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Do We (Engineers) Need to Work on Our Public Image?

06/23/2008 7:41 AM

Hey, Guys and Gals of the noble profession of Engineers, I've just read an article in the Australian edition of the latest Reader's Digest describing our most trusted professions.

Heading up the 40 strong list is, of course; Ambulance Officers. Although I would have ranked 'family' before them, but apparently this is not the trend anymore. Next; Firefighters, then, Pilots, and then, Nurses. Police come in at position 10. Bus/train drivers come in at 16, and Judges? 20. ( that's fair). Plumbers;23. Bartenders;26. Mechanics; 29. Lawyers; 31 (no comment). Sex workers;37. Polititians;39, and last, at 40, Telemarketers.

WE DON'T EVEN RATE A MENTION. Not even in the accompanying prose.

I'm shattered.

What say ye?

Cheers,

Stu

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#1

Re: Do we (Engineers) need to work on our public image?

06/23/2008 7:52 AM

Out sight out of mind. People don't see those of us that design the devices that help these people do a better job.

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#2

Re: Do We (Engineers) Need to Work on Our Public Image?

06/23/2008 8:45 AM

I think engineering failures make "better" news than the many successes. Often what joe/jane average knows is what he/she hears on the boob tube.

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#8
In reply to #2

Re: Do We (Engineers) Need to Work on Our Public Image?

06/24/2008 8:42 AM

To my mind, the basic problem is that the media sets the tone. The average person in the public sphere is not intelligent enough to even understand what a scientist or engineer does, so the media feeds their audience. God forbid that the media should educate their audience. "The media is the message" (attributable to Mashall McClowen, I believe) and if the media is too dumb to know what engineers do, guess what?

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#10
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Re: Do We (Engineers) Need to Work on Our Public Image?

06/24/2008 10:01 AM

Very well said.

Having done a stint in T.V. and with my wife working in T.V. for more than thirty years I can speak to this with some degree of authority.

Though there are many well educated people in the field, most of those do not rise to management positions. Perhaps it would be better said that they don't aspire to management positions where programming determinations are made.

I've watched the peter principle played out in a nearly text book fashion at a number of stations. It's worse on the network level. The least qualified are generally in charge. Megalomania runs rampant. Competent, reliable persons, well enough educated to understand and provide a platform for science education are needed to actually run the station. Managers normally have the positions they do because they simply can't do anything else.

It seems some of the Science T.V. I've seen lately does hold some promise though. Granted, at this point it sounds more like propaganda then science, their stated mission leaves room for the right thing to be done.

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#12
In reply to #10

Re: Do We (Engineers) Need to Work on Our Public Image?

06/24/2008 3:54 PM

Ah , yes. The old Peter Principle at work again. Seems to hold true in most all hierarchies.

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#13
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Re: Do We (Engineers) Need to Work on Our Public Image?

06/24/2008 4:09 PM

But... Wasn't Peter Principle obsolete and now is the Dilbert's Principle which rules the world?

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#3

Re: Do We (Engineers) Need to Work on Our Public Image?

06/23/2008 10:08 AM

"Engineering - the Transparent Profession" - anon.

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#4

Re: Do We (Engineers) Need to Work on Our Public Image?

06/23/2008 1:44 PM

Most folks don't even know what we do, how can they judge. You tell them you are an Engineer and they say, "well you must be smart".

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#16
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Re: Do We (Engineers) Need to Work on Our Public Image?

06/26/2008 10:19 AM

Ha! Too true, I find that most people don't even want to hold a conversation with me. I find that I have little in common with a lot of other people.

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#5

Re: Do We (Engineers) Need to Work on Our Public Image?

06/23/2008 3:40 PM

Engineering will probably never be a "glamorous" or popular profession, in that it attracts a lot favorable attention. But it should be known as a respectable one, and we do have an uphill battle on that aspect. Thanks to the media, engineers, programmers, and those in related professions, are seen as goofy geeks with brains and no social skills. Because most people want to be well-liked, you can see why they would not be inclined to go into engineering, math or science.

