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Mercenary Engineer

July 5, 2011

One of my classmates from undergrad coined the phrase mercenary engineer in place of mechanical engineer. At the time, about to graduate, we were all desperate for employment and opportunities. After years of being sold the bill of lies that is STEM recruiting we'd all felt certain we'd have secure and financially rewarding employment very soon. Whether it was all oversupply or just effects of the recession everyone had become a little less picky and us mechanical engineers were willing to work pretty much anywhere doing pretty much anything. Will engineer for pay.
 
One of the reasons I went into mechanical rather than electrical or structural or chemical was how diverse the field seemed to me to be. Don't get me wrong there's a lot more to sparkies than I realized at the time. But whether you're developing a box for one application or another a lot of the design can be the same if you're working within your specialty. I knew mechanical engineers worked in the auto industry, industrial manufacturing, wind power, mining, aerospace and aviation, space, defense…you name it! Developing one product can be wildly different from another. I liked that kind of variety though I'm sure it's not easy to jump between industries. So I thought my classmate's description of the mechanical engineer was pretty apt: a broad set of skills and an engineer willing to work in a lot of different fields.
 
The picture is a miniature from Reaper Minis and is Rosie the Chronotechnician.
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3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 5, 2011 7:16 pm

    I love the terms "sparkies" and "mercenary engineer". I think I will have to steal them both for future conversations with coworkers!

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