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Discussion Starter #1
So, I have a buddy leaving at the end of the week, he's been here 3 years, been underpaid by about $25k/yr and got sick of the 18 hour days,middle of the night phone calls, the lack of change, and the complaints about stuff he missed even though he's been doing at least 3 people's jobs for the price of less than 1. We are both process engineers in a manufacturing plant.

He's happy to be leaving, his last day is Friday, I personally don't give a crap about the company beyond my personal growth (and plan to jump ship as soon as my experience allows), and when they complain about things not getting done my general response is hire more people and sometimes its whatever. Maybe I am a little bit jaded, but whatever.

What I want to know, for any of you psychologists or people who really enjoy their career, why, with 3 days left is my buddy still letting small stuff irritate him immensely? Why is he still staying here 14 hours a day? If it were me I would just stop caring leave after 8 hours and at the very best inform people who will be here after I am gone in 3 days about things that need to be fixed, which of course are things that always need to be fixed and never change.

Is it a passion for the work thing? Is it a character thing? Any thoughts welcome.
 

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everyone is different for sure. i think it's passion...work...character and all sorts of things at the same time.

"irritation" is not something that easily goes away in any relationship (you probably know this by heart!) - whether it be a working, family, dating, organizational, or marriage relationship. "wherever you go - there you are" is a common element for attitudes. so i wouldn't expect an immediate change, that's a very "black and white" engineer view of the world!

I commend him for a strong work ethic and encourage him to not get irritated..but that's easier said than done. it's nice to try to feel completely confident that a solid and honest resolve to fulfill ones commitment has been done which doesn't need to lead to irritation - that is mostly a personal trait (though a very common one!). i've watched people work with resolve through tumultuous situations - they are amazing individuals with excellent character that will fair them well in life and career.

there are some very stressful positions and situations that people can do in stride because they're good at what they do, are good leaders, etc - good leaders can't get irritated, they have to have resolve, be forward looking, seeing a better future no matter what the current outlook is, or having clarity and vision in spite difficulties...i highly recommend seeking that as an employee. if you can add value to your company and those around you - it will eventually pay off. it might take 2 or 10 years and 3 job changes...but it will. people with that kind of resolve are rare though, (many more people think they have it than do) and you can't choose it right now because it sounds cool or one nods their head to it.

engineers are particularly prone to being irritated - a strong propensity to look for problems (much of what they were taught is called "problem solving"), not have strong leadership/personal skills which is a tough transition from a self-focused academic career to a more fluid, dynamic world with lots of people, teams, bigger picture... they can be prone to thinking they're more qualified than they are - might not say it but act as if they're skill sets in one area (math, science, programming) makes them proficient in everything else (accounting, management, leadership, team work, someone elses jobs - etc). lots of guys are armchairs quarterbacks at work too. they can be highly critical..though they call it "fairness, justice..." etc and have all sorts of very good arguments for suggesting how they are right and they could do it better.

dream jobs are out there but a solid character, resolve, and work ethic will serve one better across all spectrums/types of jobs/situations....and in the end that kind of character i think is more likely to lead you to or end up getting that dream job. but of course i've seen horrible employees even at the upper echelons of business, so there's never a hard and fast rule!

I'm no psych but I'm an engineer too! worked for 5 different engineering companies in MD.
 

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.. why, with 3 days left is my buddy still letting small stuff irritate him immensely? Why is he still staying here 14 hours a day? If it were me I would just stop caring leave after 8 hours and at the very best inform people who will be here after I am gone in 3 days about things that need to be fixed, which of course are things that always need to be fixed and never change.

Is it a passion for the work thing? Is it a character thing? Any thoughts welcome.
Presumably you or someone else he knows would have to take over his work, no? Perhaps he is trying to tie up loose ends so you do not get even more of the royal treatment than you already are.

People can be loyal to their coworkers even if they are not loyal to their companies.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Presumably you or someone else he knows would have to take over his work, no? Perhaps he is trying to tie up loose ends so you do not get even more of the royal treatment than you already are.

People can be loyal to their coworkers even if they are not loyal to their companies.
I can understand that, but the 3 of us in the department work minimum 12 hours a day, and more like 14 on average, it would be unfortunate for us to not have someone hired to replace him.

everyone is different for sure. i think it's passion...work...character and all sorts of things at the same time.

"irritation" is not something that easily goes away in any relationship (you probably know this by heart!) - whether it be a working, family, dating, organizational, or marriage relationship. "wherever you go - there you are" is a common element for attitudes. so i wouldn't expect an immediate change, that's a very "black and white" engineer view of the world!

