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Its a different world in the tech field

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by alnicopu, Jan 10, 2018.

  1. alnicopu

    alnicopu Friend of Leo's

    Oct 3, 2009
    georgia
    No fault of your own. If you don’t get that repetition, you don’t get as good at it. That goes along with the thought of “its quicker and cheaper to throw parts at it” mentality. I was the on site tech for 20 years and had 3 or 4 side accounts of my onw. When you work for a small or mom and pop shop, you don’t have the luxury of throwing 5k worth of parts at something.
     

  2. william tele

    william tele Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Nov 7, 2009
    Kansas City, MO
    In reality I think most of these problems being discussed are not "a lot of great opportunity". Most of what I've read is lack of discipline, training and folks who are ill prepared to do their job. Buzzwords like "change the culture", "low hanging fruit", "not a problem...an opportunity" don't fix problems.

    If you are in a position to mentor those who can't do their job then it certainly is an "opportunity" for you. Others are spread thin and don't have the time to teach technicians what they were hired to already know.
     

  3. memorex

    memorex Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    68
    Jan 14, 2015
    Chicago
    50 years ago, when I was in high school, we had a saying:

    Those who can do, do. Those who cannot, teach. Those who can't teach, teach gym.
     

  4. Piggy Stu

    Piggy Stu Friend of Leo's

    Feb 26, 2017
    UK
    At least the dentists aren't getting it today

    Poor gym teachers
     

  5. imwjl

    imwjl Poster Extraordinaire

    The problems are opportunities if one really does have talent and drive. Some employers are raising wages. I know aged workers getting opportunity.

    A catch is the whole world competes. There's no salvation if you think you're worthy of more but don't really have the something enough special to be in demand, honestly perform or be paid more.

    It's a world where most work places have bigger distances between top and bottom. You have to be able to run with the tough crowd as much as have skills and characteristics people are bringing up here.
     

  6. Recce

    Recce Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    837
    May 3, 2016
    Northern Alabama
    [[/QUOTE]
    I have been trying for two months to get a company to come service my propane fireplace. The pilot light would not stay lit. I think they will eventually show up about mid summer if ever. So I You Tubed the problem today. The couple of videos showed me how to open the fireplace and repair the part. It is now working after I repaired it. I have no idea when that company would get here. You tube worked well.
     

  7. dsutton24

    dsutton24 Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

    Dec 29, 2010
    Illinois
    While it's true that 'component level repair' is the mark of a superior technician, probably*, it's not a realistic tactic in the field most of the time.

    I can swap an a.c. drive and get a line up an running in a matter of minutes, with minimal tweaking and fiddling time. I can do component level repair, I did bench repairs for many years. But, in a production environment, that takes time, test equipment, and a spare parts inventory. So, you play Mr. Bigshot Technician, haul manuals and test gear out to the line, find places to set up and get power to everything, and technicinize the schizz out of that biotch. You replace a thirty cent part and get things rolling, at a cost of three or four hours of downtime.

    Downtime is expensive, and it has cascading effects throughout the facility, not to mention creating trouble for whomever is relying on you to supply his plant with product, and on down the line.

    So, you throw a three thousand dollar drive at a problem that could be solved by replacing a thirty cent part? You bet your axe you do. Those three bones are cheap compared to downtime.

    Superior technician*...

    I had a long-time friend named Skip, now sadly deceased. Skip was a professional packrat, he scavenged electronic scrap by the MST, lovingly desoldered all the components, and stored them in zillions of plastic parts bins. He was self-taught electronics hobbyist who thought he was an engineer. He made his living by building one-off circuits for various folks. He lived in an old firehouse with no shower facilities, and no kitchen. Just painting a picture, he really was a great guy, but quirky. He was absolutely stubborn when it came to The Right Way to do things. One of those principals was an absolute certainty that purpose-built controls were superior to modern, modular controls such as PLCs, and that component level repair was the only righteous way.

    Anyhew...

    We had an oooold knife controller that was filled with 7400 logic, and this thing had nixie tube displays on it. This dog was still in service as late as 1998. Seriously. The thing went ignorant late one Friday afternoon, and I isolated the problem to a particular board which we didn't have a spare for. This board had about ten 7400 series devices on it. The local Warren Radio had all the parts on hand, I told my boss that I'd take it home where I could use my soldering station on it, replace all the parts, about three bucks worth, and charge him an hour's labor. That way I could bring it in Saturday morning, test it, and the line would restart on schedule on Monday.

    Enter Skip...

