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Electrical engineers are the worst September 9, 2011

Posted by mareserinitatis in engineering, humor.
Tags: ,

I was having lunch with a friend who happens to have a background in geology.  He has a strong dislike for engineers, especially civil, but apparently I’ve been given special dispensation since we’ve known each other since high school. While we were waiting in line to pay the check, I started telling my friend a joke I’d heard:

“What’s the difference between an introverted engineer and an extroverted engineer?”

Another guy standing in line decided to interject himself into our conversation.

“There’s no such thing as an extroverted engineer.”

“No,” I said.  “The extroverted engineer looks at your shoes when talking to you.”

“There’s just no such thing as an extroverted engineer.”

My friend piped up, “Yeah, those civil guys are pretty bad.”

The guy responds, “The civil are pretty good.  But electrical are just the worst.”

My friend grins at me and nods, and I just pointed and told him to shut up.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t on top of my game or I would’ve had a response for the other person.

My thoughts after this experience, however, are that maybe it’s not wise to interject yourself into a conversation when you know nothing about the other people involved.  You might just be coming across as a jerk, especially if you start insulting them…even if they are electrical engineers.


1. Charles J Gervasi - September 9, 2011

It’s hard to think of a come-back because most EEs are truly not energized by human interaction.

It only becomes “bad” when you have a engineers who are smarter than most everyone but feel they cannot get any recognition for it. All they can do it make their neurotypical bosses beg them not to quit at important phases of the project. The older and smarter they get the worse it is.

Regarding people who can look people in the eye just the right amount, not seeming aloof or creepy, and can remember names but cannot make a rough mathematical model for something they see in the world (e.g. PID loop for the cruise control, sinusoidal variation in seasonal temperature, Rician distribution of the number of bars they get on their phone in a small area, coefficient of static/sliding friction on an icy road, natural response of a child pushed on a swing); IMHO it’s just a valid to say there’s something bad about them. But there’s not. We need people making human connections, and we need people working out empirical models that form the basis for rules of thumb that allow you to put something cool together without knowing *everything* about every electron.

mareserinitatis - September 10, 2011

I can’t disagree…but I also don’t like the stereotype, even though I know there are a number of people who really are very quiet and withdrawn. I used to be perniciously shy, but I spent a lot of time working on it. You’d be surprised at how much my dancing (both teaching and performing) taught me about body language and how to put people at ease. I really do think most people can learn this stuff. Either way, the stereotype is frustrating because if you don’t act aloof, people seem surprised you’re an engineer…but if you are, then they assume you could be.

2. Chris Lindsay - September 9, 2011

I’ve learned, never to try and answer a joke where you ask a question. Not only is never as funny as the punch line, but in most cases it dilutes the punch line.

mareserinitatis - September 10, 2011

I think it would’ve been fine if the other guy hadn’t gotten involved. :-)

3. Charles J Gervasi - September 10, 2011

I would like to learn that body language thing. I think I’m decent at it. I know you’re supposed to look people in the eye but not too much, and it’s easy to get psyched out thinking about it. It would be nice to think (although it may not be true) that most engineers struggle with this in a sales/networking environment.

4. Ambassador for the engineers | FCIWYPSC - May 22, 2013

[…] what they were really saying was: “Oh my!  You can talk to me without using technobabble or looking at someone’s shoes!  Nor do you have male-pattern baldness!”  It’s a good thing to go out and destroy […]


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