Is Being A Car Engineer A Boring Job?

Guest writer, LILY, thinks not. Not unless the jobholder makes it so. To many, any vocation that involves anything technical, mathematica...

Guest writer, LILY, thinks not. Not unless the jobholder makes it so.

To many, any vocation that involves anything technical, mathematical, requires formulas and calculations, is absolutely BORING. A car engineer does all that, so it must be one of the dullest careers imaginable. Or is it?


I recall when towards the end of high school, when I had to decide on which course of study to embark on, there were certain professions that were labelled as "boring". A programmer, for instance, would spend his days keying gibberish codes into a blank screen – that turned many of us away from that field. Searching for the few cents within the piles of ledger to balance the accounts during commerce class also precluded many from becoming accountants (seeing friends who pursued that route have demeanours resembling these emoticons - and - makes me glad that I did not follow them).

According to the Pareto Principle, 20% of those who made car engineering their career choice are enjoying their work, and will disagree that their job is a boring one. So, the remainder 80% would say that it is a humdrum existence. However, thanks to technology and the multi-discipline education approach, which blurred the barrier between different job roles, the boring tasks are balanced by interesting ones. It’s not difficult to find an engineer who plays an equally important role in the creative division, or an accountant involved in marketing activities. Today, there could be 20% of multi-disciplinary professionals contributing to 80% of the work produced. The job title itself is not important, but it is the jobholder who is vital.

Browsing through all the car engines used in Formula One since 1947, by and large, the basics of a car engine for track (or road usage, for that matter) have not changed much, really. The big change in the industry is due to the injection of other technologies, like aerodynamics, design and communication. If the jobholder does not let his job title confine his work, then there is much he can explore and wonderful things will start to happen!

For sure, every job has its boring moments, but if you are a car engineer and have never enjoyed your work, it’s time to evaluate your perception! Let’s look at a real life example:

Peter Whitlock is a young chap of only 26, and loved cars ever since he was a boy. Presently, he is an Automotive Transmission Development Engineer for the Australian carmaker, Holden, and it is his responsibility to push the gearbox to the limit. His job requires spending loads of time behind the wheel getting his hands dirty, as well as behind a desk analysing data. The fruits of his labour manifest in the end-product which is what keeps him excited and gives him immeasurable satisfaction when customers are finally driving the cars, a small part of which he helped to design, on the road.


The monotonous part of his job is spending long hours on just one component of the car. Nevertheless, Peter stays involved with the organisation so that he is aware of and is able to observe the going-on’s - that spices up his days! On a daily basis, he talks to up to 50 people in the organisation about his test results – that’s more than most of us in a week!

On the other hand, I have come across a post that tries its best to make a car engineer’s job sound as exciting as watching grass grow. It goes like this:

“…you think that you are designing the cockpit layout or the suspension on new Nissan GT-R? Nope, you are going to run more simulations on a computer, programme MATLAB, or report back MORE test result after the diagnostics...”

You can see how this last statement contrasts Peter’s attitude. Both goes through the same routine tests, but one does it while looking forward to the finished product with enthusiasm, while the other does it like a compulsory chore.

Man perishes without vision.

We can definitely say Peter’s wide and far vision makes his work come alive. I conclude that there is no life in the material things we work on with our hands - life is inside the human body. Therefore, there is no such thing as a boring job – it’s the person in that job who is boring.

image: byu.edu, abc.net.au

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