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The great resignation
16

The great resignation

The great resignation

(OP)
The pandemic has given me a change of perspective and a change of life priorities. That, in conjunction with engineer’s anxiety and sleepless nights sweating over calculations has me questioning whether or not I want to do this for the rest of my life.

Has anyone else experienced this?

What is a sensible alternative career for a structural engineer?!

RE: The great resignation

Nope... happy as a clam and sleep sound, albeit only 5 or 6 hours a day. I never stress myself with calcs or design. I occasionally awake with slight revisions to designs, that I have no idea of why, since I don't recall thinking about them. I go for months on end without having a memorable dream. The only reason I dream is because others say that I must; it's almost never that I recall them.

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Do you feel any better?

-Dik

RE: The great resignation

"There are no solutions, only trade-offs" - Thomas Sowell

I look at it this way, a person can:

1) Be really good at something
2) Get paid really well to do something
3) Really enjoy something

RARELY does one maximize all three simultaneously. I'm pretty good at what I do, and I tend to sacrifice enjoyment for the paycheck.

I've contemplated career options outside of engineering/consulting and frequently picture myself working in or starting up a fabrication shop of some kind. I am fairly good at and enjoy building things. My detail oriented mindset and drawing/specifications skillset would also be valuable in that setting. I'm guessing the same could be said for many structural engineers.

I've never made the jump though, and for now I rely upon other sources of happiness, beer and coffee to keep me going!

RE: The great resignation

Quote ("There are no solutions, only trade-offs" - Thomas Sowell)


I don't agree...

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Do you feel any better?

-Dik

RE: The great resignation

I agree with PMR06's trinity in general. Obviously, there are exceptions to all general trends.

Quote (OP)

Has anyone else experienced this? What is a sensible alternative career for a structural engineer?!

Certainly.

Working as a contractor or general purpose project manager has been a popular transition for many. Some have also found joy working in architecture (crazy, I know) and various, related public sector roles. Building envelope work is also a plausible detour these days.

Personally, I like teacher, actuarial data scientist, or plumber. Seriously.

What kind of stuff do you enjoy?

Any chance you'd be willing to share your approximate age and that of your youngest child if you have one?

RE: The great resignation

I've kind of had the same thoughts. But being I'm only about 15-20 years away from retirement (or death)....I'm gonna try to hang on.

It's funny this comes up though. I myself began resigning jobs (i.e. leaving companies without a offer) beginning in about 2014. (Maybe I helped start this trend. wink) One of the really big issues has been (and still is, it's only gotten worse) is a lack of designer help. I've been working for myself.....but some people have tried to lure me to work for them.

It's hard for me to completely walk away from it because I've sunk nearly 30 years into it. (And make a pretty good living at it.)

RE: The great resignation

(OP)
I’m 40 with a 2 year old and a 6 year old.

I consider myself to be a good engineer, am well paid and have a good working environment.

Its the constant niggling feeling that somethings gone wrong on a job that I can’t hack anymore. Especially when I do find a mistake - I of course imagine what might have been.

I’m certainly not old, but old enough to not want to retrain in something else entirely.

I don’t know what I want at this stage. At the same time, I can’t keep this up either!

Anything I do enjoy certainly won’t make me enough money unfortunately.

RE: The great resignation

I'm with you. I really enjoy engineering. I hate the schedule pressures and the general distrust I face - with the exception of a few carefully cultivated client relationships, most people just want my stamp and to make sure I don't get in the way of them getting their work done. Makes me feel really good.

KootK mentioned teacher - short-term goal is to make time to finish my master's degree, mid-term goal is to get a spot teaching statics at the local community college. Maybe a nicer instructor spot at the university, but the CC is 10 minutes from my house, and the uni is 30.

If I could find a way out that didn't jeopardize my livelihood (I'm the primary wage earner for the house with my wife and two young kids), I might try it. But at least for now I don't see me finding anything that will earn me this much money unless I move or have a 2 hour commute. But I've tried that before and it didn't work. I came back to design/consulting after a year.

RE: The great resignation

Different field, but the issue is that I'm close to classical retirement age, and my retirement funding is at a good spot and it's time to do all the things we put off, before we can no longer enjoy them. Otherwise, I could easily see myself croaking on the job, to be found cleaning crew making their rounds winky smile

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: The great resignation

Quote (OP)

Its the constant niggling feeling that somethings gone wrong on a job that I can’t hack anymore. Especially when I do find a mistake - I of course imagine what might have been.

