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Smart, John W. (ed.) / The Wisconsin engineer
Vol. 27, No. 3 (December 1922)

Woy, Frank P.
"Where do we go from here?",   pp. 47-XII

Page 47

            By FRANK P. WoY, e '03
Assistant Professor of Engineering Administration
  The engineering graduate of today has a more serious
problem to face than has been the case in recent years.
The industrial depression has increased competition for
the fewer attractive positions which naturally results in a
lowering of the wages offered and a stiffening of the
specifications which must be met by the applicant. This
conservatism of the employer is a natural result of the
business retrenchment following the preceding reckless
expansion. Industrial activity and development must
keep pace with all progress and temporary sub-normal
conditions will be followed by improvement. During the
interim the opportunity of the technical graduate may
appear to be handicapped as to early prospects, but the
immediate future should be viewed as only incidental to
the ultimate ambition and this intervening period should
be utilized to its best advantage by acquiring experience,
improving ability and preparing to take full advantage of
the earliest opportunities even though at a temporary sac-
  The lack of familiarity with the various lines of engi-
neering work and the inability to ascertain what they
cffer as an ultimate goal are handicaps to be overcome.
Interest naturally centers in the salary or earnings which
may be expected but this interest is later extended to in-
clude the social standing and home conditions which such
future work offers, the degree of confinement it demands,
the weight of responsibility it involves and many related
characteristics. Other qualifications of this ultimate po-
s~tion which will sooner or later present themselves must
satisfy the desire for the esteem of others, self-develop-
mnent, power, provision for the future, and a rising plane
of living all resulting from our modern environment. A
tudy of others who have approached this idea may reveal
means utilized by them in its attainment.
   Ultimate success is realized most quickly and com-
 pletely by having at all times a fixed ambition properly
 analyzed, planned for and striven after. Pre-planning
 implies as thorough knowledge as is obtainable regarding
 all characteristics of the problem and utilizing this knowl-
 edge to its best advantage. The most important job of
 the engineer approaching the end of his "scholastic"
 period is to apply scientific preplanning in laying out his
 "experience" period which leads most directly toward the
 selected goal by using the same methods as he would
 aapply in preplanning a construction job.
    This preplanned experience period may be limited by
 available opportunities but personal inconvenience and
 financial sacrifice may remove  some obstacles.  Even
 though the future develops conditions and revised ambi-
 tions which tend to change the ultimate goal, such modifi-
 cations will be the outgrowth of the progress then at-
 tained and consequently little lost motion may be experi-
 enced. As advancement takes place it becomes more and
 more evident that diversified knowledge increases the
opportunities f or progress, business administrative and
executive knowledge becomes more important and each
experience adds confidence.
  The preplanned ambition at all times acts as an incen-
tive toward constant progress, overcomes discouragement
and removes any permanent satisfaction from the inter-
mediate jobs that carry with them comfortable wage.
  Early years spent in specialist engineering work as de-
tail "machine design" are of scarcely any ultimate assist-
ance toward the goal of the "financial engineer", detail
"analytical engineering" of many technical kinds may not
be the most effective stepping stone to "executive man-
agement," and "sales engineering" may not offer
shortest road toward "expert professional engineering."
  Too often the first progress marked by shorter hours
and slight salary increases tend to dampen ambition and
satisfy immediate desires.  The regular monthly pay
check impersonally issued by an unknown paying teller
erroneously implies a secure berth and continues to be
accepted in preference to the risks of new endeavors and
sacrifices which may offer commensurably higher ultimate
remuneration. The characteristics of the "rolling stone"
are as much to be condemned as the lack of ambition to
progress. The intent is to emphasize the fact that each
period of unreasonable delay in progress and advance-
ment if not irksome and conducive to greater endeavor
tends to increase the inertia which is all too easily ac-
   Where do we go from here, is a question which will
 bear all the thought and investigation which can be given
 to its answer otherwise it may not be possible to take
 fullest advantage of the preparatory work accomplished
 up to the date when the choice must be made.
   The employer expects whole-hearted co-operation.
 Success is not measured by a 70 passing mark, and ad-
 vancement is secured under strongly competitive condi-
 tions. Good physical condition, properly moderated sport-
 ing instincts, open faced, genial personality, dependability
 and other character qualifications are all incidentally but
 essentially important to personal advancement. The
 large sized head-gear of the senior must be replaced by
 the small apprentice cap but this does not imply that very
 often the technically trained mind of the inexperienced
 recruit may not often be able to greatly improve on the
 methods and practices of the older experienced "non-
 com.," and it is only necessary to guard against "showing
 up" his shortcomings and psychologically hold his good
 will when maintaining your position in order to win his
 respect (advancement is swiftest when there are no
 knockers and many boosters).
    We frequently have an inflated conception of another's
  success when intimate acquaintance and close contact are
  lacking. Appearances are very deceptive and this is
  never more true than when sizing up the other fellow's

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