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Structural Engineer's Career Path: A Circle?

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Bill Polhemus wrote:

<< 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?  
 Or can you never go home again? >>

Been there, done that. Yes, I think you can go home again.  
But maybe you should consider it a natural progressive step 
and not a "circle."  

I just relinquished my job as department manager, so the
jury is still out, but for now it feels pretty good.  I don't regret
having been manager, but I don't regret my decision to step 
aside either.  I feel just as comfortable doing design work 
now as before, and sort of looking forward to being an 
"elder statesman (in the best way)" with a lot more insight 
into human nature than I might of otherwise had.  Prestige
and power are not issues, but one thing that might be 
missed is control over one's destiny.

One thing though:  I will definitely have more than a lot of 
empathy for the new manager.

Carl S.