Looking at the silver lining, having a senior engineer vouch for the fix is a good stepping stone for a junior engineer on the way up. Of course it would be even better if a good engineer was included in management.
A great description of the troubleshooting process and an elegant fix. Good story!
Having someone to "vouch" for the solution was management's way of avoiding responsibility if any problems arose. The veteran engineer was showing either faith in the junior engineer's ability, his ability to comprehend the problem and solution, his leadership, or some combination of all of these. The junior engineer should have been recognized for his inquisitiveness and cost sensitive fix. The veteran should have been recognized for his skill and possibly mentoring the junior engineer.
The concept of having somebody "vouch" for my engineering successes is something that I have often found offensive. After all, didn't they read my reports, which gave very detailed explanations of what the problem was actually found to be, and then a detailed explanation of the solution, followed by an explanation of the functioning of the solution. On the other side, it was often amusing to see that they had so little understanding of what was going on that they had to ask others about it.
Reminds me of one of my favorite sayings: "What is my wisdom if I'm commanded by fools" and a term I use a lot when referring to large corporations: "Corporate constipation by policy". While I was still a technician, back in the early 60's, for General Electric X-Ray Division, I designed and built some clever and effective test equipment (I worked in the component test lab where we tortured resistors, capacitors, etc. until they failed). But since "technicians" couldn't be more clever than the engineers they worked for, my boss took all the credit. Today, I'm a successful analog design engineer (still no degree) with lots of products and several patents to my credit. These days, I do a lot of lecturing (including one at MIT) about system and circuit grounding and my specialty, balanced interfaces. Bill Whitlock, pres & chief engineer, Jensen Transformers www.jensen-transformers.com
Love your quote Bill, I was going to put it as a signature on my work email but it's probably a bit toooo provocative.....
I googled it and it only came up with this post....do you know where it came from? (and if you're quoting yourself, I am still impressed!)
David, my quote was adapted from Ayn Rand in her book "Anthem", which is "What is my wisdom, if even the fools can dictate to me?" The "corporate constipation" is one of my own making. Having worked for a number of large corporations over my career makes me loathe the management structure at most companies ... I especially loathe MBA's, which in my mind stands for Mindless Bottom-line Analysts!
Thanks Bill. You sound like a man after my own heart. The place where I work at the moment, when I started, had one of the best comms networks I have ever seen, well thought out, well impemented and well maintained. Management appointed a bean counter to head us and since then nothing works as it should. Too many chiefs and not enough indians, and your quote fits sooo perfectly.