GM kicks its engineers to the curb - Page 2 - Pontiac Solstice Forum
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post #16 of 39 (permalink) Old 02-17-2019, 09:17 PM
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Originally Posted by robertllr View Post
Wow. It looks to me like you all missed the point of the article. .......
I've been thinking the same thing since the thread got started. Thank you for saying it better than I could have.

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post #17 of 39 (permalink) Old 02-17-2019, 09:35 PM
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Rob's analysis and commentary are, as usual, well-informed, succinct and oddly restrained.

Age-ism is a real thing, and total BS. If you're talking about people assembling baseballs for Nike, then, yeah, fire the 11 year olds and hire some 7's.

If you're talking about putting something on top of a [email protected]#!!! ROCKET that goes INTO THE AIR (much less space), I'd rather have the guy that invented this crap 200000 years ago than some new kids with Ph.D's with wet ink. I think all the people living within +0-30° of the launch site would, as well.

You can't buy experience or wisdom.

That doesn't mean that the younger guys coming up aren't necessarily capable, but firing your brain trust to save a few bucks is insane. (Captain Tangent says: "Remember that startup that fired its engineers in order to invest more in sales?")

Even in my mid 40s, I'm seeing this already. I'm very aware that, in my industry, I've got a very limited number of job changes in front of me before my age becomes a real, obvious factor. (Really, it already is, but I have awesome hair.)
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post #18 of 39 (permalink) Old 02-18-2019, 06:35 AM
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Originally Posted by robertllr View Post
a Whitworth spanner in the other.
Ahhh... English as she SHOULD be spoke!

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post #19 of 39 (permalink) Old 02-18-2019, 07:49 AM
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On the topic of the changing landscape in the automotive industry, I watched a very interesting show on TV (its called Motoring 2019 up here in Canada).
The topic of electrification of vehicles came up. The show noted that only 11% of the total emissions (CO, NOx and VOC's) come from passenger cars in Canada. Meaning, even if every car in Canada converted to electric, we would still have 89% of the problem out there. Also, this 11% is dropping every year as more an more older cars, that have poor emission control, are coming off the road. They predict that if all ICE vehicles were newer, the emission contribution would be under 7%.

The electrification of vehicles is just a crash grab using the idea that we are saving the environment as the back drop. As electric car production grows, the ICE vehicles production will drop. The ICE cars will become more expensive (no more getting an ICE car for $25k new) because the volume discounts on parts aren't there. The electric vehicles will eventually drop in price, but it will take a while.

To be honest, I think the manufacturer that 'bucks' the electrification trend may be the most successful in the end.
In my opinion, with 400 mile range, 30 minute/80% charge and limited infrastructure, the electric car would only be a second vehicle for my family. I would need an ICE vehicle for family vacations down to NC or FL (or anywhere further than 1000kms).
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post #20 of 39 (permalink) Old 02-18-2019, 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by tygriff View Post
the electric car would only be a second vehicle for my family. I would need an ICE vehicle for family vacations down to NC or FL (or anywhere further than 1000kms).
Not disagreeing with your point, but I would have said it a little differently: .... the "ICE" (not electric) car would only be a "second vehicle" for my family. I would need an ICE vehicle for family vacations down to NC or FL (or anywhere further than 1000kms).

And it is possible that the economics of THE FUTURE could retire that ICE vehicle in favor of other future options available too. Just saying ......
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post #21 of 39 (permalink) Old 02-18-2019, 11:19 PM
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Originally Posted by robertllr View Post
Wow. It looks to me like you all missed the point of the article.

It's not about cutting jobs, or unfairness to loyal workers. It's about the paradigm shift that is coming to the auto industry--whether those of us with with oil in our veins, axle grease under our fingernails, and gas fumes in our nostrils like it or not.

I think the article makes it clear that GM (and apparently the other automakers as well) has a better idea than many of us do of how the industry is going to change; and that the General is eager (if not desperate) to tailor his workforce to meet the challenges of those coming changes.