I commend him for a strong work ethic and encourage him to not get irritated..but that's easier said than done. it's nice to try to feel completely confident that a solid and honest resolve to fulfill ones commitment has been done which doesn't need to lead to irritation - that is mostly a personal trait (though a very common one!). i've watched people work with resolve through tumultuous situations - they are amazing individuals with excellent character that will fair them well in life and career.

there are some very stressful positions and situations that people can do in stride because they're good at what they do, are good leaders, etc - good leaders can't get irritated, they have to have resolve, be forward looking, seeing a better future no matter what the current outlook is, or having clarity and vision in spite difficulties...i highly recommend seeking that as an employee. if you can add value to your company and those around you - it will eventually pay off. it might take 2 or 10 years and 3 job changes...but it will. people with that kind of resolve are rare though, (many more people think they have it than do) and you can't choose it right now because it sounds cool or one nods their head to it.

engineers are particularly prone to being irritated - a strong propensity to look for problems (much of what they were taught is called "problem solving"), not have strong leadership/personal skills which is a tough transition from a self-focused academic career to a more fluid, dynamic world with lots of people, teams, bigger picture... they can be prone to thinking they're more qualified than they are - might not say it but act as if they're skill sets in one area (math, science, programming) makes them proficient in everything else (accounting, management, leadership, team work, someone elses jobs - etc). lots of guys are armchairs quarterbacks at work too. they can be highly critical..though they call it "fairness, justice..." etc and have all sorts of very good arguments for suggesting how they are right and they could do it better.

dream jobs are out there but a solid character, resolve, and work ethic will serve one better across all spectrums/types of jobs/situations....and in the end that kind of character i think is more likely to lead you to or end up getting that dream job. but of course i've seen horrible employees even at the upper echelons of business, so there's never a hard and fast rule!

I'm no psych but I'm an engineer too! worked for 5 different engineering companies in MD.
Thanks grossgary! I try to stay as impartial and detached as possible and focus on learning and accomplishing my tasks which I find most fulfilling and I've just been amazed with how much weight he carries on his shoulders from this job. He's a good guy and I'm super happy he's found a better job for himself.

Thanks for your insight guys, he's an amazing engineer, maybe I haven't been around here long enough to see why he has carried such a big burden.
 

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We call it commitment. People who care about what they are suppose to do are the best employees! His next company will be much more appreciative.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
We call it commitment. People who care about what they are suppose to do are the best employees! His next company will be much more appreciative.
So you don't think there can be commitment without some sort of emotional drive associated with the task?
 

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I can understand that, but the 3 of us in the department work minimum 12 hours a day, and more like 14 on average, it would be unfortunate for us to not have someone hired to replace him.
Someone will have to train the newcomer and you guys will be picking up the slack until he gets up to speed. I am not as familiar with process engineering, but if I were to leave my job I would be primarily concerned with knowledge transfer so other people can actually do my job without my colleagues feeling burdened by me leaving. I can also understand wanting to have as much tied up as possible so no one else has to swoop in to save the day and close out a project until the new guy gets his feet wet. This is more of what I meant than you taking over parts of his job permanently.
 

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Besides, unless you are retiring for good, you never know what tomorrow might bring, a need for a job reference, or worse, a return to the job you left. I learned a long time ago that it wasn't wise to burn bridges, no matter how much you really want to. Things always have a way of coming back to bite you.
 

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I personally don't give a crap about the company beyond my personal growth...
So, what's the name of that company?

...I gotta buy some puts,

Looby
 

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Besides, unless you are retiring for good, you never know what tomorrow might bring, a need for a job reference, or worse, a return to the job you left. I learned a long time ago that it wasn't wise to burn bridges, no matter how much you really want to. Things always have a way of coming back to bite you.
How true... and to add: never say never...like 007
 

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In my experience very few people truly have a career doing what they enjoy, but alot of people learn to enjoy what they do. I always loved the line from Office Space that talks about doing what you enjoy for a career " that question is bullsh** to begin with. If everyone listened to her, there'd be no janitors, because no one would clean sh*t up if they had a million dollars."

It's the truth. But you have to care at least a little bit about the company you work for or you'll never have personal growth.

I have an engineering degree but work in banking, not my dream career. But I have learned to apply my analytical thinking to my job and have learned ways to enjoy what I do. I have even brought about some change in my company to enhance their systems and methodology because I look at things from a different perspective than others.

To answer you question, I think its more a passion for the work thing than anything. Some people just feel compelled to do the best job they can because it's their job. I feel the same and have switch positions because I didn't feel I was giving it 100% and wasn't doing the job justice. In the end it has served me well.
 

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I think part of it is work ethic. In this job climate you take the good with the bad and focus on yourself. One of the most shocking things you'll discover is that pretty much everybody is underpaid. It's the nature of the beast. I wouldn't necessarily consider that a knock against your character as they're most likely paying everybody else that does your job the same amount. You have to determine if you can make more elsewhere or not.

I do enjoy my job and try not to let the poor pay scale and inconsistencies in management and lower level employee performance affect my work. After 9 years with this company they do make numerous concessions for me. The trick is finding that balance. From 8 to 5 I'm theirs but after that they don't own me. I'm not paid for that time so they have to wait until I'm back online. I know my supervisor doesn't like it but he understands my need to have a good work/life balance.
 

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OP, I can't answer your question but I've been there too.

