4 responses to “Engineering the Age Gap”

  1. An old engineer

    I learned long time ago that technical ability will not guarantee that you will rise in the corporate ladder. More often than not, the opposite may be true.

    When I was a young engineer, I was assigned to a lead a project that was overdue, over budget, and had major technical flaws. I managed to pull the project thru and even made it work somehow.

    The sucess of the project gave me the reputation of being a hard worker. It also gave me the label as to who to give the problem project to. “He’ll figure out how to fix it”. So, for most of my 35 year career, I’ve been fixing someone else’s problems.

    So, if you’re a smart manager, you don’t promote the guy who can solve your problems. If you do, you’ll have someone who might challenge you for your job and you’ll have to find someone else capable of dealing with all of the crappy projects that come along.

    Consequently, the people who are good with dealing with people are the ones who tend to rise to the top. They may not have all of the technical skills, but they have the ability to negoliate through the minefields of interpersonal relationships.

    Look at the personalities on your TV news station. They all fit a certain profile of being likeable, friendly and good looking. Don’t be surprised if corporate management fits the same bill. Being young does help. Being nicely dressed helps, etc. It’s the image.

    My advice to younger engineers is to learn all you can about dealing with people. You can learn alot from people who are both younger and older than you. You can learn alot from people in other professions and skill sets. Learn to really listen to what is being said when someone speaks regardless of age or gender and respect that conversation.

  2. Stanley Ma

    Regardless of the makeup in one’s workplace, I think it’s important to always remember the golden rule. Treat everyone with respect and leave the stereotypes at home. Things tend to run smoother that way.

  3. Andre Dauphinais

    I am curious, I am a 50-year-old male considering an engineering degree, however, I need to basically start college from scratch. My question is this: Do you think that at my age I would be given a chance at achieving my goal, provided I make the grade, to get hired as an engineer?

    Thank you,
    A. Dauphinais

  4. Andre Dauphinais

    P.S. I have already started some gen ed classes in hopes of transferring to an engineering college/degree program.