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RE: Princeton Review: Update

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Yeah, I saw the six figures, too.  Wow!  Oh well, here in Sandy Eggo, we get paid in "sun" dollars.


From: David Topete [mailto:davetopete(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Wednesday, March 01, 2006 10:58 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: RE: Princeton Review: Update


Wow, Stan...  6%.  That's huge...  And, six figures, also?  It almost makes me want to uproot the family and move to Te- 
On second thought, my wife probably wouldn't want that to happen...

"Caldwell, Stan" <scaldwell(--nospam--at)> wrote:

Dear m:


I must respectfully disagree with your conclusions. 


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


If you are capable and make good decisions (employer/client/project), the pay is excellent.  I make about as much as a good attorney (oxymoron?).  All of the engineers on my staff make six figures, and they average about 13 years of experience.  They also live and work in Texas, where there is no state income tax and big brick homes in good neighborhoods can still be purchased for $150-200K.


The hours required for success depend on your efficiency and your decisions (employer/client/project).  On average, I work about 45 hours/week, excluding the many hours that I spend as a volunteer professional (ASCE, AEI, BSC, NCSEA, SEAoT, TBPE, etc.).  As the years go by, my work week is shrinking, not vice versa.


I agree that structural engineers enjoy a tremendous pride of accomplishment, second only to architects.  The difference is that structural engineers take credit for the structure, whereas most architects unabashedly take credit for the whole enchilada.


Finally, I would like to offer a simple piece of advice.  Structural fees on projects led by architects typically are less than 1% of construction cost and are collected slowly.  Structural fees on projects led by engineers typically are about 6% of construction cost and are collected quickly.  Over time, the difference can be startling.






Structural engineering is the art of molding materials
we don't wholly understand, into shapes we can't fully
analyze, so as to withstand forces we can't really assess,
in such a way that the community at large has no reason
to suspect the extent of our ignorance."   ...Jim Amrhein

From: SEAINTLIST [mailto:seaint-list(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Wednesday, March 01, 2006 11:36 AM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: RE: Princeton Review: Update

It is interesting that the average hours per week is 45.  This is probabaly the starting of the SE career, but as we all know, once we get into our career more, we are looking more like 60 hours per week or more.  I do not know about anyone else, but I find myself thinking about design and detailing 24 hours a day.  When I was at school one of my instructors informed me that I know I have finally become a structural engineer when I am having sex with my wife and thinking about details.


Hmmm, what a sick career we have, but we must love it because the pay sucks, hours sucks, but the reward of knowing what we design will last longer than our lifetime or even our kids lifetime is priceless.




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