What pushed me —a United States Astronaut— into retirement? I’ll tell you exactly what pushed me.
I was summoned into the “corner office.” This is a hallowed place, reserved for the Chief of all astronauts. Seated in a chair in front of the boss’ desk, the discussion would eventually turn to me asking, “What are my chances of flying again?” The boss pulled out a long sheet of paper. A sheet known to wannabe fliers as the A/B line chart. It typically shows potential flight assignments well into the future and is used for NASA JSC management planning purposes.
我被召唤到“角落办公室”。这是一个神圣的地方，仅供所有宇航员使用。坐在老板办公桌前的椅子上，讨论最终到了我，我问：“我有再次飞行的机会吗？”老板掏出一张长纸。希望将其称为A / B折线图的表格。它通常显示未来很可能发生的飞行任务，并用于NASA JSC管理规划目的。
After fidgeting and mumbling for a few moments, I heard the words that would eventually push me into retirement. I heard the head of the astronaut office say —in part— “… I have better choices to fly in space than you,” and then, after a brief pause, the boss followed up by saying that I didn’t “… have the temperament for long-duration spaceflight.”
I was crushed beyond words. The career that I had worked so hard for, and had —after 15 application cycles— been selected to do, was being summarily ended. I left the office of the Chief Astronaut and cried … but not before I wrote down everything that was said.
I did not retire immediately. I hung on … performing as a lowly “management astronaut.” Stripped of most of the “fun” stuff (like flying in the T-38), I was expected to go to meetings. The only saving grace I had was that I was made an IA (instructor astronaut) for spacewalking. Something I was very good at, I apparently did have the temperament for teaching neophyte space walkers. Of course, I took that assignment very seriously.
我没有立即退休。 我继续……担任一个低调的“宇航管理员”。我被剥夺了大部分“有趣”的东西（如在T-38上飞行），我希望去参加会议。 我唯一受到的恩典就是让我成为了太空行走的IA（ instructor astronaut ，宇航指导员）。 这是我很擅长的事情，显然我确实有教新手太空漫步者的气质。 当然，我非常重视这项工作。
In all honesty, I was hoping for a change. I tried to wait the boss out, hoping they would step down for a more promising assignment. They did exactly that, hoping —but failing— to be named as the first astronaut to spend a year in space. I would then enter the hallowed corner office once again, only this time I was sitting across from the new Chief… and the new deputy.
老实说，我希望改变。 我试图等老板出去，希望他们辞职去做更有希望的工作。 他们正是这样做的，希望但没有成功，被任命为第一位在太空度过一年的宇航员。 然后我将再次进入神圣的角落办公室，只是这一次我正坐在新主席和新副主席对面。
When I respectfully asked them for a chance to get back into the “active astronaut” and flight-eligible line, the boss gave me an emphatic “no.” Expecting exactly that response, I asked for a more responsible position in the office hierarchy, one that could challenge me more than meeting attendance and effectively utilize my 30 years of NASA experience (15 as an engineer, 15 as an astronaut). Again, the boss said “no.” The Deputy said nothing. I was being dressed down, by two people who would go on to fly again … just like the previous boss.
当我恭敬地要求他们有机会重返“活跃的宇航员”和符合飞行条件的队伍时，老板给了我一个明确的“否”。我知道会得到这样的答案，于是我要求在办公室层次结构中担任负更多责任的职务， 这可能会给我带来更多挑战，而不仅仅是出席会议，并能有效利用了我30年的NASA经验（工程师15年，宇航员15年）。 老板再一次说“不”。副手什么也没说。 我被两个人冷落了，两个人将继续飞行……就像前任老板一样。
I was angry … very angry. So much so, that I was bringing that anger home and inflicting it upon my family. Obviously an unpalatable situation, it took the courage of my then 18-year old son to say, “… Dad, this has to stop.”
