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Any Engineering Supervisors?


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#1 Jonhnny123

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 03:38 PM

So my supervisor is leaving in 6 or so months and has asked if I'd like to replace him. I'm trying to figure out if this is a career move I want to make.

I'm the youngest one (by far) in my group, but "know the system" and get along with everyone in the group. So I'm sure I'd do a good job.

Pros:
More money (probably a 50% raise plus bonuses)
Career Advancement
New skills to add to resume (managing people)

Cons:
More time outside of work hours being tethered to work
I'd have to drink at least some of the kool-aid
I don't think I'd like it

Now my main concern is the fact that I'm really not sure that I'd like it. I can more or less deal with the other cons, but I'm not enthusiastic about the corporate culture. I work at a large corporation with many layers of management. There are lots of meetings, performance indicators, proceedures, and other BS type things I would have to deal with.

I do like my current job. I enjoy the variety, challenge, and experience of doing engineering work to come up with solutions. Leading projects is one thing, but being a supervisor is totally different. I guess put simply, I prefer the technical side of things.

So are there any engineering supervisors out there? Do you enjoy the work? Would you rather be back in engineering? The increase in pay would be fantastic, but I'm not struggling financially and I just have this vision in my head that I would be unhappy as a supervisor.

Thanks for reading my wall o' words. Any input is appreciated.

#2 Road Guy

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 07:50 PM

It's a love hate relationship....

Sometimes I wish I was mowing grass on the side of the interstate...

But it helps if you have good people above you with realistic goals and expectations...

I don't miss doing cad work and manipulating design software though, but I do miss working through one project myself and not having to rely on someone else to do it...

If your a hands on person, it takes a while to get used to letting others do their jobs, it did for me..

#3 Peele1

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 10:47 PM

I've been in management for a while. Actually, I started in management - I have a master's in Management along with my BS EE... I like managing people, projects, budgets, priorities, etc. If you aren't good at management, you probably won't like it, or your staff won't like it.. one or the other...

#4 solomonb

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 03:05 AM

This is a great question! The bottom line answer is that you have just become the Parent to XX number of kids. XX is the number of direct reports that you have inherited. If you like being a parent, you will do well in this role.

If money is the goal, management is the way to go. You are going to make more money in management than staying in the technical side of the business. Why? Well, the firm sees you as a more valuable employee, you make greater contributions and you have the capability to enhance revenue, both realized and projected. You are now getting things done through others- they will NOT do as you would do, however, in most instances, the task will be completed. Sometimes, the job will be done well, other times, you will have great frustration with the quality ot the work completed. Your little butt will be stuck in meetings about 80% of the time. Think DILBERT---DILBERT is a great marker for any large company. Read a couple weeks of DILBERT and you will have a great idea of what your new boss is like-- Just like the Pointed Hair guy!!!!! Hell, I don't know you, your firm, or your boss--- however, rest assured that DILBERT is very, very characteristic of any large company or government organization.

The ability to lead people is one of the most awesome duties and responsibilities ever! Although we never could have a family, I thoroughly enjoy leading a group of folks-- however, there is frustration involved-- just be forewarned.

If you get along with your colleagues, you want the chance, go for it. The worst that can happen is that you don't like it and you revert back to one of the troops on the floor.

Meetings are a way of life for the bureaucratic individual. I left a large bureaucracy for private practice 5 years ago and could not be happier. However, I spent 35 years in a big bureaucracy-- at the end of the day, Dilbert came through loud and clear.

I would say go for it and see what happens. You will do well, learn some new skills and if you are young, your parenting skills will be vastly burnished after this exercise.

#5 Jonhnny123

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 10:02 PM

Thanks for the advice! I already see examples of Dilbert in my current position daily haha.

I think the most important thing to take away from it is if I hate it, I can always look for work else where and using the experience I could do something a bit more technical like project management. Previously, I was just focusing on the negatives. I'll put more thought into it, but I'm at least starting to look at some of the more positive aspects of it now.

#6 Coastal Engineer

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Posted 24 February 2012 - 12:48 AM

Another angle. If you ever have any hopes of being a manager in this company and it is known that you weren't interested in applying for an opening, it could follow you around for the rest of your career at that company. You are definitely flagging your interest to move up, even if you are not the successful candidate, by applying. Not taking the chance to apply also shows management that you may not be that interested or not that confident in your own abilities. Also consider how often these opportunities come along. Just some devils advocate advice for you but if you have any interest at all then throw your name in the hat.

#7 Dleg

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 10:29 AM

A bit of advice I once got - if someone above you is telling you they think you are ready for a supervisor role, they probably see something in you that you might not recognize yet. No one ever feels completely ready to move up. You just have to do it, and it sounds like you have at least a little suspicion that you might be good at it.

I have recently made this move, as well. I have found that, far from losing that engineering problem-solving aspect of the job, being a supervisor gets you to a whole 'nother level of problem solving. Only now, instead of your own skills, you have the skills, time, and resources of xx other employees that you can bring to bear on even bigger problems. It's really pretty cool, and makes all the new skills you have to acquire seem more interesting - you know, the skills of getting a variety of totally different people to do a good job and be happy about it.

#8 envirotex

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 12:22 AM

A bit of advice I once got - if someone above you is telling you they think you are ready for a supervisor role, they probably see something in you that you might not recognize yet. No one ever feels completely ready to move up. You just have to do it, and it sounds like you have at least a little suspicion that you might be good at it.

I have recently made this move, as well. I have found that, far from losing that engineering problem-solving aspect of the job, being a supervisor gets you to a whole 'nother level of problem solving. Only now, instead of your own skills, you have the skills, time, and resources of xx other employees that you can bring to bear on even bigger problems. It's really pretty cool, and makes all the new skills you have to acquire seem more interesting - you know, the skills of getting a variety of totally different people to do a good job and be happy about it.


Nice perspective, Dleg. Do you think it allows you to add to your own "technical" skills...having to know something about what everyone else is doing?

#9 Dleg

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 06:48 AM

^Yes. Previously, I worked only on my projects, and knew only what I needed to know. Now I have to have at least a broad knowledge of everything that is going on, and it exposes me to a lot more. I am gaining technical know-how despite not being the person doing the work.
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#10 EnvEngineer

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 11:59 PM

I have been supervising for quite a while now and if BS is on the floor everyone must walk through it. As a supervisor you get to make some change and make life easier for you and everyone who works on your projects.

I agree with the aspect of working on several projects, makes for a more exciting life. The people aspect is tough, all the technical staff who was working here before me has left, some not happy. But I have done my own hiring and have a great crew that is very pleasant and easy to work with. Some of the previous I was not sad to see go, but they did their job and were acceptable.




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