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Things they forgot to mention in the interview
27

Things they forgot to mention in the interview

Things they forgot to mention in the interview

(OP)
How many have been the victim of lack of full disclosure by their organization in the interviewing process? Seems like things have gone from bad to worse in this area for me over the past couple decades. Everything from springing overly restrictive non-disclosure agreements on the day of orientation, to not telling me that seven day work weeks were the expected norm. Any tales to tell?

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

Even if the position is hourly, if they're expecting 7 day work weeks every week, I'm out. Personally I don't live to work.

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

Oh I'm with you there tz101. In my experience, the described position and duties rarely represents the eventual expectations and workload once hired. I'm currently doing most of the EHS management for a facility when that was definitely not mentioned in the interview. I now intimately understand why EHS management is usually a full time position for most companies.

Andrew H.
www.MotoTribology.com

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

To be fair, most job descriptions would fill a small book, if everything they thought you might be doing were included.

The elusive 40-hr work week needs to be examined in the light of possible stresses on the company, i.e., is it a naked grab for more profits or is it poor planning or is it a life or death struggle? The answer to this basic question ought to mixed with your risk tolerance and desire to save your job.

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: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

(OP)
IRstuff, far too often it is poor planning by upper management at most places I have seen that led to extra work by the staff.

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

A lot of my friends' companies seem to have extremely poor planning/scheduling. Their idea is to sell as much work as possible and when they get more than they can handle, they say "welp, time to work extra". They then also agree to unrealistic project schedules.

It's a really difficult situation when the leadership is fine with running everyone into the ground.

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

I find it usually to starts as poor planning and emergency fill-in work, and then turns into squeezing employees since the work still gets done even if it makes people miserable and overall productivity suffers compared to if the work/position were filled properly.

Andrew H.
www.MotoTribology.com

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

RVAmeche - that was my experience, too. Though, to be fair, what looks like poor planning and leadership isn't always. Many sectors of the market are cyclical, and the length of the cycles can vary. So at my old firm, they'd go after whatever work they could get. Sometimes it meant long hours and, at times, no days off for a while. But then when the cycle dipped, it was office cookouts in the parking lot and early Fridays. So there was at least an attempt at balance. Like I said - I wouldn't always call it poor leadership, but it is the good (and rare) leader who can take on those market conditions and provide consistent balance for his/her employees.

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

pham,

Agreed, if it was a highly cyclical environment where you worked a lot some months and then had relaxed hours during the "off season" or something, I could see that.

Unfortunately for the guys I know that's not the situation

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

Poor planning is often mistaken for conservative hiring; most people hate to lay off workers, so they tend to underhire.

Many of these employers have gone through previous generations of boom/bust cycles where they were hiring people through one door and laying people off through another.

My company went through a massive downsizing after several large contracts evaporated; we lost over 50% of our workforce. Since then, we've been much more circumspect about hiring and firing.

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: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

I've had jobs that downplay the salary because of the benefit package available after three months. The benefit package is (was) never offered and employment is terminated at four/five months.

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

In the interviewing process if your talking to a hiring director or a hr person they have a very limited knowledge of what the people in the business do to earn profit.

If you talk to a manager in the interview process you need to know whether they know what you will be doing by being promoted from within the ranks or if they just manage people and don't know much of the process.

Based on who you get to talk to in the interview process you will get either a clueless description of daily routine or a reasonable description of typical tasks and deadlines.

Additionally all companies have annoyances that come from corporate but you cannot really gauge that in the interview process.

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

"This is a contract to permanent position"- I was hired after a couple years when I got another offer and threatened to quit.

'Pay rate is...' (a bit on the low side) Forgot to mention 37 hour work week, no OT. When it works out to $100 less a week, forget it.

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

(OP)

Quote (SuperSalad)

I'm currently doing most of the EHS management for a facility when that was definitely not mentioned in the interview.

SuperSalad, I am hoping you at least had a little EHS experience prior, or was it complete trial by fire? Did they offer any extra money when they dropped the extra responsibility on you?

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

skeletron, I don't think I've ever accepted a job where the benefits package didn't begin on day one. Of course that excludes time constrained benefits like bonuses and profit sharing based on project goals and similar considerations.

