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I hate money!

  1. Jun 10, 2006 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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    I hate money!

    Obviously I want to have a lot of it so I'm no better than anyone else, but I hate the games that go with making money. A salesman once told me that it is the pursuit of wealth, and not wealth itself, that addicts people. I would certainly argue that point. But maybe this is the dinstiction between people like me who make money because we need it, and those who truly enjoy the money game. I know people who thrive on the very climate - tension in a room, mental chess games designed to deceive - that makes me most miserable. They seem to flourish in a world of mind games and insincerity.

    The other side is the perspective change that dollar signs induce. There is a truism in the business world: If you want to lose a friend, go into business together. Not absolute of course but generally true. I know it first hand. And now I see it with customers. There is a customer that I have bent over backwards to give a good deal on a large job. Jobs usually get very political [money], and often someone has their job on the line if things go badly. I learned long ago that I need to be sensitive to this, but also that no matter how good of a deal I make someone, and no matter how far above and beyond the call of duty I may go, the very next day they will ***** and moan if I come out an hour or two ahead for a change. They will stab you in the back and never give it a second thought. There is certainly no such thing as gratitude in the business world.

    When I first went into business doing consulting/programming/engineering, a very successful salesman that I know lectured me about engineers and the business world. As a rule, scientists and engineers make really lousy business people. We are too focused on solving the problem and not making the money. He told me how he has watched guys like me come and go for decades, and most fail because they can't stop being engineers - the surgery was a success but the patient died sort of thing.

    Somehow I manage to get through it all without losing my mind, but in this way I'm not really the sort of person who should be in business. I don't like the games and BS. It drives me nuts! And in many or most ways I hate the pursuit of wealth. But I love my work, and more importantly, I hate bosses even more than greed.
     
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  3. Jun 10, 2006 #2

    brewnog

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    The thing that gets me is that you can't make any real money in our profession doing the fundamental engineering tasks; concept, design, development, manufacturing, service etc. To get a higher salary you have to go into a management role of one form or another where you become disconnected from the technical work; as a result the real engineers who are the fundamental product makers are totally undervalued. Alternatively, have the balls and nous to go it alone and work for yourself, but this isn't without its risks.

    The other thing which I get frustrated with is that nowadays, business is so fiercely cost-oriented, that you a vast amount of creativity is taken away from you as an engineer. As a result of all this I'm wondering about becoming a black belt...
     
  4. Jun 10, 2006 #3

    wolram

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    Way to go Ivan, the Bs do not understand us, and i do not even want to try to understand (them) snake/ish low life sons of-----------------
     
  5. Jun 10, 2006 #4
    There are many honest businessmen, but honesty rarely gets anyone very far in the buisness world.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2006
  6. Jun 10, 2006 #5

    Astronuc

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    Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon (1973) :biggrin:
     
  7. Jun 10, 2006 #6
    In technical fields it's been my experience that most managers of technical people are clueless about the technical side either because they came from a non technical background or because they lost touch with the technical side.

    I hate management myself, but there's the risks and lack of insurance and that type of thing. Plus you HAVE to be a good salesman to make it work. And not everyone can wear multiple hats like that.

    Ivan, sounds like you have a case of the grass is greener, because I'd love to be in your shoes with no boss and no clock to punch
     
  8. Jun 10, 2006 #7

    Ivan Seeking

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    Don't get me wrong: I consider myself to be very lucky. But it does come with a big price as well.

    Anyway, I didn't mean this to be about me so much as people like us who venture out as I have. I find the business world to be much like an alien landscape governed by a physics not known to me.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2006
  9. Jun 10, 2006 #8

    brewnog

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    I'm trying to organise myself a placement in sales at a different facility; that way I get some customer interface experience, but will also have to deal with a product I don't really know. Will report back if I get anywhere with that one, could have some pretty valuable lessons in it for me.
     
  10. Jun 10, 2006 #9

    turbo

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    Ivan is right - being out on your own can be empowering, but you've got to watch the money side of the business, because your customers will be. They don't know your specialty, which is why the hire you, but they do know their own business, and their own bottom line comes first. This complicates things. I worked as a technical/training consultant for years (mostly in boiler operation, steam systems, turbine-generator operation and power distribution) and no matter how nice you are, there is somebody in every mill that is going to try to yank your chain because they perceive that you are on their turf, and there is somebody at some level of management in almost every mill that is going to try to gain financial advantage at your expense, whether it be by demanding services not contracted for (project creep) or other means.

