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Most engineers are lazy…and that's often a good thing

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Paul A. Clayton
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re: Most engineers are lazy…and that's often a good thing
Paul A. Clayton   5/30/2012 11:14:37 PM
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Reminds me of Larry Wall's Three Virtues of a Programmer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larry_Wall#Virtues_of_a_programmer ): Laziness, Impatience, Hubris.

David Ashton
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re: Most engineers are lazy…and that's often a good thing
David Ashton   5/30/2012 11:23:49 PM
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Lazy has bad connotations. "Efficient" would probably be a better word to use?

old account Frank Eory
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re: Most engineers are lazy…and that's often a good thing
old account Frank Eory   5/31/2012 9:44:58 PM
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Yes! Think of it this way -- would you like to have this admirable behavior described on a performance review with the word "lazy" or the word "efficient"?

jackOfManyTrades
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re: Most engineers are lazy…and that's often a good thing
jackOfManyTrades   6/1/2012 8:19:14 AM
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If he'd said "efficient" you probably wouldn't have even read the article!

_hm
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re: Most engineers are lazy…and that's often a good thing
_hm   5/31/2012 1:14:07 AM
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@David: I agree with you. Why redefine lazy? Why not search for more enriched word or coin new word?

awrty
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re: Most engineers are lazy…and that's often a good thing
awrty   5/31/2012 1:44:43 AM
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@David and @hm: Really, lazy is the right word. Much problem solving creativity springs from this foundation.

Luis Sanchez
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re: Most engineers are lazy…and that's often a good thing
Luis Sanchez   5/31/2012 3:49:33 AM
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If this is the new lazy, then I want to be lazy. This is kind of like a zen guy. One that knows that planning is very important. This reminds me of Stephen Covey, the author of Seven Habits of highly effective people, he says that everything is created twice, one when planned and the 2nd time when executed. An efficient person may seem lazy from the outside but the thing is that many that seem hyper-active are really with pending items. This kind of lazy requires a very well organized mind. This lazy is good. Seek thy lazy state if you will.

agk
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re: Most engineers are lazy…and that's often a good thing
agk   5/31/2012 11:38:11 AM
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Engineers got to be quick and clever.Any work done urgently will give lot of errors resulting in losses. But if we know the work fully we should do it fast and finish as quick as possible.If it is a new work then planning takes time to reach the goals.

chanj0
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re: Most engineers are lazy…and that's often a good thing
chanj0   5/31/2012 5:27:01 PM
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Coincidentally, I always tell people engineers are "lazy". They don't want to do the dirty work themselves. They will leverage their ability to build tools to work for them. This is how the civilization works. Our ancestor build tool to hunt, to do mechanical work. Now, software engineers or, in general, computer engineers, build scripts to do data analysis and to generate report to them. In today's economy, we will be better off to increase our efficiency and productivity so that we can compete in the global market. That's why engineering and software skills are somewhat important. Question is how we, engineers, can help the other industry to boost their efficiency.

FrankCF
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re: Most engineers are lazy…and that's often a good thing
FrankCF   5/31/2012 7:26:16 PM
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At my first job out of school I did a lot of soldering. If I was working on a board I would put it in a board vise. A chassis I would stand on end. Then lean back in my chair, feet up on the little shelf under the bench and solder away. The president of the company said I looked to comfortable and it didn't look good when customers walked through.

philipoakley
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re: Most engineers are lazy…and that's often a good thing
philipoakley   5/31/2012 8:17:50 PM
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One can be "too lazy" to the point where you spend all day automating a half day task. Mind you the problem either goes away 'cos you took too long, or comes back anyway and you get a three quater day rest each time ;-)

JohnMMoore
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re: Most engineers are lazy…and that's often a good thing
JohnMMoore   5/31/2012 9:17:05 PM
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It may look like laziness, but my compulsion to streamline a process is rooted in an innate intolerance for inefficiency. It just drives me nuts. I can't plug along on any repetitive task without automating it in some way. And that does generally lead to a more accurate and repeatable process, but it generally saves time too - all good things. It's not always easy to convince others of the value, though, so you might only be saving your own time (seeing others waste time can be annoying too, and it's a double win to see your automation used by others).

David Ashton
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re: Most engineers are lazy…and that's often a good thing
David Ashton   6/1/2012 12:13:08 AM
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I was thinking about this a bit more Bill and I'm with JohnM above. I have over the years designed bits of gear to: test keyboards (that otherwise needed plugging in to an online terminal to test all key functions); to test the RS232 chips in a comms controller (again that needed to be online to fully test functionality); and also to record the runtime of a UPS even if I wasn't there - I kept missing the end of battery life point because I was doing something else. I did these to enable me to use my time more efficiently, to minimise the time spent on repetetive testing, not because I was lazy as such (well that's my story and I'm sticking to it!!) So I can see where you're coming from, but I still think "Lazy" is the wrong word. I think we're both on the same side of the fence, it's more a question of semantics...??

