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Weekend Journal -- The 4th Dimension

Weekend Journal — The 4th Dimension

I’ve been fighting a battle at work. No, not literally. I don’t want to get fired, I just got hired a few weeks ago. But I’ve been trying to convince co-workers and engineering management to buy a piece of equipment, specifically a 3D printer for doing prototyping (and yes, I’ve mentioned it here and on the radio show a few times). And I think I’ve narrowed the real issue and why I haven’t been getting anywhere with them yet. How do you prove what the future will be like? Personally, I have a strong dislike for prognosticators. Whenever I see a chip manufacturer or an industry analyst predicting how much a particular sector will grow in the coming year, I cringe. Sure, they know a little bit about the industry, they’re in it! They see trends and they talk to people and they get statements from buyers and sellers and […]

Picture used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 courtesy of Kate Tomlison

Why Are You an Engineer?

Since the theme of the week is motivation, I was thinking about what motivated me to pursue engineering in the first place. Recently, the Huffington Post had an interesting post on how to inspire scientists, and the disconnect between policy makers and scientists. The author also talks about engineers, and indicates that “useful and cool” are enough motivation to convince students to push through four years of college to get an engineering degree before heading out into industry to get a decent paying job at 22 to 25. And yes, the STEM fields are doing better than their non-STEM counterparts in terms of employment, but as has been discussed on this blog before, the idea of a career is changing. The economy is more global and more volatile than ever. The idea of a secure, well-paying job can be a great motivator, but it’s becoming less realistic. It seems to […]



Sebastian Abbott is a British automotive engineer living and working in Germany. He regularly writes as the Canny Engineer. Baffled, amazed and in awe would also be appropriate terms to describe his outlook on this engineering life. It is almost impossible to be an engineer much of the time. There are the days when you’re doing nothing but administration, getting tied up in repetitive or irrelevant meetings, when you’re yet again explaining the same thing to the same purchasing agent. There are the days when you’re being pulled in fifteen different directions at once, and you think, “Why am I doing this to myself?” One answer is, of course, the money. A decent salary doesn’t hurt, but studies have shown that a higher salary often does not lead to better productivity. To achieve that, to really get you up with a smile in the morning, you need motivation. I like the word, […]

Weekend Journal: Keep On, Keepin' On (Engineering Stuff)

Weekend Journal: Keep On, Keepin’ On (Engineering Stuff)

We decided to try out another theme week at Engineer Blogs this coming week. And being an admin, I took the first slot! Bwahahaha. All others will only be a derivative of my brilliant musings! (nah, they’ll be much better) The question this week is: What keeps you motivated in engineering? Engineering is a lot of things. Engaging, challenging, frustrating, rewarding, time consuming, under appreciated and often occurs with lots of fits and starts. To be honest, some days engineering really sucks. Yup, a blog about engineering is the best place to swallow a dose of reality. Some days you will bang your head against the desk hard enough to make your forehead bleed. Some nights you’ll rest your head on that desk because you’re still at the office at 10 pm, trying to figure something out. So what keeps us going? Specifically, what keeps me going? I’ll leave the rest […]