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Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/25/2008 2:21 PM

I want to know of your experience with the expectations of bosses on what an engineer can do.

Several times I have been asked to program databases, maintain machinery, design buildings, translate technical documents, etc, etc.

At the end I have came to be a little bit of everything. Actually I like it, as I have always considered myself a renaissance man. However, the wide expectations of the bosses lead to work crises, as the performance in the new activities can't be any good.

All my colleagues tell similar stories. For example, it could happen that your boss wants to do the electrical installation at a new factory and he asks you to do it. You look at him (or her in my case) and respond that you are a Mechanical Engineer (or a Civil Engineer, or even a Surveyor or a programmer) specialized in another area, and have no idea at all of how to do that. The answer is the same:

Why? Aren't you an engineer?

Of course, at the end you accept, buy a few books, quit sleeping for a couple of weeks and finally do something remotely functional.

Does the same happen in the rest of the world?

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#1

Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/25/2008 2:37 PM

An Engineering Degree is pretty much a certificate saying you survived at least 4 years of technical hell, and that you can therefore learn new technical tasks as needed =P

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#2

Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/25/2008 2:52 PM

Well, it sounds to me that you are actually in a very unique and good position.

Turn the situation around. You are the boss and you keep selecting this same "guy" to resolve problems and challenges that you need to get done to answer to your boss.

Sure, you can assign any of those tasks to another person and maybe someone that has more expertise in the particular field that the problem space encompasses. However, you keep picking the same guy because he gets the job done on time, under budget, and done right.

This guy you keep using is your ace in the hole because he keeps the company on track to meet its goals and objectives. You keep thinking that next Christmas you might buy him a cape and superman suit. Okay, maybe not, but do you see my point? Maybe your boss sees you as someone that he can train to do bigger things because you can do things beyond the scope of what your degree says that you are.

You are not your job title (never forget that) and if you can work effectively with your boss to solve his problems, then you have an opportunity that not many people get in their careers. My philosophy has always been to make my boss look good.

NO! You are not an engineer. You are a problem solver!!!

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#26
In reply to #2

Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/26/2008 12:31 PM

Having been in the same position many times over the years, I find out the manager will generally (ab)use you by taking advantage. Suggest that at the next performance review you mention the issue and tell him if he wants to continue then he should speak to you in significant figures ($$$). Otherwise get yourself another position.

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#27
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Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/26/2008 12:56 PM

Good insight, but not necessarily good advice.

In your boss's mind, those extra 'chores' may be how he justifies having a high pay grade engineer on staff.

Those "significant figures" ($$$) may already be "sunk cost" in his current payroll thinking/justification.

To the boss, getting the extra assignmments out of those of us with talent means that he is getting a bargain.

As long as you manage expectations- "Well I'm A Steel guy, If you want it to look like a piece of steel, i'll have a go at it," I wouldn't be prepping for a salary dispute.

It is good when they think that they have a bargain, as long as you are covering your needs and wants.

But if the extra duties interfere with your assigned duties to the point that it affects performance review, then that's the time to put up your hand and say, " You know boss, with all due respect, if i accept that assignment, my regular duties on XYZ which already require 44 of my 40 hours each week will irrevocably suffer. So unless we can reduce what is needed from me on my current work, I'm unlikely to be successful on this new project and what you are currently paying my salary for."

At that point, you and he can professionally scope out what is critical, and what can be shifted elsewhere. I don't think that it has to be "No, I'm outta here." Professionals should be able to come to an agreement about their work without taking it to defcon3.

My opinion.

Manage expectations by understanding the value that you currently and potentially can add. Find a way to get to yes. Its job security in most cases to be a bargain.

(When I left my Steel plant in 1997, they split up my responsibilities between 7 people, and still had 30 consecutive months in a rising market of lower production, sales, and higher downtime and accidents.)

milo

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#28
In reply to #27

Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/26/2008 1:11 PM

"...they split up my responsibilities between 7 people..."

Only 30 months of problems? Oughta have taught 'em to go from one apparently qualified decisionmaker to a committee...

BTW, I concur with your analysis. Best advice I ever got from a boss was "make yourself indispensible".

