Surgeon – My Fallback Career

So I was knuckle deep in a crazy board rework today at work trying to fit a 1206 cap where it didn’t belong because it was left off the schematic and consequently the layout. About halfway through I realized that the rework I was performing required a pretty steady hand, like I imagined a surgeon would need. I chuckled to myself and tweeted that if being an EE didn’t work out I was going to become a surgeon as all the reworks I’ve done over the years count as practice.

Satisfied with my wittiness I pocketed my phone and continued on modifying the board. That would be the end of the story if my brain would ever let anything go. Instead I kept thinking about surgery the rest of the day and realized that actually, EEs are quite a bit like surgeons when you think about it.

  • Operating Room & Table = Lab & Bench
  • Scalpel = X-acto Knife
  •  Heart Rate Monitor, O2 Monitor, etc. = Oscilloscopes, Multi-meters, etc.
  • Cauterization Tool = Soldering Iron
  • Nurses = Techs
  • Tweezers, Hemostats, Cotton Swabs = Tweezers, Hemostats, Cotton Swaps
  • Isopropyl Alcohol, Antiseptics = Isopropyl Alcohol, Board Cleaners
  • Anesthesia = Flux (Just makes the whole process a lot smoother)
  • Microscopic Surgery = Soldering & Scrapping under a microscope
  • Defibrillator = ESD Gun
  • Too much caffeine makes operating harder = ditto
  • Sinus Rhythm = Steady State Response

So I guess all that’s separating me from becoming a surgeon is jargon am I right?

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3 responses to “Surgeon – My Fallback Career

  • Dave Vandenbout

    I’m looking for the EE equivalent of these:

    – Malpractice insurance.
    – Death review panels.
    – Patients who die on you.
    – Patients who sue you.
    – Prescription pads for narcotics from the pharmacy.

    • Fake EE Quips

      Challenge Accepted!

      ~ Under reporting specs/capabilities to your customer for when they change their mind or you screw up. ESD protection and sims too to a point I guess.
      ~ Failure analysis, design reviews
      ~ Projects canned and/or the magic smoke comes out
      ~ Customer blames your gizmo for their product recall and sues you
      ~ Toxic fumes from caps popping, leaded solder smoke, burnt plastic

  • Taylor Michaels

    In all seriousness,

    I’ve frequently had the same thought. I took the “Shuttle Lander” test/game at NASA in Houston and understood the extremely good eye-hand control required of shuttle pilots and maybe fighter pilots and no doubt, surgeons. By the way, the surgeon of my wife’s recent brain surgery was an EE at one time in his life.

    I am the world’s worst solderer and have left great gobs of solder in at least two continents. I don’t have that skill, Recently, while PhotoShopping some picture for a travel book I’m writing, I asked myself whether this coordination was something people (not me) were born with or something I could learn. I am getting better, but time will tell.

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