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15 Things Only Engineers Would Understand

15 Things Only Engineers Would Understand

After years of crazy studying hours, insane exams, and wild expectations, you have made it! You’re an engineer! Whether mechanical, electrical, aeronautical, environmental, computer, civil, industrial (you get the idea…), you can proudly tell people that you are an engineer.

If only you could make them stop asking you to fix their fridge, or explain to them, in layman’s terms, what it is exactly that you do.

Here are 15 things that only an engineer would understand.

1. You were practically in a relationship with your caffeinated beverage of choice.  

The code doesn’t work like it’s supposed to. You need a week to understand the mathematical equations before you can even crack the engineering portion of it. The circuit board doesn’t work because of a burnt-out component. If there was something that could go wrong, it did. There weren’t enough hours in the day, but that’s OK. You don’t need sleep. You have Red Bull!

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    2. You took apart a radio or the back of the television just to see what was inside.

    Your mom was furious, but you’ve done it countless times again since then. I think you owe your mom a radio.

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      3. Your class size was always cut in half by the end of drop week.  

      You walk in on the first day of class. All the seats are taken. By the end of that drop week, half of those students are gone. And by the first assignment, you kind of wish you had left too.

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        4.  Everyone who knows you’re an engineer thinks you can fix their household appliances.

        OK, so maybe there are times you can fix it. But that’s not what you went to school for. You’ve worked on intricate projects. You’ve come up with revolutionary theories and technology. You’ve sat in one spot and coded for nights on end. You did not go to school to fix someone’s fridge or a Keurig machine that’s on the fritz!

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          5.  Contrary to #4, you have modified a household appliance that was working perfectly just to make it better.

          It’s not enough if something only works flawlessly.  It should work to your personally-desired needs.  Case in point: I know a NASA engineer who programmed his Keurig machine to his cell phone.  This way, he can turn it on from bed with no effort.  Ah, the user-friendly life of an engineer!

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            6.  Girls were practically mythical beings.  

            As a female engineer, I was a unicorn in the world for years. Sometimes, there would be one other girl in the class, which was twice as much as I was used to. Fortunately for all of us, there are more women coming into the engineering world. “Who runs the world? Girls!”

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              7.  When a child asks you a simple question, you explain the most elaborate answer possible.

              A little girl ask you, “Why is it raining?” You begin to explain the water cycle in detail, the transportation of water from the atmosphere to the surface of the earth, and of course, the different forms of precipitation. The little girl says “OK” with a blank stare and then walks away.

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                8. When you speak about your work, people think you’re nuts.

                Yes, it’s not just children, but adults as well who can’t understand the things you try to explain. Usually, someone will regret asking you about your work. But it’s not your fault. Sometimes, you can’t help sounding like a martian from the sixth dimension of the universe.

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                  9. You go above and beyond on projects….your kid’s science projects.

                  Chances are you designed this child’s project in AutoCAD or SolidWorks. You probably used PSpice if you threw in some electronics. Meanwhile, you son’s classmates have some baking soda and vinegar for their volcano, or a potato for their clock.

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                    10.  The people at Radio Shack can’t answer your questions. 

                    They’re always great at helping you locate what you need. But those intricate and convoluted questions are something you have to deal with on your own.

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                      11.  You were the president of the audio-visual, robotics, mathematics, and/or coding club at your school.

                      Your love of technology and the unknown is as real as your shopping addiction at Jameco Electronics.

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                        12. People think you know everything!  

                        The truth of the matter is that if you are an engineer, you realized a long time ago that you know nothing. And that’s great! It means your mind is open to everything.

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                          13.  The things you learned as an engineering student are not the things you do as an engineer in the real world.  

                          In college, those lectures, never-ending projects, technical reports, and mathematical lunacy were all just to help you lose yourself in the “reality distortion field.” It’s a place where nothing is what it seems. You have to lose your mind as an engineering student first in order to embrace the “anything is possible” mentality all engineers must embrace.

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                            14.  You envied those non-engineering majors.  

                            They had such balance in their life. They went to class, went to the library, and then, they actually had time to go out. Don’t even get me started on their study breaks! They could actually sit down to a meal without rushing or talking about the work. They didn’t even look at their study materials while eating. How luxurious!!!

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                              15.  You spend more time behind a computer screen than anywhere else.

                              And this was before the social media takeover! You were doing it before everyone else, and you probably still are. Since you’re usually looking at your screen, you might have more friends online than in person.

