Engineering Terminology

                 What is said What it means
A number of different approaches are being tried. We don’t know where we’re going, but we’re moving.
An extensive report is being prepared on a fresh approach to the problem. We just hired three guys… We’ll let them kick it around for a while.
Developed after years of intensive research. It was discovered by accident.
Modifications are underway to correct certain minor difficulties. We threw the whole thing out and are starting from scratch.
Preliminary operational tests were inconclusive. The darn thing blew up when we threw the switch.
Test results were extremely gratifying. It works, and boy are we surprised !
The design will be finalized in the next reporting period. We haven’t started this job yet, but we’ve got to say something.
The entire concept is unworkable. The only guy who understood the thing just quit.
We need close project coordination. We should have asked someone else.
Alternate: Let’s spread the responsibility for this.

Engineers and Managers

A man 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?”
The man below says: “Yes, you’re in a hot air balloon hovering 30ft above this field.”
“You must be an engineer” says the balloonist.
“I am” replies the man. “How did you know?”
“Well,” says the balloonist, “everything you say is technically correct, but it’s no use to anyone.”
The man below says “you must be in management.”
“I am” replies the balloonist, “but how did you know?”
“Well,” says 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.”


by Timothy Barrett, Los Angeles, CA.

When the earth was created, the powers above
Gave each one a job, to work at and love.
He made doctors and lawyers and plumbers and then
He made carpenters, singers, and confidence men.
And when each had a job, to work as they should,
The Lord looked them over, and saw it was good.

But then, when He sat down to rest for a day,
A noise from a little-known group came his way.
From on high He looked down, and his eyes opened wide,
For a motley collection of bums stood outside.
And the Lord asked the group, “What’s the matter with you?”
“Oh, help us,” they cried, “find a job for us, too.”
“We have no profession,” they said in dismay,
“And even the jailhouse has turned us away.
The Lord said, “I’ve seen many things without worth,
But here I find gathered the scum of the earth.”

The Lord was perplexed, and then He got mad.
For of all of the jobs, there were none to be had.
Then He spoke with a voice full of deep, angry tone,
“For ever and ever ye mongrels shall roam.
Ye shall freeze in the summer and sweat when it’s cold.
Ye shall work on equipment that’s dirty and old.
Ye shall crawl in the dirt, in the dust shall you lay.
Ye shall be called out at midnight and work through the day.
Ye shall work on all holidays and not make your worth.
Ye shall be blamed for all downtime occurring on earth.
Ye shall surrender all glory to software and sales.
Ye shall be blamed by them both if the system then fails.
Ye shall have little money, just sorrow and tears.
Ye shall ever be cursed and called field engineers!”

The Engineer and the Red Rubber Ball

A mathematician, a physicist, and an engineer were all given a red rubber ball and told to find the volume.

The mathematician carefully measured the diameter and evaluated a triple integral.

The physicist filled a beaker with water, put the ball in the water, and measured the total displacement.

The engineer looked up the model and serial numbers in his red-rubber-ball table.