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Re: A Farewell to Structural Engineering

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Bill,

Once upon a time I decided to do the same thing. Engineering had lost its luster. There had to be something better!

I went back to university and took an MBA degree, by night school of course because I couldn't afford to give up my income for the duration. In the process of getting the degree and in seeking related employment afterward I learned several things the three most important being: 1.) I gained a better perspective of the role of engineering in society. Or perhaps putting it differently, I got a better view of the society that exists outside of engineering. 2.) Entry level positions in business pay less than in engineering. Not only that, I don't even ;like the work that has to be done AND I'm not very good at it. 3.) I actually like being an engineer and I think I'm good at that. All I really needed was an attitude adjustment.

I guess I can sum it up by paraphrasing a decades old joke about European immigrants to America and the streets being paved with gold. In my case the grass not greener on the other side of the fence; in fact, there wasn't any grass on the other side of the fence; furthermore, I would be expected to plant and water the grass.

Bill, If you think you want a change, go for it. You'll be second guessing yourself for years if you don't. Just don't give up your engineering license; it'll be much to hard to get it back if you do. You are a good structural engineer. I've been reading your posts for more than a decade and I can attest to that as can many others on the list.

       You have my best wishes for whatever you decide.

Regards,

H. Daryl Richardson

----- From: "Bill Polhemus" <bill(--nospam--at)polhemus.cc>
To: <seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org>
Sent: Tuesday, November 23, 2010 2:46 PM
Subject: A Farewell to Structural Engineering


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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