Monday, February 19, 2007

paying drones

Being the first day of the New Year, it should be fitting that today's topic of discussion shall be about money. Actually, this concerns the mental health of society in general and family development as well, but that would be for you to decide at the end.

These days, a lot of engineering firms (I say engineering because I am an engineer and shall be a little selfish today, but I am sure it applies to most industries) tend to overwork their engineers. They get them to work till late hours (anytime after 8 on a daily basis IS late) and get them to work most weekends too.

Of these, I noticed, some companies start their freshies off with a very tempting base pay, sometimes 50% more than the average pay for fresh grads. They work these guys to the bone and don't pay the engineers any overtime. Other companies compensate for a lower pay packet by paying their engineers overtime.

The thing with engineering is when you actually use your brains to do REAL engineering work, you can't work more than 6 hours a day. Very recently, we sat down to do a technical brainstorming and analysis session for a few days. It was very apparent that by 3 or 4pm each day, the ideas and the analysis were drying up or becoming inane. The brain is a delicate matter and you just cannot overwork it.

Which then leads me to question - what exactly are those engineers doing? I mean, those who work more than 10 hours a day - surely it is not possible for them to use their brains the full 10 or 12 hours? Which makes me think that they are actually doing work that is mundane and do not require the technical expertise of an engineer. You know, the random stuff like paperwork and data logging. Why do you need to pay engineers OT to do shit like that when even a sloth in the zoo is capable of doing it?

And that is talking about cost and cost alone...

What about the other 'smaller' stuff like actually having a life?? Sure, sometimes projects have deadlines that need to be met. Sometimes, some activities cannot be planned. But otherwise, with proper planning of activities and distribution of manpower, surely managers should be able to ensure that nobody works past 6pm?

If I had a choice as a boss, I would have it that nobody works past 7pm
on a daily basis. Go home. Go see your wife. Go see your kids. Have dinner with them, dammit.

Don't be a drone.


happy chinese new year, vincent. yup agree with your opinion. last time when i was in australia during christmas, i had read a report about the unsatisfaction from some families. the shopping centre lengthened its trading hours on christmas eve and christmas by paying its employees higher pay for their work on those day. their families told the reporters that families should gather to celebrate festival together but not ask them to work longer! nevertheless extending the working hours on the festivals are quite COMMON to our malaysians.
vincent, this will be lucky to be your employees then :P


my tuition teacher used to shoo us out of class by saying, "ok now it's time to go home and kiss our loved ones". how true.

I think it's more accurate if you say asian engineers, not being racist of course but i think that is really true. Here everyone finishes sharp 6pm and walks off the site,any work else is left to tomorrow. As an engineer too i find a lot of the work involves paperwork too because we engineers are expected to do everything,so a lot of the time we just say got work but actually what work it is we never elaborate. anyway this topic has been discussed to death all around the world.

Argh.. Happy New Year Vincent.

Now now, its the new year, lets not go screwing people up.

Have a great year dude!



I will send this link to my boss.


I wish that I could use the same excuse with Medicine!

(Sunshine, I'm back! *kekeke*)


I like your view everyone should go back at 6 but being a fellow engineer I cannot agree that with proper planning you can avoid late working hours. This is only possible if you are in simple engineering sector like validation but since engineering is mostly about RnD and Dnd there is always unpredictability. I work in a huge company and even with ample resources we will need to work past normal working hours from time to time as development work in nature is unpredictable. Which is why it is more interesting. I also complete disagree that you cannot do REAL engineering work for more than 6 hours a day. The trick is to pace yourself and take occasional micro breaks. I have seen circuit and mask designer working 12 hours while putting in 10 hours of REAL engineering work. 2 hours are spent as additional overhead. all their effort was still producing good quality proven by the fact that the QC is here is damn tight.

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