This is how an engineer feels when he's surrounded by idiots

A marvelous video fully expresses the contrast between an engineer's rational mind and the others he sometimes must encounter at work for whom words are the wind that powers sales.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

Guess which one's the engineer. Lauris Beinerts/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

My engineer friend George sometimes looks at me as if I'm a rancid chicken wing in a Michelin-starred restaurant.

He doesn't understand why I don't think logically, rationally, understandably -- in short, why I don't think like him.

It causes him to foam at the lips and emit high-pitched noises, not unlike those created by sheepdogs that have been run over by tractors.

I never quite grasped what his problem was until I saw a YouTube video called "The Expert."

This shows a meeting in which, quite frankly, everyone is either ridiculous or obsequious. Everyone except Anderson the engineer, of course.

The task his organization is being set is to create seven red lines.

One slight kink is that these lines must be perpendicular. Moreover, some must be drawn with green ink and some with transparent ink.

Of course, this is nonsense. But Anderson's project manager doesn't mind if it's nonsense. He says yes to everything. That's his job.

You know you're in trouble with an engineer when he says: "I'll simplify." Translation: "I'll try to get you complete dunderheads to understand why you're such complete dunderheads."

These dunderheads, however, are so dunderheadish that they won't take sense for an answer. They believe red lines can be transparent and that seven lines can all be perpendicular to each other.

Anderson tries so hard. He begins with patience. He resorts to his days at high school. Nothing works.

He gets accused of not seeing the overall picture. He gets spoken to as if it is he, in fact, who is the complete idiot.

So many businesses truly run like this. So many times co-workers or clients will come to you and call you the expert. This is shortly before they tell you they know better.

"Why are you asking me then?" you shriek inside.

That is the kind of "why" that bedeviled Socrates until the very end.