If it's mostly just that, I'd be surprised if that's not resolvable. Maybe see a counselor or explore some self help to move your needle a bit more in the "sociopath" direction. I wouldn't label your -- understandable -- level of concern a mental heath issue per se but, at the same time, if it's not serving you well, then it's not serving you well.

I have similar tendencies and reread a book on ancient Greek stoicism every couple of years to help with it. It reminds me that, fundamentally, there really is not all that much in this life that I truly care about. Family, friends, not being dead, relative comfort. I've got all that stuff and am unlikely to loose it anytime soon even if I do kill some innocents by way my shoddy work.

RE: The great resignation

I recently took up a post as a full-time professor of construction project management at a teaching college in the northern city I just moved to. It’s quite the burden in addition to my usual duties as I teach 5 classes, but I do enjoy it very much. Going forward I think I will slowly transition from engineering and construction into only being a professor. I share your dread of the implications of my mistakes, and I certainly make plenty. The teaching allows me to get the fun out of the business without being responsible for the dire consequences! Though, I would like to teach more engineering than construction. But it’s the only opening they had so meh.

For industry positions though I would second construction. There are many headaches in that as well (there are few positions with no headaches if you actually care about your work). But they are of a different sort as they are generally money or workforce/schedule related. So the worst that happens is that you lose money on a job, and if it isn’t your firm, that isn’t so bad. Don’t open your own construction firm though (then the money headaches are what keep you awake and those are crazy stressful).

Openings abound for construction project mangers with engineering experience, at least here. Just had a friend move from a design firm to a construction company last year and as a PM he's paid roughly $110k CND ($130k with bonuses I think). Workload is what you expect: 50-60 hours in the summer and 25-35 in the winter.

RE: The great resignation

(OP)
I like your stoic approach Koot. Its something I’ve read about lightly in the past but maybe I need to read it in a bit more detail.

I think i need “a good kick up the hole” as we say in Ireland.

I can’t help but wonder how many times the safety factors have saved us all.

RE: The great resignation

Quote (Enable)

I recently took up a post as a full-time professor of construction project management at a teaching college in the northern city I just moved to.

Congratulations! If you find yourself in need of a new book to teach from, I recently discovered the text below and recommend it. It would have been perfect for me 20 yrs ago.



@MIStructE_IRE: I liked this one too and it's sort of a modern take on stoicism. The argument is that most folks actually find work-joy in excellence and service rather than in "doing what they love". Excellence and service are much more within your control and, in all liklihood, already present in your day to day work.

RE: The great resignation

Thanks KootK! I actually have the 8th edition of that text and was thinking of using it for when I teach the more site / logistics oriented classes (currently teaching law & contracts, construction & the environment which I've basically turned into a building science course, and human resource management)

Plus Eng-Tips' very own Ron Woods has been added as a primary author since I bought my edition. Definitely a very easy sell and near 100% will use it when I teach construction planning & advanced site logistics in the fall semester!

RE: The great resignation

I was retired in March 2019 . . . (not by choice but didn't want to move back to North America). Two months in, my wife told me "Get a job!" - and she had been after me to retire for the two years prior. I did and am working on a very interesting Dam project in Tajikistan . . . If I don't work . . . what would I do??

RE: The great resignation

BigH - is that the Rogun Dam? That article is a little old, but it sounds like a pretty fascinating project. Quite ambitious, too.

RE: The great resignation

The irony here of course being that those who feel the burden of their responsibility are exactly the people which the industry (and the general public) needs most.

RE: The great resignation

I agree with Flotsam7018. That's why we have designed by; checked by; and periodic reviews by a senior person to provide a sanity check. Hang in there and have faith in your ability. I empathize with your concerns about errors. I regularly see plans with things that are unbuildable or inefficient; things that will come back to haunt us later to some extent. I try my best to straighten things out.

I plan on being part of the "great resignation" with the next 10-12 months (hopefully that last tuition payment will be this year). I've been WFH since 3/17/20 although I have been going in to the office 1-2 days per week since last summer. WFH isn't for me; I like being around people. I'm not a number cruncher anymore. I'm more of the guy who runs the assembly line to keep the project moving. It's not the same dynamic WFH. Pre-pandemic, I would WFH occasionally; usually on a Friday or if the weather was very bad; I have a 2+ hour commute each way.

Over the years through mergers and acquisitions, I'm now with a very large firm. Pre-pandemic, I learned to ignore things like office politics, management restructurings, lack of leadership, and lately "woke culture". From being home, it's really the lack of leadership in the department over the past 2 years and lately not knowing where my next billable hour is coming from that lead to my decision to leave. I'm in a very large department, we have a new manager, who's being doing a great impersonation of the Invisible Man.

