The Engineer's Dilemma

The Engineer’s Dilemma - author unknown

"It’s not my place to run the train
The whistle I can’t blow.

It’s not my place to say how far
The train’s allowed to go.

It’s not my place to shoot off steam
Nor even clang the bell.

But let the damn thing jump the track
And see who catches hell."

So true, so true! I’ve felt this way my entire career. Awesome responsibility/accountability and very little control!

Anyone else feel this way in your Engineering career?


Yes, providing to the tools which are promptly used incorrectly and do not provide output they were never originally supposed to provide are obviously the tool maker’s fault. :crazy_face:

On a similar thread, I find that the more I attempt to make things foolproof, the more fools prove themselves.

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Certainly relatable; whether it’s the constructor, the owner, or another engineer - I’ve found myself an “easy target” on several occasions regardless of attempted design safeguards in place. @SuperSalad hit the nail on the head with his observation!

But I’ve had that job where I was supposed to answer every phone call, write the quotes, crunch the numbers, draw the pictures, haggle with regulators, haggle with suppliers, figure out which bills weren’t paid, and - for fun on Fridays - sweep the shop floor.
How much of it do you want in your control?
Even if you’re a one-man (or woman) enterprise, you still have to do what your customer will pay you to do.