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Re: Future Generations of Engineers

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> (OK, not complete BS...more on that in a second).  The real reason that
> doctors and lawyers can command more respect (and typically more pay) is
> that the typical lay person that you encounter on the street actually
> KNOWS what a doctor or a lawyer does.  Ask them what an engineer does and
> I would not be suprised to have them say "Ain't that the guy who runs the
> trains?"  This is also true for architects.  They command more respect and
> the POTENTIAL for more money because people understand what they do.  Most
> lay people don't have a clue what engineers do, especially structural
> engineers.  As others have pointed out, I too have relatives that stil
> think of me as an architect.

Although I admit most lay people don't know what an engineer does (unless
they think of "Dilbert" and assume we work with computers), I think the
reason SE's aren't respected is that the average lay person doesn't know why
we're NEEDED.

In my opinion, there are four main reasons for people to do something
voluntarily: Pleasure, Religion, Money, and Health.  I won't enter into any
debate on religion or pleasure in this forum.

Few lay people would consider performing major surgery on a relative or
friend.  The risk of serious complications or death is too great.  Everyone
knows that doctors are NEEDED for these tasks, as they are normally
healthier and live longer lives if they listen to their doctor.  For the
average law-abiding citizen, lawyers are NEEDED primarily for financial
reasons (deciphering tax laws, filing lawsuits, preparing other financial
documents).  The incarceration of criminals could fall under the money or
health categories - a thief or murderer behind bars can't steal from or
murder you.

Why are structural engineers NEEDED?  People have been successfully erecting
structures for thousands of years without the aid of higher education.
People start erecting structures from the time they can move two kitchen
chairs and steal a blanket from the closet (anyone wanna play in my fort?).
Regular buildings are so simple - everyone knows how they "work", so why are
an MS degree and multiple 8-hour tests needed to design one?  Why pay
someone big bucks to sign some papers with undecipherable pictures when the
contractor is going to build it how he wants anyway?

Jason Kilgore
Leigh & O'Kane, L.L.C.
816-444-9655 (FAX)

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