    Well, my boss knew Skip, and decided to take the board to him. Skip sketched out the logic, lashed up a power supply and started poking all the various inputs, and tracing things. He replaced two or three i.c.s and sent the board back. Bright and early Monday morning, my boss (thank heaven!) popped the board in, and the control cabinet said, "phzzzt!"

    So now it's the predictable mad scramble to find a replacement board at a board repair service, pay through the nose for it, give it a plane ride and a taxi ride to the plant. And, try to justify fourteen hours of downtime caused solely by bad judgement and hubris.

    Yes, component level repair is a valuable skill, but it's not always a cost-effective way to do things. You can blah blah blah all day long about our throw away society, but you can throw away an electronic part and survive. You can't ever get back time that gets thrown away.

    As a technically minded guy, it's not terribly satisfying, but neither is unemployment :)
     
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  8. Nickadermis

    Nickadermis Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Age:
    52
    Dec 18, 2016
    Camden Point, MO

    Telling a Pissed off Dutchman that his Poinsettias are going to freeze while I yank out his environmental controller to be sent back to the manufacturer for replacement in a couple days...........ain't happening in my world. You better be able to keep critical functions functioning while the smart people are getting their shi.....parts together ! Fortunately most manufacturers in the industry understand that . Those that don't, learn quickly or disappear.
     
    Jimmy Owen likes this.

  9. dsutton24

    dsutton24 Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

    Dec 29, 2010
    Illinois
    I gotta admit that I've never though about it in those terms, but it's a frightening thought for sure!
     

  10. Nickadermis

    Nickadermis Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Age:
    52
    Dec 18, 2016
    Camden Point, MO
    I understand completely your thought process, and agree 100% with it. It's just that not all venues have an ability to absorb downtime.
     
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  11. dsutton24

    dsutton24 Poster Extraordinaire Gold Supporter

    Dec 29, 2010
    Illinois
    Exactly. If you freeze a greenhouse you not only lose the revenue from the lost plants, you have the cost of the new stock, you cause your customers shortages because you can't make timely deliveries while you purchase new stock, you cause headaches for your suppliers, and so on.

    I had a co-worker who absolutely wouldn't replace anything before it failed totally. An awful lot of things, especially mechanical parts, can be measured or observed, and preemptive action taken. The guy never learned that a few bucks spent on parts, and work done during scheduled down time was cheap compared to lost production. His focus was strictly on the few bucks worth of life left in the part.

    It's all a balancing act. You can't anticipate all breakdowns, and you can't stock every possible part. But, if you don't learn from history, you're passing up the most valuable education a person can ever have.
     
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  12. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Tele-Holic

    829
    Jan 15, 2013
    Heart O' Dixie
    I concur, there's a shortage of basic trouble shooting skills with technicians. I'll speculate, that nobody solves problems at home anymore, just replacing entire products when "it don't work". Therefore, learning a skill or trade is premature today. An entire basic life skill set is missing - isolate, test, divide, test, bracket, test, with/without, test - and so on. Maybe they could add a basic logic and failure analysis class? In high school. Actually there's a lot of things that need to be taught in high school, that used to be learned at home.
     
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  13. imwjl

    imwjl Poster Extraordinaire

    That might be a little short-sighted or "get off my lawn". DIY is a huge business. We're all wired a bit differently and with my 3 kids I see one who might not ever do much troubleshooting in the home and have one who loves fixing things and making things from scratch.

    Less fixing stuff in your home is also surely tied to economics, demographics and education. Time is scarce for a lot of people.

    Great skills are still taught. I see that with our move that has our kids in great schools and my wife who teaches troubled kids in a large city school with two armed officers there all the time. That doesn't mean all the kids care to learn or are learning. I also see it via my leading some youth programs and knowing young people in what used to be called vocational school or tech school.

    It's really out of hand when teachers get blamed across the board. I've had this insight with my wife choosing to teach in some of the most challenging circumstances and our moving from a deteriorating neighborhood to a top spot in our metro area.

    The stuff you think should be added to a class is there in most decent schools. This year my wife has a new slice of her day teaching science to 9 grade kids in troubling circumstances. Languages are her core skill and specialty but she knows and does science. No matter how she tries there's difficulty when it's kids who mostly have to work at survival every day (a roof over their head, not getting raped, and decent food)? Then add kids raised in a growing culture of disrespect for education and teachers? The laws and schools can't fail politics make it worse. Fortunately a noticeable amount kids do make it.

