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Thread: Lazy students becoming lazy engineers?

  1. #1
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    Lazy students becoming lazy engineers?

    I was in a situation where one of my lab partners in a PHY class was basically doing no work. This guy is extremely smart, was finding detailed errors in our lab experiments. Although, sometimes I wish he would communicate it better with me and his other partners. It makes me frustrated when I've got two of the five people in my group who are not taking part of the experiments. They usually will sit and watch me and two other lab partners discuss the experiment.

    So we had one last PHY experiment on angular velocity, angular acceleration, and torque. Right in the middle of this experiment one of my partners bails on us because he "supposedly" didn't prepare the upcoming exam. About a week later he asks me if I can give him the data we collected... Really??? If he had to bail because he wasn't feeling good or there was an emergency I would have been more than happy to give him the data. He has plenty of time to study for the exam, at least a week.

    Ever since the term started we agreed that I would be the leader since I know how to use the equipment in the lab the best. I am very open to everyones thoughts on all the experiments we did in lab. It's difficult to tell a lab partner that he can't get the data from me... =/

    Most of the time he wouldn't even show up for lecture, maybe five to six times out of the term. He asks me so many questions and I just want to tell him go to lecture and maybe you will learn something....

    So what should I do, give him the data?
    Last edited by ME_student; 06-02-2013 at 11:07 PM.

  2. #2
    Technical Fellow jboggs's Avatar
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    Welcome to the real world.

    My advice? Moochers will go through life depending on enablers and not recognizing their indebtedness to them. The sooner they learn the lesson that they control their own future the better it will be. Information that you had to work for is more valuable to you and better remembered than information that someone just gave you. The important thing here isn't your feelings. The important thing is your lab partner's future.

  3. #3
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    I think JB is being too nice - as usual.

    The word you are both searching for here is incompetent. It really matters little in the big scheme of things whether you give the lazy ba5tard (can I say that here?) the data or not. Ultimately he will eventually fail as just he justly deserves to do. I am old and that his given me the time to see that "what goes around comes around" is very very true over time.

    Personally I would leave the lazy sob in no doubt as to why I was not sharing data with him, but I certainly disagree with JB as is not your job to look out for and/or try to change, help or develop another person. Unless of course they are very close kin, it's a tough old world out there and the sooner these lazy sobs learn that, the better the World will be for the rest of us.

    My suggestion, stand your ground and don't mince words as to why you are withholding. Also, I would certainly not give him clues in how to word an excuse that would eat into your obviously soft, good, well-intentioned, but misguided heart.
    Last edited by PinkertonD; 06-03-2013 at 09:51 AM. Reason: Rampant Dyslexia of course

  4. #4
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    I gave him the data. He wouldn't leave me alone. I told him I give him the data under one condition, if he would help me and his fellow colleagues solve particular problems... Instead, he says he is too lazy to read through the entire lab over again... Wow... If he worked under me I would fire him. Haha.

  5. #5
    Lead Engineer Cake of Doom's Avatar
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    To be quite honest, I'd hang him out to dry. If he is too lazy to work as part of a group in the safe confines of the University lab, what's going to happen when he becomes part of professional design team with real world responsibilities? Engineering is a tough enough subject as it is without having to carry any dead weight.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ME_student View Post
    If he worked under me I would fire him.
    I hate to be blunt, but with your attitude towards this wanker, it is very unlikely you will ever reach a position of Management and be in a position to fire anyone. As COD says, it is a tough world. You do not have to be mean or unfeeling, but you really must learn to stand your ground. Of course this guy badgered you because you have given in before. I can say that with a 99.99 Percent certainty.

    Get you head out of your butt, strap on a pair if you can't grow your own, it is time to begin your Engineering career. That means take a serious attitude to your work and do not facilitate losers.

  7. #7
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    Ah no worries, rather you be straightforward with me than trying to be dishonest. Management as far as being a team leader for a project? I said if he worked under me I would fire him. (This would involve a real world application)

    What do you mean by management? The only reason I am asking is because I've got a friend who has his BS in ME. He's got his PE license and doesn't manage, instead still works with a team. Yet he can sign off blueprints and what not which makes me think he could hold a management position if he wanted to, but he told me that he doesn't want the managing position because you get less time behind a computer trying to figure out calculations. You could possibly lose the experience you gained over years of engineering.

    Management would be interesting, but it really depends on what kind of management...
    Last edited by ME_student; 06-06-2013 at 12:43 AM.

  8. #8
    Administrator Kelly Bramble's Avatar
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    There is another lesson here - first I would say that there has always been and will always be people whom are looking for the easy credit, money or success by taking and not working or contributing.

    The real lesson here is that when you gave him the data you became an enabler, meaning that you're encouraging this behavior. The more such people take without earning the harder it is to stop taking and earn for oneself.
    This is a classic parent and relationship trap that you will see over and over again throughout life..


    Quote Originally Posted by ME_student View Post
    I gave him the data. He wouldn't leave me alone. I told him I give him the data under one condition, if he would help me and his fellow colleagues solve particular problems... Instead, he says he is too lazy to read through the entire lab over again... Wow... If he worked under me I would fire him. Haha.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ME_student View Post
    What do you mean by management?
    You said you would fire him. In order to be in a position to fire anyone, regardless of the doctrine you follow, you need to have Management status.

    Your friend who claims he doesn't want a Management role has probably been passed over for said positions and is using the old Aesop's Fable to cover his chagrin rather than being honest.

    Either that, or he has no idea what Managers in Engineering do. It means more control over critical issues, more likely hood that one will have a greater influence over the finished project, a greater level of satisfaction having contributed so much and finally and also somewhat less-importantly, more money at the end of each Month.

    Do not believe all you hear or are told, and, even less of what you read on the Internet!

  10. #10
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    Okay thanks for the input. It's too bad we have a lot of very intelligent people around us, yet they sometimes come across being lazy or they are dishonest. I've been in another situation in school where my instructor gave me a 10/10 on a homework assignment, when I really knew I didn't deserve it because my professor didn't notice that I didn't do all the questions. So I turned around letting him know I really got a 9/10 instead. One of my friend, who is very smart, told me to not tell him that he made a mistake. I told him that it's better to be upfront and honest, rather than walking away with a grade that I didn't deserve.

  11. #11
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    Someday I would probably like to be a manager. I had a really good conversation with an EE about a month ago about management. I told him my goals are to become ME and then hopefully project manager. He chuckled, told me that I need to take one step at a time and focus on school.

  12. #12
    Lead Engineer Cake of Doom's Avatar
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    Student eng.--> Design eng.--> Team leader--> Project manager--> Senior eng. --> Principal eng --> Dept. Head --> lots of other steps before hiring/firing becomes one of your responsibilities --> PROFIT!

    I would be happy just to considered good enough for a management role. Every manager I know/have worked for, has been an engineer for donkey's years and they are on top of their game. It's a tough spot to fill.

  13. #13
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    You'll find people like this guy everywhere. It's annoying and unprofessional but it's very common to find this, especially with students

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