I am still working on the job hunting thing.  I used one of those resources that evaluates my resume to help me wow HR and hiring managers.

I got dinged pretty hard on management.  I have no management experience and was given a management score of 55/100.

Boy-fucking-howdy did that piss me off.

I am a Ph.D., P.E.  I spent a very long time in school learning the deep fundamentals of material science.  I then stacked up five years of practical experience and took an eight-hour test to shoulder the responsibility of having my opinions in my field of expertise have legal weight.

My entire career has been focused on technical acumen.  My goal has been to be a subject matter expert.  The indispensable reservoir of knowledge with insight and problem-solving abilities that nobody else has.

I could give less than a single fuck about management.  I have no desire to track other people’s vacation days and sick time.  I loathe office politics.

I hate arguing about money and budgets.  Nothing drives me up the wall more than directors or managers who try to hoard the money.  I viscerally hate the “we need this test done, but that has to come out of your budget” argument.  It’s not their money, it’s the company’s money, and in the end, the company pays for everything, why are we fighting over department budgets and not doing the work that needs to be done.

I know that bad management sinks companies and maybe that explains why my last employer went bankrupt, but all that has done to me is reinforce the idea that I want little to do with management, and management, in general, is more of a burden than it’s worth.

I have literally worked in a place where there were more directors, product, and project managers overseeing a product than there were engineers working on that product.

I want to work in a lab, not sit in an office and write performance reports for the people using the equipment.  I prefer to do my own analysis.  I want to look in the microscope myself, not base my findings on pictures taken by a technician.

So why, given my credentials, should a company care about my management experience.  Because if I don’t have any, I must be a loser.

Back when we were cavemen, the chief got laid the most.  The Sheik had a harem.  The king had his courtesans.

There were no women lining up to fuck the blacksmith or the plowman.

So in the 21st century, we still value prestigious sounding rank over technical ability, because when you say you are the VP of Whatever, and flash the executive credit card at the lounge in the Four Seasons, floozies will accept your invite back your hotel room.

When you are the subject matter expert, you don’t get the executive card or a business trip to the Four Seasons, and nobody wants to fuck you.  And it’s more likely that some manager will axe your position so he can make room in the budget to upgrade his executive credit card to black status.

As a result, the only way up is to become management, the only way to justify a decent salary is to be management, and if you have no desire to be management because you focus on the technical knowledge, then that is held against you.

The corporate structure in America is undoubtedly fucked, all because we can’t get past our caveman subconscious where the guy with the biggest headdress gets the most ass.

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By J. Kb

14 thoughts on “Corporate America still have caveman brain and it’s getting on my nerves”
  1. I’d agree with you to an extent.

    Unfortunately budgeting is often a tool to control/curb poor managment and underperforming departments.

    Now skilled professional wise I’ve worked with a number of insanely smart people over the years who have been able to basically dictate their rate and advanced purely by their talents and the demand for them.

    This is unfortunately where office politics does come in a bit; you need to find a place with the right culture or an industry or subset of an industry with the right culture to support that. The old CEO was very big on education, engineering, r&d, and innovation. So to that end he was willing to sell out for those talented people and the emphasis was on those engineering aspects not the managments BA type stuff.

    So don’t give up hope, it out there, and good luck.

    Also 99% of resume writing is to trick HR and/or a C level exec into giving you an interview and doesn’t necessarily tell you anything valuable about the person you are hiring…. How could it at one highly abbreviated page.

  2. Is this feedback from an actual HR on an actual job application? The way you describe it, it sounded like the output of a generic resume evaluation service. I wouldn’t expect anything meaningful from such a service. There is no reason to believe they would understand anything about your qualifications, and clearly they didn’t.

  3. I have to concur with Matt. After 40 years in electronics manufacturing, I’ve seen and worked at companies where engineers at some level (say 8-10 years) were either “up or out”. “Up” into management, marketing, or writing proposals or “out” the door. I also worked for one who respected graybeard engineers and eventually retired from there.