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#29
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Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/26/2008 1:23 PM

Actually my team was well taught, but the new guy run the best of them off, and cowed the others into "his way." Micromanager^3.


He's now independent sales rep.

Postscript, I ended up managing that plant after he was let go by the new management (which I was a part of - head of quality and technology dept.). The company was going thru bankruptcy. I was appointed plant manager in addition to my division duties.

This plant was the only one to make money during the process, and we sold it as an ongoing business for 7 Times sales, plus assumption of debt and bonds...; the big plant was sold as equipment (not as a business) for 1/8 of what we got for our plant, and its capacity was probably three times that.

I guess this reinforces the point about us getting those "temporary overlay assignments". I hadn't even thought of that.

Thanks Enviroman. You had a great boss.

milo

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#30
In reply to #28

Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/26/2008 2:19 PM

Enviroman, best advice I've ever had is "NEVER to make yourself indispensible"!!

The reasoning is, that if you are indispensible then you will never progress out of the job you are in to better things!!!

Plus, the only time you will ever find out you were indispensible is when you leave the company on the same meagre salary and they ask you to train your replacement!!

John.

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#31
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Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/26/2008 3:16 PM

Well, true I guess, but in context, we were contract consultants, and the idea was to prolong our useful services to the max. In other words, know their business better than they do and they can't live without you...

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#40
In reply to #30

Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/27/2008 11:32 AM

Of course they won't pay you more if they can still keep you. I have seen many engineers that work with a company, take a lot of tasks, become indispensible and then start looking for another job. It's funny to see how most of them return to the same company after a while or never leave it, but the salary gets a boost that might be as high as 250%.

Even if that doesn't work you can go on your own as a consultant (or other service), make the same money and enjoy more freedom.

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#49
In reply to #40

Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/27/2008 2:01 PM

That is exactly what I did back in 1983...

25 th anniversary of my business now!!

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#3

Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/25/2008 3:02 PM

Yes it does and I have no problem with up until a time is put on it. When a manager places a time frame on the learning of the new material and the task need.

I don't take work home with me unless it of some interest to me!!!

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#4

Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/25/2008 5:32 PM

I had one today..this sales guy asking if I could effectively build an 'Expert System'.

'It's just a sensor a logger and some maths and the results could be put out onto a memory stick and it could print out certificates' It sounds like it should be easy...

I replied..

'Easy to do, is easy to say... I'll just go to prodution and get them to build a spaceship to take me to the moon.... it's just a rocket and orbiter and a lander.'

He was mad...does he really think the expert guy who does the data analysis is just going to give me his maths software...and if we print out 'certificates' doesn't he realise it all needs to be traceable...?

Sorry .. I'm being silly...he's a sales guy.

Del

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#8
In reply to #4

Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/26/2008 12:37 AM

Del, I'll bet when you were a few years younger you'd have said "I'll do it".

I've noticed most Engineers are happy to work all weekend for free on a problem if it's sufficiently interesting.

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#10
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Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/26/2008 2:48 AM

Oh...I was tempted for about a millisecond...but, older, wiser and more cynical I can see the great pitfalls.

If you build it with off the shelf stuff it becomes obsolete...if you rely on 'experts' for their vital input they turn out to have feet of clay...if you interface anything to a Microsnot product the operating system will be changed (and not backward compatible) in 3 picoseconds...etc...etc...calm calm...

I like to do my own thing...at least if it goes belly up I know the guy to blame .

Yeah, I'd have taken it on...it would have dragged on, and if it eventually got finished the 'thousands of sales' would have been 3 prototypes on 'loan' . The 'expert' would have written papers on 'his' clever machine and the whole thing would be quietly forgotten as an embarasment by the management.... ooooh what a sad cynical old pussy Cat I is .

Del

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#5

Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/25/2008 8:08 PM

I think it is less of an issue in the US. In the US there is a tendency to specialize in a discipline and stick with it.

I am a rotating machinery engineer. My boss would never ask me to do an electrical installation. My degree is mechanical engineering, and he would not even ask me to analyze a pressure vessel, or a piece of pipe, because that is for the stationary equipment guys, not rotating....

