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Re: Job burnout

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The first trick is to learn that the world will not end if you cannot meet
everyone's demands on their timeframe.  Since I enjoy the position of
principal engineer, I have a little more control over some of the "demanding
client" issues then when you work for someone else, but here are some of the
ways we handled it.

First, we became a lot more selective about our client list.  Some clients
will always be late, dis-organized, producing incomplete hard to work with
plans, and basically difficult to work with effectively.  We do not work
with those clients.  I have worked with several Architectural firms and
later decided not to entertain any future work with them.  We still always
seem to have more work than we need, only with a lot less stress.

Due dates and deadlines are only real if you agree to them.  Most of our
quality clients understand that it takes time to produce quality work
keeping everybody out of trouble, and do not push for unrealistic deadlines
(some hard deadlines are unavoidable).  Project schedules are negotiable at
the beginning of a project, and sometimes you have to learn to say "no".  We
cannot make everyone happy all the time.  What we can do is be open, honest,
and damned sure we meet the commitments we did agree to.  You will not lose
a client by telling them up front you cannot meet a desired schedule, you
lose a client by saying you can meet a deadline and not performing.

We are a small firm by choice, and I typically work 50 hours a week, but I
am also frequently being accused of being a workaholic by those closest to
me.  However as a company, my partner and I believe in the concept of
balance in life.  We typically try and work a 4.5 day schedule.  The extra
time on the weekend really helps offset the stress of the week.  As a
principal, I am probably one of the least successful in adhering to a 4.5
day schedule, but in my mind, that comes with the territory.  I worked in a
sweat shop mentality once, and will not profit from the same mentality in my
own business.  We take weekends off, except for rare occasions, I would like
to remain married as well as employed :-)  Flex time is fine, as long as you
have the self discipline to meet your obligations.

I can honestly say I enjoy this profession, even with the ups and downs, and
cannot imagine doing anything else.

My biggest single piece of advice to you would be find another job.

I cannot comprehend staying at a job where the working conditions are as
pathetic as you paint them.

I would not under any circumstances expect an employee to accept the
liability of stamping their own work, and cannot understand why you would
wish to do that without proper compensation.  Are you named on the companies
E&O policy?


Paul Feather PE, SE
pfeather(--nospam--at)SE-Solutions.net
www.SE-Solutions.net
----- Original Message -----
From: "burnedup" <burnedup(--nospam--at)earthlink.net>
To: <seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org>
Sent: Thursday, July 18, 2002 2:42 PM
Subject: Job burnout


> If there is anyone on this list who has successfully overcome
> job burnout, I need some help on how you did it.
>
> After years of demanding clients, faxed due dates, contractors
> with personnel who can't read construction documents, RFI's
> requiring immediate response, and incomplete architectural plans,
> I am ready to give up.
>
> Add to that seeing registration law violations on a weekly basis
> by the owner of the firm who will not discuss them since he makes
> money that way, having to furnish my own computer (unless I want
> to use a 486) and design software, and having to pay for
> continuing education. No pay raise or profit sharing even if
> everyone works 12+ hour days, but the boss can take overseas
> trips.  Paychecks bounce because money is not transferred
> into the accounts soon enough.
>
> The only plus is that I seal the documents on my projects and not
> have someone who has never looked at project place their seal.
>
> I have looked at other firms in my area and am amazed. How can
> someone work in a cubicle that doesn't have the space to open
> a set of plans? Also the noise for me is overwhelming to the
> point I can't concentrate.
>
> If I don't get any replies, does any one know where someone with
> 30+ years experience could end out their career doing something
> affiliated with structural engineering?
>
> --burnedup and out
>
>
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