My last day on the job of eight years I spent 14 hours doing the crappiest, nastiest most dangerous thing we do, scrubbing and cleaning the gas oil vats in the restaurant. I was one of only a few people that knew how to do it and I trained a new guy that night. Done improperly it could damage a 20k piece of hardware.

The only good part about that night is even though I was leaving and there was a big argument just before that all anyone remembers was the final act . No one ever questioned that I would show up or that I might not do an exceptional job. Knowing it was the last thing I'd do there, it didn't actually feel like work and I had fun doing it. If I ever wanted it, I know I can walk in there anytime and I'll have a job. When things go sideways from time to time at my current job, it is a measure of comfort.
 

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what's your main point in asking this...like how to approach work yourself, or you feel like maybe he could use some coaching in this regard?

Thanks for your insight guys, he's an amazing engineer, maybe I haven't been around here long enough to see why he has carried such a big burden.
correct, that could be dangerous in the long term - carrying a burden and being irritable. wise to address that sooner rather than later...but it is what it is and everyone is different.

work can encourage and reward unhealthy choices. typical example tearing it up in the business world while home, family, marriage, childrens lives are a mess. very common. excessive work, drive, carrying too much...etc, get rewarded too....even if it is taxing on an individual - their sleep, physical health, family, etc.

we grow up in...or normalize...an academic world that rewards often via grades, degrees, score. after school, the easiest place to get those rewards is at work - projects, tasks, assignments, check lists, raises, bonuses, promotions, certifications, recommendations for future job prospects, networking..$$..etc.

So you don't think there can be commitment without some sort of emotional drive associated with the task?
impossible to answer. how would one define "commitment" and "emotional drive", those terms are so ambiguous that the question has any number of answers. each person will define those differently and there's no formula for it, it certainly varies.

even poor employees would say they have commitment....but that means so much, they have commitment "IF"............
 

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Discussion Starter #15
what's your main point in asking this...like how to approach work yourself, or you feel like maybe he could use some coaching in this regard?
I ask because I admire his dedication, he pushes aside the bullsh** and keeps going. I, on the other hand, look at the cost/reward relationship. For instance, if my boss asks me to do a double shift because he wants me to babysit employees I say no, but if he wants me to fix some of the mixing equipment I say yes because I learn so much. My coworker does everything no questions asked. Maybe its because he's single so he has no commitments outside of work, or maybe its something else like everyone has mentioned.

I, by no means, lack work ethic, but I put a value on my time, and if I am going to live and breathe work I might as well have my own business. Does this make me a poor employee? Not from my point of view, but this is just my opinion.

I actually asked him why he's so irritated all the time yesterday evening after I made this post and he said he doesn't like his name associated with an organization that is so poorly managed.

So I prodded, and asked, do you think big name companies we contract out to will see this company on your resume and say "oh he worked for xyz company there's no way we'll hire him, xyz was a huge pita to work with." He said no to that too, he just hates being associated with this place given their reputation I suppose. We're both under 30 fwiw.

I don't think there is any right or wrong way to approach a career, but I am always looking for insight. I've never seen anyone get so wrapped up in a company who has been treated like trash for so long. I can understand an owner or CEO type getting worked up, but this guy was just constantly taken advantage of in my opinion.

OP, I can't answer your question but I've been there too.

The only good part about that night is even though I was leaving and there was a big argument just before that all anyone remembers was the final act . No one ever questioned that I would show up or that I might not do an exceptional job. Knowing it was the last thing I'd do there, it didn't actually feel like work and I had fun doing it. If I ever wanted it, I know I can walk in there anytime and I'll have a job. When things go sideways from time to time at my current job, it is a measure of comfort.
He will always have a job if he needs one I'm sure. I would be willing to bet that they would rehire him even if they didn't need anyone or have the money.
 

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I often said the best job is one you would do for free.
 

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Most career jobs have a small community. If word gets out that you more or less just stopped working ie caring about your work before you left your former employer word gets around and soon no one wants to hire you. He's simply trying to leave his current job with a good reputation. Smart man

It's a small world after all - you never know when something you did might come full circle and cost you.
 

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You don't have to love it to take pride in doing it---even if no one notices. You know it was done well.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Most career jobs have a small community. If word gets out that you more or less just stopped working ie caring about your work before you left your former employer word gets around and soon no one wants to hire you. He's simply trying to leave his current job with a good reputation. Smart man

It's a small world after all - you never know when something you did might come full circle and cost you.
I like the way you think.
 

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Manufacturing engineer here, and it's concerning to hear about this. I think one thing that gets me is the long days. I to am in a situation where there is quite literally no better place for me to work, I am in the best possible situation, but I'm making $17k/yr less than my counterparts that graduated the same year I did (last year).

The most important thing to me is that on salary, we still get paid for 40 hours of work a week, doing excess of that is purely up to you. If you're working that hard, ask for a raise, don't quit. 14 hour days sounds like you need another process engineer.

Good luck!

-CW
 
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