Engineers Say the Darndest Things

Quote of the Day

After 146 years, the circus could no longer compete with actual reality.

Randy Rainbow, comment after the announcement that the Ringling Brothers Circus was going out of business.

Figure 1: Art Linkletter, during a segment of his show called "Kids Say the Darndest Things."

Figure 1: Art Linkletter, during a segment of his show called “Kids Say the Darndest Things.” (Source)

I sit in many meetings – hours of meetings every day. Occasionally, people say things that are pretty funny. Some of the comments remind me of those Art Linkletter (Figure 1) used to hear when interviewing children. The children often dropped pearls of both humor and wisdom.

When the humor comes from engineers, it is usually pretty dry. In our office, we keep a whiteboard that is filled with some of the choicest quotes from engineers. I thought I would share a few of them with you. In general, engineers do not want to see their names on the whiteboard because some of the statements are pretty lame.

Table 1: Interesting Engineer Statements.
Statement Context
I feel like a broken record talking to a wall. An engineer describing how he felt after repeatedly explaining something to executive management.
Your job is to put bugs into the designs. My job is to fix the bugs. A signal integrity consultant explaining his role in the development process. There are days when I think he is right.
That manager sure is full of leadership. I am sure the engineer wanted to say the manager was full of something else. However, discretion indicated that “leadership” was a better word.
I didn’t remember that … I was saving my brain for the important stuff. Engineer explaining why he forgot to add some minor detail to a schematic.
There is no problem that cannot be solved with more oversight. Engineer who needed some help but instead got additional status meetings with management.
The only thing I do right away is procrastinate. Engineer explaining that sometimes it is best to wait for a bit before jumping on a request. Often, the need for the request goes away in a day or two.
It is a one-sided PCB … except for the parts on the bottom. PCBs have a top and bottom. The engineer was supposed to design a PCB with parts only on the top – unfortunately, he put parts on the top and bottom. This made the PCB a two-sided board.
He is covering his ass in 3D. Engineer’s response to a person sending out massive number of ass-covering emails.
Before you grease the skids, make sure you know what direction they are pointing. Engineer’s response to a manager who used the metaphor “we need to grease the skids” before we actually figured out what we are trying to do.
I am the condiment in the buffet of [insert corporate name]. Engineer expressing frustration with their ability to influence decisions.
You might have power, but you have no brain. Two engineers discussing a circuit board with a faulty processor.
You couldn’t make these mistakes without knowing what you are doing. A product returned from the field had been modified by the customer. The modifications were quite sophisticated and included updating a checksum.
You can’t enjoy anybody’s misfortune anymore. This engineer was lamenting the good ol’ days when you could derive some satisfaction from an opponent’s misfortune. I reminded this engineer of the German word “Schadenfreude,” which translates roughly as “malicious joy.”
I have to take yesterday off. An engineer’s response when he realized that he had hit our vacation hours limit, and he was now losing vacation time.
We need to create a television show called Real Power Converter Designers of Plymouth, Minnesota We seem to have quite a bit of drama associated with getting our power systems designed. I will not relate all the stories, but they are numerous.
Political correctness is like believing you can pick up a turd by the clean end. Yes, someone actually said this.



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1 Response to Engineers Say the Darndest Things

  1. Mark: Thank you for sharing some “very dry” humor. 🙂 Gene


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