Re: Do'ers and Doubters (was observation about engineers)

Subject: Re: Do'ers and Doubters (was observation about engineers)
From: Dick Margulis <margulis -at- fiam -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 12 Oct 2001 17:29:32 -0400

Glad to oblige, Andrew ...

Andrew Plato wrote:
> This isn't endemic to engineers, I think its a more basic human
> personality trait. Their are do'ers and doubters. Do'ers will jump into
> just about anything and try to make it work. These people tend to wind up
> in jobs where there is a high-degree of troubleshooting and problem
> solving required - like IT.
> Then there are doubters, who wait for approval from some external source
> to get something done. Honestly, most tech writers fall into this
> category. They want some external presence to justify and sanction their
> work.

On the other hand, in an earlier thread (a month or so ago), we divvied
people up into goal setters and problem solvers, and we reached some
sort of consensus that tech writers are problem solvers, not goal
setters. I guess the tech writers we hire are problem solvers and the
ones you hire are doubters and none of them are goal setters, right?

> I think a fair number of engineers fall into the doubter category because
> engineering tends to focus people on analysis vs. repair. Engineers are
> typically tasked to solve problems using passive mechanisms of analysis,
> not active "bash it with a hammer until it obeys" type methods.

The problem I have with this is that, at least in my generation (so
maybe I'm out of touch), the people who went to engineering school were
the kids who had torn down and rebuilt engines (or at least
wristwatches) when they were in high school. Or they had built their own
computers from Tandy kits. They were the ones who knew where to whack
the recalcitrant vending machine to make it cough up a Coke.

So either the engineering schools have radically changed their intake
filtering, or somewhere in the course of five years they beat any
hands-on tendencies out of their students.

> As a "bash it with a hammer until it obeys" type of person myself, I can
> appreciate the more thoughtful methods of my engineering pals. They can
> usually reason through problems with greater precision and handle more
> fundamentally complex problems (like programming). But, I also know that
> eventually, you have to stop planning, thinking, and pondering and start
> whacking things (or people) with hammers if you want to ever get anything
> done.
> I would also appreciate only reactionary, illogical and irate responses to
> this post - so that I can look like a genius. :-)
> Andrew Plato

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Do'ers and Doubters (was observation about engineers): From: Andrew Plato

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