We gear heads need to wake up and realize (as the auto industry apparently already has) that EV's are going to be--indeed, must be (and probably sooner than we expect)--the personal transportation norm--no matter how hard the fossil-fuel industry and it's minions in Congress (and the moron in the White House) try to stop it.

An infrastructure built around automobiles powered by internal combustion is, in the long run, simply not sustainable. Global warming is real, climate change is real, finite petroleum supplies are real, and (sadly) engineers who design dino-fueled vehicles are soon to be dinosaurs themselves.

So, harsh though it may be for the professionals who cut their teeth on reciprocating engines, you really can't blame GM for trying
to keep from becoming irrelevant in a rapidly changing world.

Hey, I'm a car guy! At 69 years of age, I flat out love my four-stroke, gas-powered vehicles: my old Solstice, my even older Moto Guzzis, my even older Spitfire, and my (essentially ancient) Meriden-built Triumph motorcycles. I can't imagine life without them, without clutches and manual transmissions, without a timing light in one hand and a Whitworth spanner in the other.

But I suppose my great grandfathers loved their horses and shoeing hammers the same way. So it won't be long before we Solstice enthusiasts are yelling at Chevy Bolt owners: "Get an oil change!" And with just as much relevance.

(Nomex underwear on. Flame away.)
while what you say may be true of the auto industry; it is happening all across the business/manufacturing spectrum. been there, done that; have the t-shirt....

and, while it may have gone unsaid in your narrative, I saw/see no attempt or the opportunity to retrain; just easier to replace....
Bill

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post #22 of 39 (permalink) Old 02-19-2019, 05:41 AM
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Originally Posted by 44thSKY View Post
Not disagreeing with your point, but I would have said it a little differently: .... the "ICE" (not electric) car would only be a "second vehicle" for my family. I would need an ICE vehicle for family vacations down to NC or FL (or anywhere further than 1000kms).

And it is possible that the economics of THE FUTURE could retire that ICE vehicle in favor of other future options available too. Just saying ......

Actually, the electric would have to be my second car. If I could only afford one vehicle, it would have to be an internal combustion engine to allow me to travel. I don't think it is feasible for me to have an electric vehicle as my only mode of transportation at this point.
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post #23 of 39 (permalink) Old 02-19-2019, 06:48 AM
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Originally Posted by 44thSKY View Post
Not disagreeing with your point, but I would have said it a little differently: .... the "ICE" (not electric) car would only be a "second vehicle" for my family. I would need an ICE vehicle for family vacations down to NC or FL (or anywhere further than 1000kms).

And it is possible that the economics of THE FUTURE could retire that ICE vehicle in favor of other future options available too. Just saying ......
The Volt is the answer...use electricity when you can, gasoline when you can't.

Oh wait, they are taking the Volt out of production.
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post #24 of 39 (permalink) Old 02-19-2019, 07:12 AM Thread Starter
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I've been thinking the same thing since the thread got started. Thank you for saying it better than I could have.
My experience has been that in every industry the bean counters get handed the stick and they start by cutting labor costs. Doesn't matter really what you are making, its always easier to cut the high paid workers operating under the assumption that cheaper is better.

This has been going on since the 1970s in cycles, it just appears to be endemic to the culture today. Its popping up everywhere.

I worked an 8 year contract for missile defense that did a lot of great work for the government. When the time for recompete came up, the new wave of procurement people decided to make a name for themselves by getting more for less. They published a "recommended" grade / pay structure for the proposed follow on contract that was so low that none of the incumbent companies could man it so we all passed.

The "winning" competitor was a California company that was in the middle of a huge downturn in their business. They told their engineers that they had the choice of hitting the bricks or packing up their crap in a U-Haul and moving to Colorado to work the new program. At a 25 percent pay cut.

Needless to say, all of them who could get another job did so and the team that showed up in Colorado was not as technically sound as it might have been. Within six months, the same government contracting guys were begging the incumbents to come back and work the program but it was too late. The team had moved on.

