Civil Engineering

I have been working as a civil engineer for more than a year now and I have decided to share with you some of the things that I have learned during that time.

  1. Always use some sort of interface between your body and a manhole cover when moving the manhole cover. I am sure that you all remember reading about how I got my finger stuck directly beneath a manhole cover.
  2. When topographical maps created from data gathered by your company’s survey team conflicts with the opinion of a property owner who says “your survey doesn’t show how the land really is,” believe the survey. One property owner entered the office of my company because he claimed that my design assumed that water would flow uphill. He dragged myself and my boss out to his property where he had to apologize for his ignorance which he had forced upon us in arrogance. He brought us flowers later that day. Job 38:2
  3. Sometimes people invent problems. Like Professor Hill in The Music Man musical, people call engineers to tell them things like, “Oh we’ve got trouble, yes, we’re in terrible, terrible trouble. We’ve got trouble and that starts with T and stands for Tank. The tank you designed is full of water! I visited the site along with a county inspector and a county engineer who immediately determined with me that the tank would begin to drain immediately following the installation of a tank outlet (which was included in my design). My boss’s wife said that it was a good thing that they sent pokerface (that’s me) for the site visit because my boss would have died laughing if he had been there.
  4. Don’t change your analysis just to please a client. I recently analyzed an existing detention system to determine whether or not it would be sufficient to mitigate the increased runoff that would be expected to flow from a newly planned development. I determined that one part of that system needed to be expanded. Because this expansion would cost money, I had multiple people calling me and telling me that I was wrong and that I had missed something and that this would have to be discussed with my boss and so on. Just last week, the most persistent of those people admitted that he wrong and all but apologized for questioning my work.
  5. When a man and a woman disagree regarding the location of a property corner, the woman is right. I don’t know how this works and it has never been shown to me, but my boss tells me that women remember these things best.
  6. Never back the company truck off of the stabilized construction entrance.
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