Friday, May 16, 2008

Junk Mail

Spam, I can't stand it, but every now and then a piece of junk mail hits my mailbox that I just have to open. Usually, they just get ripped up without even opening them, but today I got a "keeper."

What will you do with your Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology?

That was the heading across the outside of the envelope. What the bleep is Forensic Psychology and why are you sending it to an engineer? The funniest part, this went to my work mailstop and it had my title on it for my job description that I haven't had in years. Tell me you wouldn't be the least bit curious to open it up and see what's inside.

Two things are wrong with this.
1) This particular university that is advertising its master's programs does not filter the mail lists it purchases. HELLO! It states right on the address that I'm a "Tool Design Engineer." Save yourself the 41 cents + printing cost and send it to someone else.
2) This particular university is obviously struggling, because any mail list that has my old title on it is at least 4 years old. Perhaps it's time to either update, or purge, your mail merge.

Needless to say, Forensic Psychology has very little to do with determining failure modes of a bolt, but it may still apply to engineering. Beyond Psych 101 in your undergrad, or business psychology for those who, like me, had that during the coursework as well, this program could help decipher the logic, or should I say lack of, some equipment users who just can't seem to follow directions.

How often has an engineer had to disposition a discrepancy and determine cause and corrective action?
How many causes are operator error? (Or pilot error? Or human error? Or however you classify the disassociation between brain and hands?)
How many times do you facepalm yourself, wondering how anybody could be so bold to not stop doing something at the first sign of failure?
Wouldn't it be nice to, since as engineers we are required to anyway, have a better understanding of how people are going to mishandle our designs in a way that seems intuitive to them?
A Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology may just be what you need.

Send me a reply if you want more information on this fascinating profession. I wonder if I can get PDHs for it?
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