Just recently I joined as a mentor in a new course in “Ingenjörsprofessionalism” which deals with the professionalism of an engineer. Essentially we will prepare the students to become more skilled in “soft skills” and more prepared to interact with other people.
Today we had a stimulating one-day seminar held by SAAB Combitech and we discussed in dialog seminars different definitions of Engineers and many other things. I then came to think of what different types of engineers you see in a company – from the bottom to the top. This is my contribution… please find the top ten electronic staff stereotypes.
Let us start from the bottom.
The Positive Member Of Staff would be the fresh engineer coming directly from the university. Positive and eager to get going with the work. The smallest entity of the company. They are gathered and connected with each other to form more advanced systems. Putting only positive MOS together would be a risk, something more is needed.
The Negative Member Of Staff would be the more experienced engineer who was started to see his projects being cancelled. Also one of the smallest entities of the company. They are gathered and connected with each other to form more advanced systems. Mostly combined with the positive MOS to form a more functional team. Putting all negative together would not form any interesting outcomes.
The Less Valuable Staff are doing a lot of work. You just do not “understand” what they are doing. They are still engineers, but might work with more soft roles like quality and logistics. Among the other colleagues they are considered to be less valuable to the projects. In reality, they play an important role. They check that your projects pass through the quality checks and can be passed on upwards.
The Annoyingly Desperate Colleagues eagerly want to travel up in the hierarchy. They convert into a new kind of engineer and slowly migrate away from the basics on different levels. They start to take management courses and roles requiring more “responsibility”. They see that they are getting older and want to reach up before they are old. Some of them pay less interest in keeping good relations with their colleagues.
The Diligent and Attractive Colleagues can take more simpler instructions, such as specifications from the project managers and then convert them into more detailed plans and tasks for the other project members. They act as a filter between the upper and lower segments.
The Pessimistic, Cynical, and Bitter colleagues can be quite dangerous. If they have strong influence on your group, they can spread their pessimism. These are the guys that never made it, the ones that had ambitions and career plans, but never really got there due to many reasons. Now, they try to still make an impression, but rarely they are happy. They get roles where they pick results from other projects and put them together.
The Staff Finally Deserving Retirement are the seniors who do not care anymore. They are typically wandering around the corridors with a cup of coffee and attending meetings (for the free cookies). They are dangerous in the sense that they might show up in your cubicle/office and waste three of your valuable office hours. Beware when they start to talk about their sailing boats! They will distort your daily work!
The Project-Leader Light is the deputy project leader/manager. He is a bit more ambitious and just a bit closer to the design work. He puts some extra hours in to keep the project rolling. He can sense the pace of the design team and given the input from the management team he can bring the project in phase again.
Some Need a Rest. Some of the project leaders/managers are so overloaded and stressed by the fact that the projects do not progress fast enough. Typically they spend most time reporting, documenting and communicating. These guys are close to hitting the wall and usually need some more rest. The less energy they have, the worse the results will be.
The Holy Distinguished Leader is now the senior engineer who essentially has forgotten the lab and circuit design. Effectively being the technical manager of the division. He steers the ship (chip?). At this level, you do not need to design with e.g. spice and other tools. Here, instead, you can just express the way your projects should be run through simple lines of text, processes, and functions. This is then compiled by someone else and distributed down the hierarchy.
Well, jokes aside. Actually, some of the observations above are real and genuine. Why not think a bit about the situation you are in at your department? What kind of people are there? What do you want to become and by when?
You might also want to think of questions like: “Hmm, the guy in that office – he seems to be a guru. He knows everything and he solves all issues in very short time. How?!?”
What makes him a guru? Why is he good?