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Professional behavior in the company with technicians
10

Professional behavior in the company with technicians

Professional behavior in the company with technicians

(OP)
Hi All

If one engineer works as a calculation eng (R&D) but he needs to collaborate with the technician of the laboratory ( who seems to be not so much friendly with graduated engineers , even hostile) whom shows too much curiosity at the engineer's activity, to know what he is doing and how (formulas, files , methods, etc) which is finally discovered that is for the caution, if the engineer goes away, the won't miss something.
how much should the engineer be reserved about his methods etc to have his job, and how could he have a good work relationship with this type of technician, that listens to the engineering office manager, but not to the engineers?

RE: Professional behavior in the company with technicians

5
Hostile relationships are usually symmetrical.
One_engineer clearly doesn't respect the curious technician, and the technician doesn't trust One_engineer.

Said technician is understandably trying to understand what said engineer has been doing, possibly at the specific request of the engineering manager,
because said engineer will be leaving the company soon.
... the departure may be involuntary.

Said engineer and said technician are both employed by the company,
which expects them to be working toward a common goal.

If I were said manager, I would be looking to get rid of said engineer,
JUST BECAUSE said engineer will not, or perhaps cannot, explain his or her work
to said technician.

Some of the best engineers I know were formerly technicians, and became exceptional
engineers precisely because other engineers shared their expertise generously,
and mentored said future engineers.

Even technicians who will never become engineers, become much better technicians when engineers help them understand why they are doing what they are doing.

"Too much curiosity" suggests that One_engineer is insular and arrogant, and I suggest that he/she get their resume in shape; they will need it soon.




Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: Professional behavior in the company with technicians

I guess there is a continuous spectrum of conditions like this.

I know of some companies that always fire engineers just before their first complete year. They have a small core of long term employees and just churn the marketplace to burn engineers out and pick their brains with little to no interest in developing long term workers.

At the other end there are engineers who are such one-shots that they clamp down on everything in desperate fear they will be replaced with an Excel macro.

In my dealings with techs I have always wanted them to better understand exactly what they are working to accomplish. I haven't had many who went out of their way to ask ahead of time; most were actively discouraged by their managers because it stops them from their scheduled duties and they typically take their cues from QA to follow processes. Generally they appreciate the connection of their efforts to the theory behind it. It's been 50/50 that something I've said to the tech caused them to tell me that they understood why they'd had a problem or that something they said suggested a better alternative to what I had been expecting. (I once had to create a torque wrench from bar stock and a pull scale to reach a jam nut that was in a concave location where neither a crows foot or any other standard tool would fit. It was interesting to look at their faces as they realized what inch-pounds really meant as we tested the solution on the cal-lab torque tester. Another time a tech introduced me to self-drill/self-tappers, which was handy when the factory was pressured to ship before the tapped holes were added.)

I don't know about this case, but it sounds like a management failure in some area, which may overlap an engineer failure.

The tech should not be tasking an engineer. If there is a production problem that requires details like this then there should be an accounting for the distraction from the engineer's time. If the manager is trying to capture information, then they failed a long time ago to establish standards for doing so. All of it should have been captured at engineering reviews and explained to and reviewed by fellow engineers.

In any case, it seems like a hostile environment and there is no chance to change it. As always, update the resume and begin looking for a new place.

RE: Professional behavior in the company with technicians

(OP)
So you mean that if the technician stands behind the engineer all the time when he is writing a code for a problem that is not solved during the last 10 years in the company then the engineer is arrogant?

RE: Professional behavior in the company with technicians

"If one engineer works as a calculation eng (R&D) but he needs to collaborate with the technician of the laboratory ( who seems to be not so much friendly with graduated engineers , even hostile) whom shows too much curiosity at the engineer's activity, to know what he is doing and how (formulas, files , methods, etc) which is finally discovered that is for the caution, if the engineer goes away, the won't miss something.
how much should the engineer be reserved about his methods etc to have his job, and how could he have a good work relationship with this type of technician, that listens to the engineering office manager, but not to the engineers"

Why do you ask? The "one engineer" appears to have been tasked to do a job, for which they should provide adequate documentation so that whoever is left behind can maintain the calculations, or software, or whatever. The technician and their lack of cooperation is irrelevant, because even that technician is not forever, so whoever takes their place still needs the documentation and calculations, presumably.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Professional behavior in the company with technicians

I can stare at a piece of code for days and never see a glaring error, that will be noticed in little time by anyone looking over my shoulder and trying to understand what is there, as opposed to what I think is there. ... probably sooner if I am also explaining to them how (I think) the software works. It's happened many times.

