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Civil Structural EIT issues

Civil Structural EIT issues

Civil Structural EIT issues

Good morning everyone,

I have recently started a job about 6 months ago, 3 months into it the PE who was above me quit. He hired me on to review drawings and do engineering calculations for jobs and basically work under him, and he was also the engineering manager. It's a large firm but our office is small. After he quit, they got a mechanical engineer with lot's of experience to replace him. However I'm working under an engineer from another office and the original agreement was me doing engineering calculations and design checks and he would review and stamp.

So they promoted a designer to drafting department head, and we were working well together for a few months. Little did I know this guy would try to run me off, not sure why... He's doing everything in his power to exclude me from projects and the other designers are on board. Everyone in the office gives me the cold shoulder because of him, and management isn't really backing me up. This guy wants me gone badly and I'm stuck in a bad situation... I talk to the engineering manager and he just tells me he doesn't know what his problem is bu he probably hates engineers, then does nothing. The client directly contacts him, I have no clue what's going on with projects most of the time, and I'm having to beg the PE in the other office for work. The other engineer will kick back projects for me to review, but in order to meet our deadlines we had to hire an outside contract engineer, because our PE in the other office is a reputable engineer and he doesn't have a lot of time to review our little projects. So now the designer is just sending drawings to this contract engineer. What do I do? It's hard for an EIT to find a job... and I'm in que to take my PE but that's not for months.

RE: Civil Structural EIT issues

Yep, that's not fun at all, I'd jump ship ASAP.

If it were me, I'd take the advantage of having less work and use the "free time" to work on your move (update resume, send out emails, etc.). Only 6 months on a job doesn't look great but it will be way better professionally if you're working at a place you're actually growing professionally.

If you're only a few months off of getting your PE then see if you can land a job that requires a PE and let the future employer that you can obtain one shorty after employment; this will open up a lot more options and is generally acceptable to most employers.

Get your PE references from these folks before you inform them you're going to leave.

Ian Riley, PE, SE
Professional Engineer (ME, NH, VT, CT, MA, FL) Structural Engineer (IL, HI)
American Concrete Industries https://americanconcrete.com/

RE: Civil Structural EIT issues

You need to get out of there.

Your EIT "apprentiship" is much too important to waste on a firm that:
1. Doesn't appear to have a focus on developing you as a good engineer
2. Doesn't provide you with a proper mentor
3. Doesn't manage staff well
4. Appears to be heading towards asking you to leave in the future (if you are that inconsequential to them to not give you work).

Your statement that it is hard for an EIT to find a job doesn't ring true to me.
There is more and more a shortage of engineers (even EIT's) out there and firms are starting to have trouble staffing up to their work loads.

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RE: Civil Structural EIT issues

"There is more and more a shortage of engineers (even EIT's) out there and firms are starting to have trouble staffing up to their work loads."

I'm seeing this in New England especially. If you're willing to relocate I bet you can get a decent job right away.

Ian Riley, PE, SE
Professional Engineer (ME, NH, VT, CT, MA, FL) Structural Engineer (IL, HI)
American Concrete Industries https://americanconcrete.com/

RE: Civil Structural EIT issues

I do have some years of experience in petrochemical, but man the industry is so cut-throat. Everyone is so worried that the young engineer will be kept while the old engineer/drafter will get cut. It's brutal. That's why it's hard to find a good position. I appreciate your input.

RE: Civil Structural EIT issues

Leftwow, I gather from your post you are in the petrochemical industry?

If so, my advice would be to get out of that industry. The beauty of civil engineering is it's diversity. You can do an awful lot. I just left that industry and while the pay was very good, the way most clients and even employers (in my experience) treat engineers is not good. Structural/civil engineers IMO are viewed as a necessary evil by most clients and upper management for employers just want cheap. I never felt like I was at risk of being laid off, but saw an awful lot of layoffs (even had to do some). As soon as stuff slowed people were showed the door. That's not fun for anyone.

There is a lot more to life than to sit at a job where you're treated like crap and are just unhappy.

RE: Civil Structural EIT issues

I'd hate to leave my niche here man, I feel like I excel at it honestly. Without your PE here you're just another peon that they have to worry about keeping chargeable. But hoooly smoke, do I get treated like crap.

RE: Civil Structural EIT issues

Find a firm that does industrial consulting. Pulp and paper, steel fabricators, mechanical engineers (many mech firms could use a dedicated structural guy as long you don't mind doing lots of pipes and pressure vessels). Heck, find a consulting firm that consults on oil and gas companies if you like it.

Ian Riley, PE, SE
Professional Engineer (ME, NH, VT, CT, MA, FL) Structural Engineer (IL, HI)

RE: Civil Structural EIT issues

Excuse my rant here but I gotta get it out. These firms would rather pay a AutoCAD drafter 50$/hr than an engineer for 50$/hr to draft in autoCAD! It makes absolutely no sense! The "designers" have no engineering basis for what they are drawing on paper, they just use stuff they have seen before. They actually discipline engineers for drafting in AutoCAD lol. Everyone I've ever worked with/for has used every backstabbing tactic to get rid of me possible. I have worked for possibly 10 engineers in my 5 years of experience, all who have either gotten let go or quit. There's a game they play where they come into a job for x amount of time, then hang on by a string, then when a large project is due for construction they jump ship right before.

