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Old 05-26-2018, 12:02 PM   #1
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Default Help me be great at my new job.

I have started a new job as an electrical engineer doing transmission and substation design for a poco. This is my first time working as an electrical engineer. What habits and organizational advise would you give too a new engineer? I am responsible for project management for porjects less than 2.5 million and engineering for larger projects.What would you say are some pitfalls I should avoid?

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Old 05-26-2018, 12:25 PM   #2
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The vast majority of engineers I work with have huge egos and very small brains. They believe that their word is absolute LAW, no exceptions. Further, they believe that they are never wrong, it's always someone else fault. Almost always the installer.

I'd say, keep your ego in check, admit your mistakes and ask those who install the equipment for advice once in a while.

If you haven't actually installed the stuff you're designing, spend time in the field learning what the installers go through every day. Your designs will greatly improve with actual field knowledge and experience.

If you consider yourself a bit lower or at least on the same level, as those who do the actual work, they'll likely look up to you. If you think you're a notch or 2 higher, they'll look down on you.
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Old 05-26-2018, 12:33 PM   #3
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You did a good thing...ask for help. Always have a humble, teachable attitude. You will find that people will work with you if you work with them. Even though you are in a place of authority, be ready to admit your mistakes.
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Old 05-26-2018, 12:51 PM   #4
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Do you have an engineering degree?
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Old 05-26-2018, 01:00 PM   #5
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Do you have an engineering degree?
Are you an engineer in training? Are you on an engineering design team? My understanding is once you finish engineering school you still have to be trained at an engineering firm.
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Old 05-26-2018, 01:15 PM   #6
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One of my favorite quotes, "Yesterday I couldn't even spell inginere, today I are one".
I was on a large "engineered" project once, and the guy, or, one of them who drew up the print, which I followed to the fraction of an inch, showed up, and said, "Oh, that's what it looks like, well, that's not what I had in mind at all".
So, I replied, "why did you draw it that way"?
F-ed his day all up.
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Old 05-26-2018, 01:20 PM   #7
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Don't walk through the office empty handed. Even if you are going to the restroom.
Have a file folder, a paperback reference book or some other prop to carry with you.
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Old 05-26-2018, 01:23 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Valdes View Post
Do you have an engineering degree?
I graduate in december. They expect me to take over for an Engineer who has just left. I have alot of experience in the areas he was responsible for and my team members will deop everything to help any time I ask. I feel this is a great oppertunity to learn fast and show myself capable. However, like all oppertunities there are plenty of ways to misstep.


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Old 05-26-2018, 01:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joebanana View Post
One of my favorite quotes, "Yesterday I couldn't even spell inginere, today I are one".
I was on a large "engineered" project once, and the guy, or, one of them who drew up the print, which I followed to the fraction of an inch, showed up, and said, "Oh, that's what it looks like, well, that's not what I had in mind at all".
So, I replied, "why did you draw it that way"?
F-ed his day all up.
Learn what a good set of prints looks like.
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Old 05-26-2018, 01:39 PM   #10
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I doubt there's very many engineers on this forum to give you (OP)
any advise.

All I can say is , regardless of the tempatation
don't climb up onto window sills.
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Old 05-26-2018, 01:41 PM   #11
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If you can find someone you trust have them proof read the prints. Unfortunately every one has a ego so you run the risk of them spotting a problem and going above your head to get a pat on the back.

The other option is to complete the package then go back and proof read them again in a different mind set. The more complicated the job the easier it is to make tiny mistakes that turn in to a clusters f*** in the field.

Common ones that I have seen include flipping / mirroring the image in autocad. Cut and coping text, etc.
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Old 05-26-2018, 02:24 PM   #12
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There are many diverse people on this forum. if I only seek advice from engineers I will limit my perspective. I have spent 20 years as an electrician I dont think durring that time my viewpoint was invalid.
Quote:
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I doubt there's very many engineers on this forum to give you (OP)
any advise.

All I can say is , regardless of the tempatation
don't climb up onto window sills.
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Old 05-26-2018, 03:23 PM   #13
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I would say along the lines of what @micromind and @John M. said, one of the things to do is keep the ego in check. To me a good way to do this is not place yourself as the authority, place things like codes, standards, the laws of physics, and practical reality as the authorities we're all trying to satisfy.

One of the problems I see is the way the process usually plays out, if the people implementing the design find an issue with the engineer's design, there's hell to pay, because at that point it's going to cost someone money.

I think that's where the ego comes from - they act like they're perfect because they are petrified they'll get fired if they are not perfect.

If you can involve the people implementing the plan before it's finalized, budgeted around, and scheduled around, you might be able to resolve issues before they're a disaster. If your own experience has been in the field actually performing the work, you're way ahead of the game.
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Old 05-26-2018, 06:02 PM   #14
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Please don't do what happened to me years ago.

We had an issue with gear being installed, we knew it as the project progressed. We tried like heck to get the engineer out to see what was happening.. He was a no show.
We had the equipment manufacturer out and he said,, no way, can't do it as drawn on the prints..

With the customer standing there the engineer finally came on site..
Refused to look at anything or talk to anyone.
He only looked at the prints and using his pencil, he crossed out one line and connected it elsewhere.
He smiled and walked away..
I couldn't hold back the laugh..


It was a no way, never work, can't do, stand way back dead short if done, call the fire dept early kind of issue..


Please don't be that kind of engineer and you'll do great..
Good luck.
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Old 05-26-2018, 07:12 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bird dog View Post
Learn what a good set of prints looks like.
Or, learn what the equipment looks like, and how it operates, before you draw them.
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Old 05-26-2018, 07:50 PM   #16
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Always,always,always be humble. Nobodyís perfect and not always that you do is right. If you make mistakes, admit it and donít blame it to other. Good day.


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Old 05-26-2018, 08:11 PM   #17
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If there's a project going on, and there's nothing pressing in the office, park your back side on the job. That makes you available for clarity/questions, lets you observe the challenges, and generally speeds up that project and makes the next projects even smoother. You can't be a PM from an office. At least, not a good one.
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Old 05-27-2018, 12:12 PM   #18
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Good things to have when managing projects:

People skills:

- trusted eyes on the ground. Developing trusted subordinates can save you a lot of hassles.

- cooperative associates. Many engineers do not develop the people skills to work well with groups. Cooperation and formation of groups can save a lot of individual work, and trusted cooperation can solve and prevent issues more effectively and expeditiously.

Quality control:

- the cooperation thing listed above, having trusted eyes to double check plans and field conditions, can go a long way to avoiding screw ups.

- besides having scheduled (regular) site meetings, having irregular (surprise) site visits (by you or trusted subordinates) can deduce and prevent qc issues, as well as provide better qc overall (for obvious reasons).

good luck with the gig
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