Decided to Give You a Quarter

That's right...  A quarter of it!  I know, I know.  No need to thank me.  You deserve it!

Seriously, though, the very first million dollars I get that I have no use for is ALL going to you.  Then you can follow Steve Martin's advice on how to be a millionaire and never pay taxes:  "First get a million dollars".

Complete Memory Loss

One more reason to make sure you have a contract before proceeding.  It's not uncommon to be asked to do additional work before a proper agreement is in place by someone who urgently needs your help and assures you that "We'll take care of the paperwork later".  ...And it's also not that uncommon for selective amnesia to strike that person after you've solved their problem and they no longer need you.  If you've been burned by this scenario more than a few times, perhaps it's you who needs his head examined.

What's the Difference?

Here's a summary of a recent phone call:

"Brent... very sorry... gave the job to the other guy because his fee was lower... been a nightmare... over budget ...way behind schedule... can you re-do the engineering now and help get us back on track?"

This scenario happens all too often when a consultant is hired based solely on price.  And this poor guy learned the hard way that nothing is more expensive than hiring a cheap engineer.

Good design requires adequate time and the right people to do it. Cut-rate design may still "work", but probably not as well, and the overall cost of the project can be many times greater than the small difference in fee between the best designer and the cheap guy.

So... This Month You Want Us To Innovate

Is it just me?  I don't think I can handle another buzzword-laden "Five Things Every _____ Must Do" article.  Like a fad diet, a person could flit from one of these "must-do" lists to another without ever making any real progress or improvement.  Under the surface, a lot of these self-proclaimed "groundbreaking" must-do lists look more like old fashioned good business practices and common sense and wrapped in a few of the latest buzzwords.  I believe that principles of good business practice don't need buzzwords, they never go out of style, and they haven't changed for millennia.

A Letter To Certify Your Letter

Why do some people seem to feel that the more times the engineer signs his name the better?  If they had their way, engineers would spend the majority of their day signing their name to certify that they certify that what they already certified was certified.

This one was inspired by a state inspector on a certain California medical project who literally demanded something quite similar to the caption of this cartoon.  And despite how ridiculous the demand, we were forced to acquiesce to keep the project moving.

...The Rest Was Just Wasted

Mine is power tools.  In fact, a sticker on a tool cabinet in my workshop says, "My greatest fear is that when I die my wife will sell my tools for what I said I paid for them."

Inspiration for this one was stolen from my brother-in-law who is a pilot for Fed Ex and has been obsessed with flying his entire life.  He wore a t-shirt to a family reunion that said, "I've spent 99% of my money on aviation, the rest was just wasted."

Rates Only Up 18% This Year

Did I miss it? 

When was the "affordable" part of the Affordable Care Act actually supposed to kick in?  Our health insurance renewal rates continue to go up every year, and it's workers and their families who are stuck getting less and less for more and more.

Studies I've seen claim that insurance companies spend only about 80% of our healthcare dollar on actual medical treatment.  They pocket the other 20% to cover the "value" they add to our healthcare - things like slick marketing, bureaucracy, claims delayers/deniers, lawyers, and profit I suppose.

An Engineer in Hell

The story goes that an engineer dies and is mistakenly sent to hell.  Before long, he's dissatisfied with the poor conditions in hell and he goes to work making improvements.  Soon hell no longer feels much like hell and the engineer has become very popular with the residents.  One day God calls down to Satan to see how things are going in hell.  "Everything's great!" Satan replies.  "We have air conditioning and cable TV and flushing toilets.  Who knows what my engineer will come up with next."  "You've got an engineer?!" says God.  "There's been a mistake!  Send him up here immediately or I'll sue!"  Satan smirks and replies, "And where do you think you're gonna find a lawyer?"

Gonna Make Engineering Great Again!

The fact is, the development and construction business is booming again, and that's great for all of us.

An actual statement attributed to Donald Trump involving engineers: "...My uncle was a great professor and scientist and engineer, Dr. John Trump at MIT; good genes, very good genes, OK, very smart..."

Credit for this one goes to Tom Allen from our Irvine office.  He and Scott Jones were discussing ways to make our company "Engineertopia" when Tom said, "we need to make engineering great again!"  Just then they looked at each other with "Eureka" expressions, slapped high five, and sent me their idea for a cartoon.

For a related cartoon of people who (just coincidentally, of course) resemble Bernie and Hillary, click here.

Hierarchy of Urgency

Which one gets top priority:  critical?  urgent?  ASAP?  Immediately?  And what if there's a bunch of exclamation points?  Do you handle plain old "ASAP" before you get to "ASAP!!"?  Then what about ASAP!!! or ASAP!!!!?  If ASAP means "as soon as possible", what if it's not possible because you're working on something that's "needed yesterday"?  And if it's needed yesterday and yesterday is gone, does that mean it's no longer needed?

For more "heckuva rush" cartoons, click here.

Eye Trouble

I can relate to this guy ...and his "serious" medical condition.  My dad used to tell me "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy".  I still have no idea who Jack was, but I took that saying to heart and have never regretted it.  Work hard - play hard is one of our company values, and definitely one of my own.

No one wants to look back on their life from their death bed and regret that they spent too much time making a living and not enough time actually living.  I love the quote by Michael Landon: "Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying.  Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day.  Do it!  I say, whatever you want to do, do it now!  There are only so many tomorrows."

Starved to Death at His Desk

If only all those "this'll just take a minute" interruptions actually just took a minute, I'd have a lot more time on my hands.  Why does someone always stop you just as you're sprinting out of the office late for an appointment?  

And while I'm at it, I have other questions... 

Does being cross-eyed cure dyslexia? 
Why do lawyers call what they do "practice", yet bill at $500 an hour?  
Why can one careless match start a forest fire yet it takes a whole box to light a campfire?  
If a mime is arrested, do they still tell him he has the right to remain silent?  
If it's zero degrees today, but it's supposed to be twice as cold tomorrow, how cold will it be?  
What was the best thing before sliced bread?  

...deep mysteries of life that may never be solved.