Friday, 24 May 2013

A Strange Experience For A UK Engineer

As I may have mentioned, I've been working abroad (can't say where - they told me that once I'd got there). I've worked as an Aircraft Design Engineer at a number of locations in the UK & it's always the same story, no matter what you send in advance, no-one's expecting you, security clearance takes a week or so, it takes twice that to get a computer, another week to get an account, by which time the few people that realised you were coming have forgotten you're there & you have to go & INSIST that they give you some work.

It doesn't appear to be like that on foreign shores, the job title "Senior Aircraft Design Engineer" seems to carry a little more weight. I arrived mid morning, waved my passport at the nice lady on the security desk & was promptly met by a senior engineering manager, who gave me a clock card & made sure it worked properly, escorted me through the gates & delivered me to the team I would be working with. The rest of that day was taken up with introductions to the people, the project & my office - MY OFFICE! At 09:00 the following morning, I was taken to the security building to get a permanent pass - which worked properly in all the doors, first time - when I got back to my desk the computer had arrived, as had a chair, both brand new & top spec. I have two enormous screens & a proper C.A.D. controller that looks like the helm of the Starship Enterprise. The e-mail worked, the C.A.D. account was set-up after lunch. Bob's-your-uncle.

The other wonderful thing is that the C.A.D. system is set-up for & by the Designers to do what they need. In the UK that's usually run by someone (often a Designer who wasn't very good) who sees it as thier right & responsibility to introduce as many petty & meaningless rules about (for example) the colour of lines & the naming of points, as they can possibly think up. The purpose of these rules seems to be to slow the creative process to a crawl & make any task endlessly dull. Not so here. There are rules of course, but they are rules you can understand the need for, they help conformity & understanding. In short they are as they should be - it feels like we're creating something, not working as data entry clerks.

Of course it's not perfect & it could all go horribly wrong, but the first impressions are good.

No comments:

Post a Comment