Thank Heaven for Engineers

I’m sure everyone has heard of the ship that got stuck in the Suez Canal last week.

One of my first thoughts when I heard about the crisis was: this is a job for engineers. This is the sort of thing they thrive on – solving problems.

One of my regrets is that I did not study engineering in college. I’m not sure I could have survived such a course of study, but I wish I had at least given it a shot.

Engineers just seem to have a can-do attitude that comes in handy in multiple situations.

So this made me think of how other professions may have reacted to the Suez Canal crisis:

Accountants – they try to figure out how much this is costing the ship owner, and how much they are going to have raise their prices to make up for those extra costs. Meanwhile, the ship is still stuck, despite all their spreadsheet analysis.

New Media – they send reporters down to the Suez Canal to provide on-site reporting, and keep showing the same shot every day. After they file their report, they spend the rest of the day exploring the local pubs.

Economists – they spend the week offering predictions of how this is going to affect world trade. Like the accountants, they offer no solutions for getting the boat unstuck.

Poets – they write lovely prose to capture this unique moment in time and what people are feeling. They end up using words that most people don’t understand.

Writers – they are all rushing to write either a book or a screenplay about the event.

Public Relations and Marketers – they try to put a positive spin on the event, and think of promotions that will help sell the goods once the boat is unstuck. They keep telling the engineers to hurry up.

Politicians – spend the whole time blaming the other side.

Teachers – try to incorporate the crisis into their lessons. They show where the Suez Canal is a on a map, discuss the history of the building of the Canal, compare the boat’s size to the Empire State Building, teach their children how to spell Boskalis Westminster, the parent company of the Dutch salvage firm hired to extract the ship. Many of them secretly hope it stays stuck for a few more days, since it seems to generate good class discussion.

As noble as all these professions are, it was only the engineers who focused on getting the ship unstuck.

I had full confidence they would.

And they did.

Three cheers for engineers!

*image from NDTV

70 thoughts on “Thank Heaven for Engineers

  1. Not only will this affect the ship-owners, but also the goods that were being delivered that had to re-route or were delayed. Additional costs, indeed. Accountants – doing nothing but sitting in their desks. Also, they’d have to account for the cost of deploying engineers. Hahaha….

    Liked by 2 people

    1. yes, how could I forget us bloggers. sitting comfortably behind our computers and offering our thoughts on something we likely no little about. But it’s never stopped us, or at least me, before…

      Liked by 3 people

  2. I’m married to an engineer. It makes for interesting discussions. It will be awful if the end user of all those goods ends up paying for the disaster the captain caused. My best take away from it is that unless your mistake can be seen from space, it’s not that big!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. this will be the mistake that all others are compared to, for a while. And I am guessing it will be the end user, us, who will end up paying for all of this when all is said and done…

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Fun post! I got a smile out of the teachers trying to incorporate current events. You must have been hanging out in my classroom. Who’s heard of a canal in the news lately? What happened there? Who knows where the Suez Canal is? (There goes Springer pulling down his map.) What are canals for? What are some other famous canals you’ve heard of? How do you think they’re going to try and solve this problem?

    This is the part where I call on the excited hand. False alarm! That kid just wanted to go to the bathroom to get away from these incessant questions.šŸ¤£

    Liked by 4 people

    1. sounds like you miss the classroom, and would have loved the opportunity to be discussing this situation!

      or maybe that kid is just going tot he bathroom and will use his phone to look up the answers to all your questions! šŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Apart from engineers, teachers come out best. When I was a child ‘The Suez Crisis’ was always on the news and I thought it was about sewage! Did anyone else notice the canal looked a beautiful turquoise colour despite all the stirring up with dredgers.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thanks for not leaving poets out of the equation, Jim! But your are absolutely correct that poetry would not offer any solutions. We are notorious for not having any answers, just more questions. Great post!

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I think you would make a brilliant engineer! p.s. where are our stats? we need stats on this situation.

    I love your take on the different professions and their possible approach, though I would have tried to make a children’s song out of it and maybe have requested a field trip with my class to see the boat while it was stuck there.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. there are people called data engineers these days – maybe I missed my calling šŸ™‚

      I love the way you would approach the crisis, songs and a field trip. Who wouldn’t like that!

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Haha, Jim, you forgot the corporate financiers. We do useful stuff too, you know. We short the shares and make money for investors, help the shipping company raise debt financing so they can stay afloat [pun intended] and not shed jobs, and organise a rights offer so that the shareholders can share further in the catastrophe.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I had them on my list, but then I thought people may not understand what I was talking about! šŸ™‚ There’s no doubt the finance people play a key role in all of this.

      I like the pun… šŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Jim, you are so correct with the “can do” attitude of engineers. I probably won’t craft a poem since I don’t understand the really big words, but hanging out at a nearby pub might be a better route for poetic inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

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