The Engineer’s Guide To Being A Normal Person (Or At Least Making A Credible Attempt)

  1. When it’s lunchtime at the office, that doesn’t mean it’s time to take out the Magic the Gathering cards.
  2. Nor is it time to discuss anything about LARPing.
  3. The same goes for any sort of RPG.
  4. Anything with elves or warlocks is off-limits too.
  5. Sometimes, people will be smarter than you.
  6. Gothic, off-the-shoulder vampire dresses are not appropriate office wear. Especially if your bra is red.
  7. If your skirt is too short to cover your thighs–that is, more than four inches above you knee–then it also not appropriate office wear.
  8. Jeans are fine. Jeans you wore in high school are not fine.
  9. Actually, anything you wore in high school is not fine.
  10. Bodily functions do not make good fodder for dinner conversations. Particularly bodily functions under the influence of gastroenteritis or food poisoning.
  11. Burping is a bodily function. Therefore, it should not happen at the dinner table.
  12. Conversations beginning with “If someone had a really erect nipple…” shouldn’t take place during lunch.
  13. Really, any conversation with the word “erect” in it is probably NSFW.
  14. Cartoons wherein sexual activities are depicted are definitely NSFW and should never be posted on the company-wide chat program. Nor should comic books with sexy times be handed out or read while in the office.
  15. If your dinner table conversation involves calculus or Xcode, you’re doing it wrong.
  16. Ditto Python, Java, C, C++, MOAI/Lua, or Pearl.
  17. If the words “open source” find their way into what you’re saying, change the subject.
  18. Probably the colleague sitting next to you doesn’t want to hear about your weekend playing Dungeons & Dragons, even if it was your turn to be the Dungeon Master.
  19. If it’s an inside joke, you should try not to reference it in front of lots of people who aren’t on the inside. Particularly if it could be misconstrued as offensive by someone who doesn’t understand just how funny it was.
  20. There are people out there who are smarter than you. Just because they are few and far between does not mean that they don’t exist. Really.
  21. Sometimes the people who are smarter than you will be women. The fact that they didn’t major in computer science doesn’t mean they weren’t capable of doing so; it only means they wanted to do something else instead. Condescension will not be appreciated.
  22. If you’ve been wearing it all weekend, wearing it to work on Monday too is not a good idea.
  23. Shower.
  24. Bringing your smartphone with you everywhere is fine, as long as you aren’t ignoring real-life people who are talking to you when you start checking it.
  25. If the people across from you aren’t laughing, it probably wasn’t that funny.
  26. Constructive criticism is not a reflection on you as a human being. Your worth as a person is not being disparaged when a colleague offers a suggestion regarding your work.
  27. I wasn’t kidding about the bodily functions thing. If nacho cheese is not your intestine’s friend, you either shouldn’t eat it or shouldn’t complain about it when you do.
  28. If spicy food is not your friend, do not share that with the class. Describing your reaction to it as “ring of FIRE” will not make you sound cooler.
  29. Bringing up dissection, biology class, or chocolate-covered poop during lunch won’t make you sound cooler either.
  30. Tweeting during meetings is not polite.
  31. Complimenting a woman’s blouse while staring at her chest will not endear you to anyone.
  32. Asking polite and honest questions about religious or lifestyle preferences might not always be appreciated, even if you have good intentions. Asking hostile or facetious questions definitely won’t be.
  33. Yes, there are people who are smarter than you in the world.
  34. When giving a presentation to colleagues who have not studied software engineering, using giant blocks of code as a demonstration will not always get your point across.
  35. If you are the only one in the office, you may play your music out loud. Otherwise, you have to wear your headphones.
  36. Deodorant.
  37. If it’s bleeding, put a band-aid on it. Talking about it during lunch isn’t going to stop the blood.
  38. If your bra is visible, put a shirt on.
  39. If it’s still visible, choose a different shirt.
  40. If the problem persists, go shopping.
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About Essie Horowitz

24, single, software engineer in the middle of nowhere. Yeah, I'm just that cool.
This entry was posted in Wisdom of the Ages and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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