    An exception: While reviewing computer logic diagrams for the computerization of a large power boiler at a mill in Alabama, I found over a dozen errors, some of which would have been extremely dangerous or fatal to operators if the boiler had been brought on-line with the controls configured that way. I explained the problems to the chief engineer, and we met with the mill manager that afternoon and went to the programming company's location in Mobile the next day for a priority meeting. As I brought up each problem, the project director would say "Oh, we already found that and fixed it.", "That was just an error in the print - the logic will be configured properly", and crap like that. Even though they had already "fixed" all these problems, his assistants were making notes like mad all through the meeting and they had to have photocopies made of all my revised logic diagrams and notes. Already fixed? Yeah, right. The mill's chief engineer just sat back grinning like a possum watching them squirm. :yuck: That project, and the computerization of the second power boiler the next year were probably the only projects in large mills when I didn't have any bean-counters or mid-level-types with aspirations breathing down my neck. The mill manager made sure that I was given all the leeway and resources I needed to do the job right, and I was answerable to him and his chief engineer only. I could have probably signed on permanently, but two 4-week stints in central Alabama (mid-July to mid-August) convinced me that Maine is a nice place, winters included. :devil:

    Another little problem is that the government is ill-equipped to deal with self-employed professionals, and they use the same big sticks that they use on large engineering firms, consulting groups, etc. One mill in south Georgia offered me a multi-year contract that was essentially part-time but payed so well that I could have lived comfortably off that one contract. The hitch is that every contractor had to provide proof of worker's comp insurance. I had to take out a worker's comp policy on myself in order to provide the proof, and as soon as I did, the state (reasonably) assumed that I had employees and the department of taxation kept threatening me because I was not paying unemployment insurance or withholding taxes from these "employees". I sent letters explaining the situation, but the threats continued unabated until the project was completed a couple of years later.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2006
  11. Jun 10, 2006 #10

    Ivan Seeking

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    So true! And with the small companies it seems that the number 2 person is always the problem. They are usually over-worked, under-paid, and suffering from ego problems because they think they should be number 1. But I have had guys turn on me for reasons that I never did understand. I have no idea how I was a threat to them. I dropped one of my largest customers when I caught a guy sabotaging my work - can't afford the liablity with that sort of thing going on. And I thought we were pretty good friends... I still have no idea what happened.

    But there have been a few exceptions, and I have definitely gotten breaks and come into good opportunities because of the nice people met along the way. I should never say never...but exeptions have been rare. Most places are fairly reasonable, but never let down your gaurd; that's for sure.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2006
  12. Jun 10, 2006 #11

    Mk

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    One of the top ten rules of the mafia: Never loan money to a friend or you'll end up havin' ter whack 'em.
     
  13. Jun 10, 2006 #12

    Pengwuino

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    Makes you wonder what management feels about engineers... i can already see the roots of what i would bet they complain about.
     
  14. Jun 11, 2006 #13

    the world is a jungle(I don t mean it as a matophor). Are you really tell me that you never manipulate people to advance your own interest? of course you do. It is an integral part of the social structure of our specie `s evolution.
     
  15. Jun 11, 2006 #14

    Integral

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    Ivan,
    There is a 2 word rebuttal to nearly every thing you said.

    Hewlett Packard


    2 College friends with Engineering degrees go into business together and make history.

    I think much of what you say is reality, even the inheritors of the Hewlett Packard philosophy have lost sight of what made that company unique in its day.
     
  16. Jun 11, 2006 #15
    This whole money race is depressing in my opinion. The only reason the middle class people search for it is to pay the rising taxes and debts for the cars/homes/oil and to buy new shining junk. I would feel free if I didnt have need of any of those.
     
  17. Jun 11, 2006 #16

    Pengwuino

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    So why do you need them?
     
  18. Jun 11, 2006 #17
    I dont. Think about it.
     
  19. Jun 11, 2006 #18
    money's like air.. It's only important if you don't have any. At least to some people.

    I think the backstabbing and toe-stepping isn't limited to just one facet of business. People would usually sell thier own mother to further thier own careers no matter where they are in the food chain. It's a pretty universal trait. People who are otherwise upstanding individuals turn into satan's spawn when money becomes involved. It is the nature of things. People tend to make money thier central focus because of what money brings them.

    It's funny if you think about it: paper money doesn't actually have any worth or value except what society places on it. We could decide tomorrow that money is worthlesss and bottlecaps are the new method of exchage. Then you'd see people getting robbed and killed over bottlecaps.
    We're all rats in the maze chasing the imaginary cheese- does it ultimately mean anything?
     
  20. Jun 11, 2006 #19

    ... and what it brings is more attachment to the 10^9 ways those above you have to rob you, abuse you and then demand your gratitude. Though I believe he is saying only a small part of the truth, some Chomskyists here may agree with this. It really is ''Render to Caesar what is Caesar's''
    whether you like it or not.
     
  21. Jun 11, 2006 #20

    Ivan Seeking

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    No, I don't; at least not knowingly or intentionally.

    Believe it or not, it is possible to get by without being a crook using your friends. Sure, I've done things I regret, but I never intentionally screw people.
     
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