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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    The Dungeon
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    Getting burned out on controls

    I've been involved in some level of the controls industry since I graduated from college (1986). I have been a project manager for the last six years and this stuff is just getting old. I used to be interested in all the new technology but now all I want to do is finish the next job.

    Anyone else hit the wall? What did you do to make it interesting again?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    1,720
    I've done Project Management and IMHO, it's a PITA.
    There are so many other jobs in this industry, find one that interests you.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Fort Worth\Dallas, Texas
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    1,706
    Well I am burned out on driving an average of 3 to 4 hrs a day, but I don't know what else I would do.

    If you are not doing Tridium Ax I would suggest trying to get involved with it. There is so much to learn, and your imagination is the limit with what you can do with it.

    If I was not using AX right now I would probably go back into service.
    Go Rangers!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    Our programmers and techs work with the software, PM's are the babysitters. I make good money doing the job and I will keep on doing it especially when service tech pay is almost half of what I make. I just wondered what keeps you interested in the job.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Northeast USA
    Posts
    77
    Quote Originally Posted by whatnoise View Post
    Our programmers and techs work with the software, PM's are the babysitters. I make good money doing the job and I will keep on doing it especially when service tech pay is almost half of what I make. I just wondered what keeps you interested in the job.
    I used to be fascinated with controls but now it's a job. I think at certain age things change and what got you interested is old hat now. I look forward to things I do outside of work and hope I can retire before I die. My dad retired a few years ago and he is as happy as a pig in sh*t.
    You lost your dongle!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Rhode Island
    Posts
    244
    I retired a few months ago but my old job is still open.

    Try this on for size....

    https://hr.mycareer.ucla.edu/applica...=1199251515972

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Boston
    Posts
    1

    I feel your pain.

    I used to be excited about controls but lately it is just a job. I used to love to go to work and now I can’t get out of bed to save my life. The pay is good and nobody really hassles me, it has just gotten old.

    I'm attending a Tridium course next week maybe that will inspire me.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    1,144
    Quote Originally Posted by srobinsn View Post
    I'm attending a Tridium course next week maybe that will inspire me.
    In more ways than you can currently imagine...
    “It is impossible for one to learn what one thinks they already know"

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    The Dungeon
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    Interesting you mention Tridium. I was talking to our VP of controls about my situation and he suggested getting back into programming. I haven't done much of it for the past 5 or 6 years but I think it would get me back into the technology. He me wanted to look into the Tridium package and do some research to see if it would work for us. We do more plan and spec and I don't see Tridium in the list of approved manufacturers on most jobs. Ho do you apply it in that circumstance?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    132
    Tridium does not have field controllers that I know of, unless you count the Jace with NDIO. They do have a very good supervisory controller capable if integrating multiple field protocols into a single, easy to use, web accessable format.

    And after 20+ years in the controls business, I was getting burned out big time. A change of scenery gave me a boost, and learning the Tridium product was a big part of that.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by beer30 View Post
    Tridium does not have field controllers that I know of, unless you count the Jace with NDIO. They do have a very good supervisory controller capable if integrating multiple field protocols into a single, easy to use, web accessable format.

    And after 20+ years in the controls business, I was getting burned out big time. A change of scenery gave me a boost, and learning the Tridium product was a big part of that.
    I don't know much about Tridium other than some of what I read on their website. My issue is that most of our work has to meet a list of approved system manufacturers. Another typical spec is that all field controllers must be capable of stand alone operations in the event of a network failure. The way I see Tridium is that it is a master-slave relationship and if the network fails betweem a Jace and it's devices the programming ceases to function. Please feel free to fill in the blanks while I get up to speed on this stuff. I didn't expect a change of positions this quick but at least I don't have change employers.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    U.S.A.
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    209
    Quote Originally Posted by whatnoise View Post
    Another typical spec is that all field controllers must be capable of stand alone operations in the event of a network failure. The way I see Tridium is that it is a master-slave relationship and if the network fails betweem a Jace and it's devices the programming ceases to function.
    Nope, if the JACE fails, the field controllers will keep working as normal. The time schedules coming from the JACE won't work anymore as well as the customer being able to use a browser for monitoring, but the controllers will still share data among themselves just fine, as long as the communications wire is still good.

    However, if you're using "Dumb I/O" and the JACE is handling all the logic, then you will have major problems if the JACE dies. I personally do not have any sites like that.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    1,382
    Quote Originally Posted by whatnoise View Post
    I've been involved in some level of the controls industry since I graduated from college (1986). I have been a project manager for the last six years and this stuff is just getting old. I used to be interested in all the new technology but now all I want to do is finish the next job.

