Being in the possession of
an Electrical Engineering degree, I can fully appreciate the engineer
behavior described below. Thanks to my bro Ken for thoughtfully
providing some of these observations.
Two engineering students were walking across campus when one said:
"Where did you get such a great bike?". The second engineer replied:
"Well, I was walking along yesterday minding my own business when a
beautiful woman rode up on this bike. She threw the bike to the ground,
took off all her clothes and said, 'Take what you want.'". The second
engineer nodded approvingly: "Good choice; the clothes probably wouldn't
COMPREHENDING ENGINEERS - TAKE TWO
To the optimist, the glass is half full. To the pessimist, the glass is
half empty. To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to
COMPREHENDING ENGINEERS - TAKE THREE
A pastor, a doctor and an engineer were waiting one morning for a
particularly slow group of golfers. The engineer fumed: "What's with
these guys? We must have been waiting for 15 minutes!". The doctor
chimed in: "I don't know, but I've never seen such ineptitude!". The
pastor said: "Hey, here comes the greens keeper. 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?". The greens keeper replied: "Oh, yes, that's
a group of blind fire fighters. 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. The pastor said: "That's so
sad. I think I will say a special prayer for them tonight." The doctor
said: "Good idea. And I'm going to contact my ophthalmologist buddy and
see if there's anything he can do for them." The engineer said, "Why
can't these guys play at night?"
COMPREHENDING ENGINEERS - TAKE FOUR
There was an engineer who had an exceptional gift for fixing all things
mechanical. After serving his company loyally for over 30 years, he
happily retired. Several years later the company contacted him regarding
a seemingly impossible problem they were having with one of their
multimillion-dollar machines. They had tried everything and everyone
else to get the machine to work but to no avail. In desperation, they
called on the retired engineer who had solved so many of their problems
in the past. The engineer reluctantly took the challenge. He spent a day
studying the huge machine. At the end of the day, he marked a small "x"
in chalk on a particular component of the machine and stated: This is
where your problem is". The part was replaced and the machine worked
perfectly again. The company received a bill for $50,000 from the
engineer for his service. They demanded an itemized accounting of his
charges. The engineer responded briefly: One chalk mark:$1.00. Knowing
where to put it: $49,999.00. It was paid in full and the engineer
retired again in peace.
COMPREHENDING ENGINEERS - TAKE FIVE
What is the difference between Mechanical Engineers and Civil Engineers?
Mechanical Engineers build weapons, Civil Engineers build targets.
COMPREHENDING ENGINEERS - TAKE SIX
The graduate with a Science degree asks, "Why does it work?". The
graduate with an Engineering degree asks, "How does it work?” The
graduate with an Accounting degree asks, "How much will it cost?” The
graduate with a Liberal Arts degree asks, "Do you want fries with that?"
COMPREHENDING ENGINEERS - TAKE SEVEN
Normal people ... believe that if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Engineers believe that if it ain't broke, it doesn't have enough
COMPREHENDING ENGINEERS - TAKE EIGHT
An architect, an artist and an engineer were discussing whether it was
better to spend time with the wife or a mistress. The architect said he
enjoyed time with his wife, building a solid foundation for an enduring
relationship. The artist said he enjoyed time with his mistress, because
of the passion and mystery he found there. The engineer said: "I like
both." "Both?" Engineer: "Yeah. If you have a wife and a mistress, they
will each assume you are spending time with the other woman, and you can
go to the office and get some work done."
COMPREHENDING ENGINEERS - TAKE NINE
An engineer was crossing a road one day when a frog called out to him
and said: "If you kiss me I'll turn into a beautiful princess". He bent
over, picked up the frog and put it in his pocket. The frog spoke up
again and said: "If you kiss me and turn me back into a beautiful
princess, I'll stay with you." The engineer took the frog out of his
pocket, smiled at it and returned it to the pocket. The frog then cried
out: "If you kiss me and turn me back into a princess, I'll stay with
you and do ANYTHING you want." Again the engineer took the frog out,
smiled at it and put it back into his pocket. Finally the frog asked:
"What is the matter? I've told you I'm a beautiful princess, that I'll
stay with you and do anything you want. Why won't you kiss me?" The
engineer said: "Look, I'm an engineer. I don't have time for a
girlfriend, but a talking frog, now that's cool."
Three engineers were in the bathroom
standing at the urinals. The first engineer finished and walked over to
the sink to wash his hands. He then proceeded to dry his hands very
carefully. He used paper towel after paper towel and ensured that every
single spot of water on his hands was dried. Turning to the other two
engineers, he said, "At Hewlett Packard, we are trained to be extremely
The second engineer
finished his task at the urinal and he proceeded to wash his hands. He
used a single paper towel and made sure that he dried his hands using
every available portion of the paper towel. He turned and said, "At
Lockheed-Martin, not only are we trained to be extremely thorough, but
we are also trained to be extremely efficient."
