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Rodham E. Tulloss ret at PLUTO.NJCC.COM
Mon Oct 28 18:12:38 CST 1996

Several more thoughts.

One should not confuse engineers who are licensed (who operate on their
own as consultants whether through a company or not) and engineers who
work for large corporations/institutions (whether or not they are
licensed).  The
licensing process has worked well for "professional engineers."  However,
the opposite is not true for the engineers in the workaday world in
which licensing doesn't mean much.  (What company would allow it to mean
very much?  Not many.)  The destruction of large laboratories in recent
years is more akin to the topic "What are we going to do?" that has recently
been discussed on TAXACOM.  And there is a connection between the license
issue and this other one.  Namely the same people are involved.  On the
one hand it is an issue of professionalism, quality of work, and sufficiency
of income for professional in the inventory world.  On the other hand,
it has to do
with the preservation of the institutions that many of the professional
inventoriers (or potential inventoriers) work in on a day-to-day basis.

Engineers were very good at establishing criteria that raised their value
as individual professionals for consulting purposes.  On the other hand,
they have not been able to organize to protect themselves in groups...e.g.,
employees of a laboratory or factory.  Unions are anathema to many engineers
because (as Dilbert might have observed) they all hope they will be soon
promoted to management.  Therefore, professional societies usually are
headed by managers who once were engineers or retired managers who once
where engineers.  And...the professional societies are not much at fighting
against modern management trends (see "Dilbert" and recent TAXACOM discussion
of "What are we going to do?").  (Look for analogies in biology.)

So motivations for protection of professionalism, one's own income, and one's
institution (or other valued institutions) have to be perceived as parts of
a single enlightened set of acts; otherwise, there is no gain.  Unfortunately,
I've heard (in business) many of the phrases of new manager jargon that have
been reported
from Minn. and Mich.  These folks are never satisfied and never appeased.  The
solution is to escape their control.  Otherwise, it is a process of losing a
limb at a time instead of being butchered all at once.  I lived through quite
a bit of it.  Institutional value or history is meaningless to the average
new manager who is concerned with short term profit increase and short term
cost reduction.  When the institution is destroyed, these folks are so isolated
in their fantasy world, that they feel no pain and don't appear to understand
the pain of others.

Filter off the fact that I had a lousy last two years at Bell Labs before
my retirement in January, but I think it would be valuable for you to
consider the rest of the above.

Very best,

Rod Tulloss

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