Thursday, May 27, 2010

I Hate Engineers

Let me start by saying that I don't hate any one group based solely on any sort of designation they may carry.  That's just stupid.  But man do I hate engineers.

No granted, I am an engineer, so I'm going to wind up painting myself in a bad light no matter what I do here.  Over the past several years of work and school, and spending time with many students and workers of a variety of backgrounds, I can say without much regret that the engineers tend to be the least tolerable.

Where to begin?  Probably the ego and the smarmy know-it-all-ness are the first to jump out at you.  Here you have a group of people that has basically been made fun of their whole lives for being fucking nerds (with good reason).  In order to cope with those comments, these people have constantly reminded themselves that they are among the smartest people on the planet, and that they will one day achieve a level of superiority over their detractors.  This causes even the slightest foothold of so-called "superiority" (read: earning power and money) to become blown out of proportion within the engineer's mind and flaunted intolerably.  From perfectly creased clothing to a pride in shiny shoes that borders on creepy.  I once had an engineer tell me that their choice in vehicle was based on what looked most professional pulling up to a job site and meeting with contractors.  Apparently a blue car is unacceptable.  Who the fuck cares?!  Do you really need to prove that you think you're better than someone in such a microcosmic way?  Contractors don't look at a BMW and go, "man that guy is professional."  They say "man that guy is a tool and working with him is going to suck."

As an engineer, I loved being on site and working with the maintenence men, construction workers, and Town highway workers.  Those guys are fucking fantastic.  They have a practical knowledge that far outstrips that of any engineer, and many of them make decent money, they just don't flaunt it with stupid shit like country club memberships and sweater-vests.  Plus they have social skills, chiefly the 'not being an asshole' social skill.  (Holy shit, I am lambasing someone for a lack of social skills.  Me!)

Engineers are dull.  Mind-numbingly dull.  The DPW guy wants to tell me about his son, who on a three week leave from Iraq beds three different women.  The Engineer wants to talk about her marathoning, or his Turkey hunting...that is in those brief moments when they're not talking about work.

Maybe there's such a thing as too much intelligence.  Maybe being able to reason through so many things is a hinderance.  If you're an engineer you need the right shoes, right dress, right car, right look.  You even need to act a certain way.  At one point I was yelled at for my shoes and pants (no HR Person, apparently jeans and sneakers are NOT okay), and for "not looking animated enough" during a meeting (Howard Dean, are you sure you didn't miss your calling?).  Meanwhile, over on planet blue collar with the sane people, you show up on time, you work hard, you're not a dick...hey! You're alright!

With apologies to those Engineers that are decent, humble, interesting people.


  1. On my last year of studying as an electrical engineer and I'm come to the same conclusion as you have. They are soooo dull, predictable, and have ridiculous self esteem issues that lead them to work their asses off to be 'successful'. Not only that, they love to look down on people and make jokes about unfortunate people. They suck. I don't even want to study engineering anymore. Lost all interest. I don't want to spend the rest of my professional career working with assholes.

    1. Feel ya bro. I'm in ee, myself. Just starting. I love the career but the majority of engineers... (Especially ME's, amirite? Jk, they all suck.)

  2. Well, I always think engineers are the jocks of academia. A lot of them think they are smarter than mathematicians, but the funny thing is, math in general public eyes or non-math people tend to stop short at calculus, while calculus is like ABC to mathematicians.
    You got that right about engineers being predictable and looking down on unfortunate people. Mathematicians can be assholes and strange at times, but at where I work, they are more chilled than engineers.
    I've found that engineers and economists both are similar to each other, in that they have inflated egos.

  3. I started in an engineering program when I was an undergrad. It became too much for me to deal with, all the uppity bull shit is something I couldn't stand. Being one of two women in the program with a very demanding school load and softball schedule it was overbearing. While I love math and science, physics being my favorite I couldn't see myself in the field and while I was greatly depressed because my dad dreamed of his little girl being a great engineer I took environment studies (though the major not offered for my graduating class) and Anthropology. I ended up with a double major of Anthropology and Philosophy. I loved my degrees and did so outstandingly well that I was accepted to graduate school for environmental engineering... haha... I guess I will end up being one, but I am not sure if I will even use it because right now all I want to do is brew totally organic and sustainable beer, which I have worked on a few batches.... I think it depends on the person, I felt I was too rebellious for this group of people and line of work. My personality is to fight against a form of conformity, which is still conforming in many aspects... but the "holier than thou" attitude I experienced while in the program became too much to stand, not only did they walk around with their noses in the air pretending to be smarter than everyone else... they were extremely cut throat and unable to listen or consider any other forms of insight from anyone other than themselves, unless the person agreed. Loved your post and it makes me glad I went with humanities... haha

  4. I know the types of engineers to which you are referring. The #1 goal of one of my senior year classmates was to get his 60k/year job directly out of school and get a Lexus. Mind you, he didn't have a specialization in mind or a calling, unless you include that siren song of black leather a calling.

    For myself, I ended up in HVAC controls. It's tough to be "holier than thou" when you work in air conditioning... Even if you are technically a *gasp* applications engineer. Chin up and look for the humble engineers in your office; you might be surprised. If there are any, they work long hours and have bags under their eyes. However, they should always greet you with the minimum courtesy of a half-assed smile ;)

  5. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I really appreciate knowing that at least one engineer on the face of the earth is actually human and consider's other people's feelings.