Times they are a'changing

Sept. 1, 2006
Thank you for the insightful, well laid-out thoughts of your May editorial. I agree with everything you said in principle. I have seen in my lifetime:

Thank you for the insightful, well laid-out thoughts of your May editorial. I agree with everything you said in principle. I have seen in my lifetime:

  • The installation of a generator going from requiring an engineer, to an electrician, to just any homeowner that can read the manual.

  • The troubleshooting of an automated machine going from requiring an engineer, to an electrician, to a mechanic that is not afraid of checking sensors.

  • Computers being used by scientists, then engineers, and then by people that took computer courses, and now by pretty much everybody.

So, I know the trend, and am fully aware that finding myself obsolete some day will be just my fault. Nevertheless, it still breaks my heart to see older people who did not have the warning signs (the high-speed pace of progress I had the benefit to witness) and losing their jobs at a later age, and not knowing what to do.

The Existential Pleasures of Engineering mentions that at an engineering congress at the beginning of the 20th century, the opening speech mentioned “…your contributions to the betterment of life for all humanity…”

It amazes me that at some point we were seen as professionals with purpose, and not a bunch of cold-hearted people that “like to take things apart.”

I believe that if we focus on people, the financial part follows. Do what is best for the lady that operates the machine, and deliver to her expectations; listen to the mechanic that will have to miss dinner with his family to fix the line on overtime. Then deliver with a spirit of service, and you'll have a good system that benefits the company financially.

Unfortunately, the attitude of many is they know better and the “customers” are just “whining.” But for all the degrees and experience, the truth still holds that without love for my fellow human beings, I am like a bell that does not ring.

You have a great, informative publication.

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