Conversational Camouflage



It's not that we don't like you engineers, at least for me it's because a lot of the engineers I meet are pretty darn obsessed with the fact that they're engineers instead of treating it like what it is, just a career.

Emanresu's picture

For engineers, it's not just a career. It's part of our lives!

lexbarron's picture

a VERY big part...

Ronald Riehn

more like the whole damn thing sometimes.

meladamei's picture

In order to have a successful career, you need to be passionate about it. Engineer or no, eventually your career isn't "just" a career... unless you want to spend the majority of your life being a bagger or working in customer service. :\

Ronald Riehn

Sadly, there were times when I wish it was like that for the Army... My two military jobs being Infantryman and Military Intelligence.

"Oh so you're in the army? what do you do?"

Infantry - Kill people and blow up their stuff.
Military Intelligence - Discover the enemy's deepest, darkest secrets and exploit the fxxx out of them (to include what kind of toilet paper they used in the Kremlin during the Cold War. Don't ask.)

My answer - "Soldier stuff."

That an actual Camelbak or one of the knockoffs?

BallardHill's picture

I just tell 'em I'm paid to make and play with toys.

Amake's picture

Slightly topical random observation: I watched Kingdom of Heaven where the heroic blacksmith circa 1000AD gets called an "enginer" instead of "engineer", with emphasis on the first syllable. Thought that was pretty cool. What would you as an engineer think if someone called you an enginer? (I predict the response "But I don't make siege engines.")


yeah, but boilermakers dont especially make boilers either


My cousin is completing an engineering degree at university this year and i was woundering if it will take over his whole like like the comments say?
p.s. sorry if the grammar and spelling are out i'm dyslexic.
p.p.s sorry i have to put that sometimes or i get spelling and grammar trolls comenting all the time, agian sorry :(

Toreus's picture

More than likely, yes it will.

My sympathies...

Fuseblower's picture

I think that Jam's right about what happens when you tell people - so the trick is not to answer the questions at all but deflect them, and let them discover things for themselves. It's also more fun!

So when somebody asks you directly what you do for a living, there are all sorts of alternative answers, and although probably the best ones are the direct ones (I get my hands all mucky), some of the others are just as good. So, for instance, since engineers never stop studying, you can put people right off by saying that you're a perpetual student. When they ask 'of what', you say 'of things I don't understand yet' - and you can work the rest of that conversation out for yourselves. Anyway, whilst they're thinking about that, you can ask them what *they* do to keep themselves off the streets, instead. Chances are that they've got a more boring job than you have, but at least this gives you thinking time. So, deflection is the name of this particular game. But there are others:

Because I'm now an old git, and took the studying thing seriously, I have several different engineering occupations/careers to fall back on (all of which I've worked in for some time), so I can usually find a suitable answer for the occasion, and then refuse to talk about it, although I usually mumble the excuse. My general reasoning for this is that a) to most people it's boring, b) that it doesn't define who I am, as far as I'm concerned and c) that as Jam says, people are prejudiced about engineers, and I don't want to reinforce that view. But there's more:

Unfortunately I also have some frightening things that I could tell people, but under our Official Secrets Act (and because of some commercial confidentiality), I can't tell you about that. And these are excuses you can use too, because Trev's got it nailed - LIE! In my case it's more or less true, but I don't like to talk about it anyway, except to make it seem intriguing, which is an *excellent* wind-up...

So I'd say that when it comes to social gatherings where these questions seem to crop up most, engineers have more opportunities than most people do - and without making it boring. It's just something else you have to study, is all...

Shadowydreamer's picture

I must be doing something wrong.. someone says they're an engineer, I either say "Ooo.. of what?" with interest or "What's your specialty?" if its a bit more formal.

Fuseblower's picture

Well, there are always refreshing exceptions to the general rule, and you must be one!

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