    The problem is finding the latter kind when you really need to, like now, or finding one when you have more time, like when you’re working.

    1. I think the 737 Max should be a stunning “bat to the face” level wake-up to every industry across America.

      When you prioritize management that wants to move a product over engineering, and you punish the engineers who speak up about problems, your product ends up killing people and you cost your company $1.9 billion.

      1. It remains to be seen whether Boeing will survive the Max debacle.
        As for “up and out”, yes, a lot of companies seem to have that broken mindset. Not all do. I’ve worked in a number of (computer tech) companies that have “dual ladders”. Digital Equipment (DEC) was one; Dell (where I work now) is another.

      2. If multiple banks being on the verge of collapse was not a bat to the face wake up to every industry in America, nothing will be. The only wake up they got from that was too big to fail is now an official .gov policy because the .gov was kind enough to protect the individual consumer in that situation.

  4. The problem with more managers than workers extends even into the small companies that have a “management mindset.”

    I worked for a company that had 4.5 developers. (the 0.5 was me as manager/developer). This team of developers was supporting an admin of: CEO, CTO, Marketing Director, Account Manager, 0.5 dev. manager. In addition, the Marketing director had 2 other people reporting to her to do her job for her. Total overhead was 6.5 admin to 4.5 developers.

    And the reason the company was not making enough money, according to the CEO, was that the developers were not putting in enough billable hours.

    (When marketing or account management gave a discount or free hours to a client, that was removed from the developers billable hours. If the CEO gave free work to a friend, that also came from “billable hours”.)

    Management is always looking out for management.

  5. Fundamental axiom of job seeking:

    Human resources is not there to help you get the job. HR is there to prevent you from getting hired.

  6. Heres what I did before looking for a career- i thought about what i wanted, wrote it down and read it every day. Took 10 months but the job I want found me. Good luck guy. Keep the faith. Somebody is lookin for you. Meanwhile- gun fire, lots n lots of gunfire….

  7. True story: I was WORKING IN ER FULL TIME!, when I applied for, and interviewed for, a JOB IN ER, at some little rural hospital where TDW and I had set our sights.

    I interviewed with the physician director (I’m a mid level provider). Once he set eyes on me (I’m an old fart. Fit, active, but not young. Hell, past middle aged!), this doc kept commenting, like, 6-8 times, “Are you sure this is the kind of environment in which you want to practice, at this point in your career?”

    Surprisingly, or not, I was not offered the job.

    So, best of luck to you. Illegitimati non carborundum!

  8. If it makes you feel any better, I was told my work experience was irrelevant. Really, that exact word.

    I had gone to a consultant to polish my interview skills. After long years in the same seat I had gotten rusty. At the end of three days, the consultant said employers wanted more recent formal education. Recurrent training didn’t count.

    Still, she royally pissed me off. I have three science degrees and while not in my profession, they are related.

    So tell me, who do you want as your pilot, the guy with experience or the guy with recent formal education?

    I’ve had this talk with others in many different disciplines, all technical. It seems the luster is much less if not altogether gone. You’re only a number and a throwaway at that. I think it’s another way to cull the senior levels to bring in less costly fresh meat.

    Yet, take heart. Though they be few, there are companies willing to pay handsomely for that prized experience. The nature of such companies is they are small, perhaps occupying only a niche. But they shine!

  9. I’m not sure why the 55/100 score makes you angry.

    If you don’t have much management experience, you should expect a low score on that metric.

    But, I get your overall point about engineering career paths. I’m a Professional Engineer in Florida with about ~15 years of experience, so I have come to that crossroads as well.

    …So now I’m an Engineer and a project manager.

    1. Because it’s a metric that doesn’t apply to me but is held against me. Unless I’m applying for a management position don’t even bring it up. I consider management to be a punishment because it means I’ve fallen to the Dilbert Principle of being promoted to my level of incompetence.

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