It’s been nine years, and nearly 325,000 views, since I put together the Conversation with an Engineer video. People often tell me how brilliant the dialogue is, how accurately it portrays the nonsensical way many civil engineers speak with members of the public. They ask me how we came up with it, and I tell them the truth: I wrote it in a couple of hours. The video is almost word-for-word the first draft I put together. I didn’t need to edit it; that was a way of speaking I had been surrounded with for nearly two decades.
The good news is that I’m finding it rarer these days. Part of that is that I don’t interact with engineers as much, sure, but a lot of it is that today there are way more people unafraid to challenge the profession’s dogma, to call out this lazy, misapplied rhetoric. There are few remaining safe spaces for engineers to spout this stuff without being called out for it. That’s a good thing.