Author Topic: Why I quit my job as an engineer after 40 years (RANT)  (Read 8421 times)

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Offline P.Mouse

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Why I quit my job as an engineer after 40 years (RANT)
« on: May 01, 2018, 03:57:30 pm »
I just need to vent this, but I pulled the plug after 40 years (close of being retired).
I decided to quit my career as an engineer.

I was mainly active in analog electronics, amplifiers, (SMPS) power supplier and other audio related stuff.
Unfortunately there seems to be a trend with people who have a serious lack of (basic) knowledge and skills.
In some fields it's even so bad that you're basically talking to a wall of myths.
Myths that are being spread like a terrible incurable disease.

What's worse is that it's impossible to have a good scientific factual discussion anymore about subjects.
People are being not only totally blunt and rude, but attack you on a personal level.
At the same moment their arguments are very far from scientific facts and seriously lack on very simple high school knowledge in physics/electronics.
I guess years of research, papers, books and all don't matter anymore?
To make it worse whole companies seem to be build on this.
(not the first fight I have with a owner)

Lately I had another of these typically non-discussions about basic knowledge and that was the last straw.
It's to unfortunate, but I just simply don't enjoy it anymore at all.
It basically is like talking to rude disrespectful toddlers 
Sometimes also the reasons that I am not very active on forums anymore.

Don't know yet what I am going to do next, I have enough savings for a while, so we will just see.

I just had to vent this. Feel free to share your own similar experiences.
 

Offline NANDBlog

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Re: Why I quit my job as an engineer after 40 years (RANT)
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2018, 04:07:54 pm »
Become a consultant. They will only ask your opinion if they really need it and when you tell them, they at least shut up, because they know how much you charged them for it. Also, if you don't like your peers, you can just stand up and walk away. I think for good engineers with many years of experience, there actually any carrier path anyway.
I mean you can become the "Senior Principal very important engineer 3" somewhere if you feel like it, and have the same power over stupidity, like a junior code monkey.
 
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Offline P.Mouse

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Re: Why I quit my job as an engineer after 40 years (RANT)
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2018, 04:12:32 pm »
Become a consultant. They will only ask your opinion if they really need it and when you tell them, they at least shut up, because they know how much you charged them for it. Also, if you don't like your peers, you can just stand up and walk away. I think for good engineers with many years of experience, there actually any carrier path anyway.
I mean you can become the "Senior Principal very important engineer 3" somewhere if you feel like it, and have the same power over stupidity, like a junior code monkey.
Thanks for your advice.
I have been professional consultant for many years.
Unfortunately it's not the first time that even a client tells you to read a book or two and that I know nothing about it etc.
As if I'm a newbie or something.

Anyway, I guess I am more interested in this "phenomena" than real practical advice.
Or am I the only one experiencing this?  ???
 

Online BillB

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Re: Why I quit my job as an engineer after 40 years (RANT)
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2018, 04:26:04 pm »
Not to pry, but can you give an example?  I find that fellow engineers are usually quite rational compared to the general public, and while we argue about what boils down to personal preference, arguments where facts are available usually don't last long.

On the other hand, if you are describing arguments with management or sales/marketing, then yes, this totally makes sense and is merely an occupational hazard.
 
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Online tpowell1830

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Re: Why I quit my job as an engineer after 40 years (RANT)
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2018, 04:27:42 pm »
It is difficult to comment on your experiences, but I too am very near retirement as well. My recent job as a contractor has been a challenge, because the manager is not a technical engineer, in fact not an engineer at all. The methodologies used by said manager is to always try and take shortcuts, although my niche job as a harness design engineer keeps my focus rather narrow, I have to deal with decisions made by said manager. Since this is space flight, I stick to my requirements and always refuse to take shortcuts, some of the decisions that I have no control over still affect my area, and I have to live with them.

With that said, it is very difficult, at times, to hold it together and go forward and deal with the problems that arise from bad decisions.

