5 Dilbert Cartoons That Nail What It’s Like To Manage Engineers

Engineers have been portrayed endlessly in books, TV shows, and movies, but no form of media captures this profession quite like the longtime comic Dilbert. Although Dilbert is relatable for nearly anybody who has worked in an office environment, engineers hold an especially notable fondness for the comic strip, which satirizes the unique engineer personality type that so many people find difficult to understand. Highlighted below are several comics that perfectly capture engineers — and the complex job of managing them:

1. Overconfidence

Engineers are smart and hardworking — and they like to let others know it. Common stereotypes suggest that they look down on other types of professionals, making group efforts with architects or marketing professionals a true headache for management.

http://dilbert.com/strip/2014-12-18

2. Mix of Personalities

At first glance, engineers may seem smart, confident, and overly rigid, but there can actually be quite a bit of nuance to the engineer personality. A single engineering team may contain a surprisingly vast array of personality types and management styles. This reality is highlighted perfectly in this Dilbert comic from 2010.

http://dilbert.com/strip/2010-02-07

3. Perfection In All Contexts

Engineers demand perfection not only in their everyday work, but also in all other facets of life. If they fail to arrive at a satisfactory outcome, they will spend ages suggesting — and shooting down — possible solutions, as evidenced by this classic Dilbert comic. Shifting their focus may feel equally impossible at the restaurant as in the workplace.

http://dilbert.com/strip/1995-05-11

4. A Need For Specifics

In the engineering world, vague platitudes are no good. Engineers demand specifics. This promotes true efficiency when engineers work together, but it can cause confusion when they attempt to work with professionals from other departments.

http://dilbert.com/strip/2011-03-27

5. Logic Versus Optimism

Management’s role is often to drum up optimism and enthusiasm for a given project, even when the engineering team is not fully on board. In return, engineers always manage to keep it real, although their outlook may be downright dour. These differences can make for some very intriguing interactions, including the one demonstrated in this amusing Dilbert comic.

http://dilbert.com/strip/1995-11-10

Managing engineers can be a bit like herding cats — clever, stubborn, and unfailingly analytic cats. But even the most frustrating situations offer ample opportunities for humor, which is why Dilbert is such a staple in the engineering field.

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