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re: farewell to engineering

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First, nice tip of the hat to Hemingway. Maybe the literary bug will
bite you too.

Second, sounds to me like you are about 40-ish, though I always had
you pegged for about 55 for some reason. Maybe because your political
views reminded me of my dad. I mean no offense in any of this, just an
impression, like when you talk to someone on the phone several times
and then finally meet them and are surprised they don't meet your made
up picture. So how old are you since you are revealing so much?

I don't think you are alone whatsoever in considering other
professions (or second guessing your original choice). I sure have,
and so have my friends who are attorneys, accountants, etc. A dismal
economy and a bout of unemployment will undoubtedly push you to those
thoughts. But if you have a dream to follow and only one life to live,
I say go for it. Don't we all sometimes feel like just one lifetime is
not enough, there are so many other professions, places to live,
people to meet, and never enough time...

Right now I am in the middle of a biography about a young farmer boy
in Malawi, one of the poorest countries in the world (in Africa), and
his family just survived a famine- so it sure makes me feel lucky to
have been born in the US and have a job right now! Their corrupt
government sold their stockpiles of emergency food and couldn't their
people from starving, and we complain about dipping home prices
foreclosures! Gives you some humility for sure. But I am not making
light of your situation...

If I were in your shoes, like others said, I would maintain your
license. Maybe dabble in structural engineering when the phone rings
or the opportunity otherwise presents itself. Maybe a little side
money to help out a poor history graduate student would be nice... :)
Maybe there is a book about engineering history out there for you to
write, or a history channel special for you to consult with, sky is
the limit.

Have you ever considered something within the general field that is
not structural engineering design? What about the construction side of
things, project management? I think an experienced and knowledgeable
SE would make a great PM. I understand now the timing with the economy
is not good, but its something I have considered.

A couple of years ago my cousin, a mechanical engineer for a
subcontractor to Ford, left the auto business to become a financial
planner. He now works out of a small office near his home and really
enjoys it. The ups and downs of the car business, which are about as
shaky as construction these days, was too much for him. And I think he
wanted a change. Though I personally could not believe he went into
finance at the time he did, but...

Best of luck, stay on the list, you still have lots of engineering
advice I am sure you can offer. And share any interesting engineering
history stuff with us.

Andrew Kester, PE
Structural Engineer

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