Engineering as depicted in stock photos

Finding prosperity and personal fulfillment in the growing, fast-paced industry of drawing things in the air.

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hand drawing diagram in the air

Is this it, sir? I just draw in the air?
That's the job. Draw in the air.
Is it always in color?
Not always.

man writing in the air

So most of the time I'll be drawing in the air in black?
Mostly, yes.
Should I point occasionally?
Good, yes. I like that you're showing initiative. Keep this up and we'll get you a much smaller man to look pensively at.

a very small man appears

How's the little man working out for you?
You don't like him?
No, it's not that. I just thought he'd be littler.
Littler than that.
A bit. I do feel very pensive around him, though.

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Can't ask for smaller than this, right Dale?
They're very small, sir. Only...
It's nothing, sir.
No, go ahead. Are these ones too small?
Oh, no sir, they're just the right size, only you have to understand, I admire their work ethic but it feels like they're doing all of the drawing in the air, sir, and all I've done is stare pensively.
I see.
And the room, sir.
The room?
It's very white, sir.
I'll see what I can do.

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How's field work treating you, Dale? Fresh air? Cranes? Drawing for yourself again?
About the cranes...

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Sir? Hello? I hadn't heard from you in a while and it's very high up here, and cold, and I've gotten quite a lot of drawing done and I was just wondering when I could stop being in the sky?
I'm sorry, Dale, you're breaking up a little bit.
I'm sure you weren't complaining. You've never been a complainer.
You've done such a good job, Dale. We're promoting you.
We're promoting you as high as we can.

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They haven't forgotten me.
It's probably time for my review soon.
They'll call.
Of course they'll call.
Just keep drawing.
Just look pensive.

All photos (c) Can Stock Photo

Apologies to Mallory Ortberg, who does this better than I ever could.


Sorry, guys, but review time is fast approacing, and it's time Pete Dokter saw what I can do. It's not selling out if you're not sure you'll get a raise, right?

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Comments 25 comments

  • Oh my jeez, Dia – we HAVE to make a "you" version of this.

  • Is.. Is that guy using a ruler... On a schematic? Ignoring the logistical issues such as drawing in the air, that seems really odd.

    • M-Short / about 8 years ago / 1

      I'm not sure that is more awkward than drawing designs in the air with a hard hat under your arm. If you need it put it on (and get designs done before construction has gotten that far). If you don't need it put it down... I can not for the life of me think of why an engineer is designing with a hard hat.

    • Dia / about 8 years ago / 1

      I mean, yes, it looks weird to laymen like us, but who are we to question a real engineer in a real tie? Can you draw in the air? No, and neither can I, so let's just sit back and let the professional work.

  • l0gikG8 / about 8 years ago / 3

    That engineer can do medical and nutrition air drawings too. He also rocks a bow tie like a boss.

  • FSJ Guy / about 8 years ago / 2

    PLEASE tell me that I wasn't the only one who downloaded the photos and flipped them to check out the schematic....

  • saccade / about 8 years ago / 2

    A T-square! I haven't seen one of those since high-school. (You might also clue him in that pencils don't work so hot on capacitive touch screens).

  • Vrmithrax / about 8 years ago / 2

    I must be doing something wrong. In all my years of engineering, I've never written complex diagrams in the air. It seems so convenient!

    I HAVE managed some sweet air guitar moments, though... Wonder if that makes up for it?

    • Tshirt / about 8 years ago / 1

      Yeah, I'm still waiting for my "Minority Report" computer.

  • Member #189314 / about 8 years ago / 2

    In Soviet Russia, air engineers you!

  • PeterP / about 8 years ago / 2

    That's quite a Caucasian sausage club.

    • Dia / about 8 years ago / 5

      I thought about including some women and POC, but those photos were harder to find, and honestly, it appears to be a completely different job. Women are welcome to be in the presence of air drawings, but for the most part are expected to look away from them, or sometimes coyly look just past them. People of color don't really get to work with air drawings at all, and must wear hardhats at all times, even with their NFL commentator suits. If you're both, the job can get really weird. Maybe I'll address this in another blog post sometime. :)

  • DrPhibes / about 8 years ago * / 2

    What an abstract depiction of engineering. My only gripe is that there is a lack of explosions, Red Bull cans, and reality.

  • Member #402822 / about 8 years ago / 2

    Based on that suit, I'd say this man is actually a commentator for the NFL. I feel like this guy gets to stand way more than I ever have as an engineer.

  • daverlee / about 8 years ago / 2

    The greatest perk about being an engineer is you don't have to wear a suit every day.

    • Not all engineers are given that freedom. I work for a smaller engineering company where only a few of us are engineers and the bean counters make the decisions including the dress code!

  • George Langley / about 8 years ago / 1

    Just as bad are musician stock photos - holding the instrument incorrectly. missing reeds or mouthpieces, instruments are put together incorrectly and yes, playing at impossible angles or poses. Thanks for the laugh.

  • BadGUI / about 8 years ago / 1

    Reminds me of the horrible demotivational posters they would hang around the Engineering department of my University. I'm sure the IET still use these stock photos.

  • Tshirt / about 8 years ago / 1

    Two of the diagrams are electrical.
    The others are "Piping and Instrumentation" Diagrams. And really old ones by American standards, maybe that kind is all the rage in Russia or something. There are a lot of heat exchangers and doubled up filter beds. The give away that they are old is that one had a pneumatically controlled pressure valve. I have only ever seen pneumatic instrumentation that was abandoned in place and just not torn out; it was like visiting a museum. The fact that each pneumatic control loop is its own analog computer is cool but it is not something that has been installed new in my lifetime. Cannot discern what any of the processes do though. I saw one case of constant temperature flow from a heat exchanger but there are so many jumps to other pages that who knows what the plant does without translating the Russian.

  • Tshirt / about 8 years ago / 1

    Did anyone notice that all the text is in Russian?

    • DrPhibes / about 8 years ago / 1

      Looks more like Cyrillic to me.

    • SOISentinel / about 8 years ago / 1

      Yeah, except the first one in English... but that's proven that he's writing backwards from the engineer's perspective.

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