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: Professional behavior in the company with technicians

Some techs are territorial just as some engineers are territorial. The tech may be trying to learn and only you can know that, if you ask. You have more mobility as an engineer whereas the tech usually doesn't. He may be more interested in learning from you to ensure his job security in the event you move on. He may also be working on gaining a level of confidence in your expertise.

People are complex and usually motivated by a number of factors. It's your job, in my opinion, to establish a good working relationship with him. You are the educated one and, as an engineer, you will be considered a part of management whereas the tech will most likely never be considered part of management.

Treat him with respect, teach him, if that's his interest, and try to learn from him as he learns you and from you.

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC
NSPE-CO, Central Chapter
Dinner program: http://nspe-co.org/events.php

RE: Professional behavior in the company with technicians

In my little corner of the field, techs are the ones that make the world go 'round.

My work is meaningless if it isn't fabricated correctly, installed correctly, operated correctly, and maintained correctly.

I find that my attitude- namely my openness about how and why I made the decisions I made, my willingness to explain something complicated when someone asks a question, my willingness to admit when I've made a mistake or when someone who is nominally 'under' me comes up with solution that's better/faster/stronger- all have a massive effect on how I am perceived by technicians/maintenance/installation/operations personnel.

Being seen as approachable and down to earth is a priceless currency, which you cannot buy. The only way to earn it is to be... wait for it... approachable and down to earth.

Treat people with respect, and when the time comes where you've made a mistake, or the customer make some insane demand, and you need those techs to work a Saturday to bail you out they'll do it. Because they know you respect them.

You'll also find that when you're approachable and respectful to tradesmen, they do a MUCH better job of reading your drawings or work instructions, and following the direction of those documents which you've produced.

In short, technical skill means a lot for an engineer- but for a lot of engineers, being liked is often of equal importance.

RE: Professional behavior in the company with technicians

Quote:

Hostile relationships are usually symmetrical.

I disagree. So many shop staff and technicians have two wrong feet from which to start a relationship. So many places where "burn the engineer" is a national sport.

This climate usually is the product of years of bad relationships. But it's hardly fair to assume that it's mutual.

I will say that judging from the OP's English skills, he's most likely from outside the anglosphere. He better get used to a more egalitarian footing with technicians and tradesmen (and janitors and grocery clerks). Status- and caste-consciousness does not play well here.

RE: Professional behavior in the company with technicians

"how much should the engineer be reserved about his methods etc to have his job"

No one should have to fear that transparency within their organization will lead to severance. If the name of the game is to spend a portion of one's work time learning from the "next" level up to one day fill the position, make sure you are shadowing the engineering office manager yourself. Let the tech learn from you so there is no reason to hold you back from filling the managers spot should it become available. If you feel the tech is a real threat, become indispensable to him.

I used to count sand. Now I don't count at all.

RE: Professional behavior in the company with technicians

(OP)
It has happened to me in my first job, in metal forming simulation where the software wad simple so I was given other works as technical designer, but after a while they decided to send the technical designer to the course, while they expected me to learn it myself, and after they didn't renew my contract, they transfered that job to that colleague

RE: Professional behavior in the company with technicians

If your job security hinges on blocking others from attaining simple skills, then you are in the wrong job.

RE: Professional behavior in the company with technicians

The first sign of a lousy engineer is one who is unwilling to share his/her work, its also rather unethical not to do so. I will often invite senior techs to design reviews and/or solicit opinions otherwise from them as a sanity check on complicated designs. They might not be able to comment much on FEA or CFD but they can usually speak well toward potential manufacturing issues. Word of their input also gets around the shop and does wonders for helping get special favors.

