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Resign Peacefully

As some of you have noticed, I have resigned from my job as a process engineer last June. Since then, I have set few targets to be achieved in my professional career as an engineer (in the academic line). Among the target is for me to be a professional engineer. I have registered with Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM) and Institution of Engineers, Malaysia (IEM). However, after meeting my mentor last week, I was informed by him that my log book record is missing something. I did not get my previous job record verified by my superior. I need to the signature and stamp of my ex-boss. I totally missed that. All this while I thought that I only need my mentors signature and stamp.

That's fine. I need to contact my ex-boss. I have mixed feeling before contacting him. What if he decline to approve my previous job activities? I called him and he asked me to email the job record. 36 hours after that he replied my email and after a series of email, he asked me to come and meet him the following day. To cut the long story, and to make it short, I finally got my ex-boss verification and I'm very delighted. I really appreciate my ex-boss time and effort to assist and support me. Now, I need to compile and get my job record for this year and submit them to IEM.

What's the morale of the story here? Of course there are few but for me, there is one significant morale that I want to share...

If you want to resign, then resign in a good manner.

Resign peacefully. Off course I felt uncomfortable informing my ex-boss that I want to resign. However, after explaining my reasons and my ambition, he understood and respect my decision. All my friends in my previous work place were very supportive. They know that I'm going to have a better career. After leaving the company, I still continue good relationship with all levels of staff from my ex-company. I established some kind of informal collaboration with my former company and I hope it can benefit both parties.

We never know when we need a favour from them. Like me, I turned to my ex-boss and ask a favour from him. What if I resigned in bad manner? What if I resigned and my ex-boss hated me? Definitely the job record verification process will be a "mission impossible" process... Then, to solve the problem, I might do something that may not be ethical. In other words, chances for me doing a "don't" in the engineering ethics is high! Then everything will not be right. Everything will be totally wrong. We need to do it the right way everytime. We need to maintain our good reputation. Engineer need to be a reliable and trusted person, not a man with illusion. Just be honest and be good.

Leaving good reputation with your ex-company will make you special. You'll be welcomed any time you return. Isn't that great. I easily entered the company premises and various level of staffs called and waved at me. I chatted with them, asking how they are doing and other catching up talks. My fellow friends, supervisor, security guards, supervisors, technician, fitters, canteen lady etc greeted me with cheer and asked how I was doing in my new career. That's really a good feeling... What about you...? Any experience you would like to share?

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posted by zaki yamani @ 10:07 PM, , links to this post

Problem: Flash Fire Problem

2 weeks ago, Professor Silveston from Waterloo University Canada came to Universiti Teknologi Malaysia for an assignment. While he was around, he gave a workshop on problem solving. It was really a very interesting workshop and we learnt how to think critically on how to solve problems (it can be any problem including chemical engineering operation problems).

I would like to share one problem that he gave us and I want to see some ideas. Please feel free to gave your opinion on the answer for the problem.

Flash Fire Problem

Heavy naphtas are converted into high octane gasoline in platformer. By products of the reaction include LPG and hydrogen rich gas containing 6-80% by volume hydrogen. The products from the platformer reactor (at 700 psig and 500 oC) are heat-exchanged with the naptha feed to the reactor. This preheats the feed. The platforming catalyst is rapidly fouled and must be generated by blowing with steam or waste gas. Thus the process is cyclic. A battery of reactors maintains a steady flow.

In three weeks since the startup, there have been four flash fires along the flanges of the heat exchanger. The plant manager claims that because of the differential expansion within the heat exchanger, because of the diameter of the exchanger and the stream hydrogen is rich these flash fires are bound to occur. The maintainance mean have broken 6 bolts trying to get the flange tighter, but they just cannot get it tight enough. The excahanger costs $200,000 and the whole plant costs #39 million. The technical manager says that the plant must be safe in 3 days.

What will you do?
What are the actions?
Can you think and share with us your action plan...

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posted by zaki yamani @ 2:20 PM, , links to this post

World Congress of Chemical Engineering (WCCE8)

Have you been to Canada? I haven't. Now, here is one good reason to visit Canada next year. enjoy beautiful Canada and attend the World Congress of Chemical Engineering (WCCE8). This time it will be held in Canada.

You can now submit your technical papers and please do that before 30th November 2008. For more details on the paper format, please click here. For more information on the congress, click their official website here. I love the website. It's attractive, very informative - it contains information from the congress program up to career fair.

I'm not sure whether I'm going or not. I'm going to think what paper I can write for WCCE8. I hope I can attend the congress with my wife, present paper and do some networking.

