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Sick Profession?

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Ed Tornberg wrote:

"I'm stuck in Oregon, sandwiched between Washington and California, and
all three states have different requirements to obtain the SE title.
That's bizarre and illogical in my opinion.  Sure, CA's near-fault
issues are a little more severe, but we're still all designing in Zone 3
or 4, and building similar buildings.  This is just one more symptom of
the lack of national leadership for the profession.  Add that to the
H1-B problems, inconsistent "jurisprudence" by building officials as
already discussed ad nauseum in the last few weeks, and weak business
skills, and you have a sick profession that underpays considering the
massive amount of learning required for the SE license."

Ed:

I strongly disagree with your conclusion that structural engineering is
a sick profession!

If you are dissatisfied with the current "national leadership", then get
personally involved and work to make it better.  Richard Weingardt said
it best, "the world is run by those who show up."  If you choose not to
participate, then you should not complain.  While the national
leadership triumvirate of our profession still leaves much to be
desired, it is my opinion that great strides have been made over the
past ten years by NCSEA, SEI, and CASE.  By the end of this year, a
nationwide program of structural engineering certification will be voted
into existence.  While this program neither replaces nor duplicates
state licensure, it still represents a significant step forward:
uniform nationwide regulation of the profession by the profession.
NCEES's recent recognition of structural engineering as a distinct
discipline represents yet another step.  Real progress is being made! 

What H1-B problems are you alluding to?  Can you name even one
structural engineer that is out of work today as a result of H1-B
workers?  I continue to believe that H1-B is a non-issue for structural
engineers except for the employees of huge multi-national organizations
such as Bechtel and Fluor.  

Weak business skills?  A profession that under pays?  I don't believe
that you can make such judgments beyond your own immediate situation and
knowledge.  Many structural engineers have excellent business skills and
many (often, the same ones) earn handsome incomes.  They can be found in
all fifty states.  If your situation is unsatisfactory, then you should
take the initiative to do something to improve it:  change clients,
change employers, change locations, or simply change your attitude.
Whining is counterproductive.  Your problems are not the result of any
shortcomings by the "profession", it's "leadership", or "them".

Structural engineering is still a fine profession!

Best regards,

Stan R. Caldwell, P.E.
Dallas, Texas        

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