I would have thought that any engineer ANYWHERE would love his profession. What was revealing about Junko's piece was when she described what an engineer there does.
That sort of production line repetitive work is hardly what engineering has been in my experience. So perhaps we have different definitions of the same word.
My biggest source of professional irritation comes from having to deal with management edicts. Of course, I'm speaking of the edicts that make no sense to me.
Imagine a supposed EE career where that's all you ever did? And then you wonder why there isn't much creativity?
(OOps. I just realized I more verbosely said most of what Frank already experessed!)
I was thinking the same thing. But hearing that many engineers in China do monotonous, uncreative work and that there is a often a strict management hierarchy where engineers are not supposed to question anything, I can't say I blame them for not being thrilled with the profession.
It boggles my mind that so many people hang on to the idea that China only makes cheap, low quality products. Undoubtedly much of the PC I'm typing this on was made in China and it seems to be a pretty high quality device. Certainly cheap low-quality product do come out of China and at times it seems like their product safety regulation is way short of our standards here in the U.S.
But, you can also buy low-quality product built here in the U.S., as well as pretty much anywhere. You don't have to look very far back in time to find examples of this country, and every other "first-world" country pumping out lead and sulfur laden pollution.
I like to think that as a whole, everyone is environmentally smarter and more safety conscience this day and age, but all of our societies have been through the period of bad pollution, unsafe products, low-quality, poor working conditions...
That being the case, I still do worry about the economic future of this country and I want the U.S. to be competitive in a fair world economy.
Thanks for sharing your story from ground zero. Yes, I am hearing a lot of similar stories -- engineering work environment in different regions in China seem to vary. And indeed, things are changing quickly -- especially in China. I will keep looking and hope to report more on those differences later...
My company had a design center in Xi'an about six years ago. The management structure had a very strict hierarchy. Engineers were not expected to challenge decisions by managers. Sometimes engineers would get harsh criticism during meetings by management. This environment was very toxic for the creative development they were trying to do, and their performance reflected this. Of course, China is changing very rapidly, and some regions of the country may have more "enlightened" work culture than Xi'an.