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Meet: Kerry Brown

Technician
Ames Research Center

photo of kerry brown

Who I Am

I am a technician working with the team from Lockheed. When I started, I was hired in as a temporary technician cutting food bars for the animals. We have to cut them in sections so they break off for the animals to eat. I started off doing that for a couple of months. Then I got laid off and when there was another job to do they called me back.

That's when I started out being a Tech, putting together the kits of equipment that go on the shuttle flights. I do a little bit of everything. Whatever they ask me to do, normally I do it. I just rotate around. I've been working at NASA for about two years. When I started out, I was going to be here for two months and it turned into two years. I'm a permanent tech now. I think I kind of surprised them; they asked me to sweep the HighBay and I did! Everybody else they asked wouldn't do it. To me, a job's a job. When I come on base, I'm here to do whatever needs to be done. No job's too dirty for me. I think that's another reason I've got the job here. I'm not afraid to do anything (that's why I'm doing the cage clean ups - everybody else thinks it's too nasty - but if you've been in here you really don't smell too much.) I'll do what it takes to do my job and get my bills paid!

My Career Journey

My job at NASA just happened because it was there at the right time. I went to high school, but didn't go to college. I finished high school back in Evansville, Indiana. I came to California because I wanted a change. Back where I was from there wasn't a lot of jobs and I wasn't going anywhere. I wasn't working and was starting to go down the wrong path.

I had a buddy out here who said, "Come on out and change it up - a new environment and everything." So I did, and I'm glad I did it.Then my wife came out here. I love it! I've been here going on nine years.

I started out at Target when I first moved to California working from 4:00 - 12:00. Then I'd go home and I had to be at work at Liquor Barn at 2:00. So I was working all the time to survive. We weren't used to the cost of living out here! It was a big change! When we started out we had nothing, and it just grew from there; saving, working and getting used to being careful how we spent our money. It came out real well. It just takes a lot of hard work, and you've got to grow up a little faster. Before, I was living the fast life, not working, but it wasn't that expensive to live back there. Out here I've had to grow up fast! All the partying gets cut out really quick. You have to get serious, especially when you have a kid.

Once we got our own place, I applied to work at Price Club getting a little bit more money. I worked there for 7 1/2 years until I got laid off because of the merger with CostCo. My sister-in-law worked for a contracting agency. NASA needed people, so they called me and I came in. I've been here ever since. I didn't think it would go this long, but it did. Now I'm a permanent technician and that's good too!

Likes/Dislikes about career

The best part of my job is hard to single out. It's all good. It's not really stressful. I like my manager. I like my supervisor. I get along well with the people I work with. It's all good, because I'm working! I do have a job! I come to work every day. I come in early by choice, because I live in Fremont. With early-start/early-leave, I don't have to fight the heavy traffic. During the flight [STS-90] it was a little rough because I was getting off work at 7:00, after coming in at 5:00. That's a long day! But all in all, this place has been real good to me

It's always good to work with people who are nice, who are willing to teach you a little bit. When I come in they greet me. When I wake up in the morning, it's like, "I'm going to work! It's okay!"

The thing I like least about my job is that the temps are being let go and it becomes a little like a competition. I was the last one to get hired so I'd be the first to go. I don't let it get me down though.

Sometimes I have to do more work than others. It's okay, as long as you're in there with me doing it. I hate being asked to help do something and then the person leaves me doing it alone. Other than that, I don't have anything bad to say about this job.

Advice

Go for your goal. Work hard at it. Just keep going. You'll get there eventually.

It's very important to be happy and get along with the people you work with. Talk to people the way you want to be talked to. Try to get along and speak to everybody. It seems to have worked out for me!

Personal Information

When I have spare time I either go to the gym or work in my yard. That's about it since I have to go to bed at about 8:00 p.m. to get to work by 5:00 p.m. So I go home and play with my little girl who's six. She's going to swimming school this summer. She's a little tomboy. My wife wants to put her in ballet, but I'm not sure she's going to like that.

My wife works in health care. She's a supervisor for a firm that provides oxygen, wheelchairs and that kind of stuff for the elderly. She's been there about four years. She takes our little girl to day care at 6:00 a.m. so she can get to work at 7:00 a.m. I want to have another kid, but daycare is so expensive out here. I don't have any family out here to help out and I don't want to get in over my head. I want my children to have stuff that I didn't have when I grew up.

 
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