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#6
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Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/25/2008 11:01 PM

A rotating machinery engineer is that like a mechanic for a merry-go-round on a carnival grouns?

Just kidding,

Back on topic, you should say;

Are you not a boss? you should know the exact capabilities of your employees.

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#18
In reply to #6

Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/26/2008 9:16 AM

Exactly, but our merry go rounds go round at 10,000 rpm.....

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#23
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Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/26/2008 10:48 AM

Ooo-oooh! An E-ticket ride for sure! Where's the entry box?

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#7

Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/25/2008 11:43 PM

An engineer does not know failure, they only know to complete the task at hand regardless of the pile of books and lack of sleep or ticking clocks blocking the way...

wait 'til they hand you the title 'special projects' engineer and ship you off to Abu Dabi... now I need to translate the books first

HC

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#9

Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/26/2008 1:00 AM

From the field;

My humble answer is "those who can perform will called upon to perform and all others will be promoted before them".

It has been my good fortune to associate with a great group of "hands on" engineers.

And everyone would tell you it is ruff being able to think out of the box.

I enjoy talking with multi disciplined people because they always except a challenge.

My opinion is an engineer (seasoned or not) is a resource to be respected, challenged and utilized to their fullest. In my world I have trained by engineers to provide as much data as possible as well as more then one possible out come that will get the job done.

I have never been let down and I have tried not to forget anything.

My hats off to all that make things better despite misuse and improper application by field people.

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#21
In reply to #9

Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/26/2008 9:24 AM

Well said mike.

HEre's my take:

Especially in a smaller organization, but even in a huge one (sometimes):

If not me, who? If not now, When?

milo

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#32
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Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/26/2008 5:52 PM

In undeveloped countries like mine or in small companies everywhere it is generally the situation.

Add to that the fact that there aren't many specialists to speak of (I am one of two in the whole country that knows something of agricultural mechanization)

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#11

Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/26/2008 3:10 AM

Well, I'm in a similar position but for the bosses opinion. I'm a sort of "one man orchestra" and I'm happy with this type of job, I think it should be rather boring to stay 30 years just designing pipe hangers (or any other repetitive job).

The problem isn't you or any engineer in that situation. The problem is the boss.

Perhaps the best answer may be: "You should know, aren't you the boss?"

Ánimo, compañero de fatigas!

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#12

Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/26/2008 3:34 AM

NO, it does not happen to the rest of the world. As you stated, you are a renaissance man . I am called on to do many small projects where I work-weld,cut,hammer,repair,fabricate,design,etc. Of course, I am an old cuss, about to leave the work force (retirement). I have been asked many times over not to retire. I want to work on my own, but if you do not have that PE behind you name, the world thinks you are NOBODY. James

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#13
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Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/26/2008 3:59 AM

Yes, it seems so. I know in the US as in some other countries, engineers are more specialized. But the situation is quite different in other countries in which they need more "generalist" engineers. I participate in some "Spanish language forums" too and it seems to be a common feeling.

Even in this Do We (Engineers) Need to Work on Our Public Image? thread posted in this forum, seems some engineers from over the world feels like invisible to the public... What the original post exposed is just one step higher.

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#43
In reply to #13

Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/27/2008 11:46 AM

Hola colega

I only know in person engineers from Argentina and Brazil (and Uruguay, OC) and the situation seems to be the same.

But the problem I have only seen in Uruguay is that the boss asks you to go on a project, because he thinks you DO KNOW how to do it.

So there we come to the "public image" problem you mention. Most people haven't got the slightest idea of what we do, what we can't do and what we can do.

I have seen job openings for Computer Engineers that asked for knowledge and experience in Window, Excel and Networking.

Time ago I was interviewed for a job of Assistant Plant Manager (some kind of sub-VIP, but actually to be one of the two engineers) at a plastics factory where they wanted me to be in charge of quality control (chemical analysis on rubber), automation, electricity, molds machining, etc. The one that scared the **** out of me was the "quality control" requirement.

What made he (a Chemical Engineer actually) think I was able to do that?

It wasn't just some fracture and fatigue tests, he wanted me to mess around with acids, sulphure and reactive indicators.

So, I guess all of us need a Public Relations Manager.

