Although I have an engineering degree, I spent three years prior to this job not utilizing that degree whatsoever. I thought getting my foot into the auto industry some way some how would open opportunities to land the jobs I can excel at. Instead, my production supervisor job at my previous employer used little to no technical expertise. Problem solving was very ordered, and had no room for alternative solutions. (If this happens do that, no questions asked, no matter if there are easier or better solutions). It also was very stressful, and full of other stresses and tasks that should not come with a job like that. I threw my resume out to anyone who would read it for two years. Had a few interviews, others straight up told me I took the wrong career path to get to where I wanted to be.
Until I came across my current job. It checked off all the boxes. Technical as heck, creative freedom, non-managerial, ability to work with so many people inside and out of the company. I’ve been there for 10 months now, and 99% of it has been amazing. I have a ton more to learn and develop, and I always am eager to learn whatever I can in here. I also am rusty on a lot of what I learned in college. Nothing in general, just specific things like working my way around AutoCad. Everyone here has 20+ years of experience, and know so much more than I do. Those people, be coworkers in my department or not, are more than happy to help out. It blew my mind initially.
This brings me to that 1%. My direct counterpart works the opposite shift I do, so the only face to face interaction we have is 10-20 minutes when I arrive and he leaves. He has never been a personable person. Doesn’t do small talk, which is completely fine. I used to come in and say “Morning, hows everything going?” and he would say, “Fine, why is there something I should know about?” This turns into 5-10 minutes of convincing him that nothing is wrong. He also seems to have zero patience towards me. I started to notice this whenever I would send him e-mails informing him about changes made while he was gone, or if we need follow up on his shift. It is policy to include everyone in the process (lead engineers, maintenance supervisors, etc.) in the e-mail so everyone is on the same page. He would question why it is necessary to include the lead engineer (our boss) in those e-mails. I assume he thinks I am keeping him accountable by including our boss in the note. Even though that’s how I was instructed to conduct any follow up e-mails, he makes me feel like I am doing him wrong. Which is never my intention.
I am not perfect. I have made mistakes at this job. Nothing seriously bad that necessitates termination. Today, I came in to a visibly upset counterpart. He is asking where I put the spare parts that came in last month (There is an e-mail specifying where they are, back then, he questioned why I couldn’t tell him in person). I told him where they were, and he headed to go pick them up. I proceed to go do something else, when he returns and demands I show him where they are. So I walk out to the exact drawer and pull them out and show him. He claims those parts are not correct. I ask him what makes them incorrect, and he answers, “You’re an engineer, you figure it out.” This is a popular phrase of his. I used to reach out to him with questions when I started here. He would be very unhelpful, and reply with, “You’re an engineer, you figure it out.” I ask him to show me exactly what makes these wrong. He now is yelling out on the plant floor. “You don’t know what you are doing! This clearly does not work! Anyone can see that!” (I later discover that the vendor drilled two through holes in the wrong location; but this is after he leaves, and I can finally look at the part and compare it to what we have) This part did not have drawings, or at least none that I or the lead engineer could find. So when I ordered these parts with the vendor, they also included a new set of drawings. Apparently, he has drawings of this in his own files. I was not aware of this, and I would assume he would bring that up at some point during the order process. So he starts lecturing me on using drawings. Drawings that only he had. “You drive a car right? (now he’s ridiculing me) Would you ever buy a car part for your car without looking at the drawings?” Which is a dumb example if you ask me. I most likely will not look at drawings for 90% of car parts for my daily driver. When I asked why he kept the drawings, he says “You should have asked.” So now it’s my fault he kept on to useful information. Here’s the last part, I promise. He asked me what I will do with these bad parts, I answered and said I will call the vendor, send them the drawings he has, and tell them what they did incorrect. He shook his head and said that’s not how you do it. When I asked what I should do then?
“You’re an engineer, you figure it out.”
I kept cool through all of it. I’m an easy going guy. But I was at a loss of words. I haven’t told anyone else besides the fiance, I’ve kept her up to speed on our conflicts. She thinks our arguments are elementary. Which I agree. But I am not sure if I should talk to someone at work about it. I think I will take him aside in a room somewhere, and try to figure it out. My theory is he think’s I should be 100% immersed in this process, and should know what to do in any situation. And for some reason, he has zero room for error with me. He also does not know my background (not personable, remember?). So I think if I let him know where I came from, he might understand my learning curve. I will apologize to him. If for some reason that does not work, I then will reach out to our boss and explain the situation. I do not want anyone to get into trouble. I just want the 1% of my job that I am struggling with to be resolved.
I apologize for the length of this rant. Thank you if you read part of it, great thanks if you read the whole thing. A very tired Toby for your time
Annnnnnd hes asleep.