Do Engineers have a Sense of Humor?

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

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Of course they do. If they didn't they wouldn't work for what they are paid. It's a dark sense of humor like this joke a senior engineer told me when I was a junior engineer at the Westinghouse Electric Corporation.

During the French Revolution many people who were viewed by the revolutionaries as dangerous to their cause were rounded up and executed with the guillotine. One day there were three men slated for the guillotine -- a doctor, a lawyer and an engineer.

One of the rules of the guillotine method was that if the guillotine didn't work when the rope was pulled, the executee went free.

The doctor's head was placed on the block over the basket and the executioner pulled the rope. Nothing happened. Smiling, the doctor ran down the steps.

So.the lawyer was next. He was very nervous because he knew the guillotine would not fail again after being examined by the executioner. But it did and the lawyer went free.

Now it was the engineer's turn. As they placed his head on the block he said, "Wait. I see the problem."

Typically, the engineer is pictured as a steely eyed creature with a flat top haircut, white shirt with pocket protector loaded with colored pens, black pants that are too short with a calculator hanging from the belt, white socks, black shoes and a "just the facts, ma'am" attitude. Engineers find this very funny because they know it was true at one point.

More engineering humor.

An engineer is paid $100/hr to design a watertight container. He does and it is indeed watertight. An attorney is paid $350/hr to change the wording to water resistant.

Scott Adams' (an ex Bell South engineer) Dilbert captures the world in which engineers work to a T.

So, if you want to market to engineers you must understand their world and their sick sense of humor. Precision, accuracy and detailed product specifications are of utmost importance to the engineer. However, you can have a humorous image or a bikini clad beauty in the product marketing material and the engineer will enjoy it and laugh out loud and then study the product details and give you hell if he's not satisfied.

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