July 26, 2023
No one becomes a gear expert overnight. You might be abruptly assigned the title by your employer, but it takes some time before you can really fulfill the job requirements. Nothing can derail your progress quicker than a very public design error or misunderstanding with a customer. An earlier posting brought up the importance of nomenclature, i.e. — calling things by their proper name. Many embarrassing moments can be avoided by sticking to the accepted terminology. I vividly remember being laughed at for mispronouncing a word in 7th grade English class and still find myself avoiding that word fifty-four years later. When people find out you are a “gear guy” they expect you to know about gears and to help them with their gear problems. Part of your duty to those petitioners is to teach them the correct terminology. If they ask you about “straight cut” or “angle cut” gears, you need to respond about spur or helical gears. When they talk about “carbonizing” you have to gently instruct about the various ways to surface harden. It would be a miracle, though, if a single correction made these “squeaky chalk” problems disappear; once established, the “local vernacular” is difficult to erase. The same can be said for some design practices which persist years after the specific conditions that caused them are corrected. Habits can be good servants — or your worst enemy. This is why some teachers and coaches prefer to work with a “blank slate” rather than attempt to correct a talented but poorly trained student. People come into our trade from a variety of backgrounds; if you intend to stay in the field you will want to work to eliminate your bad habits and to educate yourself on the real limitations of your processes. Not everyone in your organization will see the value in this effort, so anticipate a certain amount of negativity along the way. Good results will quiet the naysayers.