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RE: Structural Engineer's Career Path: A Circle?

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This is an interesting topic.  I've been approached a couple of times
with various companies about taking more of a management role, but have
turned those opportunities down.  Seems like there are always 3 or 4
managers for each engineer (ever hear of Dilbert?).  These guys do have
a lot of responsibility, but usually end up spending their time trying
to find a place to locate the copier or trying to resolve disputes
between employees.  

A few years ago I felt like my career was in a rut.  I thought about
changing to something else...yes, going back to school, etc.  That would
have been tough on my family.  I finally got more involved in church, I
prayed a lot, got more involved in my family - the important things.  I
feel I now have my priorities right.  The times that I was asked to take
on management duties I declined because I did not want to upset the
balance I now have in my life.  I'm responsible for myself, (and several
managers are responsible for me also).  I like it that way.  I don't
mind if younger guys with lots of ambition take over and are my "boss".
I'm an engineer and I'm proud of what I can do.  When a company
downsizes, they typically lay off the managers (at least they do around
here) and the technical professionals who make money for the company
usually stick around.  And as for the money, I make more than I deserve
and its enough to pay the bills.    

Thats my 2 cents worth.

Mike Ritter, PE and proud of it

> -----Original Message-----
> From:	John Riley [SMTP:jpriley485(--nospam--at)]
> Sent:	Tuesday, April 18, 2000 7:38 PM
> To:	seaint(--nospam--at)
> Subject:	Re: Structural Engineer's Career Path: A Circle?
> I'd be interested in the points of view particularly of some of those
> strucs
> here who have been around the block at least once, have gone through
> the
> early training, been promoted "up" to management, done the manager's
> thing
> for a while, etc.
> I'm enjoying my role as a manager, and am now involved much more now
> in
> marketing--not just structural engineering, but consulting engineering
> services in general. But I find myself really MISSING the days when I
> did
> just plain DESIGN. I know my design skills are a bit rusty now. On
> those
> occasions when I'm called upon to do design, I find I have to think a
> bit
> before performing tasks that used to be second nature to me.
> I wonder if any of you "elder statesmen" (and I mean that in the best
> possible way) have experienced a time when you have decided to chuck
> all the
> trappings of "prestige and power" and gone back to being a structural
> designer again? Do you ever get to the point where you can expect to
> perform
> that role and function, and still get paid a progressive salary?
> *****************
> I like design.  Managing someone else doing design was not fun for me.
> So I
> abandoned that and went into business for myself as sole proprietor.
> I make
> enough money to clothe and feed everyone here, while my wife tends to
> the
> domestic chores; but I'd say I don't make a "progressive salary."
> If offered four times the money I make to manage an office, I'd turn
> it
> down.  I'm lucky enough to know that money doesn't make me happy.  My
> lifestyle is superior to most and life is too short to spend it
> punching
> clocks and wearing neckties.
> John P. Riley, SE
> Riley Engineering
> Blue Grass, Iowa
> PS:  Ever hear of the Peter Principal?  Well, I reached my level of
> incompetence . . . then backed up one level.