Editor's Window

31 Mar, 2005 By: Sara Ferris

Worries about workload, job security dog CAD managers.

 Sara Ferris Editor-In-Chief
Sara Ferris Editor-In-Chief
Call it Cad manager's malaise. If you've been reading Robert Green's CAD Manager's Newsletter, you know the symptoms. (If you haven't, you can catch up on past issues at In feedback from readers, Robert has noted a good deal of insecurity among CAD managers today. Part of it is worry about whether the position is a good, long-term career choice, especially when so many jobs are being outsourced.

Another issue is the emphasis on increasing productivity, not head count, that is prevalent in companies today. Though it's true that more productivity doesn't mean working more hours, but rather more output per hour, in many cases the end result of the call for more productivity is to flog extra work out of an already overstrapped staff.

It's not only the CAD manager who's being worn down by pressure to do more in a job that may disappear soon. Odds are that if you have a job, you're working full tilt all the time to keep from falling even further behind. And as people often point out, if you can work at home, your job can be outsourced.

Contrast this with the enthusiasm I encountered among student winners of Stratasys' "Extreme Redesign: The 3D Printing Challenge." The students, honored at a dinner held in conjunction with NDES (National Design and Engineering) last month, were excited about and committed to their futures in design and engineering. Winners and runners-up were awarded scholarships.

College winner Mark Paul Kujawski from Michigan created an intricate stair-climbing robot. High school student Andy Dahnke, also from Michigan, developed a retractable leash with a built-in light—no doubt inspired by having to take the dog out during those long, cold nights. In the high-school team category, Geoff Glidden and Anthony Borzillo from Missouri earned top honors with a mouse radio, which incorporates controls so you can manage your music more efficiently.

Now the cynics among you are saying, "Just wait until they're working 12-hour days for Crazy Boss—that is, if they can even find a job when they graduate. Then we'll see just how excited and enthusiastic they are."

It's important to remember when you felt this way, even when—especially when—you hate your job. Think back to what drew you into your line of work. Perhaps, like some of these student winners, you always wanted to be an aerospace engineer or architect or artist. Perhaps this is what you do best. Just as Robert Green recommends setting yearly goals for your department, you should also set your own personal goals, both short-term and long-term. These goals will naturally change over time, of course, but they help give you a sense of purpose and control, especially when you're dealing with worries about things beyond your control.

A side note: If you're involved in education, keep an eye out for details of the next installment of the Stratasys contest ( The best part is that you don't need access to a 3D printer. Your students just send off their CAD models to the company, which makes the prototypes.

Sara Ferris
Sara Ferris

About the Author: Sara Ferris

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