Bottom line, I feel your pain brother/sister, and it is a deepening travesty that this is happening to older folks who have so many years of experience and still much to offer. I don't feel like I know everything, but what I know, I know well. For real leaders where I work, I am recognized as being knowledgeable and given due respect, but for many younger folks, I am seen as an old man only, without much value. I see articles and social media memes all the time about how the 'baby boomer generation' is the root of all of the younger generations problems. This is a short-sided view, IMHO, and, if it continues, will create an even larger rift between the older folks and the younger ones.

I don't have any answers for you or all the social and workplace problems, but the one thing that I still believe is that, despite the occasional person that is obtusely opposed to thinking logically, there are some who will see the need to learn from our older generation. Please do not put us on top of a pedestal, because after all, we are still only human, with all of the earmarks of human flaws, but, when it comes to our knowledge, which IMHO, is achieved through the years, give that the respect that it deserves, no more/no less.

Just my 2 cents...
PEACE===>T
 
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Online bd139

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Re: Why I quit my job as an engineer after 40 years (RANT)
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2018, 04:38:54 pm »
I've done contract work for many years and had this all the time. What people see is that you are a threat to the management's hierarchy of competence and the status quo among the peons that work there. They exist in a little pocket of reality which is difficult to see out of and difficult to look in to and when something new turns up, particularly something new who has hit itself with the clue stick, they get frightened. This happens if you're a new hire as well unless you play dumb and establish the alpha techs.

As a borderline psychotic bastard twisted from years of putting up with shit, I have come to enjoy baiting the prima donna assholes causing them to quit, taking their jobs but on a contract rate, installing a totalitarian dictatorship and then ramping my rates.This is conveniently how you buy a house in London too.

Respect is earned of course, so part of the baiting is helping the subordinates of the assholes to rise up.
 

Offline P.Mouse

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Re: Why I quit my job as an engineer after 40 years (RANT)
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2018, 04:43:32 pm »
Not to pry, but can you give an example?  I find that fellow engineers are usually quite rational compared to the general public, and while we argue about what boils down to personal preference, arguments where facts are available usually don't last long.

On the other hand, if you are describing arguments with management or sales/marketing, then yes, this totally makes sense and is merely an occupational hazard.
That's a little difficult to say, without going into deep technical therms.
It also highly depends on the type of field.
But for example audio; you can better ask were not.
Just the basic lack of control theory, basic physics and a general good feel about what is important or not.
Within 2 minutes it's about useless audiophool discussions.
Even sometimes on high levels were you would expect that people would know a thing or two.

I have similar experience if it comes to PCB design or revisiting older products.
To summarize, people claim stuff that is very remarkable seen the high amount of research and papers that are available about the subject.

Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong about a personal taste.
But many people seem to be unable to divide facts from subjective taste.
And in MANY cases it's more about STATUS than anything else.


Anyway like I said, I really don't want to get caught up into specific details.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2018, 04:45:03 pm by P.Mouse »
 

Offline NANDBlog

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Re: Why I quit my job as an engineer after 40 years (RANT)
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2018, 04:43:47 pm »
Thanks for your advice.
I have been professional consultant for many years.
Unfortunately it's not the first time that even a client tells you to read a book or two and that I know nothing about it etc.
As if I'm a newbie or something.

Anyway, I guess I am more interested in this "phenomena" than real practical advice.
Or am I the only one experiencing this?  ???
Oh, not at all. I had this in the past, second guessing everything I say or personally attacking me by peers because they don't like x. And of course, the mandatory belittling of someone else's work. I recently had a discussion, a guy was pointing out every single small mistake (of someone else) saying that this is bad engineering, nad not sure if he knows what x is doing. And I sad, he made choices given that the project was at least working in record time, and it allowed a successful product launch.
So yeah, people are very quick to judge others. But that is not just engineering I'm afraid.
 
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Offline P.Mouse

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Re: Why I quit my job as an engineer after 40 years (RANT)
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2018, 04:48:13 pm »
And I sad, he made choices given that the project was at least working in record time, and it allowed a successful product launch.
So yeah, people are very quick to judge others. But that is not just engineering I'm afraid.
I hear you!

Engineering is so much more than just what's "theoretical the best solution".
In fact, "the best solution" doesn't exist, it is extremely relative!
It's how you can make it work with all the compromises given in a certain (specific) situation.

