When I first started in the AWA Research Lab, I soon learned about the respect shown to the senior engineers. The world isn't like that any more - although the term "greybeards" is sometimes used today, it seems to convey both respect and perhaps just a little derision about being out of date.
The Dining Room
Unlike the rest of us, the senior staff had a lunch in the dining room every day. They did have to pay for the food, but lunch was served to their restaurant tables. It wasn't regarded as a perk - the purpose was to talk to each other about what they were doing, and that's very much what they did.
Today's equivalent would be called networking and would be an organised event, but it certainly wouldn't be daily, and perhaps we have lost something. Maybe Google is onto something with its free staff lunches.
The nineteen seventies was an interesting time to start my career. Today, you're mainly surrounded by people who have done their university degrees more or less like you did yourself. But back then, we still had a few older engineers near retirement, who had done their degrees in the 1930's - a time when there was only one engineering degree - so they had all done electrical, mechanical and civil engineering in their four years of university. They had a more rounded education that any of us.
The people who were mid-career were those who had started during and after World War II. They were also different to us new graduates, having seen both the urgency of wartime and the flood of new university students that helped absorb the ex-servicemen back into the population after the war. One told me of the time that Australia's only radio valve factory was burned down on a Friday; in an era when no professional worked on weekends, the site was bulldozed on the Saturday, and new temporary manufacturing was in place by the Monday afternoon. I guess most of the equipment wouldn't have been too specialist - glass-blowing, vacuum pumps, metal machining and so on - but it is hard to imagine that anyone could get a factory running again so quickly today.