Why I Am Glad I'm Not an Engineer

Actually, I guess I am an engineer. Just not a real one.

The sad fact is that most professional engineers have to specialize, and work on one small aspect of projects, and probably answer to people who have no clue what engineering is.

Why I'm glad I aren't one is that I get to do everything engineerly when I want, and thus gain the full satisfactions possible on any given project.

Basically, I get to do all these things:

  • Observe a problem, need, or goal
  • Define it in the simplest terms possible
  • Define the parameters of potential solutions
  • Design and evaluate specific solutions, including
    • Sketches, mock ups, and detailed drawings of solutions
    • Consider materials and tools available to achieve them
    • Compare difficulty, cost, and utility of various solutions
    • Compare the pleasure inherent in the implementation of them
  • Decide what solution to pursue (if any)
  • Further refine the design, again considering materials and tools
  • Make a final decision regarding the solution
  • Create a step by step plan
  • Create testing procedures to evaluate work in progress
  • Purchase necessary materials and perhaps more tools as needed for each step
  • Design and build any jigs or fixtures required to aid in building
  • Process materials according to each step and test as appropriate
  • If necessary, adjust plans to realities
  • Complete project to a functional stage
  • Test and evaluate functional project
  • Perform any "finish" work for appropriate cosmetics
  • Admire and enjoy the results of my work every time I use it
  • And, finally, apply whatever I learned at any step of the way to future projects

And the best part, understandable to anyone who has ever worked with contractors and sub-contractors to get something done, is that during this entire process, the customer, the designer/architect, the purchasing agent, the worker, and quality controller, and once again the customer, are always present at every stage for consultation and approval.

Here are some examples of things I got to play this game with! (dial-up warning: lots of pictures)

I guess the best way to march to the beat of a different drum is to be a one-man band.

10/1/06



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© Huw Powell
www.humanthoughts.org