I can understand the lure, a nice temperature controlled office, coffee on tap and a bit of eye candy to brighten up your day.
But having spent an average of 10 years plus learning the trade, with every day an adventure, you wake up and think ‘better get a shirt and tie job, getting too old for this tools lark’. But why?
I’ll tell you why. Many an engineer feels undervalued and thinks that he may get a bit more respect, if he wears a shirt and tie and batters out e-mails everyday to all and sundry.
In an age where engineers, and more precisely, good ones, are thin on the ground, is it not better for companies to change their way of thinking and find ways of keeping them on the tools.
This will allow them to pass their experience on to up and coming engineers, rather putting them into an office, and let’s face it, after a while you forget some of the experience that you have gained over the years due to inactivity.
I appreciate that people have worked their way up through the ranks, and the next step is a service or project management role - many may think that is the logical step in their career - but I urge you all to think again and stay as long as you can on the tools.
But I urge you all to think again and stay as long as you can on the tools and impart all the knowledge that you have gained over the years on to the younger members of your teams.
Of course, while some engineers are suited to the tools, others should be in an office, under lock and key. But good engineers don’t always fit in to the office way of life and can get frustrated - I know, I’ve been there.
I would rather be standing in front of a pack, troubleshooting, than pondering over my computer and people above me, watching what time I leave at (it seems you’re not a team player if you leave at 5pm).
There’s nothing more fulfilling than seeing an engineer that you have helped over the years, reach their potential. They may even end up taking the Mickey out of you when they become your boss.
So why would you want to give up on the tools? It’s times like these you wish you were back in your overalls, standing in front of a pack, in the rain trying to work out why the EC fans are not working and the vent valve keeps lifting on the C02 pack, rather than working how many hydrazorbs are required for the first fix or worrying about if micro-pipe is right.
As the esteemed philosopher Ronald Macdonald says, I’m loving it.