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  • How to gain common sense?

    Discussion in 'The Leisure Lounge' started by Wmech, Apr 27, 2013.

    1. Wmech

      Wmech Member

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      Hi all, this is my first time to join this forum. I just want to first say thank you for all the helps and suggestions from the professionals like you guys.

      I have been working in the field for a couple of months now and one think i keep hearing from people telling me is that i am lack of common sense. I was wondering what do they mean by that? Does that mean something that i don't have for this job/field?

      Nevertheless, how can i practice or gain common sense in the field?


      Thanks for all the suggestions
       
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    3. CPPMable

      CPPMable Well-Known Member

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      I feel there are many different types of common sense but I think it is something you are born with. Not that it can be worked on that is definitely possible. It really depends on the context of their comments because there is street common sense where one person may not provoke a person into a fight they don't want to finish. More than likely they are referring to your background in engineering and the capability of making basic decisions that seem obvious to them. Most engineers that graduate are what is termed "Book Smart" and very view have the "common sense" because it is hard to teach but with experience you can be more apt to make the correct decisions. One way to work on it for example, if you are a mechanical engineer working in say a more manufacturing positions and have little to none machining experience. Go take some machining night course to learn the basics so when you are designing a component you can actually make it. I have seen many times where engineers put holes for example where they hidden behind another piece of solid material and it is impossible to drill but they still want a hole in that position.

      If you give a more feedback on the situation that your coworkers are referring to maybe we can give you some better feedback.
      Best of Luck!
       
    4. Wmech

      Wmech Member

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      Thanks for your comment and explanation with your experience. The situation was quiet simple. There was a stainless steel tank which is meant to heat up the liquid inside and trap the heat for pre-heating the liquid. In order to trap the heat in the tank, insulation blanket was added around the surface of the tank. The tank is made out of two 18GA stainless sheet metals and some couplings. They are all welded together. However, before going to the next assembly stage, the MNPT fittings need to be inserted with Teflon tape around the threads and be plugged to perform an air leak test. Once there is no leak around the welding nor from the fittings, the tank can be used for the next assembly.

      What I did is to place the insulation blanket around the tank first before putting the fittings on. Since the insulation blanket needs to be covered the tank as much as it can, and there are some holes cut on the insulation blanket for the couplings, i thought it will be easier for me to put the insulation blanket on first before performing the leak test.

      And there are some common sense in the shop which i don't have much experience with. I guess like you said somethings cannot be taught in the class and all I can do is to adapt those 'common sense' in the shop as much as i can.

      Thanks for your patience to explain it to me
       
    5. CPPMable

      CPPMable Well-Known Member

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      Seems like what you did was fairly logical to me. I think your coworkers just don't adapt to new people very well. But I suggest you spend as much time in the shop working and learning as you can and with time you will become very knowledgeable and a great company asset.
       
    6. Wmech

      Wmech Member

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      Thanks CPPMable,

      It does make sense to me that new people like me does not have a lot of hands-on skills. I will continue to try my best and adapt things on my way.
       
    7. mhjones12

      mhjones12 Well-Known Member

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      I think that you will find that as you gain more experience you will develop more of this "common sense" that your coworkers are talking about. They are probably forgetting that they lacked this "common sense" when they were new and that it isn't really common sense at all, but something that is, at least partially, learned. True, some may have more to start with or learn it faster, but this "common sense" can be granted to anyone though enough experience and who wants it enough. It's good that you are here on this forum trying to figure out what you may be lacking and how to be better at what you do. Keep up this attitude and I believe it will take you far in developing this "common sense."
       
