When People Just Don’t Know

Whilst working in this industry, and I assume any industry, there are people who know what they are talking about, and those that don’t. Then these two categories are split into two further groups; those that can talk a good game, and those who cannot. Those who know their stuff but can’t articulate it are unfortunate, and those who don’t know their stuff and can’t bullshit it are in for a rough time. Those who do know it and can talk about it at length, and the ones who don’t know anything but can blag their way through, have the yellow brick road to follow to manager level. I’ll let you decide which side I am on, but be nice.

I was in a training course yesterday where upon I was introduced to people who are in a position of seniority, but have no grasp of the scale or magnitude of what this company does and what I do within it. They first of all called everyone in the room Engineers. Now, as any engineer will tell you, calling someone an engineer does not an engineer make. I am a Chemical, or Process Engineer. I design things, I engineer them. Mechanical too, they design things. Electrical, Instrumental and Structural all design things too, these disciplines are engineers. Using this terminology, even software engineers are real engineers… even when in real life the things they design are not even real. They’ve still designed them.

But a Project Engineer? No. Nope. They don’t design anything. Normally a project engineer is someone who was an engineer but didn’t want to keep engineering things. This means that they should not be an engineer. Just because they’ve got the BEng (Hons) they don’t get to be called a discipline engineer for a discipline that does not engineering.

The guy that fixes your boiler isn’t an engineer. The guy that fixes you car isn’t an engineer. The man who tarmacs the roads is not an engineer.

This was hammered home when the aforementioned project engineers continually made severe errors in judgement, like:

- a gas field that has 10’000 barrels of oil.
- A £3 million valve
- “20 yards” in a room where there is barely 15 yards from wall to wall

Also, 10’000 barrels of oil in a well? I know that we are desperate, but even Beatrice Alpha and the Jacky wellhead platform produce 12’000 a day. And that’s a piddling amount. Captain, Ninian, even Forties all produce around 50’000 a day, and that is a lot less than it used to be. Forties field, on a good day, would do 650’000 a day, and at the most Alba North was pushing at 120’000 a day.