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Electronics work situation bad

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by eem2am, Jun 22, 2013.

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  1. eem2am


    Aug 3, 2009
    I find it very difficult now to get design work in electronics.
    This is because some years ago i worked for a non UK owned electronics company in the UK. All the staff there (in the UK building) were English.
    The product that we were working on was all designed in the non UK company, outside of UK, by non UK citizens.
    The product was for a high level military application…you may well even have heard of it.
    The product was extremely expensive.

    The British engineers where I worked were supposed to be testing and verifying the work of the designers who worked outside of UK.

    They had a specific Large Test Building where the product was being tested in UK.

    Anyway, during the development, the product frequently “blew up” (i.e. failed). The UK MOD were aware of these failures happening, and were assured by the company that the problem was “in hand” and would soon be solved.
    So that the MOD could find out as much about the problem as possible, the MOD insisted that a member of MOD staff always be present whenever tests on the failures were being done at the Large Test Building.

    However, the non UK based company were not happy about this, the problem was actually far more serious than the MOD had been told…..they didn’t want the MOD to know about the testing on this problem.
    Therefore, they elected to regularly sneak into the Large Test Building at 1am in the mornings and perform the tests then…without the MOD knowing, and when the MOD weren’t there.

    However, one of the guys of the MOD got a hint that this was going on and came in to the Large Test Building at 3am and caught them “red handed” performing tests on the failures.

    The MOD guy went ballistic, and read them the riot act for about one hour. Then he agreed to let them carry on with the test, and got an MOD colleague to come in and monitor it……He allowed them to continue testing the product on the proviso that a full report be presented to the MOD about the test’s results.

    Anyway, the report eventually came out, and it was bad news…it revealed about the problem being a serious semiconductor physics type issue, and one that would be by no means be easy to solve, if it was solveable at all.

    Anyway, all the UK managers were emailing this report to each other, each one writing stuff like “we can’t send this report to the MOD, they’ll stop the funding” or “We’ll have to write a completely different version of the truth, and send that to the MOD instead” or “we’ll have to send them something soon, they were furious when they found us doing the tests at 3am without their guy being there, but we can’t send this report to the MOD”

    …anyway, the last person in this thread of panic emails was me.

    I was emailed the report and the idea was that I would write a “completely different version of the truth”, …and then that version would get sent to the MOD.

    …and so, a Senior Engineer came and sat with me, he said he’d leave me to read the report for a bit, then he’d come along and tell me which bits to cut out.

    I must admit, I could see what the report was going on about, but some of the semiconductor physics calculations etc were a little mind blowing.

    Anyway, I really didn’t like the idea of hiding the information from the MOD……so I emailed the report to my personal email address.

    I then printed it out, and sent a copy of the entire report to the MOD in Whitehall by post. I also sent two versions to friends who had parents who had been officers in the Army/RAF.

    Anyway, I was too scared to stay in the company where I was working, as it would only be a matter of time before they guessed that it was me who sent the report to the MOD. I couldn’t get a job for a while in electronics, but eventually did, -and when I got my next electronics job, the manager turned out to be an ex employee of this company, and knew all the guys there as close friends….he’d actually started there as an apprentice and then they’d put him through a degree, and then he’d become an engineering manager, then moved to this other company.

    Needless to say, this guy made my life hell. He took every opportunity to “barrel role” me. He’d give me a job, then two hours or so later he’d turn up and roar at me that he hadn’t told me to do that job, and why was I doing it, etc etc etc.

    The production staff used to overhear his red hot shouting at me…….at first they didn’t seem to bother, as I was an “incomer”, and had taken a job that everyone expected a local guy who already worked there to get…..however, I think they sympathised eventually, as every now and then , the production staff in this huge building would start singing my name….as if to support me in the light of all the public r*llockings that I used to get. I guess they used to find it funny hearing me getting rocketed so often.

    I don’t work there any more, but obviously this place, and the previous one, are on my CV, and get called up to ask about me whenever im going in for a new contract.

    Anyway, this bad situation means that my references for work are terrible, as these guys , whenever they get rung up about me by agents, give me a terrible reference.

    What can I do?
  2. BobK


    Jan 5, 2010
    move to Hong Kong?

  3. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    Jan 21, 2010
    My best advice is to go back in time and simply resign from your job due to "stress".

    Being a whistle-blower has costs...
  4. Raven Luni

    Raven Luni

    Oct 15, 2011
    You could see an employment lawyer. Did you know giving someone a bad reference is illegal?

    I've actually just finished dealing with the legal aftermath of my last job and what we have is an agreement whereby they pay my notice pay, give me a 'standard reference' and in turn I cant say anything bad about them.

    If you can show that your employment prospects have been harmed by previous employers you could push for a similar agreement and possibly even sue for lost earnings.
  5. eKretz


    Apr 8, 2013
    OMG, that's nuts! It can be tough to do the right thing sometimes. I think before I had posted all that off I would have had a serious talk with a few of the involved people first, personally. But I think you made a tough decision trying to do the right thing, and good on ya' for it.

    You should follow Raven's advice. The drawback to having laws to prevent employers from giving you a bad reference is that there's no law requiring them to give you a good reference, and no law that prevents them saying, "I have nothing to say about that employee" in a way that makes it sound like you sucked, either.

    There are ways ways to get around these things. I have a messed up back and have tried to apply for work before and been turned down every time I mention back problems. Legally they are not allowed to ask about this since it's a medical privacy issue, but pretty much every employer gets around that by adding a simple requirement to the job functions: "Must be able to lift and carry 50 pounds up and down stairs" or something along those lines. So they're not actually asking, but they still get their info one way or another.
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2013
  6. eem2am


    Aug 3, 2009
    ...thanks but theres absolutely no way i could have done that and emerged alive out of the office.,"Hey guys, i dont agree with what you are doing and im going to spill the beans to the MOD"
  7. eKretz


    Apr 8, 2013
    Well, I was referring mainly to your people that you sent the info to, not your enemies, but I didn't make that very clear.
  8. eem2am


    Aug 3, 2009
    Of course, I am not saying for one minute that these english engineers, who were working for a foreign company , were deliberately trying to rip the MOD off....they were committed and dedicated engineers, and desperately wanted to finish the job off sucessfully....even when terrible problems came up, like all engineers, they just think they are on the verge of solving the they just go heads down and carry on....but in that case, i think the MOD needed to know about it.
    I also think the engineers were worried that if they showed the MOD the report, the MOD might have shown it to their competitors to see if they could find some solution.
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