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#44
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Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/27/2008 11:51 AM

Not to mention an agent to screen all of the off-the-wall proposals!

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#47
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Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/27/2008 12:23 PM

My guess is you'd have done just fine.

Documented the process, determined that they were doing the process, then started improving the process.

Intelligently managed the risk using facts and data.

As you gained more insights, you'd have had no problem designing experiments to demonstrate the power of your ideas to make process improvements.

Its really not so much what we know, as how we think. The skills to master any of our disciplines are transferrable to other areas. You just need to become familiar with some new material.

You' dhave my confidence.

milo

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#14

Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/26/2008 4:14 AM

Yes, South Africa is very much like that too. One employee has many a wide range of tasks, theres never a dull moment. Most companies her look for multi talented people, and as a result some are very busy whilst others are unemployed. I suppose the bottom line is your field of study was based on personal interest so it stands to reason that this is what you would do best. I would never use a civil engineer to wire my home, like wise a mechanical engineer to work in a chemical lab. In my field of electronics i will never stop learning. Its my lifetime thesis, so what is the real value of a piece of paper when you write an exam with every new project? Don't get me wrong, theory is vital, the key is to use and understand it in practice.

Just my opinion.

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#15

Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/26/2008 8:21 AM

Yes, it does and thats exactly the reason why I made my own company.

When I was employed before any idiot could tell me what I am or what to do even if I knew it was wrong because he or she was absolutely incompetent.

Meanwhile every evening I can look into my mirror and can tell the guy in front of me:

1. You`ve been a heroe today

or

2. You`ve been an idiot today

or

3. You`ve been a fool today

and I know that in most cases I´m right, depending on what has just happened.


Regards Uwe

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#16

Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/26/2008 8:43 AM

In my experience, yes, it does, with some exceptions for specialized personnel who aren't to be trusted (for any of several innocent reasons) outside of their specialty. From my perspective, this is very much a GOOD thing, since it keeps my days from being at all boring, and leads my thinking into areas I might not otherwise have gone. Why, I'm not even an engineer! (Check my bio...)

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#17

Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/26/2008 8:47 AM

It sounds to me like your boss is completely unreasonable. I have been an engineer for the last 10+ years and I have specialized in hydraulic modeling of collection and distribution systems. I have never been asked to do something outside my field of expertise. If I had been I would certainly have told my boss that I was not comfortable and definitely would not stamp anyhthing that I felt the least bit uncomfortable about. This is not to say I haven't worked in conjunction with others that did have expertise in other fields.

In my opinion part of being a PE is having the sense to know when you are not qualified to do something and making the appropriate decisions based on that knowledge.

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#19

Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/26/2008 9:17 AM

Whilst agreeing with a lot of posts on here, I think its important to remember that if someone asks you to do a job you aren't strictly qualified to do - You are leaving yourself open to any claim for damages or injury caused by your work.

If you have professional indemnity insurance this will ONLY cover you for your qualified work subject, it will certainly not assist you if you are working out of your qualified area of expertise!!!

So yes its great to go and do something different for a change, solve problems etc... But for Gawds sake remember your duty to make whatever you do safe for others as well as for the environment.... otherwise it may turn round on you and bite your head off..!!!

John.

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#20
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Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/26/2008 9:21 AM

Along those same lines, at least in countries with engineering licensing, like the US and the UK, it may be illegal to practice in an area that you are not strictly qualified for.

I am a licensed PE in Texas and Delaware, but I am licensed as a mechanical engineer. By the letter of the law it would be illegal for me to practice electrical engineering unless I could prove my competence in that area. I can't, so I leave the electrical stuff to the electrical guys.

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#22
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Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/26/2008 10:12 AM

I'll add my two cents worth along these same lines. Even beyond the professional integrity that is required by our professional organization just to BE a professional engineer, we have here in Saskatchewan a license called "Permission to Consult" that is area specific, based on proven experience over a 7-year period. An engineer is legally bound to provide advice only in the areas in which he / she is trained.

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#24

Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/26/2008 11:55 AM

Sounds familiar. They wouldn't go to to an OB/GYN and ask them to do open heart surgery even though both are MDs. Also, society/economic system seems to feel that in general MD's services are worth $150k to $5000k per year but engineers are only worth $40k to $150k. Guess we need a better guild/union like the AMA.

