Occupational Joke

Occupational Joke – Engineering

A priest, a lawyer, and an engineer are set to be executed during the French Revolution. The priest is up first, but when the executioner pulls the lever on the guillotine, nothing happens. The priest declares it divine intervention and is let go. The lawyer goes next and when the guillotine again fails to operate he says “you can’t execute me twice for the same crime” and is let go. The engineer goes next and when the guillotine fails to work for a third time the engineer says, “Wait a Minute, I think I see the problem”.

The Informant, Matt, first heard this joke from one of his engineering classmates in the fall of 2007. Matt interprets the joke to mean that engineers are so compelled by engineering that it could almost cost them their lives. He thinks the joke points out a foible of the nature of many engineers. While the other two prisoners use the broken guillotine as a way to save their lives, the engineer just wants o fix it. Matt says that although he wouldn’t literally fix the guillotine, he would want to. He thinks the joke makes a honest point about the personality of many engineers. He would tell the joke to a group of engineers. According to Matt many engineering students are frequently frustrated by their major and use jokes like this as a way of making fun of themselves.

As an occupational joke, this would only really appeal to engineers. To non-engineers, the engineer’s behavior in the joke seems strange. However engineers understand the sentiment behind the engineer’s behavior in the joke and find it funny because they can relate. Since this is an occupational joke, it allows engineers to share an inside joke. A joke like this could allow an engineer to see if another person carries a typical engineer mindset.