Engineered The Perfect Misunderstanding

, , , , , | Learning | November 13, 2017

(I’m checking engineers in at an alumni event where they each receive a name tag, but I am neither an engineer nor an alumni of the school.)

Engineer: “Where’s your name tag?”

Me: “I’m not an engineer.”

Engineer: “Don’t worry; it’s not that hard. Just peel the back off and stick it to your shirt.”

Going Against Code

, , , , , | Working | October 19, 2017

(Back in 1978, I was just a kid working as a programmer for a large engineering firm. One day my boss hands me two stacks of listings. They are the source for a project, one from today and one from six months prior. My job is to go through them line-by-line and mark which lines have been removed, which have been added, and which have been changed. The stacks are at least six inches tall, and I look at them in dread, realizing that there have to be some 100,000 mind-numbing lines to read. The number of errors I am bound to make will be astronomical. Then I get the bright idea to write a program that can find insertions, deletions, and changes. One day, such tools will become commonplace, but in 1978, they are unheard of. In a couple hours, I have a working program and I run all the code for the project through it, print it out, and give it to my boss later in the day.)

Boss: *looking shocked* “It’s done?”

Me: “Yeah. I wrote a program that did all the dirty work.”

Boss: *getting a bit red and angry* “Who authorized you to write a program to do this?

Me: “I was hired as a programmer. I didn’t think I needed to ask about that. Besides, this is 100% accurate. If I did it by hand, think of all the errors that would be in it.”

(Since our stuff often needed FAA or military oversight, he realized I just helped him dodge a bullet, and he calmed down quickly. The remaining problem was that this little task was designed to keep me busy for two or three weeks while he came up with something else for me. But from then on, I was put on more interesting projects.)

Engineering A Chip On Their Shoulder

, , | Working | June 27, 2017

(My father is a senior engineer for a national technology company. He has received notification that a newly hired engineer, fresh out of college, is being added to his team. He hasn’t met the engineer, but was given their name, which is one that could easily belong to someone of either gender. He goes to meet this new engineer in the lobby on the first day. He goes out and sees a woman waiting.)

Father: “Hello, you must be [New Engineer]. I’m [Father]; I’m the senior engineer on our team.”

New Engineer: “Bet you weren’t expecting a woman, we’re you?”

Father: “I wasn’t exactly expecting either a man or a woman. I was expecting an engineer.”

New Engineer: “And to you age 50+ engineers, engineer means man, right? Women can be engineers, too, you know. They are just as capable as men.”

Father: “I have no problem with female engineers. In fact, I’m married to one.”

New Engineer: “You mean a manufacturer who would have been an engineer if you let her.”

Father: “No. I mean she has a master’s degree in civil engineering.”

New Engineer: *scoffs* “How kind of you to finally let her go back to school and finally get the degree that matched her skills.”

Father: “She’s had her master’s degree since the early 80s. In fact, she had a master’s degree before I did.”

New Engineer: “Wow, really? She’s one of those trailblazing female engineers?!”

(She suddenly is bizarrely star-struck.)

New Engineer: “Oh, I have to meet her! Was she part of the founding of the female engineer societies?”

Father: “She thought about it. But she realized something that maybe you could learn from. She decided to stop trying to convince everyone that women could be engineers and just prove it.”

Unfiltered Story #88992

, | Unfiltered | June 1, 2017

(This took place on a long car journey after work.)

Coworker 1: Oh I see you where speaking with Dave, this morning. How is he?

Coworker 2: Dave?

Coworker 1: yeah Dave, he just got back off sick.

Coworker 2; Who?

Coworker 1: Dave! Everyone knows Dave.

Coworker 2: Do you mean Steve?

Coworker 1: What?! no Dave.

Coworker 2; Short guy, kinda stocky?

Coworker 1; (Exasperated) Yes!

Coworker 2; That’s Brian.

Coworker 1: Who the hell is Brian?

Coworker 2; Short guy, late 50’s.

Coworker 1: What, no that’s Dave.

Coworker 2: oh well yeah ok I guess.

(These are two highly experience engineers, both have been working alongside Dave for years, I went down to see Dave the next day who told me that he never spoke to Coworker 2, all day. I really worry about this place sometimes.)

O My

| Australia | Working | November 1, 2016

(I work in the R&D arm of a very well-known engineering company. One day I walk into the staff kitchen to see a manager filling up a glass of water from the tap and emptying it again with a look of disgust. It should be noted that the water was slightly cloudy due to tiny air bubbles in it, which can happen sometimes.)

Me: “Uh, what are you doing?”

Manager: “Ugh, I can’t stand oxygenated water; it’s not good for you!”

Me: “You do know what the O in H2O stands for, right?”

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