teecomment
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re: Most engineers are lazy…and that's often a good thing
teecomment   6/1/2012 12:50:38 AM
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http://www.eetimes.com/electronics-blogs/other/4374110/Most-engineers-are-lazy-and-that-s-often-a-good-thinghttp://www.eetimes.com/electronics-blogs/other/4374110/Most-engineers-are-lazy-and-that-s-often-a-good-thinghttp://www.eetimes.com/electronics-blogs/other/4374110/Most-engineers-are-lazy-and-that-s-often-a-good-thing An old, but still bold entrepreneur uses the PRUSSIAN system: Smart and Lazy - Commander - that's me Smart and Energetic - Top Management Dumb and Lazy - Employee Dumb and Energetic - very dangerous - outsource temps http://soldiersystems.net/category/disruptive-tech/ Chinese philosophy: Wu wei, the action of non-action. http://taoism.about.com/od/wuwei/a/wuwei.htm The USA financial system is doomed because of too many 'dumb and energetic' traders on Wall Street. They mistake action for EFFECTIVENESS. Stock brokers love to 'churn your money' because of economic PERVERSE incentives. The USA engineering system is doomed because management is biased against old, SLOW thinkers. Fastest way to get fired is to even LOOK LIKE YOU ARE THINKING. The USA vehicle highway transport system is doomed because of the Dumb and Energetic. Drivers drive sleepy and drive for too long periods while energetically texting. Insert Dilbert cartoon... REAL LIFE SITUATION... err cartoon FARCE here. PS. top management in Asia and S Korea have PhDs and emphasize SLOW THINKING about 100 year plans. USA CEO (chief executive officer) average tenure is less than 2.8 years and many do not have the patience to complete a college degree. Their only interest is in the stock price and stock options.

masher
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re: Most engineers are lazy…and that's often a good thing
masher   6/1/2012 12:51:09 AM
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I need to be lazy, or efficient and take my time and plan for Mr. Murphy otherwise very expensive, very high power RF transistors can go bye bye without even a puff. In every design I need to stop and think of everything that can and will go wrong in a new design and come up with a safe guard for every scenario and I also have to come up with several backup plans just in case that Puff happens when I hit the power switch. If this means that I have to be repetitive and plan and redo each step over and over again and even wait until the next week to fire up a new board then so be it, after all we all know what happens on Fridays to RF projects. To me it's like piloting an aircraft, I may know the entire procedure for landing a particular plane in my head but its still best to pull out that written down check list and go thru each step one at a time just to be safe.

Mxv
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re: Most engineers are lazy…and that's often a good thing
Mxv   6/1/2012 3:53:17 AM
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Guilty. Sometimes to the point of over reaching for an elegant solution over a quick and dirty one. Unfortunately it takes good management to recognize this behavior and good managers are fast becoming an extinct species. Looking busy is now required in order to keep your job. Sad. Claude Shannon would have been fired from Bell Labs for sitting on his butt for years before developing information theory. The human brain works in the kilohertz range. We need to slow down to allow humans to think thru problems. I humbly believe that we have had a lost decade in engineering starting from the telecom/dotcom bubble. No real innovation and lots of me too product development by outsourced development teams. If Facebook is the example of innovation in this decade, we are doomed as a species.

resistion
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re: Most engineers are lazy…and that's often a good thing
resistion   6/1/2012 3:59:32 AM
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The expression "work smart" as opposed to "work hard" suggests some laziness is healthy.

David Ashton
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re: Most engineers are lazy…and that's often a good thing
David Ashton   6/1/2012 8:50:19 AM
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Well, I guess we all like to goof off and if you get your work done efficiently you normally do get the opportunity to goof off a bit. QED Bill...

another_bill
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re: Most engineers are lazy…and that's often a good thing
another_bill   6/1/2012 5:52:43 PM
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I have this quote by Robert Heinlein hanging on the bulletin board next to my desk: "Progress isn't made by early risers. It's made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something."

Mxv
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re: Most engineers are lazy…and that's often a good thing
Mxv   6/1/2012 6:33:26 PM
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Laziness, ADD, dyslexia and Asperger's - good qualities ?! http://www.economist.com/node/21556230

DWILSON373
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re: Most engineers are lazy…and that's often a good thing
DWILSON373   6/1/2012 6:44:11 PM
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A classmate from 35 years ago got into grad school and earned a Masters and then a PhD in Electricial Engineering because, by his own admission, he was lazy. He was looking for an easier way to do things. Others called what he was doing "research."

