You Are Not Eligible to Donate

I tried to donate blood last week during a drive at work (interesting side note, Boeing pays for time spent donating blood). One of my coworkers asked me and I thought it would be a fun experience, especially since I haven’t donated in a while.

I knew that because of all my recent travel, there was a chance I couldn’t donate, but I thought that enough time had passes and that at least I hadn’t been to Africa.

I told the nurse what areas I had been to, Europe, Eastern Europe, and Haiti. She was pretty sure I wouldn’t be eligible to donate, but we went through each country I visited just to make sure. The nurse meticulously wrote down every single country and major city I visited, from Moscow, Russia all the way through Frankfurt, Germany, and Haiti. As it turns out, all of Haiti is at risk for malaria. And despite the fact that I had taken chloroquine, an anti-malaria drug, I have to wait an entire year until I can give blood again.

I understand the need to be safe, and I promise I’m not complaining, but it seems like the odds of someone actually getting malaria are low enough that it should be worthwhile to collect the blood, test it, and use it if it’s clean. What diseases are tested for anyway?


GWU: General Work Update

Some change at work:

Several weeks ago (the day before I left for Haiti, actually), our division was renamed Boeing Defense, Space and Security. Interestingly enough, the TLA1 is only BDS. I, however, am going to call it BaDaSS.

I also moved cubicles. I’m now sitting almost directly with the rest of my group. I used to sit in a completely different bay across a hallway and through two doors. Now I’m within shouting (and launching) distance of everyone on my team.

  1. three letter acronym, something Boeing is notorious for 

Valihist: The Productivity Medicine

There’s a cabinet at work that has some basic medications: Motrin (ibuprofen), Aleve (naproxen), and Valihist.

Valihist is an “Antihistamine-Stimulant for allergies, colds, [and] runny nose.”

The back of the package lists the the ingredients as: Acetaminophen 325mg, Caffeine 45mg, Phenylephrine Hydrochloride 5mg, and Chlorpheniramine Maleate 2mg.

How many medications contain caffeine? 45mg is about what you get the average can of soda1.

There’s a little note at the top of the package: This medication is made for occupational use, to keep people on the job, safely and productively. Yea, caffeine will do that for you.


It’s Magic!

On occasion, emails are sent out looking for lost items or reporting found items. I usually just delete them, but this one I felt like sharing; is it just me, or do these two read like some sort of weird magic trick?

Whoever borrowed the cart from [last know location of cart], would you kindly return it ASAP.

Thank you

Four minutes later:

The cart has mysteriously APPEARED…thank you



2010 Boeing Internships Posted

Just a heads up: the 2010 Boeing Internships have been posted on the external Boeing job site. You can find them by going to

At last check, there were over 50 internship positions available, most of them in California, Missouri, and Washington State. There’s also about 50 full-time entry positions for college graduates, mostly located in California, Missouri, and Maryland, with at least three in Colorado at the moment.

If you know me and I know you1, feel free to contact me off-blog if you have questions.

I poked around and there are some really cool internships, so definitely apply if you’re even a little bit interested. One last note, you’ll need to be a US citizen for most of the positions…just something to be aware of.

  1. That is, we’ve mostly likely had at least one meal together 

Things I Learned This Week

A bullet point list of some of the things I learned at work:

  1. I actually do know who the author is 

  2. Design and Analysis Engineer 

Who People Think You Are

On the Internet, Nobody Knows You’re a Dog

One of the interesting things about working at a company such as Boeing is how people treat you differently. Specifically how people you interface with on a non-recurring basis (i.e. not my coworkers) respond to me.

As soon as I call someone and say, “This is Andrew Ferguson from The Boeing Company,” I can hear their attitude change immediately. They are instantly interested.

On email, it’s very similar. I’ll be asking a vendor a simple question and they will respond with a resume of their involvement at Boeing1 in an effort to prove that, “Yes, we really do work with Boeing and we know how you guys work and we’ll do whatever it takes to keep your business.”

“You guys”…what does that mean any way?

This is a far cry from when I walk into a business, even today, and practically beg them to sell me something. I think a large part of this is because of my age. I’m a twenty-three years old and people don’t expect me to care serious about their product. It’s unfortunate, but true. The other part is to recognize that how you affiliate with something (a person or an corporate entity) can also affect how people treat you.

I haven’t gotten any comments back yet, but I wonder how shocked (if at all) people are when they finally meet me and I’m the youngest person in the room my two decades?

Perhaps the adage I should be keeping in mind is: “With great power comes great responsibility.”

Image: Copyright © 1993 The New Yorker/Peter Steiner. The New Yorker, (Vol.69 (LXIX) no. 20) page 61 of July 5, 1993 issue.

  1. we supply X to this project and Y to that project and Z to those projects 

Starting on a Friday

I started work this past Friday. People have been asking why start on a Friday? The short answer is: because I want to. The longer answer is steeped in tradition.

The work week starts on a Friday and goes to the following Thursday. I have no idea why this is, it just is. Also, the first day of my internship, which I started over three years ago, was a Friday (due to training). Finally, it’s Friday, which means the next day is the weekend. What a perfect way to start the week…by ending it.

Anyway, I arrive at work, called my boss, and was on my way. Having done this three time previously, I’m a little bit of an expert at first days. Getting accounts activated, phones requested, training assigned, and the such. Typically it takes forever a few days to get it all setup, so I brought a book in case I had to wait for things to propagate.

As it turned out, I would not need my book. I was able to get my accounted activated in short order, and email was enabled by time lunch finished. In fact, it seems as there was a list of things for me to do that’ve been piling up since the beginning of the month. I had to quickly play catch up – remembering what the state of things were when I left and then figuring out what had changed since I’d been gone. So I had a pretty full day.

It wasn’t all good news though as the Howard Hanson Dam has decided to start leaking. And if the dam were to fail, the Green River Valley (which is where I work) could be under several feet of water….like over 6 feet. Great. I’m thinking about getting one of these Auto Hydrostatic Inflatable Personal Flotation Devices to wear around just in case.

Working should be good though and I’m definitely excited to be back. I have a great job, at a great company, with people who are awesome.

When I got back to the car, I had a gazillion missed text messages. So I should probably make an administrative note here and say that I will not have my cellphone on me at work. Thus I will not be able to receive text messages. However, if you call me on either my cell phone or Google Voice number, it will ring through to my office and you can get a hold of me that way if you must.