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"The Tech Rep" by James Michener; continued

Second, they are difficult to manage. Left
alone in the Burmese jungle, they operate
beautifully. Bring them back to California,
where they have to attend parties given by
the head of engineering, and they fall apart.
In civilization they tend to be drunks,
leachers, malcontents and irresponsible. On
the frontier they are powerfully organized.
Putting it another way, they are the darlings
of the technical staff, the despair of the
personnel men. Within two weeks of bringing
a tech rep back to headquarters, the man in
charge of the home office can be depended
upon to shout, Get that miserable SOB out of
here. But if you send a man to Burma who is
not psychologically suited to be a tech rep,
even worse trouble develops, and the same
boss, reading the reports from the Burmese
government, will growl, Get that poor jerk
out of there and send them a real man. So
the difficult, untamed, competent tech rep is
flown out on the next plane, and there is no
trouble in Burma. Thus the tech rep is a
continuation of a fundamental strain in
American life. He is the lineal descendant
of the gifted wagon maker who could not get
along in the settled civilization of
Lancaster, Pennsylvania, but who was
invaluable on the frontier at



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