Author Topic: How to find a place were coworkers have some passion or interest in what they do  (Read 2424 times)

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Offline rjardina

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Sorry this turned into a rant

This has been a question in the back of my mind for some time and only grows bigger with every passing job. Been working for the pass 12 years. Started off as a mechanic, then moved to doing electrical repair. My current job I was really excited to start. It mainly has to do with VFDs (variable frequency drive) and DC drives too. Half the job is installing and troubleshooting the drive and the other half is board and COMPONENT level repair. This is a really COOL factor something I always wanted to do. I get to take my hobby of electronics and get to smash them with my main work experience of electrical. I'm doing just that, but its very sad

When I talk to my coworkers, not just at this job. Most people I'm around only got to work for the paycheck, which is a very important part of life. But that is not the only reason I go. I enjoy what I do, I always want to learn, teach and make things better. Most (95%) of them don't care and do the bare minimum to get by. None of my current coworkers know what a 555 does, at least one don't know what a 7805 is, none of them know what the name of the low pass filter on the AC functions does But they do know they need to use it to read the output of the VFD. My boss doesn't know what amphours are, he got a masters in electronics. No one owns a personal multi-meter beside myself. One guy believes VFDs can output more power then its input making free energy. Because reading the output current on the VFD is greater then the input. I've read a little about this phenomenon, I understand the basic idea why this happens but I know it not making free energy.  |O

MY QUESTION, how can I in the future go to a job interview and be able to till if the people I'm going to be working with care about their work?
 
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Offline Rerouter

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Its a hard thing to spot, as unless applying to a quite small company, you generally will never see the other staff to even gauge there interest, And when you do it takes a bit more than a few minutes interaction to properly tell if someone is BS'ing or actually knows there stuff, Sometimes the best insight to a company you can ever get is talking to another worker outside of HR, but this is harder to pull off.

I'm the guy who ends up doing most of the R&D, integration and New stuff, because none of the others even fully understand how RC filters, or resistor dividers work, despite having to work with them once every 2 weeks.

Pretty much when component level repair jobs come in, If I've documented it in the past, they will attempt it, otherwise it will sit on the shelf for me, no matter how many weeks straight I'm out on the field.
 
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Offline lypse

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I think that most people are just interested in different things. Sure the level of motivation and knowledge also plays a large role. But I'm sure you can find some coworkers that enjoy and are successful in their job, even doing something you either don't know how to do, or don't really care for. Just be happy that you have little competition for the type of work you enjoy.

If you didn't go to work for a paycheck, why would you? Surely you could do what you love at home or as a charity without getting paid..?

Answer: The same way they gauge if you are the right candidate, ask questions that are important to you. If you expect your future boss to know about components, you'll have the perfect opportunity to ask before you even accept their offer.
 
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Offline sokoloff

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My boss doesn't know what amphours are, he got a masters in electronics.
:palm: Did he get it from a Cracker Jack box?!

I mean surely he knows what an Amp is and I’m sure he knows what an hour is... How far a jump is it from there to knowing what an amp-hour is? I don’t know how old he is, but he might want to check to see if it’s not too late to get a refund on his tuition...
 
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Offline T3sl4co1l

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Interview, yes absolutely -- I've interviewed including a tour of the department.  This has been true several times.  Thinking about it... I'm pretty sure I'd decline if I saw any less!

Remember, you are interviewing the company, as much as they are interviewing you.

You must forget the advice that you may have been told in school, that you need to find and land a job, period.  That's good advice for the school only: it lets them post good graduate placement figures.  (My school had such a process, at least; YMMV.)  Find any job, when you need money, certainly; but for your career, you can't be living in madness all the time!


Regarding level of enthusiasm, that's very normal.  If that was a less technical department, maybe, service technicians rather than engineers, that sounds about right.  If it was design engineers, I would be worried.  Worried, I think more for the amount of work I'd about to be thrust into, or the amount of chronic-falling-over-syndrome the organization has, or is going to have...

The 90-10 rule applies, as it does to all populations.  90% are casual, "in it for the money" or "it's a job" sort of thing, and squeaked by in school.  (The Peter Principle also applies: anyone more qualified, would've been promoted to a role where they are poorly qualified.)  The 10% are technically proficient, if not particularly fast or reliable at it, say; but they'll get there in the end.  It applies again, recursively: 10% of the 10% are adept, efficient and capable; and 10% of them are the leaders in their field.

Personally, I've met few engineers as enthusiastic as myself.  They are out there!  Although a lot of this seems to be more a thing of the past, many of them being old, retired, or passing away.  (Indeed, this was borne true in school, when I asked to test out of more subjects -- the dept head said they used to be able to do that, but changed the policy in recent decade(s) because it wasn't helpful.  As a result, I had to take several entry-level EE courses... :palm: )

But at least there are a few here. :-+

Tim
Seven Transistor Labs, LLC
Electronic design, from concept to prototype.
Bringing a project to life?  Send me a message!
 