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#25
In reply to #24

Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/26/2008 12:06 PM

Well, since you brought 'em up, when's the last time you heard of a doctor doing warranty work?

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#33

Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/26/2008 6:04 PM

Something on topic.

Today as I came to the office my boss called and said.

"You have to design a bulk sea port terminal by Monday"

I just said "Ok"

Yeah, I am masochistic, but is the first time in a while she asks for something I actually know how to do.

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#34
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Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/26/2008 6:50 PM

This is the real joy of engineering!

Good luck. Enjoy your project.

milo

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#36
In reply to #33

Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/27/2008 9:52 AM

Gussosa, Why is it 'on topic' to post about being asked to do a job you are employed to do?

John.

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#37
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Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/27/2008 9:57 AM

Well, DUH! He's an ENGINEER...it's an engineering JOB...thus it's on topic, right?

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#38
In reply to #37

Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/27/2008 10:25 AM

Oh Golly!

I thought I was still on my other forum "Practical witchcraft and ferret worshipping"

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#41
In reply to #38

Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/27/2008 11:40 AM

Ooooh, ferret worship! Almost as good as...

Badgers? We don't need no steenking badgers!

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#46
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Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/27/2008 12:21 PM

"Practical witchcraft and ferret worshipping"

I can't find that .. do you have a link
Del

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#48
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Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/27/2008 12:57 PM

Sure...

http://groups.msn.com/Mysticeyes/animalguides1.msnw

Happy to be of service. (Didn't think there was one, didja?)

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#39
In reply to #36

Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/27/2008 11:23 AM

Because this thread deals with the problem of being asked things you don't know how to do. I just wanted to express my joy on being finally asked something on my experience, after a long while of messing around with strange (to me) stuff.

Bah, sorry, anyway.

I will whip myself later.

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#42
In reply to #39

Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/27/2008 11:43 AM

Don't whip yourself too hard, there are specialists for that!

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#35

Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/26/2008 6:50 PM

I have taken a great number of risks when asked to do things. I let a job go because it was risky in the first place, and the people I directed the job for, kept chipping at it, and asking for more and more. I could see that if I kept up as they asked, someone would get killed or maimed. In the end I told them to call the people I had hired, who were Union, and leave me out of it. In that case I had designed and fabricated the tools to do the job, and had directed the job, and it was very dangerous, as done. It was a rig 140 feet in the air, with wind and weather hazards, that as a safer thing would be rigged for no climbing with pulleys and wires. A last climb was called for due to the discovery of hazards unknown prior to earlier successes. The client wouldn't listen to me, and so I told them to call someone else. It is good to be willing to take on responsiblity, but you must make a judgement, and consider what will happen, who will be killed or maimed if you go beyond your common sense. In such cases I suggest you say to the boss, you will do your best, but would like to be able to hire an expert for an opinion when it is obvious that the assignment is dangerous.

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#45
In reply to #35

Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/27/2008 12:04 PM

The most successful trick in those situations usually is forcing your boss to take the responsibility. Of course, if somebody dies because the structure you built wasn't safe, it is you who will lose the degree and end in jail, but the letter of responsibility usually scares enough to make your boss retreat and try to find a more reasonable (yours) solution.

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#50

Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/27/2008 4:14 PM

In small family owned companies (where I usually works) an Engineer is the ONLY problem solver, all problem. In one of my pass job, I was replaced by 3 people. Yea it took 3 people to do all my jobs. In my current job, I do everything.

Here is a list of what I've done for "Engineering":

Fix computers, burn DVDs, setup network, paint parts, assemble parts, program setup and run CNC punch, pickup, delieveries, change fuse in boss' car, wiper blade. This is all beside normal drawing, QC, design review etc.

To me engineering is about problem solving. We fix it all. We don't need to know how to fix it ourselves but we need to know who we can call to get it fix.