    All of this is not as bad as many make it out to be. I think the problems are visible by the changes I've seen since my k-12 days. A less competitive against the world scenario used to let a whole lot of not that smart and not that motivated people get away with a higher wage in a high value and highly productive country. Where I grew up they could do a so so job spraying paint on farm machinery or slapping parts on Chevrolets that over time proved to be not so great and not so competitive. Now the only place in this area for most of those people are jobs like Walgreens clerks and standing by the cans of paint at Home Depot instead of spraying it on farm machine and car parts.

    Someone I know who's still a field tech at a phone company said he only has a good job because he's not one of those people he worked with years ago who really could only do a few of many things. This guy has to know much more now. Machinists I know are struggling or thriving. One who has been terrible about change and modern technology struggles to stay employed. One who embraced change and technology went way ahead of the other guy and is a millwright at a place that specializes in making prototypes and specialty manufacturing machines. Of course they each think each other has taken a bs path in life.

    Finally on high school. This past week was a conference session and learning session for my twins who start high school next year. Wow I was impressed. If you take it in there are resources to help you know how to take advantage of your skills that were not present when I was their age.
     

  14. Musekatcher

    Musekatcher Tele-Holic

    829
    Jan 15, 2013
    Heart O' Dixie
    I think we are addressing three different things. First, of course its never been reasonable that all kids know how to troubleshoot engines, circuits, fluid systems, I agree with you there - but basic skills have to be there to function in these fields and future techs. Its not a good idea to let kids wait till they are 18 to learn to read a tape measure or use jumper cables, or install a p trap if they are going to be good techs.

    Second, I'm suggesting the percentages of trade qualified kids are declining, and these basic skills are missing - they might be related. 30 years ago, all kids knew how to read a tape measure, much less teens interested in making good money at carpentry. Perhaps not teaching these basic skills at home is impacting the numbers of kids interested or successful at various trades?

    Third, general troubleshooting is a necessary skill in life, just to get out of the driveway. It can apply to finding something lost, substituting a badly needed item or service, recognizing impending danger from the wrong sounds, odor and so on. Otherwise, we have kids who will always be dependent on somebody more than in the past. We call it problem solving today, so maybe I should use the modern term.
     
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  15. elmoscafeo

    elmoscafeo Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    57
    Jun 29, 2012
    Chicago Suburbs
    Just recently, one of our "technicians" who received their electronics/electrical training from one of those "Technical Institutes" was asked to verify if the machine was connected to a 20 amp source. He put his DMM on Amps and then plugged in to the outlet.

    He's fine. Meter's toast.
     
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  16. xafinity

    xafinity Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

    Dec 24, 2015
    my Mom's basement
    new world reality
    no matter your level of training, experience, skill. and dedication, you will eventually be replaced by a semi skilled recent trade school graduate eager to work for very low wage.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2018
    Andy B likes this.

  17. Obsessed

    Obsessed Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Nov 21, 2012
    Montana
    I have a good friend who is THE electronic tech for a car dealership. Now that cars have been multi-plexing over normal traditional car wiring (sending low voltage signals to the computer over things like tail light wires for example) for quite awhile now, he is starting to see 15 year old vehicles with normal corrosion that would not affect the traditional wire function, but cutting off the super low voltage signals on the same line. It is becoming a troubleshooting nightmare. The issue is how much money in labor to troubleshoot a 15 year old vehicle and the fact that most vehicles are using this technology today. He sees a tsunami coming.
     
    william tele likes this.

  18. Nickadermis

    Nickadermis Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

    Age:
    52
    Dec 18, 2016
    Camden Point, MO
    Talk about designed obsolescence ! Makes one leery of things like automatic braking for sure.
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2018
    william tele and Obsessed like this.

  19. tonyp145

    tonyp145 Tele-Meister

    428
    Sep 19, 2010
    Kent, WA
    This thread reminds me of the movie Idiocracy where in the future there’s all this broken tech because the smart people are all gone and nobody left knows how to fix anything.
     
    william tele and Obsessed like this.

  20. imwjl

    imwjl Poster Extraordinaire

    Right now the US job market is so strong that employers are considering and hiring many who would not be on the radar a short while ago. This is in the news, stats, and what I see in the 750ish people where I work.

    One still needs the skills, and for a lot of jobs wages have still lagged behind but that is changing.

    I stand strong on the people aspect being quite unchanged. I differ from a lot of baby boomer peers because I spend a lot of time with people much younger and I'm a late aged parent. Young people are mostly the same. For many who see faults I say look in the mirror. Who gave birth to, educated and did the steering for the next generation?

    There's just a whole lot of competition in a lot of places where that was not always the case.
     
    xafinity likes this.

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