If you contact an engineering firm in Sydney you’re probably looking for some serious answers. After all, civil engineering firms in Sydney are where you go to get solutions to complex problem. However, most civil engineers in Australia do have a touch of that iconic Aussie spirit. A little but of humour helps lighten the load. I appreciate that there are 10 different types of people, the ones who understand binary and the ones that do not understand binary. That said, I tried out that joke in the office and it didn’t elicit many chuckles. This leads me to amend it to say that there are 11 types of people- those who understand binary, those who don’t understand binary, and those who do understand binary but still don’t get the joke. I guess not every engineer has a sense of humour after all…
While we’re stereotyping engineers it’s unsurprising that we lack a reputation for being outgoing. In my engineering firm in Sydney you can easily tell who the outgoing ones are. They are the ones who will look at your shoes when they are talking to you, instead of just looking at their own. It’s not that we’re unapproachable, we just think differently. Perhaps that’s why I don’t always understand my wife. For instance, the other day she asked me to do some shopping. I did exactly as she asked. She said “buy two loaves of bread, and if there are any eggs, buy a dozen.” There were eggs in the store. So I have no idea why she was upset with me when I came home with a dozen loaves of bread.
While we don’t mind a little bit of poking fun at each other, civil engineering firms in Sydney are not typically abuzz with childhood reminiscence. However it’s not uncommon to learn that many engineers had parents who thought they’d end up being an astronaut. I know my Dad thought so. He said it was because all I did at school was take up space. Honestly though, as an engineer I had to do well at school. I still have an avid love of reading. In fact, last week I was engrossed in a book titled "The Physics of Anti-Gravity". It was so interesting that I couldn't put it down!
I really do love being a civil engineer in Australia. There is something satisfying about working things out with precision. That’s why an optimist says that the glass is half full, the pessimist says the glass is half empty, and the engineer points out that the glass is actually twice the size that it needs to be. On a lighter note, even my dreams revolve around science. Last night I dreamt that I was talking to an atom. The atom was upset because they thought they had lost an electron. I asked if they were sure. The atom replied “Oh yes, I’m positive.”
For some convoluted reason that nobody understands, this leads me to ask if you know which is the odd one out of these three: a pizza, a degree in engineering, and a doctorate in conceptual mathematics? The answer, of course, is the doctorate in conceptual mathematics. That’s because both the pizza and an engineer can feed a family of four.
So, is it possible to find humour in civil engineering firms?
Louis Panagopoulos is a Fellow of the Institute of Engineers and the lead engineer at LP Consulting Australia. If you’d like to find out more about the possibility of finding humour in civil engineering firms please visit www.lp-consulting.com.au
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