Archive for January, 2010

Let’s Charter a Society of Senior Engineers

January 16, 2010

My fondest friend has been recruited for a leadership position in the Chinese Institute of Engineers, USA. Their agenda is to promote networking and opportunities for Chinese engineers in the USA. It strikes me that there may be an element of racist opportunism in this organization. They are politically aligned against the Institution of Engineers (India), though I doubt they would ever admit that publicly, and I am told that the bone of contention is the Asian-American Engineers of the Year awards – who qualifies for the award, and who decides on the award winners…

There are quite a number of racially motivated engineering organizations in the USA:

Chinese Institute of Engineers, USA
Institution of Engineers (India)
Asian Engineering Society
National Society of Black Engineers
Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers
Arab American Association of Engineers and Architects
Jewish Engineering Association

and there are more – there is even an Alliance of Gay Engineers and a Society of Woman Engineers…

In my brain, I don’t see any of these classes of engineers as disadvantaged or ostracized in the workplace. I have engineer friends from every walk of life, and I suspect that a number of my diverse friends belong to some racially-identifying organization such as these.  And I am glad to see every one of my engineer friends succeed and advance their careers. At the end of the day, though, I am disappointed to see engineering societies aligned along racial lines – very disappointed indeed. I think that this promotes subtle racism and discrimination in the workplace through the natural follow-on formation of corporate cliques.

Societies should be formed to foster the advancement of new fields of science and engineering, and every society should work to promote opportunity for everyone. If there is a disadvantaged class, it certainly needs to be identified and the disadvantaging factors defeated. I think we need a Society of Senior Engineers! And while we are at it, a Society of Junior Engineers, too… I think that the IEEE (the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers) and the league of other engineering Societies that meet fail to promote opportunity for the junior or senior engineers – yes, these are the disadvantaged classes of engineers in the workplace today, and they need some promotion and opportunity.

Let’s charter a Society of Senior Engineers to promote the value of experience in the workplace. Or better yet, perhaps the IEEE will add this missions to their charter – I’ll write the IEEE and see what can be done. I have been a member of the IEEE for more than 35 years, and that should qualify me as a senior engineer.

Maybe we need one more engineering society (but we probably don’t)…

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