Where should I begin? First of all I am a young engineer who was taught both paper drawings and 3D modeling (Pro-E) in my engineering program. And I will be the first one to admit that I rely on 3D modeling as my primary design tool. The ability to see a true geometric representation of your design before your product is built is an incredible advantage that we have today. As far as mentoring goes, I also believe that this skill is being under utilized in today's workplace. I was assigned as the primary production engineer on a multi million-dollar government project with less than two years of experience, which is not how quality engineering should be done. I also agree that today design engineer's should not come directly from the college classroom. I myself spent time as a production supervisor and then as a production engineer before I ever held and engineering design position. Which brings up the question of weather it is the Universities fault for not instilling the importance in the entire engineering design cycle or the company’s fault for believing that you can take a green engineer and give him the title of design engineer?
Now a direct reply to the author. If I understand this correct you are complaining that you now have to actually work an entire month each month instead of getting one week every month to do whatever you please. What did you do "back then" when you only had to do 3-week worth of work to do in one month? Engineering/Design is not an easy job. I am sure that everyone who has responded to this post will agree to that statement. If it is getting to hard for you get out and choose a different profession!! You are compensated more than fairly for what you do for a living. Anyone who disagrees with that statement is just plain spoiled. My grandfather (Also a design engineer) grew up in a poor home and had to work for everything he ever got. I also unfortunately grew up in a poor home and had to work for everything that I have achieved (serving in the military and scholarships is the only way I was able to go to school). It sounds to me like you believe that something is entitled to you. I will give you a little lesson that nothing is. There is no degree or experience that automatically gives anyone the right to an easy life. (that last statement is for all of the ivy league grads) I am tired of everyone complaining about outsourcing and foreign manufacturing taking jobs from hard working American workers. It sounds to me like a schoolboy complaining about the bully taking his lunch money. What would you grandfather say to you about that situation? Mine would tell me to stand up for myself. The world has changed you are going to have to compete with not only your neighbor across the road but also your fellow engineer in Bangalore (I hope that everyone who reads this post knows where Bangalore is).
In summary be thankful that you are able to earn a nice living for your family. Neither 3D modeling nor 2D drafting is the real problem. You are having difficulty dealing with the new work environment that exists on the global stage. This stage is not going away. More is going to be asked from you in the future. You have choices. For example, you can give into the changes and adapt. Realize that you are going to have to work harder in order to stay competitive or you can get out. Maybe I have an advantage all I know is global competition. I am prepared for the inevitable effects that the global market will have on my life and will adapt when the situation presents itself. Because that is what the professional workers from now on will have to be. Adapters.