July 14, 2022
It happened again yesterday afternoon. I was getting back in my truck after grocery shopping and the phone rang. A long time client reported that my engineering contact had gone on to another employer without any notice. Did I know of any potential replacements interested in relocating? I understand that sometimes circumstances require an immediate exit from a job. It isn’t fun for anyone to be left with lots of loose ends to tie up, particularly if those loose ends involve a subject you are not experienced with. Unfortunately, there is no waiting room full of eager gear engineers wanting to parachute into your hot spot and put out the fire. Sadly, each particular “fire” requires a unique solution that will not be apparent to the casual observer. Consultants like me can help rescue projects or programs but we are not the long term answer. I am very fond of most of my clients and I am most proud of the ones who developed the in-house capability to no longer need my services. Early on I decided not to be “the man behind the curtain” who magically solved gear problems. Passing on gear knowledge has been the goal of my little firm and this blog has helped me do that. So, back to my client. I do not know of any ready-to-move gear experts who could plug into their organization and not miss a beat. We had invested over two years into the departed engineer and his skill level was obviously attractive to a firm closer to his desired location. My advice was to see if there were in-house candidates with some involvement in the “open” projects who would be interested in moving up. If there are no in-house candidates, reach out within your local area for people with potential who really enjoy being in your community. I am always happy to help interview candidates and to assist in training the person selected. Our “origin story” series has clearly demonstrated that gear engineers are made, not born. When the right person gets appropriate training and opportunity, amazing things can happen.