我很生气……很生气。 如此之多，以至于我把这种愤怒带回家，并把它带给了我的家人。 显然是一种令人不快的情况，当时我18岁的儿子鼓起勇气说：“……爸爸，你得停下来。”
And stop it did … sort of. My family will tell you that I am still angry … and it’s something I must deal with every single day. I am working hard to lessen the anger, but it’s going to take some time.
我停了下来……。 我的家人会告诉你我仍然很生气……这是我每天必须处理的事情。 我正在努力减轻愤怒，但这需要一些时间。
I have now been retired for nearly 6 years. During that 6-year hiatus from government service, I have been writing. I write to share my stories with you and, more importantly, because it’s therapeutic. And it’s really a whole lot of fun! I also enjoy teaching part-time at Iowa State University, entertaining as a motivational speaker, and I consult with various organizations in a number of different capacities (listen for my voice sometime or take a Royal Caribbean cruise!).
我现在已经退休了将近6年。 在那六年的政府服务中断期间，我一直在写作。 我与您分享我的故事，更重要的是，因为它很治愈。 这真的很有趣！ 我还喜欢在爱荷华州立大学做兼职教学，以激励人心的演讲者娱乐，并以各种不同的身份向各种组织请教（有时听我自己的声音或参加皇家加勒比海航行！）。
You — my audience — are a part of my therapy. Thank you for that and I hope you will keep following, reading, and listening. And oh… keep lookin’ up!
您-我的听众-是我治疗的一部分。 谢谢您，我希望您能继续关注，阅读和倾听。 哦……请继续向前看！
My gratitude for you writing this is beyond words. Many of us scratch out heads wondering why an astronaut would ever resign the coolest job ever. It is refreshing to peak behind the curtain and see what it is like for at least one person.
我对您写这本书的感激之情无以言表。 我们中的许多人绞尽脑汁都想知道为什么宇航员会辞去有史以来最酷的工作。 您的文章令人耳目一新，就像看到幕后故事，至少看到一个人的感觉。
Thanks for your service.
Pretend I am a best friend of yours, someone in whom you confide with the sure knowledge what you say will go no further.
And we two are seated at a bar, somewhere, sipping a beer, and you say to me that after all these years, you are still angry. “Temperament!” you say.
And I say, “Clay, let me ask you a question. Do you think that all these years of anger speak in any way to what your bosses called ‘temperament?’.”
And you say, “Well, I —. Huh, maybe something to think about…”
And I say: “Maybe. Maybe not. By the way, I’ve got this.”
我说：“也许吧。 也许不吧。 顺便说一句，我知道了。”
And I lay a 20 on the bar, and we leave the place.
Great comment and I have considered it often. I was not angry when an astronaut… until I was a part of the episode I related. I did however speak out. When I saw something that was wrong, or untoward, I said something. In hopes of making spaceflight safer/better/more tolerant, I believed that my career gave me the opportunity and respect to speak up. Apparently THAT was the reason I was reduced in status. The anger came at the end. Thanks for your comments. I appreciate your kind and thoughtful words.
很棒的评论，我经常考虑。 当我成为一名宇航员时，我并不生气……直到我成为我所涉及的情节的一部分。 但是我确实说了出来。 当我看到不对或不对劲的地方时，我说了一些话。 为了使太空飞行更安全/更好/更有容忍度，我相信我的职业生涯给了我机会和别人的尊重。 显然那是我地位降低的原因。 愤怒结束了。 感谢您的意见。 我感谢您的善意和体贴的讲话。
And I appreciate that you have been generous in your response. When we reflect on the negative feelings we still carry around, we sometimes learn something more about ourselves than we do of others. In your case, it appears to have been one of the things which has driven you to be a champion for others. I am not so sure that anger or bitterness of long standing ever really goes away. But I DO think it can be balanced or offset by our good works which empower others.
我感谢您的慷慨回应。 当我们反思仍然存在的负面情绪时，有时我们会比其他人学到更多有关自己的知识。 就您而言，这显然是您曾经是他人榜样所导致的。 我不太确定长期以来的愤怒或痛苦真的会消失。 但是我确实认为，如果能写出好作品激励他人的话，就能平衡一些。