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Are the best engineers OCD?

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mr_bandit
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re: Are the best engineers OCD?
mr_bandit   8/9/2012 8:48:34 PM
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It took my wife about 5 years to start to grok what is involved about marrying an engineer (she was a Marine - very straightforward, all guns ablaze). After 20 years, she will still look at me and comment "You are a freak of nature". It does take a bit of OCD/Aspergers to do what we do - details *count* in this biz - failure can mean people die. the only real difference between a doctor and an engineer is time involved and people impacted. Most doctors have a short time with one person. A standard engineer has more time, but impacts a lot of people. Otherwise, the basic skills are the same, only the domain-specific knowledge is different. This also applies between types of engineers, of course.

DutchUncle
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re: Are the best engineers OCD?
DutchUncle   8/9/2012 7:33:21 PM
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Yes. (to a degree short of pathology.) None of these attributes are all or nothing; there is a wide spectrum of degree or intensity to each. All of them are useful at some level, in some circumstances, possibly under conscious control; all of them become pathological in their extremes, particularly when they cannot be controlled. Humans would not have these attributes if they were not useful to have survived. And maybe the reasons humans are social is precisely because different attributes are needed in different situations: the team needs the mercurial scattered-attention person to notice signs of food or hints of animal attack, and the focused methodical person to make tools and plan for winter. It's not strange that these opposites attract; it's the way our ancient ancestors stayed alive.

Calvinator
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re: Are the best engineers OCD?
Calvinator   8/9/2012 6:41:52 PM
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Phred, we're on the same wavelength, and our wives are on theirs! I end up reworking the dishwasher packing almost every night for the exact reason you state. Seems obvious why it should be that way. And in that light of the "obvious", my wife told me that in their day camp they asked the kids to look up at the puffy clouds above and imagine what they would taste like. After various kids said things like "cotton candy" or "flowers" (huh?), they got to my daughter: "Maybe just... wet". Seems obvious, right? My wife says the kid is just like her dad. Good kid! Engineer one day!

Phred128
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re: Are the best engineers OCD?
Phred128   8/9/2012 11:58:40 AM
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My wife tells me I'm OCD, but I prefer to think of it as paying attention to detail. If I put all the tall glasses in the right side of the top rack of the dishwasher because it is deeper than the left side, it is not OCD. It is logical. It was made for this. Why is such logic so difficult for some people?

MarvA
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re: Are the best engineers OCD?
MarvA   8/8/2012 3:50:32 PM
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My wife says that I am "different". I know that in her mind she is being kind. But she is also realistic and counts on my skills and judgement to fix things and/or buy the right stuff that will work. I take being "different" as a badge of honor. She asks me how something works and I tell her what I think. She asks me where I learned that. I say, "I don't know. It's just obvious." I almost transferred out of Engineering to Physics when I was a sophmore at U of Arizona. I was impatient to get to transistors. The basic courses were going too slow. My major professor calmed me down and told me that I would get plenty of that in time. He said that they were first teaching me how to think and solve problems. He was right and I have spent my career doing just that as an EE. However, it took me a long time to learn that you're not supposed to be solving a problem when you're talking (listening?) to your wife. Actually, I haven't really learned that one yet, even after 46 years.

I_B_GREEN
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re: Are the best engineers OCD?
I_B_GREEN   8/8/2012 2:57:44 PM
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orthogonal coded digitization? :)

I_B_GREEN
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re: Are the best engineers OCD?
I_B_GREEN   8/8/2012 2:56:35 PM
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We are imperfect. If perfection is a need or want then the retrise go up exponetially with presion needed or wanted. OCD is when you just want it and dont need it. If you need it this is just good engineering with an apriciation of the human condition.

an_m
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re: Are the best engineers OCD?
an_m   8/8/2012 10:15:37 AM
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OCD. Might be a little diss empowering to people that do suffer from OCD, but yes, Its interesting the number of what I would call good engineers I know who are colour blind, dyslexic , have dyscalculia et all. we do seem in my none random sample to have a dis proportionate amount of such. so may be a slight odd streak is needed to be a an engineer.

kciszewski
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re: Are the best engineers OCD?
kciszewski   8/8/2012 12:11:27 AM
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There's an old joke: sometimes you have to shoot the engineer so you can ship the product. Some engineers don't know when good enough is good enough.

Brian Fuller2
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re: Are the best engineers OCD?
Brian Fuller2   8/7/2012 8:48:28 PM
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@Krwada, you are singing my song! My wife said to me the other day "why do you buy more of the power tools you already have?" I didn't understand the question. I still don't.

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