As a consultant I have to tell clients this over and over again.
Especially when some waste a lot of time and resources in useless details.
 
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Offline IanMacdonald

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Re: Why I quit my job as an engineer after 40 years (RANT)
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2018, 04:58:32 pm »
Myths are indeed a huge problem in many disciplines these days. Part of the problem, I think, is that rapid communication allows these things to circulate and build-up rapidly. Then, when there are posts all over the place supporting the myth, it becomes hard to challenge it. Even when absolute proof of the falsehood of the myth exists, people would prefer to 'believe' than to be considered an outsider for not believing it.

Magnet motors are on case in point. As is the notion that using HTTPS on an ordinary website (with advertising, etc) will prevent MITM attacks.  Or, that using Windows XP is far riskier than using Windows 10.

'Thermal runaway' used to be the favourite in electronics. Now, whilst that is a genuine problem in some circumstances, in most cases it is a lame excuse for the clot who doesn't know how to work out thermal resistances, and assumes that a transistor rating of '115W' means 115W on a two-inch square heatsink. 

Then, of course, there is climate change.. My latest thoughts on the matter.
 
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Offline metrologist

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Re: Why I quit my job as an engineer after 40 years (RANT)
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2018, 05:36:38 pm »
Anyway, I guess I am more interested in this "phenomena" than real practical advice.
Or am I the only one experiencing this?  ???

Well, think about this. I was listening to the news reports that some well recognized college has installed a wimpering closet - for students to have a quiet place to go and cry during the rigors of finals week, etc... Safe spaces and cry rooms is what this new generation is accustomed to... Oh, and everyone gets a trophy, just for showing up - you're a winner! whiner? whinier? whiniest generation of all...

But just remember, you're the one that quite and took his ball home, and now you want to shake it off the edge of the balcony in spectacle...
 

Offline kony

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Re: Why I quit my job as an engineer after 40 years (RANT)
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2018, 06:39:47 pm »
If anything, the inverse proportionality between arrogance and competence/knowledge of any person in question was always quite striking troughout the years for me. Applies to full spectra of positions, from higschools, trough academia personel to engineering companies and consultants.
 

Offline CopperCone

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Re: Why I quit my job as an engineer after 40 years (RANT)
« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2018, 06:40:59 pm »
 ::)
 
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Offline ebastler

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Re: Why I quit my job as an engineer after 40 years (RANT)
« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2018, 06:47:06 pm »
I was listening to the news reports that some well recognized college has installed a wimpering closet - for students to have a quiet place to go and cry during the rigors of finals week, etc... Safe spaces and cry rooms is what this new generation is accustomed to...

It's an art project, man. :palm:   A pretty funny one in my book. And it seems to have hit the spot with you...
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2018/04/26/cry-closet-utah-university-library/553082002/
 

Offline metrologist

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Re: Why I quit my job as an engineer after 40 years (RANT)
« Reply #14 on: May 01, 2018, 06:56:24 pm »
I was listening to the news reports that some well recognized college has installed a wimpering closet - for students to have a quiet place to go and cry during the rigors of finals week, etc... Safe spaces and cry rooms is what this new generation is accustomed to...

It's an art project, man. :palm:   A pretty funny one in my book. And it seems to have hit the spot with you...
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2018/04/26/cry-closet-utah-university-library/553082002/

Chuckles... it was coincidentally mentioned on my morning talk radio show. Building a solitary confinement box to explore "connections and missed connections through communication" is an interesting tactic. I really wish that was all it's about.

Wait til the engineers from the school of minecraft start hitting the streets.
 

Online nctnico

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Re: Why I quit my job as an engineer after 40 years (RANT)
« Reply #15 on: May 01, 2018, 06:59:09 pm »
I have been professional consultant for many years.
Unfortunately it's not the first time that even a client tells you to read a book or two and that I know nothing about it etc.
As if I'm a newbie or something.
Well, technology moves on. I buy books to keep up regulary. My most recent purchase is about how to keep a software development team on track and motivated using agile software development methods. Pretty interesting if I may say so but completely different to what I've learned in school a long time ago when nobody heard of extreme programming and agile.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 
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Offline P.Mouse

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Re: Why I quit my job as an engineer after 40 years (RANT)
« Reply #16 on: May 01, 2018, 07:15:34 pm »
Anyway, I guess I am more interested in this "phenomena" than real practical advice.
Or am I the only one experiencing this?  ???