The responses highlight the diversity of the work in engineering. It was not unusual that I worked more than 100 hours a week for weeks on end. It was also not unusual that I was basically on vacation with pay for weeks on end in return. For me, working like this was a major attraction and benefit to the work. I outright hate repetitious work. It's not for everyone but I can't imagine sitting at a desk everyday doing what amounts to the same work over and over with the only substantial difference between projects being the name of the customer. Often times the employer and customer were one and the same.

It's hard to believe a job description and reality being different enough to matter. If it isn't common knowledge about a company out there working like this it won't be long before it is common knowledge. Companies have reputations and one treating their employees deceptively like what's described here will mean the people they're attracting won't match those they're trying to hire.

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

2
Extra money? lol, good one. No, I generally take the "what part of my regular duties would you like to not get done so I can do this new thing?" approach and delay what can be delayed. I spent too many years trying to please everyone to fall for that trap again.

No, my previous EHS experience was the training I had received over my career by actual EHS managers. I had some regulatory experience with product registrations/compliance and whatnot, but not business compliance and certainly not OSHA stuff.

It has been mostly trial by fire with limited guidance from the people who did some of it before I arrived who were even less qualified to do so.

Suffice to say, I have learned much about OSHA, EPA, DOT, etc. in the past year and a half which I had practically zero knowledge on beforehand.

So far, I have not had any incidents on my watch, and I think I've been keeping the place good with the environmental reporting/compliance, OSHA training/compliance, etc. I've had a couple inspections and reviews from different regulatory bodies and no major issues have come up at least.

My main problem is the stuff done prior to my arrival. I occasionally come across things where I find myself saying, "So....who did this before and where are the records?", to which I often receive silence and shrugs and it becomes a scavenger hunt and self-guided crash course on the regulations. Even worse is the response, "Oh, do you think we need to do that?", which usually makes me cringe knowing I need to figure it out from scratch.

Andrew H.
www.MotoTribology.com

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

@RRiver: Really? That's strange. My experience has been opposite. Every job has a 3-month probation period before your benefits (medical, dental, etc.) click in. It definitely puts a guy like me in a weird position where I have to disclose medical information (I'm immunocompromised and require a maintenance treatment every 6-8 weeks) to HR and managers during the probationary period.

EDIT: I did work one job (for a sole proprietor) who hired me a couple months before Christmas. He extended benefits on Day One (and even extended them 2 weeks after the last day) and also gave a Christmas bonus.

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

The last place I worked, everything started up day one - even vesting in employer contributions to the 401K (100% vested immediately).

Where I am now, things were staggered a bit at the beginning. Access to health insurance was 1 month, 401k was 3 months, vacation was 6 months, bonuses/profit sharing vary based on hire date and other factors (since they're paid out at a fixed date for all).

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

Skeletron,

I spent 15 months with Parker Hannifin in the 80's on one of their projects. The day after I was hired I started with 2 weeks of paid vacation. They shut down for 2 weeks over the 4th and that's just the way it lined up.

Also because I worked mostly as an expat for foreign owned companies or with ghosted companies the rules on IRA's and 401k's from both the US and the foreign countries made them more hassle than they were worth. Although the rules are much easier to work with now than what they were, most foreign companies provide for alternative planning and investment methods.

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

(OP)
You don't want to work in Indiana. My current position made me wait a year to enroll in 401K, and it took 18 months before the first payroll deduction to 401K. Had to demand a week vacation available immediately in my offer letter, and the president balked at that.

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

You didn't get any vacation time originally?

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

The last interview I went to I was offered the job and went into salary negotiations. They asked what I would like for compensation, I said I would like to know what the benefits are (heath insurance, 401k match, time off etc). They said they covered that in the interview, I said they didn't and if they could email me the information I could let them know what I would want in terms of a salary.

They called me back 1 day later and told me they didn't want me to work for them anymore.

Also, during the interview with this company (who was a very large construction company in the food processing industry with projects all over the world) I had asked why their headquarters were in a burned out old mill city in the middle of nowhere thousands of miles away from their projects (I asked the question tactfully). Their answer was that they could get professional labor cheaper than if they moved their company 100 miles to the east where there was ample talent at a more expensive cost.

buh-bye.

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

SteelPE, their reaction in your first story seems so bizarre. Your request and approach seems perfectly reasonable and I wish I had taken it myself during my last job search. I was content with the salary offer assuming the benefits were on par with what I had at the time. Knowing what I know now, I would've asked for more money up front as the benefits were a bit more of a step down than I had expected.

