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How Not to Get Ahead in Your Work
5

How Not to Get Ahead in Your Work

How Not to Get Ahead in Your Work

4
(OP)
I work in a large, multinational corporation, the name of which has been heard by most every human who owns a television.  We have loads of engineering departments all over the world and I have had the opportunity to meet a great number of engineers.  

I, myself, am an engineer, so please do not take this as a sleight to the entire profession -- it needs to be said.  We engineers have a natural tendency to suffer from social ineptitude.  If we're excellent at interpersonal relationships, we often get shuffled off to sales or put into management.  

That being said, I would like to offer a suggestion that in your dealings with your co-workers, colleagues, fellow industry professionals, bosses, underlings, secretaries and the general public, put on your happy face and be polite.  Your rewards may be few or none for doing the right thing, but YOU WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN FOR BEING A JERK.  

My reason for posting today arises from a post in another forum on this website.  The OP was a newbie and his first ever post was basically nothing more than an advertisement for his rather small company in an extremely small industry.  He posted his advertisement for something that is probably a fine product and included his website in the post.  The replies were the expected replies, calling him out on the fact that eng-tips.com doesn't allow advertisements/spam and that he shouldn't be surprised if his post is removed in short order.  

And then something extraordinary happened.  The original poster wrote:

Quote (OP):

Okay, this website is garbage.  I'm taking my "informative spam" along with my long list of prestigious followers (Boeing, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman) to another website.  

Which prompted me to post in this forum.  The bigger problem is that this individual decided to use what is almost certainly his real first name along with the name of his company when he posted his shocking reply.  I am not shocked because I have delicate sensibilities -- I don't.  I am shocked because it is a display of a shortcoming that I see far too often amongst many members of the engineering community.  In the case of this individual, he should ask himself a few questions.  

Will anyone reading my response ever use my company's products?  
Is it likely that my boss reads these forums?  
Have I done something in public that can identify myself to others through my professional career?
Is it likely that my co-workers read these forums?
Have I harmed my company's name by my actions?  

Be polite.  Always.  Being a jerk will never be forgotten.   

Engineering is not the science behind building.  It is the science behind not building.   

RE: How Not to Get Ahead in Your Work

Apparently, the OP had delicate sensibilities, and couldn't handle some relatively benign flaming.

I don't think he needs to worry about the boss, because I think he's it.

But, yes, he's a jerk, and I'll be sure to not give him any business, commercial or otherwise.  If nothing else, he's demonstrated a complete lack of graciousness.

It's not that different than an occasion where a salesman took me out to lunch one time, and reveled in taking a handicap parking spot because he had arranged to get a placard for a bogus condition.  Naturally, the raised the issue of his ethics, and no business for him either.

TTFN

FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies

RE: How Not to Get Ahead in Your Work

Amen, ET!  My parents told me, their parents told them, and now I tell my kids, ALWAYS use your manners!

Good luck,
Latexman

RE: How Not to Get Ahead in Your Work

I agree that the OP in question was well out of order, but I don't agree that his display is typical of engineers.
Judging by this forum, most display a degree of professionalism that I haven't found on any other public forum.
Engineers tend to be good at logic, and there was only one logical outcome for that thread and the OP's outburst.
 

RE: How Not to Get Ahead in Your Work

It was silly, anyway.  Had he posted a FAQ, he probably wouldn't have gotten as much flak.  His entire purpose appeared to be promoting his company's website, not to contribute to the forum.

TTFN

FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies

RE: How Not to Get Ahead in Your Work

ET..nicely stated.  Unfortunately his actions are a bit of societal mirroring as well.  A general decline in grace has been evident, particularly over the past 20 years or so.
 

RE: How Not to Get Ahead in Your Work

Maybe it's not environment, it's in the genes. Everything looks like a nail to a hammer, everything looks like s*#t to an azzhole, and some people will always be an azzhole.

RE: How Not to Get Ahead in Your Work

"Quote (OP):
Okay, this website is garbage.  I'm taking my "informative spam" along with my long list of prestigious followers (Boeing, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman) to another website."

Prestigious followers?  Wow, that is an arrogant statment.  I work for one of these companies (and other big defense companies in my carreer) and trust me they do not follow anybody and Eng-Tips (or any other professional board)is not on their radar to infiltrate and garner business.  We have lobbyist for that job LOL.

I guess lesson learned here is don't drop names in negative contex.  That will get you in the dog house real fast.

Tobalcane
"If you avoid failure, you also avoid success."  

RE: How Not to Get Ahead in Your Work

This thread really reminds me of a quote I saw in the signature line either on this forum or on tek-tips, but I can't remember which.  It was something like:

Quote:


Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from having bad judgement

So, very true.
 

RE: How Not to Get Ahead in Your Work

EngineerTex,
Great thread, thank you.
I missed that post from the 'other OP'. I have zero patience for idiots like that. There is a good chance he is still within Eng-Tips as a different name.

Twoballcane,
You are correct. I also had worked with/for some of those companies, they do not have any relations/followings of websites.

Chris
SolidWorks 09 SP5.0
ctopher's home
SolidWorks Legion

RE: How Not to Get Ahead in Your Work

"Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from having bad judgement."

I've seen/heard the same thing in the context of mountaineering and caving.  Maybe experience there comes from surviving your initial (foul)ups.

happy shades

RE: How Not to Get Ahead in Your Work

I wonder if posts like that are coming from people using SEO services to spam related forums to get their websites out there.  I can't believe someone would post their business and be rude out in the open like that.  I don't find being rude a typical engineer trait at all.  Maybe because we all got humbled in school/work?