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Offline Howardlong

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I find the software side tends to encourage more engagement than electronics, possibly because you can do a lot of tinkering without relatively expensive equipment.

From a business perspective, there are downsides to over-enthusiasm. People with this trait sometimes tend to avoid following process, or implement their own processes without consulting others. Documentation and maintenenace is an afterthought. Fashionable tools get used that have the lifespan of a mayfly. There is a lack of thought about the whole picture from a commercial perspective. I know I have been guilty of some of these. Equally, I do get frustrated when you spend six weeks persuading your colleagues to go with a solution that takes two weeks to develop, test and get into production.

One of my customers moved to a devops paradigm some months ago, of course the devs loved it, they push code into production on an almost daily basis. But the quality of that code is crap, so their reputation has plummeted. In a recent audit, no trace of any formal change control could be found for many weeks.
 
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Offline rjardina

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I think that most people are just interested in different things. Sure the level of motivation and knowledge also plays a large role. But I'm sure you can find some coworkers that enjoy and are successful in their job, even doing something you either don't know how to do, or don't really care for. Just be happy that you have little competition for the type of work you enjoy.

If you didn't go to work for a paycheck, why would you? Surely you could do what you love at home or as a charity without getting paid..?

Answer: The same way they gauge if you are the right candidate, ask questions that are important to you. If you expect your future boss to know about components, you'll have the perfect opportunity to ask before you even accept their offer.

Work gives me purpose, I love repair can't really do it at home to much. I need money, I've tried charity on my free time, and everyone I've been to is simply testing to see if it works if not its trash. I've been thinking about doing this again in recent times.

You're correct interviews are both ways. But  my knowledge is small at least at this stage compaired during an interview. I was looking for a job I could learn a LOT from. During my interview my boss asked if I knew what an IGBT was. At time I didnt know of course and felt a little small. 60 seconds on Google that night found out and five minutes I new the basic idea of the differices between BJTs, FETs, and IGBT and the pros and cons. Working with this man over a time frame I have seen that he likes to through is small bit of knowledge around to make other feels like that too.



My boss doesn't know what amphours are, he got a masters in electronics.
:palm: Did he get it from a Cracker Jack box?!

I mean surely he knows what an Amp is and I’m sure he knows what an hour is... How far a jump is it from there to knowing what an amp-hour is? I don’t know how old he is, but he might want to check to see if it’s not too late to get a refund on his tuition...

I wish I was making this up, him and the others have tunnel vision, if they don't use it on a daily/weekly bases it leaves their mind and doesn't come back.


Interview, yes absolutely -- I've interviewed including a tour of the department.  This has been true several times.  Thinking about it... I'm pretty sure I'd decline if I saw any less!

Remember, you are interviewing the company, as much as they are interviewing you.

You must forget the advice that you may have been told in school, that you need to find and land a job, period.  That's good advice for the school only: it lets them post good graduate placement figures.  (My school had such a process, at least; YMMV.)  Find any job, when you need money, certainly; but for your career, you can't be living in madness all the time!


Regarding level of enthusiasm, that's very normal.  If that was a less technical department, maybe, service technicians rather than engineers, that sounds about right.  If it was design engineers, I would be worried.  Worried, I think more for the amount of work I'd about to be thrust into, or the amount of chronic-falling-over-syndrome the organization has, or is going to have...

The 90-10 rule applies, as it does to all populations.  90% are casual, "in it for the money" or "it's a job" sort of thing, and squeaked by in school.  (The Peter Principle also applies: anyone more qualified, would've been promoted to a role where they are poorly qualified.)  The 10% are technically proficient, if not particularly fast or reliable at it, say; but they'll get there in the end.  It applies again, recursively: 10% of the 10% are adept, efficient and capable; and 10% of them are the leaders in their field.

Personally, I've met few engineers as enthusiastic as myself.  They are out there!  Although a lot of this seems to be more a thing of the past, many of them being old, retired, or passing away.  (Indeed, this was borne true in school, when I asked to test out of more subjects -- the dept head said they used to be able to do that, but changed the policy in recent decade(s) because it wasn't helpful.  As a result, I had to take several entry-level EE courses... :palm: )

But at least there are a few here. :-+

Tim

Going to lose a few people here.

I not proud of this at all but I'm a job hopper my longest jobs has been 18 months. and I've only been fired once (for saying "I dont FUCKING care" about something not work related) all the other times my employeers are sad to see me go, most say "you can use me as a reference". There as only been twice I wanted to stay at a job and that was due to a single coworker at that job. But had to move.

I thinks its really cool talking with people and they say I've been here 5+ years. But after talking with them, they do the samething, in the same way day in and day out without trying to make anything better and they seem like zombies.

