The best place to start my look at Dilbert is with the title character. What he is is an avatar for Adams's belief that, on some level, most human beings are defective goods. Dilbert's defect is his lack of any real social skills; since he sort of misses out on the social cues that signal that people find his single-minded focus on engineering boring, he doesn't date much or, since he's not a glad-handing jerk, have any real prospects for advancement. His function in the strip is not just to remind us that engineers are literal-minded weirdoes with a hyper-developed love of machines. He's also there to remind us that most people have no real control over their work environment; he does so by making sarcastic comments about the idiots, bullies and time-servers who rule over him with fads, sooth-saying, sadism and a fixation on meaningless rules and procedures.