"To an optimist the glass is half full. The pessimist the glass is half empty. To an engineer, the glass is too big." If you have an engineer in your life, you know the old joke carries the ring of truth about the tendency of people in this occupation to see the world in terms of planning and precise measurements. So when one of these exemplars of exactitude retires, you'll no doubt be in search of just the right gift.
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Since engineers value precision, make sure you know what type of engineering your retiree has done: there are many different specialities, including civil, aeronautical, chemical, mining and more. Depending on the type of engineer, a periodic table of tools and hardware, or a poster of a famous bridge or of space rockets will allow the engineer to display his former profession on a wall at home. A book such as Henry Petroski's "Remaking the World: Adventures in Engineering," or the DVD collection "Engineering an Empire" will permit the retiree to continue having a sense of connection to professional community in a more relaxed way.
If your soon-to-be-retiree has a sense of humour about the image of the engineering profession, provide a few laughs at the party with a funny gift. FindGift.com offers a sign reading "Never Question the Engineer's Judgment." GiftsForEngineers sells an Engineer bling bling T-shirt displaying a drawing of pens in a pocket protector.
Engineers tend to appreciate very practical items. A Swiss Army knife, a high-quality calculator, or a high-tech watch or clock that keeps time reliably will please your engineer.
Like most retirees, the engineer you plan to gift probably looks forward to more leisure time after decades of long hours. Think about the hobbies and interests of this particular retiring engineer. If you know she is an avid golfer or looks forward to sailing now she is no longer tied to an office, select a gift with this theme in mind, such as a new set of clubs or a marine GPS unit.
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