Design Engineer….Nepotism in a Family Business

A short while ago, I took a new position as a design engineer for a small family run company. The son of the owner was the VP of engineering.   The son was quite a bit younger than me, but… So..

The first week on the job, I’m sitting in my cube, a few feet from his office, when his father, the CEO, enters and starts to talk to the son. Within minutes the son is swearing & yelling at the dad.

Well it goes from there. Mom is the purchasing agent & her main qualification is that she bought groceries for twenty years. Now she buys electronic parts. Sis is personnel & accounting. She is a zip. But she can get into it with brother from time to time.

On the techical side, our young VP, isn’t. No education, no outside experience. For example, we needed a new software package to do circuit board layouts. so, he, by himself, evaluates four different programs and finds none of them acceptable. In a discussion with our draftperson, I find that the reason they were unacceptable is that the VP couldn’t figure out how to used them. The draftperson, who had used two of the programs at a previous place said that either would be more than adequate for us.

As a manager our young VP uses the slave/master approach. The engineering meetings consist of him expounding for an hour or so while the rest of us sit quietly & doddle. One of his favorites is the “Chicken Little Approach”, if such & so doesn’t happen, we going to have to reduce the engineering staff.

on & on & on.