Andrew H.
www.MotoTribology.com

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

(OP)

Quote (SteelPE)

They called me back 1 day later and told me they didn't want me to work for them anymore.

No skin off your back. Much the better off for avoiding that scam outfit.

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

Some companies just have that sort of attitude; when I graduated from college, I got an offer letter from a TLA-named company, but there was no starting salary. So I called, and they said, "We don't tell you the salary until you accept the job." WTF? So I declined, and they asked what my other offers looked like, and I told them, and they said, "Oh, we wouldn't have offered that much in any case."

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: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

No skin of my back and no skin off theirs. I have kept track of them over the years (like a psycho ex girlfriend). They have now expanded to 3 other locations and maybe 1 foreign location. The impression I received from the company was long hours and little pay and a general unhappiness with the people who worked there (well, except for the executives who were extremely happy)

That was 8 years ago, right before I lost my job (writing was on the wall that the company was going out of business.... and did). I had no other options other than trying to go it alone. To date (which isn't saying much over one of the longest economic expansions on record) I have been better off going out on my own then I would have been working for them. Had we come to some sort of terms I don't know what I would have done.

Quote (SuperSalad)

SteelPE, their reaction in your first story seems so bizarre. Your request and approach seems perfectly reasonable and I wish I had taken it myself during my last job search. I was content with the salary offer assuming the benefits were on par with what I had at the time. Knowing what I know now, I would've asked for more money up front as the benefits were a bit more of a step down than I had expected.

That's one thing I learned at my old job.... perks are nice and can end up with a huge $ in the end. I was one of very few who paid form my own car and gas to and from work. I had to pay 50% of my ever eroding health insurance and there was no 401K match (there was profit sharing.... but when there was no profit, there was no sharing) and I paid for my own cellphone.

Currently my wife works for a company that pays 90% of health insurance. That benefit has be a game changer for our family and has allowed us enormous flexibility.... every time her boss offers her a small raise I feel like she shouldn't take it just so we can keep that simple benefit.

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

(OP)
Like SteelPE, I always inquire about all benefits before deciding on a salary to give to a prospective employer. If a move will be involved, I also let them know I will be doing some cost of living calculations also before providing them a number. Cover your bases up front, because once they have you, they have you.

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

Get a tour of the office. I went from a great, spacious private office to a tiny cube where people, I kid you not, would walk through as a short cut and bump my chair every time. It didn't even cross my mind I was in for such a downgrade. It took 3 years of being obnoxiously loud on the phone to get my own office again.

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

2
I've been primarily in Advanced Manufacturing, not design functions. After a long career of being lied to, I would now know to ask them to detail explicitly by what metrics my performance will be judged, by whom, and by what formula this relates to any future pay raises or bonus. Bad or vague answers makes ear-splitting klaxon horns go off in my head now.

Seeing the phrase Other duties as assigned also makes them klaxon horns go off.

If some yahoo makes vague promises of some future promotion or other such enticement: make them put it in writing or walk away.

You and the hiring manager should engage in a blunt conversation with the outcome of developing acceptable ranges and limits of working hours per week. And have it written into the offer.

Finally, again after that long career resulting in lots of battle scars, I have concluded that most Managers......aren't, and shouldn't be. Nothing that is said during job negotiations has any merit. Only the written word will survive the inevitable conflict and debate.

TygerDawg
Blue Technik LLC
Virtuoso Robotics Engineering
www.bluetechnik.com

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

I am glad I am retired now.
before my retirement every one but me were giving additional duties. and given no additional pay raise for it.
I refused and chose to retire early , my has the industry has changed, more work, long hours, less pay.
more responsibilities.
my early years I was on salary, bennies were excellent, Eye Care, Health care, 401 K , excellent Vacation
as the years pass, eye care went away, health care degraded, no bonuses. for every one.

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

(OP)

Quote (tygerdawg)

I have concluded that most Managers......aren't, and shouldn't be.

Ding, ding, ding! The root of most of the nonsense mentioned so far.

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

Quote (mfgenggear)


I am glad I am retired now.
before my retirement every one but me were giving additional duties. and given no additional pay raise for it.
I refused and chose to retire early , my has the industry has changed, more work, long hours, less pay.
more responsibilities.
my early years I was on salary, bennies were excellent, Eye Care, Health care, 401 K , excellent Vacation
as the years pass, eye care went away, health care degraded, no bonuses. for every one.

