SEMICON West 2009 and EHS Uncertainty

EHS Advantage Newsletter

From The Director

August, 2009

SEMICON West 2009 and EHS Uncertainty

    During the SEMICON West 2009 show, I had a number of hallway conversations about the existing economic state of the semiconductor business, the resultant impact on EH&S staffing and programs, and the possible opportunities in photovoltaic, flat panel display and solid state lighting manufacturing for career change. From these discussions, and others that took place during the EHS working group meetings and workshops, I sensed a general mixture of concern about job security-- and trepidation about the prospect of starting a new career in another industry.

    These conversations got me thinking about a book I picked up and started reading during my stay in San Francisco for SEMICON West. The book is called “I Am a Cat”, and is a compilation of three volumes of 11 short stories originally published in the Japanese magazine Hototogisu between 1905 and 1906. The stories were written by Soseki Matsume (pen name of Natsume Kin’nosuke) and provide an allegorical view of mankind and human nature through the eyes of a schoolteacher’s unnamed house cat.

The Four Truths

    Early on in the book, the cat get’s his teeth stuck in a very sticky rice cake when he tries to take a bite from a dinner leftover in the bottom of a bowl. As he was initially deciding whether to sample the rice cake, then during his attempt to extricate himself from it before being caught, and finally after he was caught and subsequently freed, he perceives these four truths:

  • Golden opportunity makes all animals venture to do even those things they do not want to do;
  • All animals can tell by instinct what is or is not good for them;
  • In conditions of exceptional danger one can surpass one’s normal level of achievement; and
  • All comfort is achieved through hardship.

    I am not going to try and relate these truths to your work situation or career plans. I merely identify them here for your reflection should you choose to reflect upon them. If there is anything I, or the SEMI EHS Division, can do to help you deal with that “next bite” let me know.

SEMICON West 2009 Debrief

    This EHS Advantage Newsletter focuses on the EHS programs, meetings and workshops conducted at SEMICON West 2009. This year’s SEMICON West was my first as a fully engaged member of the SEMI EHS staff (I started a month before SEMICON West 2008). I can now fully appreciate how much effort it takes to develop and present meaningful EHS programs and workshops.

    I would like to thank all of the presenters, working group leaders and workshop participants that provided content-rich material and insightful discussion. In addition, I would like to recognize the SEMI EHS staff for their hard work and dedication in pulling off highly successful and well attended EHS programs.