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RE: Princeton Review: Update

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From: Caldwell, Stan [mailto:scaldwell(--nospam--at)halff.com]
Sent: Wednesday, March 01, 2006 12:17 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
Subject: RE: Princeton Review: Update

 

Dear m:

 

I must respectfully disagree with your conclusions. 

 

Structural engineering is a great career, not a sick one!


 

Stan, I will say this:

 

The biggest problems I’ve encountered in my time stem from the TYPICAL structural engineering firm (or worse, “other” engineering firms that hire structural engineers), rather than the more forward-looking firms such as you describe.

 

I am quite pleased with my current employer not least because the “movers and shakers” therein tend to follow the Golden Rule. I have not found this to be the case with other places I’ve worked. The greatest rewards seem to come to those who are more politically astute, rather than those who are technically oriented.

 

I think this is perhaps LESS true of structurals than civils—I know civil engineers who are lauded to the skies (e.g. “engineer of the year”) but in reality could not design a driveway apron and have it properly meet the street without a lot of help. They are BUSINESSMEN, not engineers. I know of no other “profession” where your professional stature and your business stature are so disjunct—law, medicine, and architecture certainly aren’t like this.

 

Structural engineers aren’t quite as bad, but I have seen instances of it. It seems particularly rank where you have a high proportion of your business coming from the public sector.

 

Structural engineering, like architecture, rewards those who take the risks of ownership. If you work for “the man” all your life, you are not nearly as likely to do well financially—though that’s not necessarily a bad thing; there OUGHT to be rewards consequential to risk.

 

However, I do like my firm’s commitment to allowing ownership to be a reality for those who desire it. I think that’s one reason we’re often seen atop those “best firms to work for” lists.