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A Farewell to Structural Engineering

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Hello, SEAINTers. Long time since I've checked in personally.

I am now going on the sixth month of my current spate of unemployment. The phone does not ring. Such employment openings as I do see advertised, are for entry-level positions, or require expertise that I do not have (such as offshore platform design).

I have also been struggling, not entirely coincidentally, with one of the worst bouts of depression with which I've ever had the misfortune to deal. No one's fault, really; it is what it is. But it has forced me into self-examination at an uncomfortable level.

I haven't been happy or fulfilled as an engineer in years. I think the profession and I simply grew apart. If you are not a world-class expert - as I am not - in any particular subfield, you must perforce be content with "management" or some-such. And I am not that either.

I have made up my mind to drop out altogether. In fact, I am changing course radically - something I probably should have done years ago but was too caught up in the practicalities of earning a living to realize it.

I have decided to apply to graduate school with the aim of earning a Ph.D. in History, and remain in academia for the remainder of my life. It's not exactly entering the monastery, but it's almost as radical a departure. I have always been fascinated with all aspects of history - especially that of engineering and technological progress. I will probably focus on that, perhaps even civil and structural engineering history. Wouldn't that be something.

At any rate, I just felt it incumbent upon me to write a brief swansong in this vein. Not that I expect any of you to really care, but it might be of interest to one or two, and so it would serve a purpose.

Thank you all for services rendered in the fifteen-plus years that I've participated on this forum, and I wish all of you the very best of good luck in all you do.

William L. Polhemus, P.E.
Katy, Texas

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