Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Engineering Advice for an entry level EE facing problems

  1. Oct 10, 2017 #1
    Hi everyone

    I just started a new job in EE and am unsure about what I should do about my difficulties working with another senior engineer.

    My manager assigned the two of us to work on the same project but he is very rude to me. He constantly talks in a condescending tone towards me, does not give me credit for my contributions on the engineering report, has me do mundane things such as data entry. He also has another engineer from a separate department doing the work that I should be doing even though the manager never mentioned that other person!

    Said engineer is also late for work every day, takes off for lunch early, comes back from lunch late, and leaves home early. He also blames me for being late if I don't show up at the workstation when he does (I go back to my desk to work on other things if he is late. no point wasting time waiting for him)

    I'm completely unsure about how to react to this situation.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 10, 2017 #2
    Sounds like every job ever. Im no EE, but with those types you have to stand your ground and not let then take advantage of you otherwise theyll never respect you. Most old dogs in the yard dont like when new pups show up. Do your work and he will warm up to you. I definitely wouldnt say anything to your supervisor about it either. No one likes a baby and thats exactly how it would be perceived. Give it some time.
  4. Oct 10, 2017 #3
    Look for a new job would be my number 1 priority at that point.
  5. Oct 10, 2017 #4
    His behavior sounds like he's disgruntled and withholding any support. You want to make sure the problem isn't YOU, also. If at any time you acted like a hot shot know-it-all new graduate, he'd probably behave that way.
  6. Oct 12, 2017 #5


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    With questions like this it can be difficult to offer specific advice because we're only getting your point of view. And that's not to invalidate your experiences - I can certainly understand how you feel. I think a lot of people have had to deal with similar issues, particular when starting their careers.

    Here's a few general tips on how to help get through these kinds of situations...
    1. Be professional at all times. The walls have eyes. In my experience people tend to recognize professional competence and attitude quickly. Even if you don't feel you're always treated fairly, do the best job you can at the tasks you have to do.
    2. Separate the problems which you can control from those you can't. This person comes in late and leaves early. Okay. I know it can be bothersome, particularly when you go out of your way to be punctual. But ultimately this is a problem for your manager to worry about. As a junior employee you have no control over this other person's behaviour. Also separate those that are important from those that just "feel" important. What impact will having your name on a given report have on your career? If it's critically important - this might be something worth bringing up to your manager. If it's one of those company white papers that no one is going to read, don't worry about it.
    3. Unfortunately not everyone you will work with will be a fine upstanding model of humanity. In fact it's not completely outside of the realm of possibility that as the new guy, you got stuck with this person because no one else will work with him. If you don't like it, make it clear that you would rather work with someone else the next opportunity that comes up. Again, this becomes the manager's problem to deal with. And remember that at work, you're at work - you don't have to develop a close friendship with everyone your work with.
    4. Everyone gets crappy tasks. I'm sure someone has to enter that data. One of the best ways to move up from these, in my experience, is to do them as diligently as you can, without complaint. Be seen as someone who is willing to do your fair share of the less-desirable work. Then the next time around, you've got a solid reason to request a better tasking.
    5. Senior guys may have trust issues. Sometimes these are legitimate. That's not to say this has anything to do with you. If the last three junior guys this senior person has worked with have made some major mistakes, you are unfortunately "guilty by association." The good news is that in most cases trust can be earned over time, by doing a good job and repeatedly exceeding expectations.
    6. Crucial conversations. It sucks to initiate these. But if you feel that this person is not treating you fairly, one of the first things to do is talk to him about it. Make time for it. Tell him how you feel. Outline your expectations and ask questions. Above all else, listen.
    7. Always be ready to vote with your feet. If you don't feel you're being respected, look elsewhere for a job.
  7. Oct 12, 2017 #6


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    How long have you worked there? Is this your first real (out of college engineering) job?

    As far as the mundane work, often people have to pay their dues. Make sure you make an effort to politely force your way into the "real" work, or request that you be given a chance to work on or observe other work, so you can do it solo in the future.

    As far as the not giving credit, what exactly do you mean by that? Do you mean he takes something you wrote and put his name on it in a meeting? Or do you mean he complies data you manipulated and created and writes a report on said data. Often 'names' and 'credit' in engineering workplaces is just for verification purposes, so someone reading the report has someone to call when they have questions. it doesn't mean they are the sole contributors, and people in the workplace will understand that.

    If you feel you can do other work that he is passing, off tell him you can handle it. Make sure you follow through and do it well and im sure you will be fine. Also others have given great advice.

    If you really feel it is not a good work environment, then dont be afraid to look for new opportunities, but don't let one bad apple spoil what could be a good job.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted