A Lesson About My Job, Through a ST:TNG Metaphor

OK, so this one time, Picard is staring across space at a Romulan warbird, eyes flinty. The Enterprise has just been hit! The inertial dampeners temporarily go offline (screen shakes) and power to the bridge is interrupted (lights flicker)…

The atmosphere is tense, everyone is on edge. Picard spits out one single word.

Or like maybe this other time, the Enterprise is cruising through space at warp 5 (the mandated warp “speed limit”) and suddenly one nacelle begins to fail and the Enterprise is thrown into an uncontrolled spin at warp speed. The saucer separates from the star drive section and there are several hull breaches. Intact, the bridge is alive with activity; conn trying to regain helm control, engineering trying to reconnect failing power, and Worf is wondering if he’ll have time to grab his bat’leth on the way to Sto-vo-kor.

And still, amidst this chaos, Picard utters a single word.

Or, I don’t know, that time some other thing happened. Like a ship sized alien sending the Enterprise away in a defensive shockwave. Or when Q made that energy wall appear in empty space on the way to Farpoint station.

All those weird things, and Picard still said that one single word:


A command, inherent in which a subordinate is being tasked with providing an accurate, succinct and actionable assessment of the situation. Elegant in it’s simplicity and brevity; powerful, in that it is a demand.

He’s saying, in that one word, “Your lives depend on this, so give me the fucking info I need, so I can be your captain and deal with this [threat of the week],”

I never really thought about it before, while watching it, but the whole ship was set up for reporting. All the displays were information rich. LCARS was a great idea for information display. Worf or Data could rattle off ship stats in seconds. Reports would come in from “all over the ship” – but within seconds. The apparatus needed to be in place, such that Picard could depend on information in order to proceed with a plan. Operating totally blind is almost never part of the plot, unless they’re specifically calling attention to the fact they they ARE operating blind.

It might surprise you to know, that for years, I’ve lived in that role of looking at processes and making that into information. I try to be a human LCARS.

I got a new job about three years ago. Shortly after I posted this. I’ll probably make a post someday about my new job, but suffice to say one of my major tasks has carried over from my old job: reporting. I get to make all kinds of reports.

And it helps make a company operate and grow by a significant amount each year. I do my part and defend our ship against all manner of foes, simply by being able to capture, store and report meaningful information.

Romulans be damned, captain, because here’s the information you need.

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