Another example
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Future...y_Architecture

The government decided that cheaper and commercial was better. Fired the "too expensive" incumbents and went with a team that had never built a satellite and a program management team who's primary credential was they were cheap. A few billion dollars down the toilet later, they had to dig themselves out of a huge hole and go back to the incumbents.

As alluded to above, in the 70s and 80s the "robber barons" bought weak companies, raped them and threw them away along with their people.

The people that are getting kicked to the curb are fully capable of adopting new technologies. And personally I don't see a wave of new tech sweeping through any industry. Things that involve human health and safety are very evolutionary and not revolutionary. Safety regulations, engineering standards - and the market place, all make it a requirement to take certain, safe steps to a better product.

I the main, people don't yet WANT electric cars. People want big trucks and SUVs. The industry is adding technology to increase fuel economy across the fleet so they can keep selling big trucks and meeting federal CAFE standards. But the buyers are not lining up demanding give me more mileage. Give me a bigger screen. Let me tow more crap. Make my truck cooler than that other guys truck. Add a fully articulated and featured tail gate for crying out loud.

Having observed the lifecycle of an engineer for over 40 years I have seen the "cycle" repeated about every five years. The economy picks up, engineers get hired. There are not enough so they get paid more. The companies raise their pay to retain them. (in the 1970s and 80s we got raises every six months!) Their pay goes up, and up and up while the business is good. Then an election happens. The opposition party comes into town. The flow of funds gets redirected. The economy crashes. The product stops selling. Now all these "over compensated" senior types need to get flushed so the businesses can "do more with less". So they say "your skills are no good any more" and you are out the door.

Its all BS. The vast majority of engineers are problem solvers. Just about any problem. They are more than capable and happy to learn new skills and new technologies.

Saying "well, you are ten years out of school so you know nothing" is total crap. Martin Marietta as an example published official documentation that stated that they needed to get rid of the highly paid engineers cause they cost too much. And acknowledged that their ability to do real work would decline.

The other challenge faced by businesses today is the new crop of engineers did not grow up in a time when work ethic was highly valued and taught in the home and at school. Todays kids know how to put a condom on a cucumber but cant spell or do math. They want to have their phone so they can communicate all day long and post to all their sites. When I started every engineer at Boeing went on the boards. Drawing. Learning the design process from the BOTTOM up. At Martin, you were not allowed to have COFFEE at your desk because you might spill it on engineering product and damage it. You punched a time clock in the morning and when you left at the end of the day. You wore a shirt and tie, had a pocket protector to hold your pens, carried a slide rule and took two breaks plush lunch. Period.

Try that today with the current crop of non-competitive snow flakes. It gets you nowhere.

Its the big money brains and the HR people who make these decisions and all they are interested in is making a profit for 3 years, punching their ticket and moving on to a bigger more important job and their yacht.

If people really wanted electric cars, then there would be electric cars. They don't really want them and they are not really practical yet. Short commutes or slow trips from one charging station to the next in good weather on nice roads. Try commuting to work when its 11 below like it was here last week and there is a foot of snow on the ground.


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post #25 of 39 (permalink) Old 02-19-2019, 08:16 AM
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Companies and governments (and people) have been cutting costs and making stupid decisions since time began, and that is never going to change. Everyone wants a bigger piece of the pie, investors, managers, executives, workers, unions, everyone. That has also been the true since time began and it also isn't going to change.

Look at your own decisions and activities to see how loyal you are. How many times have you gone into a store to evaluate and compare something, then gone home to save money by ordering it on line? If you are willing to put the store that you took advantage of out of business, why shouldn't your employer do the same thing to you?

If a headhunter calls you one day and offers you more money for what you are doing now, or offers you a position in a place you would rather be, or doing a job you would rather do, would you turn it down out of loyalty to whoever you work for now? Of course not. You are going to take the option that you think is best for you. Again, if you are willing to do that to your employer, why shouldn't your employer do the same thing to you?