Here's something that I picked from the official site.

Canada and Montréal will welcome the international chemical engineering community to the 8th World Congress of Chemical Engineering (WCCE8), at the downtown Palais des Congrès de Montréal, August 23 to 27, 2009. WCCE8’s technical program will emphasize the key role played by chemical engineers from all around the world in developing the processes and products needed by humanity in a more sustainable way—as highlighted in the Congress’s overall theme “Challenges for a Changing World”.

On behalf of the Organizing Committee, I look forward to welcoming you in Montréal on August 23, 2009.

Philippe A. Tanguy
Congress Chair

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posted by zaki yamani @ 9:32 PM, , links to this post

What is it Like Being a Chemical Engineer?

When I was a chemical engineering student, I always wonder how a chemical engineer works. Now, it's my turn to share my experiences to the juniors and that's also one of the reason this blog is created. Today's student have better advantage on learning what chemical engineering is all about. There are websites, blogs, videos, pictures and all are easily available. Enough about that... if you are still a student and wonder who does it feel to be a chemical engineer, check out the following video showing some chemical engineers explaining how they feel being a Chemical Engineer.




The second video shows some idea on what chemical engineers do...



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posted by zaki yamani @ 10:06 PM, , links to this post

Can I Learn and Master Everything?

My original ambition was to be an architect! My father, my mother and my uncle knows about this. I love sketching and drawing. I drew modern buildings, I imagined a sky scraper university and sketched too. After my secondary school, I had to made a decision whether to choose architecture or something related to chemistry. If you want to know how I develop my interest in chemistry / chemical engineering, feel free to read my about me story.

I have to choose the direction of my tertiary education (end 1993). I'm confused... Should I choose architecture or Chemical Engineering? I love them both. I want to make a career out of both of them.

Then, I made my decision. I'll study Chemical Engineering and learn Architecture (on a part time basis). The place where I studied before, Pusat Pendidikan Persediaan Institute Teknologi Mara (PPP ITM), that time, also offers architecture course on top of engineering courses. I thought I can learn architecture on my free time while being an engineering student.

Luckily, the class I was in combined 6 architecture students with the rest of the engineering students (about 25 of us). This was such a great opportunity for me because I have architecture students friends at class and at my hostel. This means I can easily learn architecture from them. Once in a while, after completing my engineering tutorial, I went to my architecture student friend apartment and browsed through their books, flipped pages, checked out his sketches and drawing. I made few drawings as well and they acknowledged my work. I was very delighted with that.

But then, as time goes by, the engineering subjects became tougher and tougher. I had to pay more attention on pure mathematics, mechanics, physics and chemistry subjects. I need to get a good grade for my A-Levels, if not, I'm not going overseas. So, there goes my architecture dream... drifting away...and away....from me. I no longer have the time to entertain my artistic desire. I have to focus and work hard on my chemical engineering degree.

I am those type of person who don't spend money for fun or leisure. My pocket money was always channel to buy books, magazine or any reading material that I'm interested in.

Well, that was about 13-14 years ago. Now the same issue emerge again.

I graduated as a chemical engineer, got a masters degree, work few years in the industry and now I'm an academician. I still have the same desire - to learn and master everything. I want to be good at almost everything. I want to be good in lecturing, research work, consultation, web 2.0., professional involvements, sports and many more. The fact is I'm just a normal human being. I need to be realistic. I can't learn everything even if I spend 24 hours a day. I have limited hours and I need to wisely manage my time to do all my activities especially the learning stuffs that interest me. I need to prioritize what I should learn.

Believe it or not, I have tonnes of ebooks. Some related to chemical engineering while the rest not related. I also have hundreds of technical paper in my hard disc. I'm not sure when i can read them. It's just too much. Short answer is I need to again - prioritize.

So the conclusions:

1. In our life, we have a lot of responsibilities and good desires.
2. We only have 24 hours a day.
3. We have to be realistic on what we want to do.
4. So, we need to prioritize our tasks. We need to focus on certain areas. Establish your own skill
and area.

I'm sorry ramble. There are too much inside my head. I want to do a lot of thing but I can't. i have to do it one at a time. If only I can duplicate myself...

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posted by zaki yamani @ 9:58 PM, , links to this post

The Author

zyz

I’m Zaki. I used to be a project, process and chemical engineer. Few years ago I successfully became a Chartered Engineer (IChemE) and Professional Engineer (BEM). I'm now employed as a chemical engineering educator/researcher/consultant. Hope you like reading my blog. I welcome any feedback from you. My email: zaki.yz[alias]gmail.com. TQ!


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