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You might be a structural engineer, if …

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In recent weeks, I have been somewhat troubled by several posts and threads that I believe have been overly critical of the profession of structural engineering.  What follows is my alternate perspective, with apologies to Jeff Foxworthy.


You might be a (happy/productive/successful) structural engineer, if …


  1. You take considerable pride in being a structural engineer.   In fact, you view structural engineering as one of the "highest callings" imaginable.
  2. You understand that a typical structural engineer plays a larger role in public safety than nearly anyone else, and you strive to practice accordingly.
  3. You view structural engineering as a career, not as a job.   Moreover, you view structural engineering as a profession, not simply as an occupation.
  4. You consistently place ethics, integrity, and quality above any and all business pressures.
  5. You strive to team effectively with those in other professions and treat them as respected peers, but you make all structural engineering decisions independently.
  6. You take considerable pride in the tangible, constructed results of your efforts.
  7. For the most part, you truly love your work and genuinely wake up each day looking forward to going to your place of employment.
  8. You typically work somewhat in excess of 40 hours/week because you want to, and you couldn't care less about "the clock".
  9. You expect to be fairly compensated with a salary and bonus based on the value of what you accomplish, not with a wage based on the hours that you spend.
  10. You understand and accept the obligation to eventually give something back to the profession of structural engineering through financial contributions, active participation in professional organizations, or some other means.

I created this list in an hour or so and made no attempt to massage it.  Some of the words could undoubtedly be improved, and other attributes/attitudes might very well be worthy of inclusion.   Nevertheless, based on my experience as a happy, productive, and successful structural engineer, I firmly believe in the validity and importance of the ten points above.


Best regards,


Stan R. Caldwell, P.E.

Richardson, Texas