You can more than likely blame the bean counters for that, and most of the problems listed above.... and most to the economic problems in general. They are obviously a very important part of business, but when the bean counters begin to rule, ultimately the workers suffer.

I had a buddy of mine, a bean counter... and a business owner, ask me in confusion why a he was being sued by a civil engineer over a $4k unpaid bill when he had promised to pay and in fact, had already paid a portion of his bill. I tried to explain to him that the civil engineer had completed his contract and deserved to be paid and that it wasn't the engineers fault that the bean counter over extended himself and couldn't pay his bill.

The bean counter insisted that we were all d***s.

The bean counter didn't get what I was trying to explain to him.

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

That was because he was a d***s and a d**k, not because he was a bean counter. We're aren't born bean counters, but some of us are born d***s and d**ks, or close to it. Bean counting is simply a tool used by d***s' and d**ks

Likely, he was also a spectrum psychopath.

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: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

(OP)

Quote (mfgenggear)

I am glad I am retired now.

I am counting down the days. No way would I recommend my son or daughter to go into engineering or manufacturing fields these days. Medicine, law, or finance would be the only career fields I would recommend.

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

Meh, medicine is still overcrowded and therefore very very competitive as well.

Skyrocketing student debt, mortgage issues, and ever-extending car loans may make the finance market tricky in the next few years, similar to 2008.

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

Quote (SteelPE)

Also, during the interview with this company (who was a very large construction company in the food processing industry with projects all over the world) I had asked why their headquarters were in a burned out old mill city in the middle of nowhere thousands of miles away from their projects (I asked the question tactfully).

Sounds almost like Buffalo.

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

Not Buffalo, but that part of the country.

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

Many degree areas are not guarantees. I've seen lawyers suing law schools because the number of usable positions as lawyers is far smaller than the number graduating each year.

Some of the trades look promising - plumbing for example. It's not a surprise how grateful people are to have a non-functioning toilet repaired or replaced.

For a while a compounding pharmacist was a great job, but that may also be going away.

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

trade schools in what ever discipline is great 4-5 years making good money

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

I hear that plumber's pay is great compensation for not chewing your nails. Calling around for electrical work and knowing an electrician, I can verify that it takes a grand to get an electrician out of bed in Buffalo.

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

Sure, but a grand is probably what's needed to cover the basic travel time, amortization of materials and equipment, etc.

Aerospace companies bill out at up to $300/hr, but the actual worker is paid only about 1/3 of that; the rest is general & administrative, overhead, utilities, benefits, etc.

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: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

(OP)

Quote (mfgenggear)

trade schools in what ever discipline is great 4-5 years making good money

I know a couple trade electricians in my state who could not find enough work. One left the local electrician's union and took a private sector job. The other moved west for work. Doesn't seem promising from what I have seen.

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

I think that ANY job description will have winners and losers, especially since almost all jobs require some modicum of skill/talent. Why does one restaurant sit empty when the one next to it is jam-packed and has a long line? There is no free lunch and there is no panacea. On top of all of that, for tradespeople, they also have to have good people skills; trades require trust for repeat business.

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: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

In my local there are disciplined of all trades installing new electrical poles making good money.
Electrical
Civil engineering
Surveying
Drilling
Excavation
You name it
Up to $50/hr

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

In any field they have to experience
And be good at it, just like us.

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

I'm going to have to take issue to Civil Engineering being included in a list of "trades"....

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

2
Think about the hiring process:

During the interview, the company tries hard to impress you, telling you how wonderful it is to work for them, all the great benefits (well, sort of), the great teamwork, etc.

Then, 1 minute after you show up for your first day of work, they start piling on work, giving you more projects than you could do well in an 80-hour work week, plus HR training and keeping up with your PDH requirements. Then they degrade you by threatening your job if you work less than 60 hours per week.


Imagine if they told you this in the interview, "If we hire you, you'll be working 10 hour days, Monday through Saturday and maybe on Sunday afternoon, too." I'd walk out right there.

Why can't WE determine the amount of work we can do WELL? Are we professionals or not?

The current style of "management" treats engineering professionals as though they are machines that can be driven harder and harder. Even a machine overheats and breaks down if driven too fast; is it any surprise that humans do, too?

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

Ya sorry about that should be white collar positions.
But I included be cause there are many engineering positions.