Well, think about this. I was listening to the news reports that some well recognized college has installed a wimpering closet - for students to have a quiet place to go and cry during the rigors of finals week, etc... Safe spaces and cry rooms is what this new generation is accustomed to... Oh, and everyone gets a trophy, just for showing up - you're a winner! whiner? whinier? whiniest generation of all...

But just remember, you're the one that quite and took his ball home, and now you want to shake it off the edge of the balcony in spectacle...
Well, to be very honest, the biggest issues I ran into my career is actually the "stoop whining, just be tough" attitude.
Mostly in combination with "I am older, so I know better" or "I have a higher degree so I know better".
All very destructive attitudes. recipe for very uncomfortable meetings and collaborations instead of working together.
(that was what I meant with rude and attacking personally in the first post)

If people are not open minded, you can't have proper discussions.

Less testosterone and more thinking, so to speak.

offtopic: The reason why the "cry-closet" is so ridiculous, is because it doesn't tackle the real problem.
Some companies have a tendency to only "patch" stuff, instead of thinking long therm or diving into the REAL problem.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2018, 07:19:34 pm by P.Mouse »
 
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Offline P.Mouse

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Re: Why I quit my job as an engineer after 40 years (RANT)
« Reply #17 on: May 01, 2018, 07:17:24 pm »
I have been professional consultant for many years.
Unfortunately it's not the first time that even a client tells you to read a book or two and that I know nothing about it etc.
As if I'm a newbie or something.
Well, technology moves on. I buy books to keep up regulary. My most recent purchase is about how to keep a software development team on track and motivated using agile software development methods. Pretty interesting if I may say so but completely different to what I've learned in school a long time ago when nobody heard of extreme programming and agile.
Same here.
But it seems that in certain fields people has been stuck in the 70s/80s.
OR you get the other way around, which is mostly true in acoustics.
"Just use a FPGA/DSP and that will fix it". Yet people seem to forget that you can't get around physics.

 

Offline dmills

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Re: Why I quit my job as an engineer after 40 years (RANT)
« Reply #18 on: May 01, 2018, 07:48:01 pm »
Oh Audio, yea full of fashion mistaken for engineering (And fashion dressed up to look like science, bit like cosmetics sales).

Folks applying frequency domain fixes to time domain problems (Loudspeaker and 'Room' equalisation vendors, looking at YOU), and folks who do not understand orders of magnitude being especially annoying (No, the difference between 0.0001% and 0.00001% THD is not something to sweat |O ).

Then we have the whole Capacitor thing, often applied with no consideration for what that cap is doing, I am quite capable of deliberately placing a high ESR electrolytic, because sometimes my power plane analysis says to add damping somewhere, when some plonker 'upgrades' it to an organic polymer jobbie (Or worse some 4 inch long film monstrosity), you bet it sounds different....

Of course a lot of the educational material out there does not exactly help, digital audio books with silly stairstep pictures of quantised (but undithered, which is to say broken) waveforms, are just annoying and give completely the wrong idea about how things work. Vanderkooy & Lipshitz should be required reading before being allowed to publish on digital audio.

Finally for giggles there are the chuckleheads who blindly 'upgrade' opamps, yup that 797 sure sound different, that will be because it is going off in the middle of the shortwave band...

I despair some days, which is probably why I work in broadcast, where fashion as a design driver is at least somewhat limited.

Regards, Dan.
 
