately the format was such that I presented to each grade individually so at least I did not have to come up with one story to address all ages.

The experience turned out to be a lot more fun than I imagined.  It’s amazing how many kindergarteners in my son’s school have parents that are scientists (although to be fair their teacher informed me that thirty minutes earlier, when a policeman visited the classroom, many of their dad’s were also on the police force).  Lots of forensic scientists I suppose! 

And it wasn’t really as hard as I expected, explaining what PRICE Systems does.  I used images of the kinds of hardware and systems that TruePlanning for Products can be used to estimate. While some of the younger ones thought that I actually had flown on the Space Shuttle, the upper grades got it.  The experience actually helped me learn several new things about my job.  First of all, I learned that what I do actually is interesting to kids who are starting to think about what they might want to do with their lives. The little kids were fun but the older kids were attentive and asked good questions.  The fact that my work contains elements of science and technology exploration, with math and a little bit of detective work thrown in was actually appealing to many of them.  I was also reminded of how much I like my job and why.  Not only does my job create lots of new and interesting challenges, it also gives me opportunities daily to help people who do software project estimating, hardware project estimating and system level estimating.  I get to help these people be more successful at their jobs by providing tools and methodologies that make their estimates credible and believable.