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Re: Job Opportunity - OT Have Faith in the Small Firm!!!!

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I wouldnt have done it either way, small companies are the way to go.
I graduated in '84 Cal Poly SLO, went to work for a two man outfit for a year, and then to a mid size firm with 3 small offices in So Cal. Stayed 7 years and learned more in that time than you could possibly imagine. I was designing and in control of every aspect of $30M projects at the age of 28, all because of the small office environment.
Our current firm is small, 18 employees. One office, and I learned to treat the employees the way I was treated in the small office environment. All the employees are like brothers and sisters here, some like sons and daughters. I get more out of watching the young engineers grow, setting goals, succeeding and failing, all at a pace that cant be matched by the big firms.
Small firms are competitive when it comes to compensation, if you shop around. We pay 1.5 OT, 100% 401 k match to 8% of base, full med, competitive salary,bonuses, the works. You work hard in a small fim, and should be rewarded accordingly. (Im not marketing for employees either, we are happy with the current staff)
My advice to younger engineers, if you love the business, realize you will be doing this the rest of your life, get the best experience you can from a small firm that can provide growth within the firm. Going to work for a small company that is not top heavy creates wonderful opportunities to pilot the ship when the time comes.
Rick Byrd, SE
R.M. Byrd and Associates

Jerry Coombs <JCoombs(--nospam--at)> wrote:
Not to bee too negative, but with small companies, it isn't likely to improve.  You may get good training tho, may not.  Large companies are the way to go, but if you wait too long, it's tough to get on, and they will expect you to know a LOT that you may not have gotten tutelage with.
I worked for 2 manufacturers, and those were, by far, my favorite jobs.  May need more experience, tho.

>>> "erik gibbs" <erik.gibbs(--nospam--at)> 8/23/2007 10:34 PM >>>
I graduated about 2 years ago and since then I have worked for 2 different small structural firms. The 1st did not allow overtime with OT pay and the current one no OT pay either, but it feels like I am expected to work OT anyway. Now I do not feel like I should be handed a great job on a silver platter, but my girlfriend who went to a tech school, and is a surgical tech makes more then I do, and she also gets OT pay, great benifits and a lot of time off.
It makes me mad that I busted my ass in college and this is what I see happening. Although I do work in a small company, I am wondering if this is typical of small structural eng firms?  

On 8/23/07, Jerry Coombs <JCoombs(--nospam--at)> wrote:
I have had the dubious opportunity to work for many more companies than I'd like to admit, greatly because of the "revolving door" approach to human resources, and fierce competionion undercutting put some of them out of business.
Hands down, the greater share of those, and of the places my colleagues work, require 45-50 hours of work with no overtime pay, and no comp-time.  As stated by someone else, the "budgets" were too low and the unpaid OT was an expected way to manage them.  All of this with less compensation than most other disciplines, no or minimal bonus.  Average hourly rate easily dipped below that of a Sr. tech working the same hours w/ 1.5 OT.
50 hours is reasonable?  Not on a general basis.  Add an hour for lunch and an hour travel time, that gave me time to give my kid a hug before I left, eat dinner with him and see him to bed. 
After nearly 30 years, I finally work for a stable company that values its employees.  It's not a structural firm.

>>> "Michel Blangy" < mblangy(--nospam--at)> 8/22/2007 3:18 PM >>>
I worked for a firm where jobs routinely went over budget. Therefore, time spent beyond 40 hours a week was not considered OT, but rewarded to employees as "comp-time." Unfortunately, we were so busy trying to make deadlines on subsequent jobs that there never seemed time to use it. "Sweat-shop" would be a nicely-worded way of describing that place.
Michel Blangy, P.E.
-----Original Message-----
From: Wesley Werner [mailto: wwerner(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Wednesday, August 22, 2007 1:14 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: RE: Job Opportunity

From: Bill Polhemus [mailto:bill(--nospam--at) ]
Sent: Wednesday, August 22, 2007 3:19 PM
To: seaint(--nospam--at)
Subject: Re: Job Opportunity

Wesley Werner wrote:
    The company offers a good work environment with a quick pace. Hard work is well rewarded with pay raises and bonuses tied to performance.
Wesley, be honest.

This is a nicely-worded way of saying "sweat-shop," isn't it?
[Wesley Werner] No. Everyone is paid hourly. Any extra time you work is overtime pay. I typically work 45-50 hrs which I think is a reasonable work week. One of the main purposes of hiring a new engineer is to get someone that can devote uninterrupted time to design. More and more, I am fielding questions from other employees (steel detailers, field workers, etc.), and don't have the time to get a lot of design done. When questions do arise, usually the answer is needed quickly hence my comment about the quick pace.

Not that there's anything wrong with that; it seems that more and more "specialty design-build" firms of which I'm aware are "sweat-shops" these days. It's a good place for a kid just out of school to get his baptism of fire, but you also get a large turnover and a small but significant number of "burnouts" who quit engineering altogether to go into real estate (or worse, to law school), etc.

Just sayin'.
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