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Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by skier, Nov 17, 2018.
I love that scene! So true.
Is this engineering?
I know a person who worked for the army. They wanted to have a trailerable device that would accept sewage (ie a privy chamber) in one end and deliver potable water at the other end.
She did it. It involved bacteria, chemicals, energy inputs.
Makes sense despite the initial aesthetics concerns.
Run that device forward and it’s engineering.
Run it backward and it’s politics.
...or the striped coveralls.
Years ago we bought a "fixer-upper" in an inner city 'hood. Got to know the retired gentleman across the street only casually. Some months later his wife invites us to a little birthday celebration for her husband. Turns out Art is 80. She has some picture albums that we start perusing. I remark about one picture that it looks like him as a young man in what seems the cab of a steam locomotive. Turns out exactly what it is, and his original qualification ticket was preserved overleaf. Thats when I found out he operated steam trains through the Rockies in the days before Diesel/electric. Now THATS an engineer!
Elon Musk wants your number!
I'm a Mechanical Engineer, been in injection molding for 30 years come January . . . . God, that sounds awful!
In this country, nothing is manufactured without engineers. Artists, craftsmen, etc., make things, but that ain't manufacturing. Where I work now, we ship 7200 water meters every day. Yep, that thing buried in your front yard, which ends with you receiving a monthly bill. My fellow engineers and I design the parts; figure out how to make the parts better, faster, less expensively; how to make the meter more accurate; how to test them to prove accuracy; what machines to make them with; how to improve that equipment; machine and shop layout; which materials to use, additive packages, etc., etc.
Then there are the electrical engineers and programmers at work . . . .
It's been a good run, and still going strong. Some of us work with our hands, supervise / manage people who work with their hands, process lots of paperwork or draw up / design things on a computer [3D CAD]. Some of us do mostly one of these, some do mostly another one, some of us do two or more of these things.
I've worked at single-site startups and multinationals where my division had a half-dozen sites and several $B in sales. I've had an office of my own, a cubicle and a desk in a shared office with up to 12 other people. So far, my desk time has rarely reached 50% for very long.
Curious, ballpark what are we talking, over $100k?
One of the best things about engineering is that you can do so many different things. The piece of paper I got from the university says "Aerospace", my job title has always been "mechanical engineer", over the past 35 years I've designed aircraft ground support equipment for the Navy and Marines, parts for the Space Shuttle, machines to make floppy disks, packaging machinery, shoe making machinery, production tooling for firearms, medical devices, door locks and other things, refrigerators for small boats, assorted consumer products, medical test equipment, sheet metal enclosures of all kinds, robots. I do a limited amount of computer and machine programming in self defense. Right now I mostly design automated production machinery (machines 25' long to make parts less than 1/4" long) for small hydraulic components mostly for cars but also for medical and aerospace applications... if you drive a car made in the last 10 years it almost certainly has parts made on machines I designed. Engineering is fun though I'll never get rich doing it, and I'll never be a manager, it's just not in my skill set or temperment. But it pays the hangar rent.
Or a burglar.
One of my best childhood buds, roommate from college, got a job after graduation designing custom pool diving boards. He stuck with it, ended up at a different slightly larger firm a few years later doing the same thing. He somehow became instrumental in their buyout of an Australian company, by befriending the owner who was getting ready to retire and wanted to sell. Company ended up sending him down there long term to run the operation and he has lived in Australia for about 5 years now. Long story short, I thought that was one of the more esoteric engineering jobs I've heard amongst my friends from undergrad. Nowadays, he designs those giant adjustable pool dividers for olympic size pools, some pretty high end stuff for major competition and recreational pools. Seems pretty happy doing what he is doing, though I think the paycheck is a large part of that.
Still there and operating, had a few power uprates over the years, each unit is about 980 MW gross now. Still feeding the birds out the fish flume too. Retired from there in 2016, back on a contract job through March on a project replacing the turbine control system.
Scientists discover. Engineers invent. In other words, scientists create knowledge, engineers create technology. I am not sure if I agree that duplication in great numbers (manufacturing) is the main difference.
San Fran area, over $150k, sign on bonus and 2 1/2 times salary in stock over the next 2 years, fully vested after that time. Then unlimited days off and meals. I was born about 20 years too early….
Scientists ask, "Why does this work?"
Engineers ask, "How does this work?"
Managers ask, "When will this work?"
Liberal Arts Majors ask, "Would you like fries with that?"
Wow! It's been around 30 years since we did that job. Can't believe the flume is still there. Unless they've redone it since the one we put in.
Still there, of course like everything in the salt water environment there it has had lots of maintenance and parts replacements.
I spent 35 years in the aerospace industry as an Aeronauticl Engineer. Worked on Boeing aircraft, Commander and Gulfstream aircraft, the B-2, F-22, NASP, JSF/F-35, Global Hawk, and the X-51. It was a GREAT and rewarding career, lived very comfortable, didn’t get rich, but now have a very comfortable retirement.
poor soul....how many times you been laid off?
What did you do on the F22 and F35? I've had a little involvement with the EO stuff on those platforms.
