Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Engineer Humor (or Lack Thereof)

Yesterday at work, we had to turn in one of our badges for a new one. I was kinda hoping that, in the picture of me on the new badge, I might have a bit of a Brad Pitt thang goin' on.

Nope. Same old blockhead. The pic is a few years old now, so at least in it, I have less gray hair.

How many software engineers does it take to change a light bulb?

None. It's a hardware problem.

(See, in the engineering world, when something goes wrong with a device, the hardware guys stand there and point at the software guys. The software guys, of course, are standing there pointing at us...

Oh, forget it. It's not funny if I have to explain it.)

When I was at Louisiana Tech, some of my fellow engineering students wore a shirt that had "10 Reasons To Date A Louisiana Tech Engineering Student" on it. I never got one because I was married and I thought it would look dumb on an older student like I was. It's easier for a 20 year old to pull that off than for a 32 year old.

Of course, that was a number of years ago and I can't remember the ten things, but a few of the reasons to date an engineering student that stuck with me were:

-- He knows what all of those buttons on your calculator do.

-- He can help you with your math homework.

-- Your parents will approve.

-- Good starting salary.

When an engineer says: We're trying a number of different approaches.
He means: We have no idea where we are going, but we're moving.

When an engineer says: Early operational testing proved inconclusive.
He means: It burned up the first time we flipped the 'on' switch.

When an engineer says: We are satisfied with the test results.
He means: How about that! The thing ACTUALLY works!

That last one I learned of first hand. When I had been working about two years, I was on a project with a guy that had been an engineer for eighteen years. We had done the design (part of a big team), a handful of prototypes had been built, and it was up to me and this guy to 'give them the smoke test'. We took our time, dotted all of the I's and crossed all of the t's, so to speak, and when we applied power to it, I'll be dang if it didn't work, right away.

The experienced guy let out a long, long sigh. I couldn't believe he had that much air in his lungs. He turned to me with a look of TOTAL amazement and said, "I've been doing this for eighteen years, and I'm still blown away when something just works."

I knew right then, that the stress and nerves I felt as a new engineer would never totally leave. When six months work, and hundreds of thousands of dollars comes down to the flick of a switch, you really do feel that a lot is riding on that simple act.

This joke was sent to me by Big Sis's friend Patti, via Big Sis.

A pastor, a doctor and an engineer were waiting one morning for a particularly slow group of golfers.

Engineer: What's with these guys? We must have been waiting for 15 minutes!

Doctor: I don't know, but I've never seen such ineptitude!

Pastor: Hey, here comes the greenskeeper. Let's have a word with him.
Hi George. Say, what's with that group ahead of us? They're rather slow, aren't they?

George: Oh, yes, that's a group of blind firefighters. They lost their sight saving our clubhouse from a fire last year, so we always let them play for free anytime.

The group was silent for a moment.

Pastor: That's so sad. I think I will say a special prayer for them tonight.

Doctor: Good idea. And I'm going to contact my ophthalmologist buddy and see if there's anything he can do for them.

Engineer: Why can't these guys play at night?

I love this joke, but what is sad is that it accurately portrays how engineers think.

My favorite though, is a saying a guy who used to work for the same company I do kept posted on his office door.

"There comes a time in the life of every project, where it becomes necessary to shoot all of the engineers and go into production."

Tru dat yo!

I've seen the following photo on a number of engineering web sites, and supposedly was taken from a May, 1995 weekly engineering paper in Denmark called "Ingenioren." At least that's the only reference I could find for it, I'm really not sure who to give credit to for this photo.

No comments: