Trust Me. I’m an Engineer.

by Kristina Tahnyak on September 29, 2010 · 4 comments

This past week I saw a guy walking down the street wearing a black t-shirt that said “Trust Me, I’m an Engineer” in white block letters.  As he walked by me, I thought to myself…Do our Professions Define Us?

In the bank world, the answer is yes.  There is a banking package for many professional designations. At my bank we have a special banking package for dentists, engineers, doctors, and even medical students.  What type of monthly banking package do you have? Was it specifically designed for your profession?

If a student comes in to our branch with proof that they are in medical school we offer them a VIP banking package, a Platinum VISA card, and up to $150,000 on a personal Line of Credit…To a Student!  We offer this package to medical students in order to establish a good relationship with them in the beginning of their studies; in hopes that they will deposit hundreds of thousands of dollars with us during their career.  In the meantime while they are in school, we collect interest on their VISA card and personal Line of Credit.

What does your profession say about you? If you are an Engineer or a Doctor does this mean that your profession provides a certain status?  Sometimes this is true.  When we make travel plans very often we are asked the name of our employer to determine if we are eligible for corporate discounts.  I receive 10% off my train tickets thanks to my financial institution employer.

Many fitness chains also offer gym memberships at a discounted rate to employees of certain companies or members of professional designations.  Have you ever dropped your professional title or the name of your employer to get a discount?  I receive my gym membership at a discount because I am a member of the Order of Financial Planners.  I am not sure if my financial institution made a deal with the fitness chain because they want their employees to be “presentable”, or if the fitness chain contacted my financial institution to help reach an otherwise untapped market.

I love getting discounts, especially at the gym because my membership costs almost $500 per year.  After all…DINKS (and young professionals) do have a certain image to uphold.  When is the last time you used your education title, alumni association, employer, or professional designation, to benefit in the bank world?

When we apply for credit, the name of our employer, as well as our length of employment is very important information because it shows stability.  In the eyes of financial institutions, professionals are less likely to default on their payments than other types of professions.  When in fact, people who are self employed such as doctors, independent financial advisors, and accountants, may be more likely to default on a loan since they do not have a guaranteed income flow.

(Photo By Obadiah)

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Steve September 29, 2010 at 10:43 am

I am a biologist by education and a cube monkey by profession. The only time either comes up is when old acquaintances ask about my job or when settling arguments about the life sciences. Well, there was one other time – when I applied for a loan to buy a car, but then the just wanted to know that I had a stable employment situation and am otherwise employable.

It has always seemed to me that the people who take the most pride in their profession are “type A” people – the same people who defined themselves by how good their grades were or how many clubs they were in. I do associate with some who are like this, but not many.

My banks certainly don’t care about which field I’m in – I’ve been out of school and employed for 2.5 years and one still has me on a student credit card.

2 [email protected] September 29, 2010 at 7:58 pm

Interesting. I guess it’s probably one of those obvious things that I didn’t notice was going on. So much of the evaluation of people by others is based on external factors that even when disproved we hold onto.

3 Sandy L September 30, 2010 at 1:43 pm

Ha..I’m an engineer. People do assume things about you.

In the engineer case people often assume you can fix anything, even if it has nothing to do with your profession. Hey, You’re an engineer…can you figure out what’s wrong with my dvd player? But I’m a chemical engineer. I don’t know anything about electronics.

I bet it’s the same way with doctors. Hey can you tell me what’s wrong with my neck? But I’m a podiatrist.

The really sad thing is most of us are trained to make an educated guess even if we have no clue what we’re talking about, so you usually will get some kind of answer anyway.

Trust me, I’m not that smart, and neither is your podiatrist buddy.

4 Kristina September 30, 2010 at 11:05 pm

Great comments. Sandy…I guess that goes along with the assumption that all Engineers work on trains or with the railways :-) Typical stereotypes.

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