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                                As an engineer, you can understand the esoteric things. You love technical things, and there’s just something about it that calms your soul. After dealing with social pressure in school, demanding professors, and no sleep (ever!), you are an engineer. You can do anything. Congratulations! You’re damn near a superhero!

                                Featured photo credit: engineers via google.com.hk

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                                Published on January 7, 2021

                                How To Train Yourself When You Lack Attention To Details

                                How To Train Yourself When You Lack Attention To Details

                                Some people see the trees for the forest, and some see only the forest, meaning they lack strong attention to detail. But even if you’re one of the people who take a macro rather than a micro view, true professionalism requires balancing both.

                                If focusing on the fine points is not your forte, you will benefit from training yourself to pay attention to details. You will profit by saving yourself time, effort, money, and credibility.

                                Why Training Yourself in Attention to Details Pays Off

                                You add value to your organization when you make the effort to ensure that you performed your work thoroughly and effectively. This is why job postings often list “attention to details” among the required skills.

                                When you present your supervisor or client with well-completed, high-quality work the first time, it maximizes your value and minimizes wasted time. Detail-oriented people are also more adept at catching mistakes that could lead to costly blunders.

                                Moreover, attention to detail is an indicator of possessing other in-demand employee qualities, such as organization, thoroughness, and focus. In some professions, such as accounting, engineering, medical research, and more, you can only excel if you have trained yourself to pay attention to details.

                                In other professions, possessing strong attention to detail is the very quality that will get you promoted to a position where you will be asked to consider the big picture.

                                Finally, if you are the “go-to” details person, everyone else on the team can relax a bit. They know the project is in good hands and will likely throw you more projects as a reward. This will ultimately lead to your advancement.

                                3 Important Aspects of Becoming More Detail-Oriented

                                Here are the 3 important things you need to learn if you want to remedy your lack of attention to detail:

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                                1. Respect deadlines
                                2. Understand the work-flow plan
                                3. Build in time to mess up

                                1. Respect Deadlines

                                Deadlines lend all projects a finish line. One smart idea is to take the given deadline and work backward from it, calculating when your piece of the project is due. Then, if you stick to the proscribed schedule for completing the mini-projects that you have, you will never miss a deadline.

                                One important note on this: It is smarter to stick to the deadline and turn in work that merits a “B+” than to blow the deadline with “A” work. Chances are, through revision and suggested changes from others on the team, you can bring up your B+ work to an A later. But if you disregard deadlines, you will lose the respect of your boss and fellow teammates.

                                2. Understand the Work-Flow Plan

                                Your team is developing work in conjunction with other teams who have projects and deadlines of their own. When you grasp the whole work-flow plan, you may be able to either add insight to the greater project or to your own smaller piece of it that others at the firm will consider valuable.

                                3. Build in Time to Mess Up

                                You can expect that “what can go wrong will go wrong.” Don’t overpromise on deadlines. Something likely will mess up, but when it does if you built in the time to fix it, those around you won’t freak out.

                                Chances are, you already give your attention to several details. Take heart. You can do this! You can overcome your lack of attention to detail and become more detail-oriented.

                                For starters, consider this: Most people take the time and put in extra effort into the activities or undertakings that matter to them most. Training yourself to become more detail-oriented can mean adopting a similar pattern of behavior.

                                Apply the same attention you give to your appearance. Are you a meticulous dresser? Do you pay attention to how you pair patterns and colors, and how you accessorize a particular outfit?

                                This is the same system to use when you lack attention to detail with your work. Give every item careful consideration so that each one contributes to the perfectly pieced-together whole.

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                                Assemble the ingredients the way you do when you cook. Cooking and baking from scratch require close attention to details as you measure and add each ingredient in sequence, and you time everything so that the meal comes together at the same time.

                                Similarly, your work product requires you to gauge whether all the ingredients have been added and that your final product is delivered on time.

                                Organize your business network like you do your social contacts. If you follow a broad base of friends and acquaintances on social media, you can apply similar skills to stay up-to-date on details associated with business acquaintances.

                                When you meet somebody who could be influential to your career or a resource for improving your skills, follow that person on social media. Respond to their posts to keep the lines of communication flowing.

                                12 Tips to Help You if You Lack Attention to Detail

                                Teaching yourself to take note of important details involves sharpening your perceptions and thinking ahead. The following tips will help you adopt these practices. Master these habits when training yourself to become detail-oriented.