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

I have no issue with working long hours, my only issues are when I'm not compensated appropriately, not given freedom to flex the schedule as needed, or when long hours are mandated to make-up for idiocy. I'm often part of an international team and need to meet with folks in Asia or elsewhere 1-2x daily, so long hours and occasional weekend work is somewhat expected.

Personally, the biggest post-interview surprise for me was simply the difference in attitudes and ability when I moved from a Fortune 50 to a small manufacturer. The Fortune 50 attracted real talent and consequently had a highly efficient, highly competent, highly experienced, "keep up" atmosphere. You learned to work fast, learn fast, and stayed on the edge of technology or you were gone and replaced quickly. Granted, there were seemingly endless opportunities in research, manufacturing, and other niches to grow as an engineer. The small office was lackadaisical all around - nobody worked fast, nobody went out of their way to learn, and competency regarding engineering tools and knowledge was lousy. They had little in terms of research or manufacturing facilities, so to be fair, growth opportunities were limited to waiting on someone above you to retire or die. It only took me a few months there to become more competent than most of the engineering staff and management. Shortly thereafter I wrote a bit of FEA code as a sales tool which inadvertently obsoleted most of my position and forced me into the choice of being fired or let go due to lack of work. That experience definitely changed my view on professionalism.

I agree with the belief that the trades have a bright future for those willing to master them. Two important considerations tho that weren't mentioned - hours and ownership. Anybody with talent thats willing to work the hours can make really good money, last I knew my brother the lineman makes ~$27/hr straight time but works 60-90 most weeks and occasionally travels to other states on storm duty where he's on OT 24/7 for 1-3 weeks. ~$27/hr ~ $140k one year. Business ownership also makes a huge difference to one's income, tho to be fair it comes with liability and other headaches.

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

Them. Why did you leave last position?
Me. Got bored and sick of this particular type of work.
Them. Oh we don't do that type of work, we'll sometime but very rarely
Me. Mmmm sounds good, happy to mentor others through it, but don't want to be doing it myself.
Them. Totally understand, like I said we've only done one of those types of jobs in the last few years.
Me. Cool, so when do I start?
Them. Next week.

First day on the job... Guess what I'm working on... FML.

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

On some jobs, if they told you the truth about why the position was open, it would go like this:
"Well - there is a 99% chance the military will cancel the project. Our engineers quickly took lateral positions elsewhere in the corporation. That's why we're hiring clueless new warm bodies so when the contract is canceled we can lay you off. We will have to lay you off as there are now no open positions elsewhere in the corporation. Of course this will occur a few weeks after you've pissed-off your previous employer by leaving and you have moved to an undesirable area in the US."

Happened to someone I know.

Always ask yourself when a headhunter calls you: "Am I solving my problem, or am I solving their problem."

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

Agent666,

What does "FML" mean???

After you tell me, it is usually obvious.

Jim H

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

Here in the UK I got an NHS job that read like an electronics R&D engineer for medical devices with a requirement for an MEng, a 1st (4.0GPA), experience with software and hardware development. When I started the job it turned out to basically be driving around teaching arthritic old people how to use computers and Kindles. From that I understand there was a mass grading exercise called "Agenda for Change"; people were asked to describe their own jobs to be assessed and given a pay grade, and it was standard practice to exaggerate everything you did to come out a few grades higher.

Aside from that I've never noticed a problem.

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

FML = f my life

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

(OP)

Quote (NOLAscience)

Why can't WE determine the amount of work we can do WELL? Are we professionals or not?

Exactly why I have wondered for a long time why there is no professional union for engineers. I have worked in some union shops, where the hourly employees were protected by their union, all while the white collar staff was beat up daily and stressed for their jobs.

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

(OP)

Quote (NOLAscience)

Then, 1 minute after you show up for your first day of work, they start piling on work, giving you more projects than you could do well in an 80-hour work week, plus HR training and keeping up with your PDH requirements. Then they degrade you by threatening your job if you work less than 60 hours per week.

You nailed the exact reason I do not relocate for a job. What are the chances they get me out to the middle of BFE and the new company dumps on me even worse than I had it before? Probably good chances these days since all company owners and HR idiots seem to share "trade secrets".

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

Quote (CWB1)

The Fortune 50 attracted real talent and consequently had a highly efficient, highly competent, highly experienced, "keep up" atmosphere.