Civil Development Group, LLC
Los Angeles Civil Engineering specializing in Hillside Grading
http://www.civildevelopmentgroup.com
http://www.civildevelopmentgroup.com/blog

RE: How Not to Get Ahead in Your Work

I don't find engineers all that rude in general, but I do find a lot of rudeness on the web in general.  People come in to some forum or other expecting something, and when they don't get it, they lash out.

It's mostly the case with the "I'm so special" Generation Y kiddies, but I doubt the offender referenced in this thread's OP is that young.  I suspect what happens is what little social graces someone might have managed to develop through the school of hard knocks in real life, that all evaporates when instead of talking to someone's face, it's just you and the computer and your unmet expectations.

Hg

Eng-Tips policies:  FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies

RE: How Not to Get Ahead in Your Work

Engineers can come across as arrogant and rude because sometimes they tend to forget their audiences.  When a sales or finance person stops an engineer to explain something, please tell me you don't know someone who will sigh before answering.  If you do, I am calling you a liar.

drawn to design, designed to draw

RE: How Not to Get Ahead in Your Work

Sure, but never out loud...

It's no different that when you SO asks, "Do these pants make my butt look big?"

Everybody needs to be an actor at some point in time...

TTFN

FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies

RE: How Not to Get Ahead in Your Work

To be fair Waide, most of the times that I've seen Sales or Finance ask an engineer a question they either glaze over about 10% of the way through the answer, or listen to about half of it and then interrupt with a statement along the lines of "That wasn't the answer I was looking for". Past experience has also shown that they weren't asking the right question, not that the engineer was giving the wrong answer.  

Joe Hasik,
CSWP/SMTL/MTLS
SW 10 x64, SP 3.0
Dell T3400
Intel Core2 Quad
Q6700 2.66 GHz
3.93 GB RAM
NVIDIA Quadro FX 4600

RE: How Not to Get Ahead in Your Work

Maybe the answer also has to addapt to the person who asked. If you try to give a full blown technical explanation to a layman, for sure his eyes will glaze over. Different people need different methods to communicate the message.

RE: How Not to Get Ahead in Your Work

Engineers often come across as rude and arrogant because they don't open their mouths unless they are talking about something they understand.  There's no bluff and bulls'it, just things they know to be true.

- Steve

RE: How Not to Get Ahead in Your Work

I thought the idea was to glaze them over as fast as possible.  That way they think twice before bothering you again.  dazed

Engineering is the art of modelling materials we do not wholly understand, into shapes we cannot precisely analyse so as to withstand forces we cannot properly assess, in such a way that the public has no reason to suspect the extent of our ignorance.
-A R Dykes
 

RE: How Not to Get Ahead in Your Work

I would love to tell you a story about having just such a question asked of me by a Sales guy, about the difference in two items of our product line, which had a technical answer (that was the only one), but rule one about posting in a public forum is to never say anything that you wouldn't be willing to say to the individual's face. Especially if your online presence can be easily traced.  

Joe Hasik,
CSWP/SMTL/MTLS
SW 10 x64, SP 3.0
Dell T3400
Intel Core2 Quad
Q6700 2.66 GHz
3.93 GB RAM
NVIDIA Quadro FX 4600

RE: How Not to Get Ahead in Your Work

I think Dilbert is the perfect model on how not to get ahead.  

RE: How Not to Get Ahead in Your Work

When my insurance agent showed up to a group sales meeting sporting a new very expensive sports car - I got a new insurance agent and privately TOLD HIM WHY - as did a number of other people.  

I suggested he drive it on weekends - not while trying to sell insurance to a group of very hard working and not so wealthy clients.

RE: How Not to Get Ahead in Your Work

Wally is clearly destined for senior leadership.  He is also my role model even though I have no desire to ever move into management.

RE: How Not to Get Ahead in Your Work

<I>Engineers often come across as rude and arrogant because they don't open their mouths unless they are talking about something they understand.  There's no bluff and bulls'it, just things they know to be true. </I>

Truer words were never spoken. The humble engineer engineer is the one who keeps quiet unless they know exactly what they are saying. The humble person is the one who lays all their doubts on the table and invites others to doubt them. In a non-engineering context, only saying things that you are immovably certain about is anything but humble.

Pardon me as print that quote off and frame it...

RE: How Not to Get Ahead in Your Work

Oh, please.  There are ways to be smart and confident without coming across as rude or arrogant.  If you come across as rude and arrogant, it's not just because you know what you're talking about.  It's because you have poor social skills and can't figure out how to be smart without making others look stupid.  The real top dogs, the mentors to their respective industries, do know how to do this, and do it well.

Hg

Eng-Tips policies:  FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies

RE: How Not to Get Ahead in Your Work

Hg,

That's not in dispute. You have to diagnose the problem before you can treat it...

RE: How Not to Get Ahead in Your Work

I know plenty of engineers (as well as other people) who can be rude & arrogant without knowing what they're talking about.

Actually, I wish I could find some of Somting's engineers that only open their mouth to speak truth.  I don't think I've met one yet.  I've met good engineers (and bad), but like all people engineers have a range of personality - bluff & bluster or lack thereof is not a required trait of the profession.

One of the most skilled engineers I've met was prone to put forth his opinion on any design topic as proven fact without any evidence to back it up.  If it was in his (fairly large) range of expertise I never knew him to be found wrong... problem is he didn't always stop at putting forth opinion as fact beyond his areas of expertise, and if you didn't know him you wouldn't be able to tell when he was talking outside his knowledge.

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