    8. Eric B

      Eric B New Member

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      Wmech-
      It sounds like you thought about the best way to accomplish the leak test task, and came up with a reasonable solution. My guess is that your co-worker disagreed with your solution, and in this case, I have an idea why. With no insulation, a failure in the leak test would be much easier to investigate, and you would quickly be able to determine whether the leak was the result of a bad weld, or at a fitting. Installing the insulation first would complicate any investigation. (Of course, if there were no leak, your method would be faster!)
      Usually it helps to think the next step (or steps) through, to see if your solution will cause problems later. You also have to consider positive and negative outcomes (as in this case, passing or failing the leak test) to make sure you have a good solution. There is almost always more than one way to do anything, and opinions on what is the 'best' solution can easily differ. CCPMable's suggestion that you spend time in the shop will help you to see how things work, but should also provide opportunities to show your co-workers that your opinions on finding solutions have merit. Defending your solutions (tactfully, of course) can help your co-workers understand your logic, and show them that you have at least given your solution some thought. As the 'new kid', though, it will probably take some time for them to accept that you have good ideas, too.
       
    9. Wmech

      Wmech Member

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      Thanks mhjones. I appreciate your support. All i can do right now is to try and learn. Thanks again
       
    10. Wmech

      Wmech Member

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      Yes, i think that's what his intention is about the leakage of the welds and the fittings. I understand his point of view which it does make sense to me after he told me about it. I have this bad habit of thinking myself as a new kid vs experienced player. Therefore, i didn't try to defending my solutions because i know he will be offended. Now that i know the way he looks at things. I will just try my best to pay attention next time. I ain't a quick-react type of guy, but like you said, it will take time for them and me to get used to it.

      Thanks for your support and suggestion. I will also keep that in mind as well
       
    11. CarlK

      CarlK New Member

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      Intuition

      Wmech, you've already gotten some good responses. Here are some of my thoughts on your general question.

      Unfortunately, "common sense" seems to be rather uncommon. Nearly everyone could use more common sense in life, at least in certain situations. The key word really is "sense" which relates to "innate sense" similar to our "five senses" and our sense of temperature and of body position (proprioception) - "innate" meaning "built in" rather than learned. "Common sense" might better be thought of as an awareness of what is practical, sound, prudent, pragmatic.

      As such, "common sense" can really only be "learned" or acquired or developed through experience - something a new person in any field typically lacks. In spite of that lack, some people have an ability to pick it up quickly and easily while others never seem to get it. One problem in fields such as engineering is that the field itself appeals to and attracts people who are very intellectually centered; very mind centered. This means they are habituated to dealing with everything in an analytical, rational manner by processing everything in their minds, step-by-step, often in a rather formulaic manner. This is not the stuff that common sense is made of.

      Common sense is more intuitive, something like gut level feeling, meaning it is something like physical sensation, and the awareness, interpretation and translation of that sensation into practical understanding and application. Rational analysis is a relatively slow, step-by-step process that depends on data input and the evaluation of that input, which results in data output. Intuition relies on a holistic knowing which is based not on incremental data input but on some level of awareness of what is involved and on a non-rational understanding of it, all of which leads very quickly, often instantly, to some conclusion. People with good intuition arrive at very good conclusions in this manner, often without really understanding how they do it - it just comes to them.

      I don't think that "common sense" or "practical sense" can be taught or learned in the way one learns about materials, design, math and engineering. But a person can learn to let go of the need to gather data, process it rationally according to some method or pattern, and then produce some clear-cut statement fully supported by data, calculations, graphs, etc., and instead relax, breathe and open the mind to a different level of awareness, both within and outside one's self. It also helps to not focus too narrowly on the details, but to instead step back a bit to adopt a broader view. This opens the way to a different kind of connection to the problem, challenge or opportunity at hand - an almost physical connection, as though you are merging with or into whatever you are considering rather than objectively analyzing it from outside. It's also very helpful to get your hands dirty, meaning get away from the computer, the formulas, the tables and charts, and actually work with physical things, hands on. This will help develop your body sense, your physical awareness of what all that data and all those formulas represent in the real world. Common sense is not about theory, it's about practice. There's a saying that "in theory, practice and theory are the same, but in practice they are different." Learn to practice with hands-on physical application and through the clarity you will gain your theorizing will be greatly improved.
       

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