Quote (Quote IRStuff) I could easily see myself croaking on the job)


Another reason I want out. I worked with enough people who ended being "carried out" because they didn't know when to quit.

RE: The great resignation

Quote:

Another reason I want out. I worked with enough people who ended being "carried out" because they didn't know when to quit.

That's not necessarily a bad outcome, though, is it? If you die doing what you're passionate about, that's about the best outcome, so long as you haven't given up the work/family balance and have done all the other things you might have wanted to do. So long as you can die with no regrets of consequence, all is good.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: The great resignation

(OP)
I can think of better ways to go than sitting at a desk with a calc pad..

RE: The great resignation

I think IRS point (if I may be presumptuous) is that, "It's something that you are passionate about." I cannot think of a finer ending, myself.

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Do you feel any better?

-Dik

RE: The great resignation

MIStructeE-IRE: 95% of all engineering disasters happen during construction, not design. I don't know how they do things in Ireland, but most structural firms in the USA have people checking each others work. I used to mentor a lot of junior engineers and had many come to me over the years telling me they couldn't handle the stress of the structural design setting. I encouraged many of the young lads to try something like inspection, maintenance or construction. Most ended up having very successful "changes".

RE: The great resignation

...and it's not usually from a tight design, but from something overlooked or constructed improperly,

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Do you feel any better?

-Dik

RE: The great resignation

Quote ((dik)I I cannot think of a finer ending, myself.)


"different strokes for different folks". More power to you dik.

As the opening line from old TV show said "There are 8 million stories in the naked city". When I think about those guys, some of them didn't know the key is not to retire from something rather retire to something.

RE: The great resignation

or having finished a nice glass of Scotch...pipe

Rather than think climate change and the corona virus as science, think of it as the wrath of God. Do you feel any better?

-Dik

RE: The great resignation

Quote (MIStruct IRE)

That, in conjunction with engineer’s anxiety and sleepless nights sweating over calculations

For me I've never come across this. This is what quality control, checking and oversight is there for. No one person should ever be in a position to be wholly responsible for something that would ever cause a failure that would imperil anyone.

Anything grossly wrong will get picked up and for the rest, it's often addressed in construction or in fact shows how over designed most of what we do is.

But everyone's different and if this is causing you issues now, it is unlikely after what 15 years?, then it might not go away and in fact get worse as you gradually become more and more senior and responsible for picking up everyone else's mistakes.

So what to do? No one here can really tell you other than have a good look around, remind yourself that the grass in general isn't any greener in any other field, it's just different grass. Retraining at 40 with two small kids isn't easy, and it doesn't sound like you have some burning desire to be a Gard or a fireman or something, so like others have said is construction your game ( often a long way away, loads of time pressures and everyone wanting a high quality, cheap and fast project) or a job in the council or the planning authority ( lower wages, often poor promotion opportunities) checking or commenting on designs.

What type of structural engineering really do you like doing?

And after all that you might decide that actually you have it pretty good now - you just need to work out ways to stop worrying about details and calculations that are not your responsibility once someone else has reviewed and signed them off.

Remember - More details = better answers
Also: If you get a response it's polite to respond to it.

RE: The great resignation

MIStructE_IRE -

I think this is the constant struggle of the young engineer. I loved studying engineering in school. I graduated and found out there was a ton of stuff I didn't know. I enjoyed learning it, even if the hours could be long. Since I was young, little was expected of me, so the responsibility wasn't so high that it became too stressful.

As I began to gain experience, the responsibility and the stress increased. Stamping your own drawing and being the engineer of record on major projects is a huge step. Especially when so many projects are fast paced on a tight budget.

Some people thrive on these sorts of projects. I'm not one of them. At least not anymore. Now that I'm in my late 40s, I just can't work the kind of hours that I did before. My body starts to break down a bit if I push myself like that.

Now, many of us have taken a detour with our careers. Some go into engineering sales or become technical representatives for engineering products. I'm in software, but I have good friends that I went to school with or worked with that have moved onto Hilti, the APA, AISC, Simpson or such. I talked to someone who pivoted early on to law school with the hopes of becoming a lawyer for the construction industry. I know people that went into project management for construction companies or went to work for steel detailers. Plan check engineers for cities, private companies, OSHPD or DSA.

There are all kinds of options that closely relate to structural engineering that don't require the same type of day to day work of a "production" engineer. So, you have options.