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#51

Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/28/2008 12:22 PM

P.S. Did a re-read of the Thread, and the answer is, "Yes, the same happens in the rest of the world." On a Film Set, which is my technical background, as a Key Grip, the position is similar to Engineering, and is a fun challenge. If someone is killed or injured, the Key Grip, who is responsible for Safety, along with the Director, will be prosecuted, as was the case in the deaths on the Twilight Zone movie when Vic Morrow and two children were decapitated by a helicopter that crashed as a result of pyrotechnics. I have been asked to make things happen, and typically made them happen in short time. I have also called "Cut", and made everything stop to prevent injuries. It costs what it costs, and takes what it takes, to properly do a job. You are always working for yourself, freelance, no matter the organizational illusion. How do you pick a job? Answer: "Good Money, Good Project & Good People, Must have Two out of Three." Good Money, & Good Project is a sign of good people, who you may not know from any past experience. If a stranger offers you a job, it is best to quote your top price and most perfect contract and requirements, and not take the job even if you like the project. I am speaking from bitter experience here that comes from a job I took motivated by ambition. As you say gussosa, you are rarely qualified in your country, it may well be advisable that you go "Freelance". Currently Transcendia, is only a good project, and I like to think I am a good person. If you are interested in designing State of the Art Airports, I would be interested in your designs. My political agenda is to create a nation of airports, and I participate in CR4 partly with an interest in Technocracy and Anarchy of a Godwin strain. One of my heroes is Lec Walinska, (misspelled) Polish Electrician of the Solidarity Movement in Poland, that changed things. -others are Grant, Franklin, and Susan Sarandon. P.S. I looked Uruguay up in the Onion Atlas titled Our Dumb World, and got confused. What is your Airport? For stress relief I shoot a BB gun, or sometimes fly around, or drink with young women. Gwen is a guy, by the way... I drifted around the topic. Bottom line is Politics come into play no matter what you are professionally, and a career is longer if you don't kill people "accidentally". Engineering ways to kill people is also a job, still with a stricture against killing the wrong people.

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#52

Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

06/30/2008 11:28 AM

im fortunate in the sense that my boss pretty much spell out his expectations (in a way) i.e. ur hired to solve his problem, and what your degree says doesnt really inteest him half as much as what you can do...

if im ever lost, he could guide me along with some of his experiences (thankgawd hes a technical person too, i worked in a design office) but mostly he suggested i hit the books, or whatever infor i can dig from anywhere...and i found cr4....*giggles*

everyday im faced with this fact that "i dunno how to do this?!" but precisely because of that, i was given the chance to explore and learn, making the job quite as exciting since day 1. ^_^

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#53
In reply to #52

Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

07/01/2008 7:38 AM

Which equals improvement, does it not? Sure seems a worthwhile goal to me...

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#54
In reply to #52

Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

07/01/2008 10:19 AM

Might it be because you are a girl?

Some bosses tend to be much more understanding when dealing with women than when dealing with men. It is some sort of "positive sexism". There are some bosses who wouldn't hire a woman even if she was the only applicant, and there are others who will give the chance and be very very helpful by the precise fact that you are a woman.

Some friends (female engineers here in Uruguay) have experienced both situations.

For men the general rule is "perform from the first minute or get out of here". At least in the "you are an engineer, ergo, you know how to do it" environment we are discussing here.

Fortunately you seem to know one or two things about your job, not like me. If someone is a crappy engineer then he/she should get in a public office. I would do it if I wasn't libertarian.

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#56
In reply to #54

Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

07/01/2008 5:57 PM

Don't mention the Girl thing...we'll all start flirting.. or purring and rubbing up against the monitor in my case...I have this terrible itch under my collar... prrrrrr prrrrr.

Del

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#55

Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

07/01/2008 1:28 PM

My first project as a chemical engineer? Solve a mechanical ink regstration issue in a printing press. Turned out I had to solve a mechanical vibration at the upstream supplier's plant. The problem was due to improperly maintained rotating equpment in an old building with inadequate structure to bear the load. Equipment was poorly maintained due to poor training of rookies in the machine shop. Fixed it all and the printing quality improved. I was promoted.