We engineer and build ceramic hermetic packaging for high reliability applications, and most of our customers are T1 defense contractors, down hole oil exploration electronics, and medical. You don't find our stuff in the consumer space, as our stuff is not inexpensive. Looking back, I've had my hand (literally, as in held in my hands) in a lot of interesting parts for many programs/platforms over the years:
Radar components: An/SPY, GBR, THAAD, F-15, F/A-18, F-22, C-130, Buff
Imaging components: Hubble, Orion VNS, Gorgon Stare, Argus IS, F-35, Geoeye, Worldview, Panstarrs, LSST, GPSS, OMPS, probably USA-245, a whole slew of cooled and uncooled IR sensor packages to multiple T1's.
(J/K - lots of really interesting responses here!)
During freshman orientation in college (1972) I was warned NOT to go into engineering, because of all the layoffs. Worked 35 years at Boeing, and never came close. Did interrupt my time there with a couple of years at a dot-comm, got let go as the company tanked but picked right up at Boeing again.
Downturn in space biz a couple of years before my retirement almost led to me being transferred to the 767 tanker effort. Pointed out to my boss that he needed to win some proposals, and the organization had only one (1) engineer who could actually write well.
By the time I decided to retire, I was trying to get laid off. Company was compensating involuntary layoffs with 12 months worth of salary. No such luck, though, they weren't laying off in my field by then.
Like George Washington's hatchet. It's had 2 new heads and 5 new handles but it's the same hatchet...
funny.....the one time I was laid off, with 3 months severance and went to work a few miles down the road a week later, it was a stint I did outside of aerospace in a commercial industry. It was an excellent "opportunity" to get back into aerospace. Lol. Then that company, Textron, started with stupid rolling layoffs with direct charge positions with DoD....Once they let go the only airworthiness cert guy, I bailed (8 years ago). And the rest is history.
And for that you can get a shoebox somewhere near the office or a slightly nicer place out in Tracy with a 3+ hour/day commute.
Nope, living in a nice neighborhood in San Fran, now 2 miles from his new work place, he can walk, bicycle or take one of those scooters. He's paying $1,000 more a month than he was paying in NJ, a small apartment for sure, but still not bad (maybe 950 square feet with a loft for a bedroom, works well for him). But his salary has more than doubled, the extra rent is just a ripple for him, plus the great stock deal. I had told him not to move out there, but now I'm keeping my mouth shut.
Not an engineer. My job is to tell engineers “no.”
You're in sales & marketing? .....he's a witch.....burn him.
Risky. Very risky. ERTW
I once got a letter offering me an early out as part of a cutback. I said YES, I’ll take it! Next letter was you will have a reduction in pension. I said YES, I’ll take it! Next letter said you won’t get your accumulated sick leave. I said YES, I’ll take it. Next letter said you won’t get the incentive bonus. I said YES, I’ll take it! Last letter said, sorry, you’re too senior and valuable so we withdraw the offer.
Since I was within five years of full retirement with all the bennies, I stuck around
My son graduated UC Berkeley five years ago with an Engineering an Economics Degree. He went to work for Turner Construction right out of college. I believe he is in the $90k range. I keep telling him he is underpaid.
Tell him keep up to date on linked in and check indeed. And go on interviews, they are dying for good tech people in SAn Fran.
No. Accounting. I have to tell them that their brilliant ideas will end up overspent by 50% of their estimates, volume assumptions will be 50% lower than they thought, and in the end, their return is as good as a bond fund. Aren’t I fun to be around?
My latest foray into the risk of keeping engineers accountable has been explaining to the new engineering manager that his department is $3M overspent. I wear a flak jacket to the meetings.
My father is a retired ChemE. My grandfather was a ChemE and taught at a university for a while. I barely passed chemistry in high school (an otherwise straight A student). I failed my family.
I've seen other folks (on this board, in other threads) insisting "An Engineer would never agree to X because of cost". I think to myself, "If you've never engineered to cost how long have you been an engineer?" Cost has always been one of the tradeoffs in my career.
My dad always said: there are three things an engineer can deliver on a project: low cost, low time, high quality. Pick two.
Just like my A&P: You can have it quick, cheap or right. Pick any two.
I graduated in 1975 with a BSEE degree. Worked in engineering for 40 years before retiring in 2015 (about 2 1/2 years early, but it was that or move and I wasn't about to move). Still do some consulting work and am involved in national and international standards committees in my area of specialty - electromagnetic compatibility (EMC). I was involved (heavily) in my professional society (IEEE EMC Society) in various chapters and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Society, up to and including President. I've enjoyed it, but really enjoy being retired (more time to spoil grandkids).
If you work in the engineering world long enough you will find that Dilbert is not a comic strip. Dilbert is a documentary. My dad was a veterinarian and college professor. Neither he nor Mom understood Dilbert, but they did understand that animated one, "The Knack". All they said when I showed it to them was, "That was you!"
Go for it. It's been great fun over the decades. And, in EMC I have never been unemployed or laid off. The last full time gig lasted just over 20 years with Intel.