RE: Professional behavior in the company with technicians

(OP)
It's seems that you are not reading my answers and despite everyone being an engineer all are on the side of tech.
While it's ok that the tech person or even the company rules don't allow the engineer know much about the laboratory details, and test modifications, the other side of the road is wide open.
This is absolutely asymmetrical, unfair, and exploiting and will prevent any company to grow and have a sane R&D

RE: Professional behavior in the company with technicians

I'm pretty much getting the sense that English is not your natural language, because I've not yet made sense of most of your postings.

I don't really get what you are saying, but your last statements don't match with my experience. Engineers, as a rule, do the analysis and configuration of tests, and technicians execute.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Professional behavior in the company with technicians

We are most definitely reading your answers.

It sounds like you came here to validate an opinion you already held- that your work is sacred and no one else should be privy to your methods.

If you want to be effective, put out good work, get promoted, whatever- you need to rethink your approach. Being highly territorial will not help you accomplish any of those goals.

Has it occurred to you that the tech protects his methods because you are apparently working hard to protect yours?

RE: Professional behavior in the company with technicians

It seems that you are not reading our answers.

The laboratory is where your ideas are tested. You should be there, in person, at least several times a day, and you should always know what's going on there, at least in respect of your own projects, and you should damn well know about any 'test modifications' before they happen.

Take off your damn necktie. Burn it.
Burn every necktie you own, except for the one you want to be buried in.

Your excrement smells as bad as anyone else's.
Get over yourself and get out there.




Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: Professional behavior in the company with technicians

(OP)
Dear Mike , I agree with what you say While :

I'd love to be present in production sites and labs , I don't like just sitting at a table, it's mostly your manager that doesn't like to see you walking around to learn things that they might not want !! and overload you with work !
maybe in the past it wasn't like this, now it is !

The tech will not love to see me around his table and lab obviously, and will avoid my questions with the excuse of being busy !

RE: Professional behavior in the company with technicians

The tech is supposed to be busy.
Ask his permission to watch what he is doing, and do just that.
Do not ask questions. Answer any that are asked.

If you need permission from your boss to wander out to the lab, you are chained to the wrong oar on the wrong slave ship.

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: Professional behavior in the company with technicians

Before going into the lab make sure you wear all the appropriate safety gear. There's one lab I used to go to where workboots, high vis vest, safety glasses and usually ear defenders were needed. You've got bridges to build, don't make the easy mistakes.

Cheers

Greg Locock


New here? Try reading these, they might help FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm?

RE: Professional behavior in the company with technicians

Never be jealous of others.

Pamela K. Quillin, P.E.
Quillin Engineering, LLC
NSPE-CO, Central Chapter
Dinner program: http://nspe-co.org/events.php

RE: Professional behavior in the company with technicians

JMO but I sure wouldnt want to work for any employer or supervisor that didnt want me in the lab. I have always helped build my own prototypes and the majority of lab setups, either written or read through every test procedure, and occasionally I have run the testing myself as well. If you don't know testing details how can you begin to analyze it?

RE: Professional behavior in the company with technicians

I would be worried about an employee or company that felt it ok to trade an engineer in for a technician due to "being able to have software do it". I have heard some very strange explanations from technicians who were using engineering software for analysis and design.

RE: Professional behavior in the company with technicians

Funny you should mention being displaced by software.
I campaigned vigorously for Pro-Engineer drafting/design software.
The company bought it.
They paid for it by discharging most of the engineers, including me,
and having designers drive the software.
Hey, it says 'Engineer', right there in the name.
The results are about what you'd expect.
Want to buy a formerly successful company?

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: Professional behavior in the company with technicians

(OP)
Do you ask a doctor why he is prescribing a medicine, and how he knows it , so the next time you do it yourself ?

RE: Professional behavior in the company with technicians

Why would you NOT want to know why the doctor is prescribing that medicine?

Would you really want a family doctor that says "Here. Take one of these every morning" and won't tell you why?

I happily explain my work and why I'm doing various tests or inspections. I happily involve the millwrights, electricians, and programmers in the process of doing what I'm doing. No secrets. If there's a certain test that needs to be done, I explain how to do it and involve them in the process. If there's a problem that needs to be solved, I present the problem and ask for opinions from the people who are actually going to be building or fixing it. If they can have bugs or issues sorted out on their own before I get involved, that's a win all around.

