Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Behavior Change Because Of What You Do

I was thinking about how, when I became a practicing physicist, some of the things that I got used to was directly due to what I do for a living. This all came to me because I have been thinking of buying a new watch.

Now that may sound strange, but hear me out. I used to work with a Class 4 laser. If you had ever worked with one, you know that there's a whole issue of safety training and stuff that one needs to know before dealing with such a dangerous equipment. One of the things that I do is doing a laser alignment. This often involves repositioning or adjusting the laser path.

The safety guidelines highly recommend that you do not wear anything shinny on your hands and arms. This is to prevent specular reflection of the laser that may bounce either at you or at someone else in the room. So for as long as I can remember, I've always wore plastic watches that have very few, or no shinny, reflective surfaces. I'm sure I could easily just take off my watch before I perform the work, but there's another thing you need to remember and at the rate I was going, I could easily forget where I left my watch at the lab! So the best option for me was to wear a plastic watch.

The cheap option turns out to be also useful, mainly because I also often got close to strong magnetic fields. I lost count how many watches that I had killed due to this, so I needed something which won't drain my bank account if I had to throw it away and replace with another one.

Well now, I no longer had to deal with such a thing, but I still find that I only want cheap, plastic watches. I like the classic Swatch watches, with black plastic strap, white face, clear numbers, and day/date display. Again, no shinny surface. It may be more expensive than your regular plastic watches, but hey, I think I can handle that now that I don't have to stick my hand near any strong magnetic field.

Do you have an ingrained characteristics or preferences as a result of what you do for a living?


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