The small office was lackadaisical all around - nobody worked fast, nobody went out of their way to learn, and competency regarding engineering tools and knowledge was lousy.
Funny, I've always found the opposite... large corps were bloated behemoths who took forever to decide what to have for lunch, whereas the small shops were nimble and people were aching to make a difference.

Guess it depends upon the field...

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

Quote (MacGyver)

whereas the small shops were nimble and people were aching to make a difference.

I think as well it really has a lot to do with the leadership and whose pushing the direction a company or team is going, get some good people in charge who know their stuff and a small number of competent people can achieve big things. Get some stale talent in charge who is afraid to make decisions or is too risk adverse and/or hire the wrong people and any innovation gets crushed.

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

2

Quote (tz101)

Exactly why I have wondered for a long time why there is no professional union for engineers. I have worked in some union shops, where the hourly employees were protected by their union, all while the white collar staff was beat up daily and stressed for their jobs.

I think this is a problem globally. I know some French people and they make working in a profession over there sound like a true nightmare. Endless unpaid overtime and the Sword of Damocles forever over your head.

I'm in a white-collar union but I find it pretty useless. The unions for tradespeople and service staff close the plants down and block the traffic whenever they don't like something, whereas ours spends years "negotiating" on things behind closed doors that seem to go nowhere. Perhaps it's because a white-collar union includes too many people who sympathise with management or are aware of the company budget... E

Even before shift pay and danger money come into it, the tradespeople recently got put on the same pay grades as engineering.

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

Engineers working at Boeing had a union in southern California, and another in Seattle, I think. It was called Southern California Professional Engineering Assn (SCPEA), but I don't know if it still exists.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
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RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

Quote:

Funny, I've always found the opposite... large corps were bloated behemoths who took forever to decide what to have for lunch, whereas the small shops were nimble and people were aching to make a difference.

IME the mega-corps are all very compartmentalized/niche-focused and process-driven on the product development side. Despite incremental changes in technology, they've made the same products for decades and have documented both the design process and time needed for each step of development. I've worked for several with automated PM systems that would send email reminders of tasks to perform, and if you didnt mark that you'd begun or completed a task within X hours of that email then management was notified to resolve the situation. With the exception of radically different products and pandemics/odd shutdowns, that might allow a poorly run 2-3 year project's launch to be off 2-3 weeks from its predicted launch. When you combine an effective PM with every engineer being "pigeon-holed" into a small niche, management becomes very effective. You might only own a few parts but you're effectively an assembly line worker and expected to be very proficient at doing your small bit on projects filling your entire week plus a few hours. Its boring, but professional. OTOH small companies IME tend not to have the luxury of broad product lines. Engineers consequently work on a much wider variety of projects, development is slower, and documentation of process and development time is generally terrible. That results in nothing being efficiently done. Combined with lousy career tracks (lack of management slots) and lousy personal development opportunities (lack of research/other facilities), the professionalism and ability generally sucks. Its not nearly as stressful or as boring, but going from a fast-paced professional environment to that seems about like going from the big leagues to intramural softball. My employer now is a medium-sized (several-hundred engineers) firm that I like to think has the best characteristics of both, but I dont think I will ever work for a smaller firm again.

As to engineering unions, I know several defense companies that have white-collar unions but honestly have never looked into the matter much as they are a bit of a rarity as are unbiased opinions of them. I've known a few of their employees and opinions swing greatly both ways with few in the middle, so I'll reserve mine until I am in that position personally.

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

(OP)
Anyone other than me that has to try answering to three "bosses" and never sure whose project takes precedence over the others?

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

Whoever approves your pay raises and gives you your performance review is your boss, by definition. Seems to me your kids probably know what to do, "But Mom said..."

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
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RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

(OP)
IRstuff, that always sounds good in theory, but it never stops others from stomping their feet and screaming. This, by the way, was forgotten to be mentioned in the interview. How convenient..

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

But, of course, interviews are like first dates; you wouldn't even know your date is capable of farting for a long while, just like you wouldn't fart in front of your date for a long while.

We once hired a hotshot designer, who was great for about 2 months; then, he started work around 10am, went to lunch around 11:30, came back around 1:30, and left for the day around 3pm. We had to fire his ass after several warnings.

