22 Jun Working for NASA
NASA is routinely ranked highest among the best agencies in the Federal Government to work. The turnover within the agency is very low and there are a lot smart people with years of experience in their respective fields. NASA tackles a lot of challenging, cutting-edge projects that makes the work exciting and the employees highly motivated to succeed. There is a lot of camaraderie within the Human Spaceflight community were the stakes are high and the consequence of failure often loss of human life.
I had always wanted to work for NASA—ever since visiting the opening of the Neil Armstrong museum near my home years before. I was looking for a larger leadership role than Boeing had been able to provide. I wanted to work for NASA for the same reasons I went to the Naval Academy and served on the USS Hyman G. Rickover. I admitted the challenge and high expectations seduced me. Knowing John was a retired air force officer, I also added that I thought NASA could use the help of an ex-navy “nuke” to get the shuttle flying again. My Boeing colleagues thought I was crazy to make such a move, and some former NASA employees who had been purged from NASA after the Columbia accident and were now working for Boeing said I should seriously reconsider. My boss asked why a person like me would like to work for a person like John after thirteen exceptional years at Boeing. Not usually caught off guard or at a loss for words, I jokingly replied I liked my plebe year at the academy and needed another.