I guess I'm going to try to give my current job two solid years, Nothing get better after that. Not that it has lot of appeal to me at the moment I could just start my own buisness That something I could at least make better daily.
 

Offline T3sl4co1l

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It's very common to have a new engineering job every few years.  There's also a heck of a lot of jobs out there that are about maintaining production, that have engineers and technicians there for 10+ years.

Personally, that would bore the shit out of me, and so I haven't been at a job more than a few years at a time.  That's slightly muddied with my current arrangement, which has now been five years working with a local firm; but they always have a new project or design to work on, so it's good work.  And when that's slow, I have my own (direct) projects.

18 months does sound on the short side, but that's more than enough to finish a smaller project.  Leaving an incomplete, poorly documented project would be morally less appealing... but just another part of business and life, ultimately. :)

Tim
Seven Transistor Labs, LLC
Electronic design, from concept to prototype.
Bringing a project to life?  Send me a message!
 
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Offline james_s

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One of my customers moved to a devops paradigm some months ago, of course the devs loved it, they push code into production on an almost daily basis. But the quality of that code is crap, so their reputation has plummeted. In a recent audit, no trace of any formal change control could be found for many weeks.

This is happening all over the place now, rapid release cycles, no time for proper QA, documentation and process are out the window, "who cares, we can just fix it next week" attitude takes over, quality plummets. It happened at a previous place I worked, and it happened to some big ones, Microsoft is a good example. Their products have become absolute garbage in recent years.
 
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Online Tomorokoshi

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One approach in the interview process is to bring show-and-tell. Have a project or two. Repaired a VFD? Print out pictures of the diagnosis and repair process and bring in the repaired unit. Maybe explore the natural extension of working with electronics by learning a little about programming an embedded gadget. Bring it in too.

If their interview format is flexible enough you should have this opportunity to present your projects. If it isn't, that may be a reflection on the rigidity of the company.

When you bring in show-and-tell the focus shifts to talking your projects, where you are now the expert. If they are enthusiastic about it, if they ask the types of questions that someone with similar interests would ask, then you have the potential for a good match.
 
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Offline ivaylo

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Geography kinda plays a role too. The distribution of people (especially in technology) who are passionate about what they do isn’t uniform everywhere, even if said jobs exist someplace.
 
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Offline rjardina

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Thanks for all y'all's replies. All good ideas, I've also started listening to the Amphour show at work due to my hears having a lot of free times. And learning from Chris about how he finds consulting jobs. Don't want to be one, but it sounds like most of his jobs he get by word of mouth.  I've simply only sent my CV/resume to companies online job posting. Then again this could be a bad idea too.
 

Offline james_s

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I don't do much freelance consulting since I prefer a stable fulltime gig, however every engineering job I've ever had I got by knowing someone who worked there. I've found recruiting/HR to be almost universally useless, at least for this sort of job. They tend to filter out all the best candidates and submit the cookie cutter ones who have seeded their resume with all the right keywords.
 
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Offline rjardina

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I've found recruiting/HR to be almost universally useless, at least for this sort of job. They tend to filter out all the best candidates and submit the cookie cutter ones who have seeded their resume with all the right keywords.

When I write my resume I write it for two people HR and my future boss. I normally like to speak to HR before ever talking to anyone else. HR is the last line of defense when trying to keep your integrity at a company. I have quit three jobs in my past due to the lack of it. One of the jobs wanted me to steal from my customers (be a part exchanger and charge more time than was needed to done a job). I had another job for 10 months and 10 local people got hurt during that time frame and company made no effort to try to improve the situation [the company (local office) was about 60 people].  The third job, a woman that worked there, was a lesbian,  not that her sexual orientation matters but people around her would taunt her to tears about it. HR nor management gave a fuck.

I've also had companies with GREAT Human Resources. I have my amateur radio license. At one job we were using business class radios to communicate. I wasn't really fearful of this happen but I believe in doing things legally as possible. We needed a special business class license. Normally, I dont think the FCC would fine an individual for this act just the business. And the license is less then a $300USD and it was a multi-million dollar company. Long story-short had to got to HR and she was fucking awesome. Had another work place with safety issue (people getting hurt). Boss didn't care, HR was like Super-woman took care of everything.

I'm not a RAT nor tattletale, and I believe in privacy, companies should be transparent to their employees (themselves).........

I have learned my time is about 90/10. 90% bullshit and 10% technical. I have learned to live with that. But I want that 10% to be strong and be about live with myself on that 90%.

 

Offline NorthGuy

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My boss doesn't know what amphours are, he got a masters in electronics.

I didn't know what it was. I knew what "amphora" was, but what the hell is "amphours". But then I googled, and for once Google was smarter than me and spit the word correctly. And then I think: "Ah! That's what it is"  :-DD
 


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