IDontUseTheForumSoWhyAmIForc
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re: Most engineers are lazy…and that's often a good thing
IDontUseTheForumSoWhyAmIForc   6/1/2012 7:05:13 PM
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I spent some time in Yuma, Arizona showing off the latest technology to some multi-starred generals. During one of our conversations he had an interesting comment: "Give the hardest job to the laziest guy" I pondered this for a moment before asking for an explanation. His response was that the laziest guy will always find the easiest way of getting the job done and in the process may find a more efficient way of doing it. You don't need a comittee to analyse and report when the inherent laziness of humans will, in most cases, provide the exact same information in a more timely manner. That being said ... most innovation is merely the result of some lazy buggar looking to make his job easier.

ccidarth
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re: Most engineers are lazy…and that's often a good thing
ccidarth   6/1/2012 7:10:07 PM
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Although we could pick a more complimentary word, lazy gets people's attention and it is what they think we are when we are being efficient. This type of "laziness" is also what one of my professor's said was a prerequisite for a good engineer.

palf
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re: Most engineers are lazy…and that's often a good thing
palf   6/1/2012 8:57:26 PM
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In a former life I designed the motion control for industrial robots, back in the 80's when robots were still almost science fiction, and we devoted a good few neurons here and there wondering how this technology would impact society. That's when I became aware of the "lazy is smart" meme. After all, any successful form of automation means more lazy time for someone else. And this was Munich where one small room of programmers had knocked off a case of good beer before lunchtime! - another kind of "lazy".

MindTech
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re: Most engineers are lazy…and that's often a good thing
MindTech   6/1/2012 10:10:37 PM
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I've always said that "Laziness is the mother of all invention". Necessity is the mother of all work. We do things because we need to. However, we invent things to make doing the work easier. The perfect invention would do all our work and give us infinite free time. ... and then Skynet will kill us all. :-P

Chuck.Hill
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re: Most engineers are lazy…and that's often a good thing
Chuck.Hill   6/3/2012 3:09:22 AM
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I've always said: Necessity is the mother of all invention. Laziness is the father.

zeeglen
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re: Most engineers are lazy…and that's often a good thing
zeeglen   6/2/2012 12:17:15 AM
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Back before simulations were readily available and logic design was still done with discrete gates there were two types of designers - those who rushed the schematic and worried about things like timing later; and those who carefully considered prop delays, setup and hold times, fanouts, and choice of the correct family for each function based on speed requirement during the schematic drawing phase. They were much slower completing the schematic, but their designs usually worked first time. The first type invariably spent a long time debugging obvious timing problems, and their designs were always flaky in the field.

WKetel
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re: Most engineers are lazy…and that's often a good thing
WKetel   6/2/2012 12:40:49 AM
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I caution people that I am easy to get along with, except that I am sort of intolerant of two things, laziness and stupidity. I define laziness quite a bit differently, rather as an aversion to putting forth any effort to do an assigned task. That is a lot different than wanting to do it efficiently, and not need to redo it. Stupidity is refusing to expend the effort to understand something, which grows out of my definition of laziness. So you can see that we define them a bit differently. So my thinking is that good engineers want to do the job very efficiently, and only do it once, doing it right the first time.

willc2010
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re: Most engineers are lazy…and that's often a good thing
willc2010   6/3/2012 10:37:52 AM
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The behaviour that this article describes and recommends is not laziness, but diligence. Diligent people are careful, persistent and industrious. Lazy people are idle and negligent. To say that engineers should be lazy is either to say that they should be idle and negligent, or to redefine 'laziness' as a kind of diligence, which just a pointless muddle. So it is probably better to do away with the 'laziness as a virtue' theme.

resistion
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re: Most engineers are lazy…and that's often a good thing
resistion   6/3/2012 6:51:26 PM
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It could get tricky sometimes. If you have two team members, one who gets things done conventionally "the hard way" and one who got it done in an unconventional but quicker and more effective way, who should get more points? The unconventional way is often not recognized or even accepted by colleagues, more often than you'd think.

ghfarmer
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re: Most engineers are lazy…and that's often a good thing
ghfarmer   6/4/2012 2:05:41 PM
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When asked what my personal strengths were I once told an interviewer, "I'm lazy." It definitely got his attention. Then I got to explain what that meant. I refuse to do any repetitive data work. If I can get the computer to do it, I will. In my previous job I cut data entry time by 95% and increased throughput 16-fold while eliminating data entry errors. In a still earlier job as a cost estimator I automated the cost estimating system and increased throughput 10-fold, eliminating my position which got me a promotion into engineering. Telling the interviewer I was lazy was a gamble but it made me stand out from the other applicants and I got the job.

Frank Mlinar
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re: Most engineers are lazy…and that's often a good thing
Frank Mlinar   6/4/2012 6:40:18 PM
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I look at results, not what a person "looks like" while working. If I don't see good results when I expect them, I would then term that person as lazy or incompetent or needing additional direction/mentoring (or possibly having a bad hair day). Having said that, extensive experience of a person is very important in making an accurate judgement.

ChipBuilder
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re: Most engineers are lazy…and that's often a good thing
ChipBuilder   6/5/2012 3:41:47 AM
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assign lzy = 1'b1; (if you got the subtleness that its Verilog and not VHDL, I'm proud)

TFCSD
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re: Most engineers are lazy…and that's often a good thing
TFCSD   6/7/2012 12:44:14 AM
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Cut and paste preivous comments and insert "Yep".

I_B_GREEN
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re: Most engineers are lazy…and that's often a good thing
I_B_GREEN   6/7/2012 5:05:55 PM
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proactive, feedforward thinking, intuiative...

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