Blog Viewer

So you want to impress your manager ...

Although this is intended for folks just entering the field, the ideas presented are applicable to work at any level.  It is a bit of a jumble, presented in no particular order.  Think of this as clearing out a 30-year old attic.  

1) Under-promise and over-deliver.  This axiom is especially true for delivery dates.  Make sure you can deliver what's required on the date you say ... then add a day or two.  Have you accounted for a long week-end, info that you need to have before you can begin, etc.?  If folks spent more time thinking about what is entailed in a job and coming up with realistic delivery commitments, they could spend less time finding reasons (aka : excuses) for why it's late.  Bosses are never impressed by missed deliveries.

2) Organizing or "laying out" a drawing does not mean loading a random collection of blocks and 3D model views into a border.  I have met a great number of people that are capable of creating 2D and 3D representations of complex geometries in record time.  Unfortunately, the company I work for still sends out 2D drawings to our customers.  This means that the information contained in the 3D models needs to be presented in a logical way so the end-user can figure out what exactly you have come up with.  back when the earth cooled, draftsmen started each drawing by planning what would go on each sheet, the scale used for each view and where each view would go.  It helps if you think of a drawing as a narrative explaining a particular environment.  Good stories all start by setting out some context, developing the plot-line and the key characters along a common thread.  A good drawing does the same with keyplans, notes that clear up what the drawing is for (and what it should not be used for) and gradually increasing detail laid out in a consistent manner (ex: Plan View is always in the 2nd quadrant).  Bosses are generally old enough to remember when drawings actually "looked good".

3) Analysing a system does not mean doing math on a scrap of paper or on an Excel sheet saved on your C: drive as "Book1.xlsx".  It needs a title, a project reference, a list of assumptions and a logical flow.  Once again, think of your analysis as a story.  It needs to be filed someplace where others can check it and use it as a reference if required.  Just providing the answer may get the job done but if there is a problem (ex: you based your calcs on HS Steel and mild was specified) how does anyone know?  If they blame you - how can you convince people that you were working to the best info that was available?  You have NO RECORDS.  More and more jobs require an "Engineer of Record" to approve the design package formally by stamping Specs & Drawings.  This requires a P.Eng to certify that work completed by others meets all applicable standards and will not harm the public nor the environment.  This is not likely to happen if the supporting calculations are sketchy, badly organized or missing entirely.  Yes, penmanship counts and Yes, sketches need to make sense to more than 1 person to be useful.  Bosses are impressed with good records that help explain why something looks like it does.

4) Come to work to work.  Of course there is a social aspect to your job.  This is both necessary & beneficial to the work you do.  Normal working hours are not the time for texting, Facebook, Youtube, Kijiji or any other digital distraction.  By all means, take a break.  leave your desk. Talk to your co-workers in the lunch room, have a cup of coffee and take some time to read an article in MT.  Then get back to work.  That's what your desk, phone & PC are for.  Most offices do not embrace a campus-mentality.  Loud conversations or laughter distract others and point out to those of us that are working that you are not.  Bosses like productivity.

5) You are a professional, dress the part.  This doesn't mean you need to wear a tie or embrace the Dilbert-look.  It does mean that torn jeans, sneakers, T-shirts and spandex say something other than "trust me with your 200 million dollar project".  You work in a conservative industry.  Change happens slowly, get over yourself.  Your reputation should be based on your ability, not your fashion choices.  This is only possible if your work is more noticeable than your wardrobe.  Bosses like engineers that look like engineers.

6) Ask questions.  This is especially important for recent graduates.  The snarly old guys may seem unapproachable but most of them are genuinely happy to help you solve a vexing problem or to direct you to the applicable sections in Lloyds Rules.  You got through school by asking lots of questions, this shouldn't change just because you're now getting a paycheck.  We "snarly-old-guys" can also learn how to make better use of internet-based tools and reference information from the recent grads.   Bosses like teams.

The attic is a little less musty.

Thanks for helping me out.