Even if you only have one boss, prioritization can often be challenging; one coworker had this nice trick where he had a continually updated list of projects he was working on and would simply ask, "which of these other projects do you wish to eliminate or delay?" The manager would splutter and then go off to find a greener pasture.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
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RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

Having been overloaded like that a few times I handled it by doing project A on Monday , B on Tuesday, and so on. It takes me at least an hour to refocus on a project so I rarely switch back and forth in a day. This way I get some progress made in the week, and 9 times out of 10 come across some sort of blocker that needs to be resolved elsewhere, so I shoot off a CMA email and switch to the next project.

I agree, your boss is the one who does your appraisals. The others are 'just' customers. Oh, and customers who stamp their feet and/or scream become targets of sarcasm.

Cheers

Greg Locock


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RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

For most of my 19 years at one company, I had two bosses:

1. A succession of ever-changing people from the formal bureaucracy, as I moved among projects and departments.

2. The Founder/ Chairman/ Owner and VP, who had a set of projects all his own. I was one of maybe 50 "Champions" of his worldwide. He put us in touch with each other as needed.
All resources were siphoned off from the formal bureaucracy by simple theft.
The formal bureaucracy could never figure out where the resources were going, or how partially completed projects just sort of showed up.

It was a grand adventure.



Mike Halloran
Corinth, NY, USA

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

At my last job, I absolutely had 3 bosses. All three of them sat in and contributed to my reviews. All three of them lead production meetings. All three of them had equal control of payroll. All three of them had their own priorities. The joys of a small business partnership.

On the plus side, they each had their own strengths as engineers and in business, so I had an opportunity to learn a pretty wide range of stuff from them. But it sure was dizzying at times...

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

tz101 (Mechanical)
(OP)
18 Jun 20 15:07
Anyone other than me that has to try answering to three "bosses" and never sure whose project takes precedence over the others?

Yes many times and it caused many conflicts, beware when one boss gives you instructions with out consulting the other two.
I smarten up real fast and CC all of them.

even now I have more than three boss in my business and it never ends.

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

Not quite the same thing but a recent project had 3 equal partnerships in the overall development. One was supposed to be the "lead" on this bit of the design which was in concept phase.

Didn't work out like that with large differences in approach between the partners and us/me stick in the middle.

I nicknamed it project Cerberus. Look it up.

Remember - More details = better answers
Also: If you get a response it's polite to respond to it.

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

Worked for the same company right out of college for almost 10 years. Small company with lots of learning/growth opportunity and once that stopped I moved on to something new. Half a dozen small companies later and a couple of large Fortune 500 companies, which btw were the worst places I've worked thus far in terms of development and opportunity (almost 30 yeas)... I've come to the conclusion that, short of trying to figure your boss out right from the hiring process, you should probably just give it a year. All things reveal themselves with a bit of time and you get a better idea what you're in for after that first review, if not before then.

Some people are looking for a company to retire from, others just want to learn and grow. If you can find both, great; they don't have to be mutually exclusive but more oft than not, you'll have to figure out what you're willing to put up with in staying with a company or, simply move on.


RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

Or how about:

What I was going to say was, now you are aware that our Board of Directors has been indicted, myself included, and we're prohibited from doing business until the investigation is completed. So obviously, we would have no use for you.

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

The typical one that I've encountered is employers lie about the job they're actually hiring for. Typically this is consulting firms using vague job postings and lofty advertising about their firm to deceive you into accepting a normal salary, then after a week or two you find out that you get put on some large shitty project that they won (and the timing of wining it conveniently lines up with your hiring timeline) - either a crappy job they underbid, or a remote field engineer role on a construction job without a commensurate salary. Granted this is sometimes just the way things are but, I think I'm at the point where the next employer that does this to me I'm just going to walk out.

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

I learned early. First job out of school- at a start-up, a few years old. Was offered pay too low to live on in Toronto. I told them that- they sweetened it by 4%. I accepted. 3 days later I turned down 13% more money from somebody else- a major firm which was just a little too slow off the mark in making me an offer- I'm a man of my word and a deal's a deal. I went off for a month in Europe, came back, put first and last month's rent down on an apartment and still had $32 to my name...went in a week ahead of my start date to meet my boss. He said, "Hi- nice to meet you! Your pay's been cut by 5%". When I complained, he said he'd taken a 10% paycut so I could take 5. I started work making 18% less than I could have been making if I'd been less than a man of my word, i.e. like my new boss was. Welcome to the profession of engineering...

