In this previous post I related how I passed the professional engineering exam while also five months pregnant. Working as the first pregnant engineer in the plant had its advantages and disadvantages.
Everyone for the most part was a lot nicer to me. I was offered rides to other plant locations, which I declined for the most part until later in my pregnancy. I always got a seat at any meetings. And everyone at the plant was so happy for me, treating me like their own child having their grandchild.
I never worried about working around chemicals while I was pregnant. It just wasn’t a concern. The plant manufactured silicon wafers for electronics manufacturers from which they sliced the wafers into chips. Intel and Motorola were our largest customers at the time. As a project engineer, I rarely was exposed to any chemicals directly. I worked on renovations or new capital projects, piping and equipment that were dry until after my job was done. The chemical engineers had the honors of introducing chemicals into the new systems.
I felt great during my first pregnancy. I took jazz dance lessons through my seventh month and the walking I had to do during work hours helped also. I always felt my mood was good during work hours. I never felt the surge of hormones to alter my mood. Good thing for my co-workers.
Practical jokes happened a lot around the plant. One of the basic jokes involved disconnecting a phone cord out just enough to be unnoticed until the phone rung, the receiver pulled up to the ear and the cord dangled away from the phone base. Novices always tried this one first. For some reason I thought I would be immune to these jokes since I was in a delicate state with child.
One day I returned to the engineering building that housed my office after a long morning of meetings. I walked down the hallway and turned the corner to head to my office when this came into view:
The light was going off like an emergency beacon, which it was, positioned on a chair right outside the doorway to my office. Just by coincidence, or not, it sat next to a fire extinguisher. I didn’t cry. I didn’t think it was funny at the time. What were these guys thinking? Why did they think I would go along with this one with my hormones raging? Then I found out they took pictures. As you can tell, I impounded the photos.
I took a lot of deep breaths and then I laughed. I mocked anger at them, but it didn’t last long. As people have told me often, if they didn’t love you, they’d leave you alone. Even to this day I am rarely left alone. And I think that’s a good thing.