Anatomy of the Office

You spend much of your waking life there, but do you really understand how it works?

6 min read

We arrive early in the morning and leave late in the day, five or even six days a week. Considering how much time we spend there, it's sometimes surprising how little we think about how the office works or how to make our time there as pleasant and productive as possible. Novice engineers, especially, are often shocked to find the workplace to be so different from school--professors are replaced by managers, what you wear is important, and there are many subtle and not-so-subtle relationships to be negotiated. But by dissecting the goings-on of the workplace, you can gain a better understanding of the complex physical and social dynamics of office life, which you can then use to become more effective and happier in your work life. Here are the basics.

Office culture. Like societies, every organization has its own culture. This is evidenced by such things as how formally or informally employees dress and speak, how much or how little people interact, and what the offices look like. Culture also relates to less visible things, like how decisions are made, how problems are solved, and how good work is rewarded.

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Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

His pivot from defense helped a tiny tuning-fork prevent SUV rollovers and plane crashes

11 min read
Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

In 1992, Asad M. Madni sat at the helm of BEI Sensors and Controls, overseeing a product line that included a variety of sensor and inertial-navigation devices, but its customers were less varied—mainly, the aerospace and defense electronics industries.

And he had a problem.

The Cold War had ended, crashing the U.S. defense industry. And business wasn’t going to come back anytime soon. BEI needed to identify and capture new customers—and quickly.

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