In all my experience, the best designers and the best engineers are the ones that are regularly out on the shop floor and work together with the actual millwrights, electricians, and programmers who are making it happen. The ones that hide in their office NEVER do well.

RE: Professional behavior in the company with technicians

I certainly ask a doctor what the medication is, what symptoms it treats, what symptoms may appear as a result of taking the medicine, etc.
If the doctor is unable or not willing to answer the questions I'll pay my co-pay walk out the door and find a more open doctor. It's my responsibility to take an active role in my health. Just as it is your responsibility and the technichian's responsibility to actively learn about each others roles in the projects and work together as a team. Perhaps he is unwilling to share because you are as well. There's no trust in your relationship.

It may behoove an engineer to take a different tact and open up to the tech, and even go to the tech for opinions when the engineer is stuck.

You'd be surprised at the fresh spin or magical shortcut an experienced tech could teach even to some of the most experienced of engineers.

RE: Professional behavior in the company with technicians

I've never turned an opportunity to explain something to a coworker, regardless of title or position. Sometimes, the "stupid" questions are what bump you out of your thinking box and into the real solution.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: Professional behavior in the company with technicians

(OP)
He will tell what he is going to do, He will not tell HOW he is going to do that

this is what I'm trying to say

RE: Professional behavior in the company with technicians

Do you and this "technician" work for the same company? If so, I don't know why you would be reluctant to answer a technical question he may have. It may be a way to break the ice (for a lack of a better way to put it). In my time, I've talked designer/drafters heads off about technical issues when I am asked. Some just kind of smile (with a look that said: "Sorry I asked."), others ask follow up questions and thanked me for the info.

If you are worried he will replace you based on the info you give him.....well....a company that would replace a engineer with a technician doesn't value you anyway and it was probably going to happen anyway.

RE: Professional behavior in the company with technicians

Quote:

I would be worried about an employee or company that felt it ok to trade an engineer in for a technician due to "being able to have software do it".

Depends on the software. Many of us set up controlled simulations daily for junior engineers, techs, or even sales dweebs to run ad-infinitum to see if products will work given customers' inputs. Paying an engineer to do a technician's job is rather wasteful.

RE: Professional behavior in the company with technicians

(OP)
Thank you all for your input.

RE: Professional behavior in the company with technicians

Wow, brutal thread. Most of the posts assume the technician is not an arrogant, chest pounding person. These people exist everywhere, especially if you are new. They always like to challenge the engineer. If he is this type, I would tell him very little, especially if I had been there a while. If not informing him leads to project failure or it affects the outcome, I would tell him. Otherwise, he's on his own. He will learn to respect you by your actions and decisions. Until then he won't no matter how much you tell him. If you are starting out, I would tell him a lot, just to try to develop the relationship, arrogance or not.

I have no patience for arrogance. I don't practice it although many engineers, technicians and electricians do. If you are guilty of the arrogance, try giving him some slack. If you are both arrogant, neither of you will make out in the end.

Pride is a dangerous thing in our profession and almost always leads to failure. This applies to engineers, technicians and electricians.

RE: Professional behavior in the company with technicians

I agree with buzzp on how brutal this thread is to the OP. A couple of valid reasons for the technicians behavior were already put out by MkieHalloran and IRstuff. I will add my two cents in addition to those those.

What I gather from the OP's posts is the fact that he/she feels like she/he is being bird-dogged and second guessed by the lab technician. That is a tuff place to be if true. I've spent the last couple of years with some coworkers with similar inclinations. In my experience those inclinations come from their own fears of "having their job stolen." Work with them have patience, give them the information that they ask for, and do it with a smile. They will eventually begin to respect you, and value your opinion. It won't happen over night. They may still be territorial over some of the aspects of their job; let them be that way. The technician will not take your job. They were there before you, and very well may be after you, but will certainly not replace you. There is a reason your employer hired an engineer, and that is most likely because they have reached the limits where their designs can be improved by said technician. The fact that they haven't solver a known issue for over 10 years proves this point. If you can fix a problem like that, it is something that will be remembered for a long time.

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