No my friends – I’m not going to write about the perils about being a woman engineer in an totally male dominated field. That’s a bitch move. Since I’m like…one of the best out there (srsly – she is, trust us) I’ll talk about the day in day out challenges.
1.) There are approximately 17,000 different kinds of capacitors. The flux capacitor is technically an inductor. They’re like people…seriously there are stupid ones, short, fat ones , hard ones, and even liquid ones. In truth, there are electrolytic, double layer, amorphous nanocrystalline, acetylnitrile, film (poly etheylene, polypropylene, mylar, waxed paper, 35mm, and that weird 126 size). Each one has radically different properties, and despite two parts having the exact same voltage rating and capacity to hold charge – they can behave so profoundly differenly that swapping them into their counterparts target application would result in things just not working…or better yet, FIRE!
2.) It’s like the college days where you had an 8am lecture and a 6pm lab 5 days a week – and there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. You work until you die. You’re expected to wear nice clothes and report in early enough as to not have your menial underlings think you’re a lazy slob – spend all day surfing the web until 4:30 when some bullshit happens requiring you to work until 8pm. This happens three to five times a week. You don’t die from this – your soul suffocates until you reach out and skin a person’s face with a weedwhipper and for the first time in your life thee hots and a cot while being assraped by your sociopathic cell mate seems like an attractive proposition.
3.) Meetings. This allegedly happens in other professions too but my knowledge of it is purely anecdotal. Meetings are a metaphor for the idea “I love my retarded child” – where all the self important jerkoffs pile in a room and waste your time. Everyone wants the boss figure to hear their great contribution to the mission. I once had an idea to make the talking taser. If you can’t finish your though in 1 minute, it jolts you for every 10 seconds thereafter you exceed your quota. After ten minutes the pain would render a person unconscious and they can be placed under the table to convulse in peace with the other spastic meat sacks.
4.) Documentation. Engineers love documents. Powerpoint is like crack cocaine for these people – which many find confusing as hell – because those less intellectually endowed such as managers and business students can sustain themselves on slides alone. SLIDES ALONE MAN! You can always spot the propeller head that recently discovered powerpoint by their flagrant use of animated splats and WordArt ™. Regarding real documents…as an engineer – the secret to being successful is that you don’t make a device or product. You produce the pile of paper that allows your stuff to be made by whichever Tiawanese sweat shop to offers the procurement guy an 11 year in a catholic school uniform. The highlight of my day is line by line editing a 10,000 item bill of materials (or BOM for short), like some kind of frustrated ape picking bugs out of another ape’s ear and eating them out of nothing else than grim amusement and feeling the insatiable urge to eat every last bug, correct every last mistake and inconsistency. Yea it’s that good.
5.) The marketing sneak attack. Sales people are famous for making unauthorized contact with the engineering staff and saying “Hey – it would be really great if you could add features X,Y, and Z” thereby cheapening the value of what you do and short circuiting the the time tested strategy of centralized product roadmaps and a chain of command. This is invariable some cock goblin with a fancy suit and pointy hair – minty breath is also a clue.
6.) The help you don’t want/need. We’ve all been under pressure from time to time. Well…sometimes to add insult to injury – meddle management thinks you need help , they call it fresh eyes. Flesh eyes if you have the joy of a barely literate Asian manager. I tend to destroy their careers because I don’t respect them and they think they’re better than me anyway. They bring in some degenerate washup that’s not busy with a regular job because he peaked when ENIAC was the big thing. This guy is invariably going to be a little arrogant, somewhat annoyed at his being summoned from Retirement In Place, and utterly unhelpful. The trick is to make managment think you’re using this person to the fullest extent possible. Hey you! Can you solder all these resistors together and document the disassembly and cleaning procedure for the little gem that’s going to save us all?
7.) Engineering is a good paying job. If it was – I wouldn’t have seen IBMmers packing a whole roast beef dinner into a drink cup and nursing it all day with a spoon in their office…or stealing the sugar packets and sporks…and jesus fucking christ – don’t get me started on the IBM parking lot. Your average suburban high school parking lot has nicer rides in it. At Plug Power, there was this one chemist that would order stuff and sell it on Ebay. It’s the same everywhere. The luxury of the ruling class is built on the broken backs of the crushed intellectuals that make the world function.