The third engineer finished and walked
straight for the door, shouting over his shoulder, "At Microsoft, we
don't pee on our hands."
is flying in a hot air balloon and realizes he is lost. He reduces
height and spots a man down below. He lowers the balloon further and
shouts, "Excuse me, can you tell me where I am?"
man below said, "Yes, you're in a hot air balloon, hovering 30 feet
above this field."
"You must be an engineer," said the balloonist.
am," replied the man. "How did you know?"
"Well," said the balloonist, "everything you have told me is technically
correct, but it's of absolutely no use to anyone."
The man below said, "You must be in management."
am," replied the balloonist, "but how did you know?"
"Well," said the man, "you don't know where you are, or where you're
going, but you expect me to be able to help. You're in the same position
you were before we met, but now it's my fault."
Top Engineering Terms and Expressions
(What engineers say versus what they mean)
number of different approaches are being tried.
(We are still guessing at this point.)
Close project coordination. (We sat down and had coffee together.)
An extensive report is being prepared on a fresh approach.
(We just hired three punk kids out of school.)
Major technological breakthrough! (It works OK, but looks very hi-tech!)
Customer satisfaction is believed assured.
(We are so far behind schedule that the customer will take anything.)
Preliminary operational tests were inconclusive.
(The darn thing blew up when we threw the switch.)
Test results were extremely gratifying! (Unbelievable, it actually
The entire concept will have to be abandoned.
(The only guy who understood the thing quit.)
It is in process.
(It is so wrapped in red tape that the situation is completely
10. We will look into it. (Forget it! We have enough problems already.)
11. Please note and initial. (Let's spread the responsibility for this.)
12. Give us the benefit of your thinking.
(We'll listen to what you have to say as long as it doesn't interfere
what we have already done or with what we are going to do.)
13. Give us your interpretation. (We can't wait to hear your bull.)
14. See me or let's discuss. (Come to my office, I've screwed up again.)
15. All new. (Parts are not interchangeable with previous design.)
16. Rugged. (Don't plan to lift it without major equipment.)
17. Robust! (Rugged, but more so)
18. Light weight. (Slightly lighter than rugged)
19. Years of development. (One finally worked)
20. Energy saving. (Achieved when the power switch is off.)
21. No maintenance. (Impossible to fix)
22. Low maintenance. (Nearly impossible to fix)
23. Fax me the data. (I'm too lazy to write it down.)
24. We are following the standard!
(That's the way we have always done it!)
25. I didn't get your e-mail. (I haven't checked my e-mail for days.)
Software Engineer, a Hardware Engineer and a Departmental Manager were
on their way to a meeting in Switzerland. They were driving down a steep
mountain road when suddenly the brakes on their car failed. The car
careened almost out of control down the road, bouncing off the crash
barriers, until it miraculously ground to a halt scraping along the
mountainside. The car's occupants, shaken but unhurt, now had a problem:
they were stuck halfway down a mountain in a car with no brakes. What
were they to do?
know," said the Departmental Manager, "Let's have a meeting, propose a
Vision, formulate a Mission Statement, define some Goals, and by a
process of Continuous Improvement find a solution to the Critical
Problems, and we can be on our way."
no," said the Hardware Engineer, "That will take far too long, and
besides, that method has never worked before. I've got my Swiss Army
knife with me, and in no time at all I can strip down the car's braking
system, isolate the fault, fix it, and we can be on our way."
"Well," said the Software Engineer, "before we do anything, I think we
should push the car back up the road and see if it happens again."
What it Means to Be a Real Engineer
Real Engineers consider themselves well dressed if their socks match.
Real Engineers buy their spouses a set of matched screwdrivers for their
Real Engineers wear mustaches or beards for "efficiency," not because
Real engineers have a non-technical vocabulary of 800 words.
Real Engineers think a "biting wit" is their fox terrier.
Real Engineers know the second law of thermodynamics - but not their own
Real Engineers repair their own cameras, telephones, televisions, and
Real Engineers say: "It's 70 degrees Fahrenheit, 25 degrees Celsius, and
298 degrees Kelvin." And all you say is: "Isn't it a nice day."
Real Engineers give you the feeling you're having a conversation with a
dial tone or busy signal.
Real Engineers wear badges so they don't forget who they are. Sometimes
a note is attached saying: "Don't offer me a ride today. I drove my own
Real Engineers' politics run towards acquiring a parking space with
their name on it and an office with a window.
Real Engineers know the "ABC's of Infrared" from A to B.
Real Engineers rotate their tires for laughs.
Real Engineers will make four sets of drawings (with seven revisions)
before making a birdbath.
Real Engineers' briefcases contain a Phillips screwdriver, a copy of
"Quantum Physics," and a half of a peanut butter sandwich.
Real Engineers know that Halloween is really the same as Christmas,
because OCT 31 = DEC 25. (If you _don't_ get it, then you're not a Real
Real Engineers don't really find the above at all funny.