                                1. Learn to Listen Well

                                You will pick up relevant information and needed nuance when you apply the skills of active listening. In conversations, train yourself to make eye contact, give your undivided attention to the speaker, and ask pertinent follow-up questions.

                                Training yourself to pay better attention to details in conversations includes learning to fully concentrate on what others have to say. If you find it hard, there’s no harm in taking notes on what they say.

                                2. Pay Attention to Social Cues

                                Make a point of noticing body language and facial expressions that provide insights into how others perceive a situation. Social cues offer details that give you an understanding of how words and actions impact others. The infamous character Michael Scott of the television show “The Office” epitomizes the consequences of not paying attention to others’ body language.[1]

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                                3. Follow Rules

                                Rules and protocols usually come about from lessons learned and are put in place to avoid further mishaps—whether from a safety or efficiency standpoint. If you’re given step-by-step procedures to follow, check them off as you go. Also, return to the rules at the project’s end just to make sure you adhered to them all.

                                4. Take Notes

                                Note-taking is a way to boost your retention and gives you something to refer back to when you need to keep track of pertinent details. You will also heighten your focus as you listen for relevant information. Review your notes shortly after the meeting or conversation and highlight the content that you intend to apply.

                                5. Prioritize What Needs Your Attention Now

                                When you have a full slate of work that demands your attention, take a few moments to sort assignments from most to least urgent. Keep a calendar, spreadsheet, or project planning software up-to-date with schedules and deadlines to help you stay organized.

                                As you tackle each urgent assignment, give it your full attention so no details are missed. Give yourself ample time—especially if you tend to be someone who waits until the last minute—as rushing can make you overlook important details.

                                6. Have a Detail-Oriented Assistant Check Your Work

                                If you lack attention to detail, then it makes sense to seek help from someone detail-oriented. If you have this option, take advantage of it. Two sets of eyes are better than one. Just be sure to credit your assistant for their help once the project is completed.

                                7. Learn the Rules of Writing Well

                                English is a difficult language, and grammar, punctuation, and spelling can all sabotage you unless you pay attention to detail. When in doubt, look it up. Free to use website services such as Grammarly can help.

                                8. Proofread Before You Hit Send

                                Nothing is perfect in its first draft. If you lack attention to detail, then put in the extra effort before submitting things. Before you send off any written work, check carefully not only for misspellings and incomplete sentences but also for improper tone, inappropriate colloquialisms, and inconsistent formatting. When your written communications are error-free, they will have their intended impact.

                                9. Minimize Distractions

                                It is impossible to stay focused when colleagues carry on conversations nearby or your mobile notifications ding you throughout the day. Do your best to limit distractions.

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                                If you are working where there is a lot of noise or side activity, try wearing noise-canceling headphones or seeking out a quiet corner. Disable your notifications when you need to focus, and resolve to only check them after you have completed your assignment.

                                10. Take Breaks

                                It may sound counter-intuitive to stop and take a walk, but it’s necessary. Walk away from the screen. Moving from one task to the next across the span of your workday is a recipe for brain fatigue. Give your brain a recess time when you come to a natural stopping place or after you complete one project and before you start the next. These short pauses are necessary for sorting through all the details needed for coming up with successful solutions.

                                11. Make Time for Reflection

                                At the end of a workday, take a few minutes to go over the day’s events in your mind. What was said or relayed in conversations? What is the status of the projects you worked on? What else occurred that you should pay attention to? Could there have been any details you might have missed that you should address tomorrow?

                                12. Keep a Detailed To-Do List

                                This simple organizational tool is your best ally for getting your work done on time and for paying attention to the details. If you are pressed for time (and who isn’t?), write your list to coordinate with dayparts.

                                Allot a certain number of hours to complete each task, do it, and then check it off. Nothing feels more rewarding than completing all the tasks on your list. But if you can’t finish them, then carry them over to the following day.

                                Final Thoughts

                                Details may seem small, but they can become a lot larger when they are overlooked. If you know you lack attention to detail, commit to training yourself to embrace the many facets that can help you consistently excel in the tasks you set out to accomplish.

                                When you begin to catch your mistakes in advance or apply the tidbits of information you gathered from paying close attention, you will know that you have trained yourself in the fundamentals of becoming detail-oriented. After that, you should start hearing the phrase “Great job!” more often.

                                More Tips on Boosting Your Attention to Detail

                                Featured photo credit: Cristina Gottardi via unsplash.com

                                Reference

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