    Anyone else hit the wall? What did you do to make it interesting again?
    Is it that you're tired of CONTROLS work? Or perhaps you're just tired of doing what Project Managers do for a living?

    Just wondering.

    I retired from the Navy after 23 years of active duty. One of the problems I had for the last several years of that period was that I'd moved up in rank and position to a point where my duties and responsibilities were primarily supervisory, managerial, administrative, and dealing with personnel issues. I was far removed from any hands on work with equipment.

    Didn't realize the nature of the problem at the time. Just knew that while my performance at my assigned duties was rated at the top 3% of my peers ... I wasn't a happy camper. Had to work at it to keep myself self-motivated, engaged, involved and interested.

    Upon retiring from the Navy my first civilian employment put me in management, again. At a level where I again had little direct involvement with the equipment involved. Made good money .... excellent money. But I was still unhappy and not looking forward to each day. Bored, not really liking doing what I was doing. Did it well, exceptionally ... or so I was told. However, I had this bad habit. When something (equipment/facilities for which I had managerial responsibilities) took a dump, or had serious issues ... I had a tendency to jump in and want to take over resolving the problem or fixing the item myself, personally.

    On a number of occasions I was reminded by those higher up in the food chain than myself that I wasn't supposed to show up on a site with a tool or instrument in my hands, or spend time on a site suggesting to a technician that since his way was obviously not working, how about he try again using my way? Etc. And that such things (wastes of my time given the position I held) were causing me to be late with IMPORTANT stuff like updating the latest spreadsheets and project completion forecast files or to miss IMPORTANT meetings like the one where a committee was to resolve the issue of the cost-benefit ratio, and pros and cons, of standardizing the type of file folders and folder labeling system used throughout the corporation. That last item being at least somewhat important in that corporation-wide it seemed like an item that might save the corporation as much as $1.7 million annually. But, somehow, I just had trouble mustering up any enthusiasm for spending a few hours in such a meeting, reviewing all the data being presented by the bean counters to justify their position on the subject. Not to mention, $1.7 million to that corporation had less impact than a penny, more or less, in your or my pocket.

    In the end, I turned in my walking papers and applied for a lower position opening. As a field engineer. (Glorified title for a senior tech)

    Took a pretty severe pay hit. But I had reviewed that. Could still make the bills and put food on the table with enough left over for buying some bait and enough gas for the fishing boat to suit me.

    But the end result was that I was a happier camper. New duties meant that I got to directly plan and supervise new projects, do acceptance testing and inspections, and even got to use a tool or instrument time to time whenever the site technician(s) needed help or were stumped by something. (Had to give them first shot at fixing the problem ... union rules. But could jump in if they asked me for help.)

    I'd found my new home ... I was happier doing that sort of work than what I'd been doing. Yeah, like anyone else there were times when I b*tched and moaned and griped and wondered why in the world did I ever choose to do this kind of work. But there were also the times when I got the satisfaction of having something I'd had my hands on purr like a charm ... works fine, lasts a long time. Or had a control/monitoring system I'd designed work just as I'd envisioned it working. Or had that program for a controller working just as it was designed to work. And those things gave me a sense of satisfaction, and happiness, that my previous duties had not.

    My point is ... that one can be good at a particular job, and make lots of money. But still not actually LIKE the kind of work one is doing. When that happens, it's decision making time. And no one else can make the decision for you.

    I'm also sure that I'm not the only one who feels like this. I've known too many others, personally, who've found themselves in the same boat.

    At the same corporation as the one I refer to above, I knew several examples. One fellow had worked his way up from being on a construction crew to being a regional manager of vehicles/construction machines. Last several years in the job before he retired from there he wasn't much of a happy camper. After retiring, he bought several used ditch-witches, back hoes, etc and started a little independent contractor company. Just himself, a son, a nephew, etc. Had his wife working as the company accountant, sales person, business manager, receptionist, and girl-Friday. I ran across him one day, seated in a back hoe going at it hard and heavy, sweaty and dirty as heck ... but he had a big smile on his face. He was back at doing the kind of work that he LIKED.

    Etc. I know many real examples.

    Perhaps it not CONTROLS that's boring you. Maybe it's being a project manager, the kind of thing a project manager does for a living, that's boring you.

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