The stereotype might hold some truth. (Most stereotypes do.) The kid that doesn't fit in with the "cool" kids and spends his time reading or dinking around with computers might naturally be drawn into a world where knowledge and intellect count more than the latest fashion or the gossip about the hot celebrities of the day.

What can we do about it? Should we do anything about it?

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#6

Re: Do We (Engineers) Need to Work on Our Public Image?

06/24/2008 3:55 AM

It is thankless under paid, unrecognised profession.

Suresh Sharma.

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#7

Re: Do We (Engineers) Need to Work on Our Public Image?

06/24/2008 4:14 AM

Why are you obsessed with fame?

I do my job, I feel myself recognized by the company for which I work and for other related companies, clients, suppliers, etc. (even direct competence ones). I get earning enough to live in a comfortable way. (I've got no private yatch nor jet, but I don't need them)

I don't mind what common people, which doesn't knows anything about my job, think about it.

I just need to agree with what and how I'm doing. What everybody else think is his problem, not mine.

Don't worry, be happy.

Best regards.

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#9

Re: Do We (Engineers) Need to Work on Our Public Image?

06/24/2008 9:42 AM

ENGINEERING

by Herbert Hoover

Long before Herbert Hoover became involved in politics he was an engineer. He was trained as a mining engineer and had a full and very sucessful career in a variety of international engineering projects. At the time Mr. Hoover practiced engineering, most areas of engineering were Civil Engineering. Mr. Hoover's own field of mining engineering is certainly very closely aligned with Civil Engineering even today. Here is what Mr. Hoover said about the profession of engineering.

Engineering ... it is a great profession. There is the fascination of watching a figment of the imagination emerge through the aid of science to a plan on paper. Then it moves to realization in stone or metal or energy. Then it brings jobs and homes to men. Then it elevates the standards of living and adds to the comforts of life. That is the engineer's high privilege.

The great liability of the engineer compared to men of other professions is that his works are out in the open where all can see them. His acts, step by step, are in hard substance. He cannot bury his mistakes in the grave like the doctors. He cannot argue them into thin air or blame the judge like the lawyers. He cannot, like the architects, cover his failures with trees and vines. He cannot, like the politicians, screen his shortcomings by blaming his opponents and hope the people will forget. The engineer simply cannot deny he did it. If his works do not work, he is damned....

On the other hand, unlike the doctor his is not a life among the weak. Unlike the soldier, destruction is not his purpose. Unlike the lawyer, quarrels are not his daily bread. To the engineer falls the job of clothing the bare bones of science with life, comfort, and hope. No doubt as years go by the people forget which engineer did it, even if they ever knew. Or some politician puts his name on it. Or the credit it to some promoter who used other people's money ... but the engineer himself looks back at the unending stream of goodness which flows from his successes with satisfactions that few professionals may know. And the verdict of his feloow professionals is all the accolade he wants.

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#15
In reply to #9

Re: Do We (Engineers) Need to Work on Our Public Image?

06/24/2008 5:01 PM

GA, Neville.

Stu.

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#11

Re: Do We (Engineers) Need to Work on Our Public Image?

06/24/2008 11:25 AM

Lawyers, prostitutes, politicians, telemarketers - hmmm, I'd say we're NOT in some pretty shady company there. Best to leave well enough alone maybe?

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#14
In reply to #11

Re: Do We (Engineers) Need to Work on Our Public Image?

06/24/2008 4:20 PM

You may be right, EnviroMan.

A lawyer and an engineer were arguing one day about which one belonged to the older profession.

The engineer said, "God created the world out of chaos."

The lawyer shot back, "And where do you think the chaos came from?"

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Guru

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#17

Re: Do We (Engineers) Need to Work on Our Public Image?

06/26/2008 5:16 PM

You've seen them every time you follow a truck. "Without trucks, Australia Stops".

I propose that we go one better. "Without Engineers, The WORLD Stops."

How's that?

Next? " Invite an ENGINEER to lunch".

Cheers,

Stu.

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#18
In reply to #17

Re: Do We (Engineers) Need to Work on Our Public Image?

06/27/2008 8:53 AM

I LIKE the way you think!

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