Since then, I've dragged hoses, invented medical equipment, created new chemical methods to solve problems with interference, swept the floor, been an auditor, worked with and for all types of people, done small and large mass and energy balances, broken dishes (quantitatively, of course), math-modeled bacteria growth, matched automotive colors, built electrical panels, properly shipped hazardous wastes, done due diligence, calibrated meters, tested still-warm urine, created quality systems, identified microscopic contamination, got a patent for internet communications, doubled sales at my accounts, eliminated competition, modeled sub-nm optical scattering, translated documents to english, read EDAX, done wet chemistry, managed groups, maintained a pump, juggled databases, improved pneumatic conveying, saved hundreds of tons of waste, written training manuals, made mistakes, learned from the best (and even the worst), and created a simple excel table that saved millions.

Last week, I was in a coal mine and a power plant. Next week, a paper mill. Yet I have a wife and kids, a house, and 3 cats. What's next? It's an adventure. I am an engineer.

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#57

Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

07/01/2008 9:37 PM

The thing with our management was that, they assumed that this is the shipyard, and the design office is full of engineers, thus we really need zero-aid from the service personnels.

air-con down? no problem, harrassed the hvac engineer to have a look at it. lighting down, get the electrical guys. need more fixing up and manual work? deploy a couple of workers from production to do the job. *those job just add on to our regular work. if the yard is going through an expansion? get the naval achitects to cough up with something ~_~ we had a new office since last year (a revamp from the old building) and the interior was designed by my boss, and plenty of the work was shouldered by our usual sub-con and guys from the production dept.

The worst thing that happened was that few-year old laser printer. It never function decently and still they(the management) thinks its too expensive to get a new one. As one of our colleagues joked that this printer must be god-damn "expensive" (we have three engineers waiting around the printer just to get it to work, and it was stuck because a piece of paper was jammed in there) took us all near to an hour to remove that (each trying) and he goes "Look, one hour of our work, wasted on servicing that darned printer, three of us, multiply by three. frequency of occurance, i'd dare say every hour. They still dont wanna get it changed?!

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#58
In reply to #57

Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

07/01/2008 10:12 PM

You have to respond in manager talk to make them understand.

big words, colorful power point presentation, just talking to them in engineer talk confuses them. words like added value, challenge and opportunity always work.

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#59
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Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

07/02/2008 2:35 AM

Yeah,
Ongoing maintenance shortfall redistribution scenario ensuring fiscal re-balancing and increased productivity with enhanced capital investment potential.

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#60
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Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

07/02/2008 2:45 AM

Yes that will get you a new super deluxe state-of-the-art laser printer

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#63
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Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

07/02/2008 8:09 AM

By golly del, you created a classic!

I will look for or use OMSRSEFRAIPWELIP whenever I see the situation arise.

You're a very articulate cat.

milo

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#64
In reply to #57

Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

07/02/2008 12:41 PM

Air Con? Are you sure? Do you mean the air conveyor used to unload bulk cargo ships? And you sent the HVAC guy there?

Then that's just another case of using the wrong guy just because "he is an engineer". The poor guy in this case is even more screwed, as the boss said "Yeah, after all, he works with air, doesn't he?"

An air conveyor of that size is a fine piece of equipment and you wouldn't find a specialist for that in most countries of the world. To deal with that problem (if it isn't something solvable in one day by anyone) the HVAC guy would have to digest a 800 pages book in record time. In the meanwhile, the bulk ships are docked and the port operator and the ship owner lose money at an amazing rate. Better call the manufacturer and pay him to get a technician on a plane within one hour.

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#65
In reply to #64

Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

07/02/2008 3:31 PM

I'd be willing to bet dessert that was an abbreviation for "air conditioning"...

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#66
In reply to #64

Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

07/02/2008 5:37 PM

Yes, probably. But let's leave the dessert for some distant CR4 meeting. A chaja cake would get mouldy in the freight. Or maybe you'd prefer a jar of milk caramel?

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#67
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Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

07/03/2008 6:50 AM

I concur that a torta de chaja would likely not survive, even if shipped next-day delivery. Another time, then?

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#61

Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

07/02/2008 3:55 AM

gosh! lol.

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#62
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Re: Why, aren't you an engineer?

07/02/2008 7:39 AM

Try it - add a significant monetary value to show the potential savings with a payback period of less than one year, and you're printing by or before next week!

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