At the Engineering - What Next? event in Chelmsford recently, one of the presenters told a joke that really made me laugh but also made me think about the whole Engineers vs Lawyers dilemma that young people have to consider when deciding on their future employment.
An engineer died and reported to the pearly gates. A newly anointed angel, filling in for St. Peter, checked his dossier and grimly said, "Ah, you're an engineer; you're in the wrong place."
So the engineer was cast down to the gates of hell and was let in. Pretty soon, the engineer became gravely dissatisfied with the level of comfort in hell, and began designing and building improvements.
The moving walkway motor was jammed, so he unjams it to help Hell's residents get from place to place more easily.
The TV was grainy and unclear, so he fixed the connection to the Satellite dish so they got hundreds of high def channels.
After a while, the underworld had air conditioning, flush toilets, and escalators, and the engineer was becoming a pretty popular guy among the demons.
One day, God decides to look down on Hell to see how his grand design is working out and notices that everyone is happy and enjoying umbrella drinks. He asks the Devil what's going on?
The Devil replies, "Things are great down here since you sent us that engineer."
"What?? An engineer? I didn't send you one of those, that must have been a mistake. Send him back up right this minute."
The Devil responds, "No way! We are going to keep our engineer. We like this guy."
God demands, "If you don't send him to me immediately, I'll sue!"
The Devil laughs. "Where are YOU going to get a lawyer?"
It's funny but the truth is that many young people today would prefer to go into the law than engineering - because they perceive that profession as more lucrative. As a result the industry is suffering with a real shortfall in its skilled workforce and our nation could well suffer as a result!
“All we know about the new economic world tells us that nations which train engineers will prevail over those which train lawyers. No nation has ever sued its way to greatness.”
For many in the 21st century, success is still defined as the type of car that you drive.
The guy who told the joke and highlighted the quote was Nitin Patel, the CEO of Redring Xpelair - a successful engineer who drives a Range Rover.
Engineering is no longer the poor relation of the professions - think Mark Zuckerburg of Facebook, a software ENGINEER who was able to tap into what people wanted to do online.
Which brings us neatly to the question of whether your engineering firm is making the most of the online opportunities of the digital age?