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01/28/2005: "the devil's in the detailing"

So I've been employed for all of four days now, and I can already see that this isn't the position for me. Don't get me wrong, I'm not looking to leap out of it yet. I was told that this position could last a couple of months, after which they might keep me on as a designer (which would be more interesting) or I'd move along to a different contract. But either way, detailing is not what I do best.

Allow me to explain what my job entails right now. At the company I'm at, they organize the engineering department into two groups. First, they have the designers. The designers figure out what the client needs, how to do it, and then design the machine. Once the design is done, that's where the designers hand it off to the other group, the detailers. The detailers get a bunch of finished designs, and it's their job to make drawings from these designs such that the entire machine can actually be built.

In ever single job I've ever had previous to this one, these two rolls have always been rolled up into one. I've always done all my own designs, and I've always done my own detailing. Sure, I've had help at times, but generally I get to do both parts. But now that I'm a detailer, the creative, thinking, problem solving portion of the job has been given to someone else. I now merely process what's been created, thought, and solved. Design in one end, and a drawing out the other. That's it.

In case you can't tell yet, I'm already finding it a bit tiresome. There isn't really much to keep one entertained when you're detailing. Sure, each design needs your attention to make sure that you're not missing any details or dimensions or specifications. Even so, it's the same process over and over again, with nearly zero creativity (one has to follow drafting standards), very little thinking (there are only so many ways you can detail something) and a negligible amount of problem solving. The big problem here is I'm a designer at heart.

Many times I have exclaimed that I'd love to find a company that splits engineering up into designers and detailers. Of course, when I said that, I meant that I would be the designer, and could hand off the tedium of making manufacturing drawings to someone else. Sadly, that's not the case here. I'm making decent money, but this position doesn't have much in the way of longevity for me.

The one upswing is that I can work as much overtime as I want. One woman working with me works 6:30-6:30 daily. I'm going to be doing 7-5. With overtime starting after 40 hours, that adds up to a decent bonus at the end of the week. Today I was even asked by my supervisor if I'd like to work the weekend! I the house wasn't such a disaster, and I had worked Monday (thereby giving me enough hours to make sure that every hour worked on the weekend was being paid at time and a half), I'd have seriously considered it. But I passed this time. Working 50 hour weeks will be a good start for me (I work through lunch, and charge for it), and it won't cut into family time.

Meanwhile, I'm following up on my first broadcast letter on Monday. And then I have to get off my ass and start sending out more. I'll never get out of detailing if I don't spend some time looking for a designer position.

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January 2005

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