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RE: Sick Profession?

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I apologize for the use of the vague, general, and metaphorical term
"sick".  "Still leaves much to be desired" is okay by me:)

And you are right -  I should do (and intend to) what I can within my
sphere of influence to make it better.  Was I really whining?

I won't try to argue that H1-B puts us out of work.  Instead I have the
opinion that H1-B and outsourcing waters down our level of compensation.
In one instance I personally worked in a foreign country, for a foreign
consulting firm, doing structural engineering for a US firm for
California construction.  We could do the work primarily because our
standard of living was so much cheaper, and we were willing to be paid
less.  It was great for the foreign firm, and eased the demand on US
engineers.  Less demand, more supply, lower price.  Likewise when you
come to America you are literally overwhelmed by the massive consumption
and standard of living, and it's easy for a foreigner to chuckle at that
and work for less, at least for a few years until acclimated. On the
other hand I cannot say there is anything morally wrong with H1-B or
outsourcing.  We at least need to face that fact that it's possible our
cheese is being moved.

Ed Tornberg

-----Original Message-----
From: Caldwell, Stan [mailto:scaldwell(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Tuesday, November 04, 2003 12:36 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: RE: Sick Profession?

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.


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 have no right to complain.  While the national
leadership of our profession still leaves much to be desired, it is my
opinion that great strides have been made over the past 10 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.

What H1-B problems are you alluding to?  Can you name one structural
engineer that is out of work as a result of H1-B workers?  I continue to
believe that H1-B is a non-issue for structural engineers except,
perhaps, for the employees of huge multi-national contractors 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.
Many structural engineers have excellent business skills.  Similarly,
many structural engineers earn handsome incomes, and they are certainly
not all working on the West Coast.  If your situation is unsatisfactory,
then do something to change it:  change clients, change employers,
change locations, change your attitude.

In summary, quit whining, structural engineering is still a fine

Best regards,

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

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