There is nothing good about losing your job, regardless of the reason, but it happens and we all know it happens. The answer is to prepare for it and have a plan. Twenty years ago the company I work for decide to significantly reduce the size of its technical center, and offered a buyout to anyone who wanted it. Not surprising, the best people left, many to start their own engineering companies. Those guys now mostly still work for us, doing what they did before, and everyone seems happy about the situation.
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post #26 of 39 (permalink) Old 02-19-2019, 09:39 AM
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In the old days, the goal of most manufacturers was to build the best widget possible. Then it became build the best widget at reasonable cost. And now manufacturers build a widget at the lowest possible price.

Back in the old days, employers offered defined pensions to their employees. It created loyalty and encouraged lifelong careers at one company.

In the 70's and 80's employers started to cut back on defined pensions and encouraged 401K's and IRA's. Workers no longer had to stay at one company to earn retirement income other than Social Security.
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post #27 of 39 (permalink) Old 02-19-2019, 09:05 PM
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I'll open with:

Guaranteeing someone a pension, and thus earning their service over an entire career, and then... "backing out," "flaking," "reneging," "bad word here" is evil. I've not been in that position, so I can only imagine what it's like to hit "retirement age" (whatever that means these days) and have everything you've counted upon for the past few decades turn into mist.

In my field, if you're at the same company for more than 4-5 years, it looks weird on your CV. But, if you're in your late 40s, or older, it's near impossible to get hired. So...? Keep moving forward, and then die too young.

Things have changed, a lot, and I do not believe that is a positive change.

Where do we go from here?

Blue-ish 2006 2.4, Werks stage 1 turbo, Borla cat-back, DDM braces, Spec aluminum flywheel, Spec stage 2 clutch, Werks aluminum radiator, some gauges, RKSport hood, Morimoto FX-Rs, GReddy Profec, Norm's fenders

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post #28 of 39 (permalink) Old 02-20-2019, 03:00 PM
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Rather than relying on the company to give you a pension, the smart thing to do is to build your own.

Aggressive GXP at $25,995.00 shipping of $600, MT.
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Air, $960; Chrome Wheels, $545; PCQ, Premium Package (Leather), $525; Radio, 6-Disc with MP3, $495; Monsoon, $395; Premium Acoustic Headliner, $150; and Sport Metallic Pedals, $115; all totals $29,180.00.
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post #29 of 39 (permalink) Old 02-20-2019, 04:03 PM
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Yup, I lived through exactly this.
Worked as a Machine Design Engineer for a vibrant, small, profitable, privately held company for 22 years. Towards the end, the elderly owner retired and then later sold the business. The new owners came in and slashed salaries by 10-20% depending on position. We lost our profit sharing and 401k matching program too while they earned record profits. Three years later we were sold again to a mega-corporation for triple AFTER stripping out a bunch of company assets. The new corporate owners spent lavishly to update the building into a “world class facility” without addressing any of the core needs. Everything was done for show. End result was the business (intentionally?) failed and they moved the remnants from Chicago to Canada while letting 100+ people go.

The waves of terminations revolved around salary and seniority. The only ones left at the end were the fresh out of school engineers, but they were cheap! Fortunately, I was in the first wave let go. Was able to find work after only four months. The new place though had its own quirks...

Was hired to redesign a highly problematic product line. Performance was improved to double the output of the competition, reliability improved by 20x (yes, 20 times!) and enthusiastically accepted by sales and customers. But, project is now done so we don’t need you anymore. Oh, and thanks for the patent...

Last place was a sweat shop. 50-60 hour weeks for 35 hours pay. Boss left early on most days. Lasted a year then quit/retired 5.5 years ahead of schedule. Didn’t need the stress anymore and was making the same pay for the last 10 years.

Good luck to you younger guys. Sorry to say you will likely be in the same situation one day!

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post #30 of 39 (permalink) Old 02-20-2019, 04:58 PM
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Rather than relying on the company to give you a pension, the smart thing to do is to build your own.
great idea… if you had 20/20 foresight 30
years ago
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