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Offline free_electron

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Re: Why I quit my job as an engineer after 40 years (RANT)
« Reply #19 on: May 01, 2018, 07:54:40 pm »
back in the day all you needed was ohm's law. Now with all the litigation ... better make sure you follow it.
Last time they opened a windmill park they showed some power graphs.
One politican asked why there was a difference between the produced power and the delivered power.
The engineers explained this was due to losses during transmission.
The politican asked more explanation ,less technical. The engineer responded : because of Ohm's law.
To which the politician said : he was going to make sure this law was changed under his tenure. The people should get all the power generated and no power should be held back by the companies running the transmission lines.  :palm:
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Any comments, or points of view expressed, are my own and not endorsed , induced or compensated by my employer(s).
 
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Offline free_electron

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Re: Why I quit my job as an engineer after 40 years (RANT)
« Reply #20 on: May 01, 2018, 07:57:45 pm »
Oh Audio, yea full of fashion mistaken for engineering (And fashion dressed up to look like science, bit like cosmetics sales).

a bit like audio purists using valves  :palm:
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Offline dmills

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Re: Why I quit my job as an engineer after 40 years (RANT)
« Reply #21 on: May 01, 2018, 08:02:40 pm »
No issue with real audio purists, no issue with valves, but the two really do not go together in this day and age.

I mean if you are building a guitar amp, fine, it is an effects box that happens to amplify, and the simplest way to get the effect is to use glass fets, but don't claim low distortion, that is not why you do it.

Regards, Dan.
 

Offline P.Mouse

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Re: Why I quit my job as an engineer after 40 years (RANT)
« Reply #22 on: May 01, 2018, 08:17:43 pm »
No issue with real audio purists, no issue with valves, but the two really do not go together in this day and age.

I mean if you are building a guitar amp, fine, it is an effects box that happens to amplify, and the simplest way to get the effect is to use glass fets, but don't claim low distortion, that is not why you do it.

Regards, Dan.
Well exactly. I am not gonna judge my clients.
That's what is called engineering in my opinion.
To find a certain solution for a certain situation, aka "using your toolkit of knowledge and clever tricks to make things happen"
But for some people there is only "one perfect solution", yet they don't seem to understand that it only works in one (very) particular case.

Btw, the tube/valve purists are not really the issue.
The so called "smart engineers" designing very state of the art technology (and yes sometimes they really do) are.
Especially when they don't seem to understand the whole chain, and leave something fundamental as directivity or total power/SPL out of the equation.
Mix that with a stubborn old fashioned gray beard and you have someone in front of you that is incapable of having a reasonable discussion of any form.
Unfortunately that seems to be the standard nowadays.......
« Last Edit: May 01, 2018, 08:19:23 pm by P.Mouse »
 

Online Kjelt

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Re: Why I quit my job as an engineer after 40 years (RANT)
« Reply #23 on: May 01, 2018, 08:35:57 pm »
I feel for you, it is getting worse IMO. You have to say yes even when you know it is not feasible or they call you negative. I sometimes get the impression that the people that promise miracles but deliver crap or deliver years later than scheduled are better rewarded than those who try to communicate that it is not possible or takes more time upfront and can even substantiate it.

I once saw a manager push an architect to "lie" to upper management that some project could be done and within a certain timeframe otherwise the project could be cancelled and the managers group probably dissolved. The project was two years late and every quarter delay there were "unknown causes" for delay, yeah right. If you ever wonder why some companies go down the drain, look at how many management layers there are between the people who have to build it and know what they are doing and the decision makers and realize that every layer filters the information in a positive way to get a good appraisal.

Worst example I heard was from a friend who designs smps.
He designed a (figures might be a bit incorrect but its just an example)
30W 95%eff smps  and an 90W 94% eff smps.
In comes the marketing guy: "Listen up I did marketing research with our customers and I now know what they really want: a smps that can be last minute configured between 30 and 90W with the same efficiency. Go build it so I can sell it!"

He could 't make the marketing guy understand :
1) that you can not get that high efficiency when the power output has such a high range
2) that this smps even with lower eff would cost more than a fixed output

The marketing guy went to his boss called him incompetent and the manager gave him a bad score that year on his annual assessment.
 
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Online bd139

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Re: Why I quit my job as an engineer after 40 years (RANT)
« Reply #24 on: May 01, 2018, 08:39:07 pm »
Just remember to get paid hourly then every hour that they perpetuate the impossible is an hour of cash in your pocket.
 


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