37 Signs You Might Be a NASA Engineer

This list keeps growing, thanks to your comments and suggestions.

You just might be a NASA Engineer if….

  1. You know what “geosynchronous” means.
  2. You made A’s in Calculus but almost failed English Lit.
  3. You attend twenty hours of meetings in your forty-hour work week.
  4. You bring your lunch to work every day in the same goofy lunch box.
  5. You prefer writing on paper that has both horizontal and vertical lines.
  6. You’re embarrassed that NASA couldn’t build a new launch vehicle before the Shuttle was canceled.
  7. You like being called a “Rocket Scientist”… even though you’ve never met one.
  8. Paying someone to do something you can do makes you sick and drives your wife crazy… which leads to loneliness.
  9. You encrypt all your email messages because you’re afraid not to.
  10. You secretly wish pocket protectors would come back because they’re so practical.
  11. You love harassing sales people at Best Buy because you know more than they do.
  12. You’re waiting one more year to retire because you’ll make $46.14 more every month… and you said the same thing last year.
  13. You think composite materials are too risky.
  14. You’ve worked on at least ten programs that were canceled.
  15. You’re the PowerPoint expert in your family.
  16. You’ve been told by NASA management for decades that landing a first stage booster back on earth was impossible, only to see two private companies make it look easy.
  17. You live in fear that a friend will ask you to explain NASA’s mission.
  18. You drive fifteen miles out of your way to save five cents on a gallon of gas.
  19. You send email to the person in the cube next to you so you won’t have to stand up, take three steps, and speak.
  20. You secretly think about applying for a job at SpaceX but realize you don’t have the skills, anymore.

  21. You also might be a NASA Engineer if…

  22. You drop something at home and immediately start worrying about how much paperwork you’ll have to complete before you can use it again.
  23. You watch guys cutting grass at work and think, “At least they accomplished something measurable today.”
  24. You write your own performance appraisal because your boss doesn’t understand what you do.
  25. You’ve been through more reorganizations than you have friends.
  26. You take bets on how many times engineering decisions will be revisited during the life of a program.
  27. You’ve attended at least one meeting where the NASA Associate Administrator exclaimed, “It might be easier to shut everything down and restart the agency.”
  28. You’ve ever said, “Look busy, here comes another tour.”
  29. You completed a graduate degree in Physics on-the-side to stay current.
  30. You spent forty days and nights in the wilderness trying to get PKI installed, only to never use it.
  31. You just spent thirty hours running paper and gathering signatures to have an eight dollar item transported from one contractor to another.
  32. You volunteer to be the CFC lead so your boss would owe you.
  33. You know what “LGBT” stands for because you get so many emails pushing it.
  34. You just wasted three hours in a meeting arguing over ten minutes of work.
  35. You’re the IT person for your entire neighborhood.
  36. You just sat through a mandatory hour-long safety meeting where your boss presented detailed PowerPoint charts on the importance of washing your hands after using the restroom.
  37. You think socks-with-crocks looks cool.
  38. You overheard you son tell your wife, “Dad has some of the characteristics of a stereotypical engineer.”
  39. You haven’t made an engineering decision (by yourself) since your senior project in college.
  40. You were the girl everybody wanted to partner-up with for physics homework.
  41. You worry that your TSP retirement money doesn’t really exist, and instead funds a government slush fund.

  42. You also might be a NASA Engineer if…

  43. You pray that NASA isn’t really monitoring your keystrokes.
  44. You dream of making a real difference in space exploration but wonder if you can (inside NASA) anymore.
  45. You think other NASA centers “look down” on your NASA center.
  46. You’re afraid to share innovative ideas at work, for fear of being laughed at.
  47. You’re afraid to report accidents at work, for fear of getting in trouble.
  48. You almost forgot that Saturn is a planet and not just a NASA training system.
  49. You’re in therapy because that “dream job” at NASA wasn’t what you expected.
  50. You finally get your team all cleaned up for the PAO photographs when they ask if you could please find some young women and minorities as stand-ins.
  51. You openly weep when that one person you found that can get anything done in Procurement (or HR, or PAO, or IT) is promoted.
  52. You use any material you want in your design, as long as it’s aluminum. Correction: you allow the contractor, who does the actual work, to use any material as long as it’s aluminum.
  53. You’ve been told by management, that skipping “Work Place Violence” and “Cultural Diversity” training is far worse than falsifying your time card.
  54. You would rather work sixty hours a week on something meaningful, than forty hours a week on something that’s going to be canceled.
  55. You find advances in the private sector space arena exhilarating, but you’re afraid to openly talk about it at work.
  56. You can still remember how great it once felt to say, “I work at NASA.”
  57. You’ve heard of “One NASA,” but you’ve never seen it simplify anything.
  58. You know NASA doesn’t have the skills (in-house) to design a new launch vehicle, but you’re afraid to say so.
  59. You’ve had at least one colleague whisper, “NASA has turned into a jobs program.”
  60. You wonder how we got to the Moon without political correctness and inclusion.
  61. You’ve stopped telling new friends you work for NASA because it’s not as impressive anymore.
  62. You ask your wife if she has a permit when she plugs in the Christmas tree lights.

  63. You also might be a NASA Engineer if…

  64. You’d work nights and weekends (for free) to be a part of something bigger than yourself.
  65. You put yellow SBU sheets on everything you print out, just in case.
  66. You replayed the first SpaceX booster landing more than ten times.
  67. You wish at least one car company would make a minivan with a manual transmission.
  68. You make personal goals in the form of a Quad Chart.
  69. You feel queasy when you think: most NASA managers running SLS have never designed hardware that’s flown in space.
  70. You’re afraid to retire because you fear that NASA will get its act together right after you do.
  71. You were so inspired by something NASA did when you were a kid, that you pursued the difficult degrees needed to work there.
  72. – 80. [help us with these…]

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