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