Need a book? Engineering books recommendations...

Return to index: [Subject] [Thread] [Date] [Author]

Re: You might be a structural engineer, if .

[Subject Prev][Subject Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next]
By writing "working long hours for free", it is clear that you missed my point entirely.  Any engineer or employer that equates hours with value will never build wealth.  As professionals, engineers should be compensated based on their value, which has little or nothing to do with hours.  Some of my engineers average 35 hrs/wk, while others work 50+.  I couldn't care less!  They all produce excellent work and they all are compensated well into six figures and pay no state income taxes.  Engineering firms that sell their services on an hourly basis similarly are missing the boat.  Firms build big bonus pools by selling work based on its value to the client, not based on the effort required to produce it.  In other words, lump sum rather than cost plus contracting.
Finally, you should know by now that I restrict my BS exclusively to politics and sports, never to engineering subjects.  You should be thrilled that I no longer write about either of the former ... but there is some "Must See TV" coming up this Saturday afternoon, when my beloved Wisconsin Badgers will pummel the Washington State Whatevers on ABC.
On 8/29/07, Gerard Madden, SE <gmse4603(--nospam--at)> wrote:
Item 8 & 9 are management talk/bullshit to sucker young engineers (or any worker for that matter) into working long hours for free. A young engineer might be slow at something (because it's new), but you're paying them and billing them less because of that. Bonus can be tied to a company's performance more than an individual. I've worked at a couple of places where I was surrounded by inefficient PE's searching for job #'s to assign billable hours to because they wasted so much time in endless meetings with no resulting work.

I'd rather work an 8-10 hour day like I do now, than a 12 hour day like I used to, and still have some time to do stuff with family, friends etc.

Project Manager

On 8/29/07, Garner, Robert <rgarner(--nospam--at) > wrote:

You might be a structural engineer if you eagerly await the release of each new building code, then immediately begin following it.




From: Stan Caldwell [mailto: stancaldwell(--nospam--at)]
Sent: Wednesday, August 29, 2007 12:52 PM
To: SEAINT Listserv
Subject: You might be a structural engineer, if …


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   

The information contained in the e-Mail, including any accompanying documents or attachments, is from Moffatt & Nichol and is intended only for the use of the individual or entity named above, and is privileged and confidential. If you are not the intended recipient, be aware that any disclosure, dissemination, distribution, copying or use of the contents of this message is strictly prohibited. If you received this message in error, please notify us.