I was very fortunate that I got life lessons early, and learned from them. Life lessons hurt, and cost, much more later in life...

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

Quote:

Anyone other than me that has to try answering to three "bosses" and never sure whose project takes precedence over the others?

Sounds like an issue between your supervisor and the PM office, both of whom should know your workload almost better than you. JMO but one of the hallmarks of a great company is how well they manage. The less I need to see a supervisor or PM the better the organization and the less time wasted on non-engineering details. My favorite past employer had their system set up so well that most months I saw my supervisor and a PM exactly once each outside of each project's monthly management review. My least favorite past employer was so poorly organized that my supervisor assigned new tasks almost daily.

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

I worked at an engineering consultant's once. I understood what field of engineering I was going in to, and what work I would be doing. What I didn't realise was that 90% of it would be on a secondment to another company, where I had already interviewed, and decided that I didn't want to work there.

I ended up essentially working there, just on different terms and conditions thumbsup2

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

Quote (dkjfnvfd)

The unions for tradespeople and service staff close the plants down and block the traffic whenever they don't like something, whereas ours spends years "negotiating" on things behind closed doors that seem to go nowhere. Perhaps it's because a white-collar union includes too many people who sympathise with management or are aware of the company budget...

No, more like the white-collars were hoping to sit in the other chair within 5 years. Couldn't offend their future peers too much. On the other hand, the tradespeople knew they had no hope of joining management, so they wouldn't hedge their bets.

www.sparweb.ca

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

There was never much collaboration between SCPEA and the trade unionists.

The pay laws and structures in the US automatically puts the trades and white collars on opposite sides, even though less than 10% of the white collars will actually move up into the upper echelons.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
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RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

Quote (dkjfnvfd)

I'm in a white-collar union but I find it pretty useless. The unions for tradespeople and service staff close the plants down and block the traffic whenever they don't like something, whereas ours spends years "negotiating" on things behind closed doors that seem to go nowhere. Perhaps it's because a white-collar union includes too many people who sympathise with management or are aware of the company budget
We have a great union at our national laboratory for the professionals compared to the trades and technicians. We always get inflationary and merit raises, but benefits have stalled to 2000 levels. Everyone on the executive (except maybe one) of the union has no f**ks to give if they become managers. I know I have no reason to become a manager because I won't get a pay raise worth leaving the union. The company is too stupid to pay management what they are worth so great people have zero incentive to become management. We were the ones that almost shut down the site. Professionals are less confrontational and likely to strike but if you cut total compensation they will walk.

In ductility we trust.

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

(OP)

Quote (CWB1)

My least favorite past employer was so poorly organized that my supervisor assigned new tasks almost daily.

Unfortunately, I have seen that a time or two also. It always makes me wonder how "management" does not realize that jerking engineers from one project to the other in quick succession inevitably leads to more mistakes and errors.

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

Quote (tz101)

It always makes me wonder how "management" does not realize that jerking engineers from one project to the other in quick succession inevitably leads to more mistakes and errors.
My analogy to this is 'an insane asylum aboard an oil tanker'. People running in-and-out all the time giving the helmsman differing orders and changing priorities. But an engineering project is like an oil tanker. If you want to turn it, it takes miles no matter how much and how fast you shift the rudder.

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

Quote:

It always makes me wonder how "management" does not realize that jerking engineers from one project to the other in quick succession inevitably leads to more mistakes and errors.

Especially given that a main theme of both agile and lean philosophies is that multitasking causes waste, both in terms of time lost and rework.

RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

Knowing something and doing are two very different things
> we know we're not supposed to overeat, but we do
> we know we're not supposed to procrastinate, but we do
> we know we're not supposed to smoke or inhale tobacco products, but we do

These are life-shortening thing, so presumably demand higher compliance; if we can't do that, how can we compliant to things that are merely efficient for business?

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
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RE: Things they forgot to mention in the interview

Just here to contribute a sample point to the data. I found that most employers I worked for lied during the interview.

What I've learnt is to never give any value to subjective claims such as "career development" and "working on interesting projects". Rather, add-up all the quantifiable and quantifiable statements when assessing how good the job is (or isn't). If possible, everything discussed in the interview should be presented in writing (in the offer letter or employment contract). Any funny stuff (especially in the employment offer/contract) early on means run away, unless you have no other options.

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