I've even had a PE that would just REFUSE to give me work so he could hire his buddy on (which is an engineer who has way more experienced in things like road design and drainage). After he tried to catch me in a mistake he realized he couldn't, he then had a meltdown and the owners of the company had to convince him that maybe I could draft to stay billable. So I took on drafting for like 6 months and after the first month the Project Managers were giving me my own projects, which pissed off the designers even more... and I figured out their secret, which was to have a library of junk and practically copy designs that have been done before lol (which what the engineers were also doing and then plugging things into some software that they had no business using). By then I was doing my own calculations and dishing out very detailed designs in a day or two... so then they put me back on calculations before I hurt the drafters feelings again.

It's all a game and I'll never understand it but I try to be an ethical and not complain or throw people under the bus but JESUS. I think I've chosen the wrong profession but I refuse to give up. Part of me thinks when I get my PE and come to power I will rain holy hell on these people but I just gotta keep being a good person, and being a "team player" and dealing with what upper management wants.

RE: Civil Structural EIT issues

I detect a severe attitude problem here with a huge chip on its shoulders. Have to think this is not as omesided as the OP thinks...... a good long stare in the mirror and constructive feed back from ones peers seems necessary.

RE: Civil Structural EIT issues

getting mad won't do you any good.
revenge won't do you any good.
building character and learning will help you . . .
seeking employment elsewhere will require you to not take any dirty laundry with you.
so you feel like your treated like crap . . . be aware that the golden rule applies.
yes, there are greener pastures, but be aware of whom keep the pasture green.
lastly, when the boss suddenly departs, well, the time to think about your situation and seek answers on matters that concern your employment should be done forthwith.

RE: Civil Structural EIT issues

Boy. I'm with miningman. I think you need to step back and take a long look in a mirror. You want to get your PE and rain holy hell down on these people? That sounds incredibly professional.

As far as designers, you're right they might not have an engineering background, but the experienced ones are good. They do their designs based on experience and things they've done in the past. It's your job to work with them and guide them in areas they may not have all the information and tools to be perfect. Most of the designers I worked with were good guys that treated engineers well as long as you give them mutual respect.

RE: Civil Structural EIT issues

Outlast him, outsmart him, or win him over.

I used to count sand. Now I don't count at all.

RE: Civil Structural EIT issues

I concur with reevaluating yourself and whether or not you want to be in this profession, most of what has been mentioned is common occurrence in any engineering office. Politics and reorgs suck, but that's life. If you're not being kept busy then you need to either handle the situation yourself or get your supervisor involved, I'd suggest a frank discussion with the drafting supervisor first then your own if things don't improve. Regardless, please be aware that the quickest way to every supervisor's bad side is to think you own or must work on a project, you're only on one until they want you elsewhere.

IMHO there is no room in any successful business for anyone putting on airs toward other employees, regardless of position. I have designers that handle all manner of "engineering" tasks that are the bread and butter of many PEs - bolted joint calcs, component sizing/selection, repetitive FEA (using a limited/locked sim), etc. Most have AS_ET or similar degrees so have been through a big chunk of the standard BS_E course load, my employers have always treated them like junior (<10 year) engineers. There's also always a few that have held engineering roles elsewhere, so don't make assumptions as to anyone's ability. As to who does AutoCAD and drafting, I've been at companies that discouraged engineers from those tasks but never one that wouldnt allow someone with talent from doing so when necessary. That said, I do know engineers who've been told not to do certain tasks like modeling, drafting, certain analysis, etc bc of lack of ability and/or speed.

RE: Civil Structural EIT issues

Yea let's see what your attitudes are when the drafter gets paid double what you make then he hires on his son, and they are making 50 or 60 hours/week, then you get paid 12 hours of billable time a week and goes and runs his mouth about everything and lies constantly to your coworkers and boss. Then your coworkers actually believe him and no one speaks to you. Everyone's laughing and working and having a great time together, and no one speaks to you all day long.

RE: Civil Structural EIT issues

It still feels like you have a giant chip on your shoulder.

As has been said above, you need to evaluate yourself. What have you done (or not done) to cause/improve this situation? What could you do to change it for the better?

You need to start taking ownership for your situation and your life. If they truly are out to get you, then you need to take charge and either defend yourself or find another position.

You should try (in fact I recommend this to anyone) reading Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink.

RE: Civil Structural EIT issues

I can say I wouldn't be complaining to a bunch of strangers on the internet.

Take control of your life and find a new job. The belief that EIT's can't find jobs is a myth.

RE: Civil Structural EIT issues

You're still not experiencing anything new. Most of us have similar stories of being pushed out of significant projects by office politics, personally I've been pushed out several times after developing the IP that launched the project in the first place. The only thing you can do in many cases is move on, either at the same company or another.

As for how much others earn, I've been in the top 10% per ASME my entire career thus far. I've also known many tradesmen and hourly wage earners who earned far more than me simply by working overtime. I wouldn't be surprised in the least to find a mid-career draftsman earning more than s junior engineer in terms of either annual income or "hourly" rate (assuming salary/hrs/yr).

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