Rule #17: Think for yourself

Unwritten Rule of Engineering #17: Do not be too anxious to defer to or embrace your manager’s instructions.

This is the other side of the matter covered by the preceding rule. An undue subservience or deference to any manager’s wishes is fairly common among young engineers. Employees with this kind of philosophy may:

  • plague their managers incessantly for minute directions and approvals,
  • surrender all initiative and depend on their supervisor to do all the thinking for a project,
  • persist with a design or a project even after new evidence has proven the original plan to be infeasible.

In general, a program laid down by the department, the project leader, or the design team is a proposal, rather than an edict.