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Re: Open House/Caustic Remarks

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-----Original Message-----
From: CarlS95(--nospam--at) <CarlS95(--nospam--at)>
To: seaoc(--nospam--at) <seaoc(--nospam--at)>
Date: Sunday, October 26, 1997 10:39 AM
Subject: Open House/Caustic Remarks

>In response to a message from Carl Sramek, Bill Allen wrote:
><< While I assure you I've seldom felt "stupid" about anything, I certainly
>believe that, if I had the opportunity to make the sacrifices in order to
>learn another profession, I would.  I have difficulty understanding any
>positive effects your caustic remarks may create. You would make better use
>of this cyberspace to offer a different (i.e., your own) perspective rather
>than attack my opinion.>>
>Sorry.  "Stupid" was a very poor choice of words.  I should have said that
>some people feel disheartened and disappointed with their choice of
>profession.  But is the dissatisfaction with the environment (such as a
>difficult boss, poor working conditions, etc.) rather than with the
>profession itself?

No, I solved the "boss" and "poor working conditions" ten years ago when I
went to work for myself. What I was referring to is stated below "..the
business and professional liability risks structural engineering

Since my original post, I have received several e-mail messages privately
from younger engineers. One of the points I was trying to get across is that
there is a misconception that being in business for yourself is not as great
as it might appear. While the technical aspects of structural engineering
can be intellectualy rewarding, there are many more issues one faces when
running a structural engineering practice. One of my goals was to reinforce
the old addage that the grass is not always greener on the other side of the
fence. For those young engineers who were disturbed by some of my comments,
I recommend that they reflect on their current position before they consider
that the only alternative they have is to open their own shop.

Also, I have also been accused of being negative and cynical. I can only
report on the experiences that have happened to me personally. For those who
have read my previous e-mail posts (as well as those who know me personally)
know that I do not "sugar coat" my opinions. I'll leave the "warm and
fuzzies" to others.

>Bill also wrote:
><<There are a number of endeavors that would offer the intellectual
>I require and provide more financial reward without the business and
>professional liability risks structural engineering presents.>>
>Such as...

It doesn't really serve this topic very well to debate the pros and cons of
various endeavors. There are several (at least dozens) where the groups that
represent their membership are as much interested in the livelihood of the
members as well as improving and protecting their respective professions. In
our case, it appears (at least to me) that those who have an effect on our
profession are intent on making our lives more difficult by writing more
complex building codes (which translate to more man hours) while still
allowing every "Tom, Dick and Harry" to lead the public to believe that they
are structural engineers. I know, technically, they can't call themselves
structural engineers, but they can do enough to give the impression that
they are. A lot of effort is going into only one side of the equation (i.e.,
protecting the profession) and not on the other (i.e., the professional). I
know this is a tired subject but, unit this issue is resolved or Shafat
censures me from this listserv, I will keep hammering on it.

One of the points I can use to illustrate this inbalance is Professional
Liability insurance. I am a small (one man) operation. I carry $250K
coverage and have never done condos but my insurance premiums would make the
lease payments of a luxury car (MB or Jag). I am certain that the premiums
reflect the fact that the "pool" has to cover architects and underqualified
civils (2 yr. or land civils, this is not a CE/SE debate issue).

There are many, many other points but I wanted to respond in a timely manner
and get back to the football game.

Bill Allen