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RE: Salary Survey

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> You ask a very good question.  I guess that Structural
> Engineers are not
> smart enough to demand appropriate compensation.

That's a pretty lame statment.

It has nothing to do with "smarts," and everything to do with resolve.

I don't consider the average attorney or NBA ballplayer to be "smarter" than
me by a long shot. So that obviously doesn't enter into the equation.

> Why do Civil and Structural Engineers end up at the bottom of
> the totem
> pole?  I guess that it is because most of us are in private
> practice, while
> most electrical, mechanical, aeronautical engineers work for
> industry.

That's partly true, although I as a structural engineer once "worked for
industry" in terms of working for a provider of engineering services to
industrial clients. I made really good money.

Right now and for the foreseeable future, I work for a consulting firm,
because the work is much more enjoyable. I feel I'm paid pretty well, far
above the average per capita for the U.S., and at least average for a
professional with a graduate degree.

I make nearly three times what my wife, a public school teacher, makes, for
example. You wanna talk disparities?

By the way, I could make at least $90k or more working for my old industrial
EPC employer, but the work was so boring and so undemanding of my skills
(and with Clinton in office the government gets a good chunk of my salary
anyway, so that motivation pales somewhat).

> And then there is the
> client who
> requests a change just as the project is being completed and
> can't understand
> why you want extra compensation.  After all, you agreed to
> provide the plans
> and specifications for his/her project, and nothing has
> changed in that
> respect.

Again, that is a good point but consider:

>
> How can lawyers bill on an hourly basis and we engineers
> can't?  Because you
> are asking the lawyer to protect *your* ass, and that becomes
> personal, not
> just business.

I disagree. The REASON that lawyers will not suffer in this context is: 1)
They have the resolve to do so. Lawyering is 75% about making money. and 2)
They make or greatly influence the "rules" under which our society
functions.

We engineers don't have a prayer in hell of effecting No. 2), but we sure
have a lot of room to improve in No. 1). That, to me, is the secret.

If the AGC (Association of General Contractors) can manage to have
construction firm owners work together for their common good in THAT
cutthroat business, I think we structural and civil engineers could make
common cause in ours. We just don't because it isn't important to us, and
we'd rather complain about it than actually do something.

> I don't think
> that there can be an organized effort or it could/would be considered
> "restraint of trade."

Really. Is the ABA "restraint of trade"? The AGC? Unions?

That kind of thinking, and being afraid to function as handily on the
business side as the technical, is where the real problem lies.