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Hacker, Robert W. (ed.) / The Wisconsin engineer
Volume 53, Number 4 (January 1949)

W. M. H.; R. R. J.
The way we see it,   pp. 17-32 ff.

Page 17

               The Wag
  Just before the Christmas vacation, Polygon board
placed a series of signs in the lobby of the Mechanical
Engineering building. It appears that this campaign for
tidiness paid off to some extent, as we noticed an im-
provement in the appearance of the engineers' front par-
lor. There weren't so many butts on the floor, and the
scrap paper from the prodigious efforts of the slide rule
sharks somehow found its way into the new waste con-
tainers that have been installed.
  Then the men with the steel scaff olds and the big
brushes came and took possession of the lobby for a
while. As we watched them work, we noticed that the
lobby began to take on a brighter look, and the general
atmosphere became more cheerful. And the new paint
covered a multitude of sins, too; sins in the form of
pencil marks on the walls. Just how these streaks of
graphite came to be on the walls is a mystery, but they
ran the range from cartoons of professors to derivations
of intricate and involved formulae.
  Now we called the lobby the front parlor of the engi-
neering building . . . it is more than that. It is also the
reception room, where we receive the men who come to
interview us for positions in the world of industry. They
might be impressed by the derivations, and amused by
the cartoons, but then again, they might also be impressed
by our inconsideration and untidiness. Do you suppose
that they want to hire someone who will draw pictures
on the wall of their offices, or who will prefer stone and
plaster as a medium of calculating, rather than the more
conventional paper? We do not think so.
  It should not be necessary for Polygon to put up signs,
and it should not be necessary for us to editorialize on
this matter. We think that the men who are training to
take responsible positions in industry should realize that
these activities are no recommendation for them. If the
cartoons are poor, they shouldn't be made. If they are
good, the ENGINEER will print them. And if the deriva-
tions are right, they should be handed in to the instruc-
tor, on paper.
  Let's keep the lobby, as well as the whole building,
bright and clean!
We See It
  Jobs appear to be tightening up; more and more of
our engineering graduates are having a difficult time find-
ing the job and type of work they desire. Companies
are being more selective in hiring men fresh from school,
and nearly every survey shows that by 1950 there will
be many more engineers than jobs.
  What does this mean for those of us still in school? It
is a challenge we will have to meet. It shows that we will
have to employ all of our faculties and training to the
best advantage, and that we will have to seize every op-
portunity to broaden our educational background and
technical training. The engineer graduating in 1950 will
have to offer very definite assets to his prospective em-
ployers or he will be out of luck.
  The engineering profession is expanding rapidly and
is constantly improving its own standards. A professional
engineer is no longer a mere technician, he is a truly cul-
tured and mature individual distinguished by many quali-
ties of a non-technical nature. To be sure a man must
have a sound grasp of engineering fundamentals and an
up-to-date knowledge of the recent developments in his
own and related fields, but these factors alone will not
ensure a job offer or future advancement in business or
industry. Human or personal relations are the things
which count very heavily whether you are in production,
sales, research, or development work.
  College is the place to develop these personality traits,
and the best method is through extracurricular activities.
Men with engineering degrees show promise of being the
leaders in industry and business in the future, and they
will have the technical knowledge controlling vast proj-
ects influencing all political and social considerations. Why
should these men not have the social training and psy-
chological understanding necessary to get along with all
types of people? They should have it, and we who are
in college will have to see to it that we develop these
qualities within ourselves.
  ALL engineers should take part in student activities!
Student government, professional and social activities, and
student functions like the Cardinal and the Wisconsin
Engineer are activities designed mainly for the benefit of
the participants. They will help the students themselves
and improve their college transcripts. Take note of this,
for many employers place considerable emphasis on per-
sonality traits and not merely grades,      R.R.J.

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