The Sunday Letters Journal
Sunday Letters
223 A US Air Force Pilot on The Meaning of Work

223 A US Air Force Pilot on The Meaning of Work

Bernie Goldback on the highs & lows of working under the flag, the Pentagon, the CIA & Star Wars, the Bon Jovi gig, finding new work in Ireland, creative media, AI, and the future of work

In this episode of The Sunday Letters Podcast, I’m in conversation with former US Air Force pilot and current lecturer in digital media studies at TU Shannon, Bernie Goldbach. We talk about the contrast in Bernie’s work from the high intensity of flying missions in the Pacific region and the Middle East to the perhaps less demanding work of lecturing third-level students in Clonmel. Here’s a summary of some of the main points in the conversation.

  • Hauling radioactive waste on Enewetak in the Pacific

  • Identity and intrinsic motivation of Air Force pilots

  • The challenge of work-life balance in high-intensity roles

  • The Secret Service, working at The Pentagon and one of the greatest spoofs the US played on Russia.

  • Bernie’s take on Ukraine, the intrinsic motivation of Ukrainian soldiers

  • Why the 1988 Ramstein Air Show disaster happened (what Bernie witnessed that day and, crucially, the night before.)

  • Leaving the Air Force and moving to Ireland and translating his skills into teaching.

  • The heightened attention, perception, memory and motor skills of high performers

  • Creative design and digital media in education

  • The negative impact of technology on young people’s development. Passive entertainment Vs practical interaction.

  • Finding fulfilment and engagement in work and the power of symbols of success.

  • The work in the post-Social Media world and the power of stories.

  • What would you do if money was no object?

  • The future of work and the impact of technology on work and jobs.


Bernie Goldbach LinkedIn

Technological University of The Shannon

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The Sunday Letters Journal
Sunday Letters
The Sunday Letters Podcast is the weekly audio newsletter from organisational psychologist Larry Maguire on the meaning & purpose of daily work and our paradoxical relationship with it. We explore how we may break free from tiresome means-to-an-end labour and take command of their own working lives. Topics include solo working, careers, entrepreneurship, small business economics, society and culture. Content follows the written newsletter, which goes out to subscribers every Sunday.
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Larry G. Maguire