RE: The great resignation

I think the pandemic and working remotely have taken more of a toll on us than we realize. Communicating mostly via email and messenger apps is just not good for the soul over the long run. Getting out and speaking face to face with people, working things out on a job site or around a conference table, can go a long way towards maintaining sanity in this profession. It helps maintain healthy relationships with people vs. the toxicity that electronic communication seems to promote.

These are just personal observations with respect to myself, as I have also been struggling with motivation and stress in recent years. Now that the pandemic has eased in my area, interpersonal interactions have become more routine again, and I've realized just how important a role they play in regulating my emotional state and keeping myself grounded. Too much time exclusively pounding away on the keyboard has some really insidious effects over time.

RE: The great resignation

@Bones206,
I disagree, I think the pandemic showed we dont need to be cubical prisoners. Working from home allowed me to maximize my time. If I needed to mow the grass before it rained at 5pm, i did. I didnt have to spend 30 mins getting ready, then 30 mins driving to work, etc. I could go directly to work, maybe a nice coffee break a couple hours later, then a nice lunch I didnt have to buy. If I felt a nap was in order, then I did. Still hit my schedules, etc. There is no reason we have to work 9-5.

There are days I will go without talking to my boss. Might get an email from him, but sometimes I never cross paths with him at work. Just how it is.

Im 100% considering quiting my job and just doing what I want to do.

RE: The great resignation

2
MIStructE_IRE -

Your post pushed me off the sidelines and I finally registered as a member, so thank you.

I have seen similar post on the symptoms you described and I also have that same anxiety, it has to be an almost universal feeling for structural engineers. Two of the "smartest" (highest GPA) people that I graduated school with have left the design field entirely - one is a highschool teacher, and the other is in policy making for a water district. Or you can do what I did and simply start your own design firm. I found that the majority of my stress wasn't centered on the calculations or the time frames but was caused by the complexity of the people I worked with and the stress of trying to keep everyone else happy - in a word - Politics. My theory now is to not worry so much about the corporate climb (not much climbing to be done now anyway) but to find people that I enjoy working with, dont do dumb stuff (have you seen the old UBC codes there so basic and buildings are still standing), learn to say 'no thank you' and to keep in mind that years of school, exams and verified experience has prepared us to do this kind of work.

Cheers,

RE: The great resignation

Have you considered becoming a "designer" in the sense of you create your own company where you market yourself as a designer level drafter to other engineers. You could probably command reasonable fixed fees and I bet many engineers on this forum would be happy to have someone doing 1099 work for them. A good designer is worth their weight in gold, especially one who understands the engineering side and load paths.

RE: The great resignation

Quote:

one is a highschool teacher, and the other is in policy making for a water district.

That may have nothing to do with anything discussed here, unless it really wasn't their passion. We had a new hire at my first job, so going on 40 years ago, who graduated 4.0 GPA BSEE from UC Berkeley. And he could clearly do the work, but he had ZERO interest in it, i.e., it wasn't his passion and likely did it to keep his parents happy; 5 years after, he quit and went to work in the family restaurant. As with sustaining a flame, which requires fuel, heat, and oxygen, job success similarly requires ability, passion, and opportunity; the lack of any key component can result in all sorts of negative outcomes, from just quitting to suicide.

I knew I wanted to be an engineer, albeit EE, since I was in 7th grade, but had I lacked ability or opportunity, I might be a lawyer or something equally dark winky smile

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: The great resignation

@JStructsteel - Fair enough, I don't disagree with any of the positive points of WFH. I worked remote for a year before the pandemic and still am for the most part, and the flexibility and freedom is a tremendous benefit for sure. But for me at least, I have to admit that from a motivational and engagement standpoint, the lack of human interaction with coworkers, clients and contractors has had a corrosive effect. With the pandemic hopefully receding and having more opportunities to interact, I am feeling a bit more engaged and less of an anonymous keyboard commodity with a PE stamp.

RE: The great resignation

2
The guy who became a teacher kept a 1/4" x 3/4" sticky note over the clock of his computer monitor so he wouldn't keep counting down the hours till he could go home, and I think most sane people would agree with that if they even ran ACI RD.4 by hand as was required by our employer at the time. We were both coming from grad school after running a lab and being generally well respected by your peers and professors, while only really having to run a few calcs for exam practice and study interesting things here and there to make the grade and be "successful." Then coming into the real world where the work never ends, its really hard to justify your career path when you just spent 7 hours in pure silence running a calc for one anchor bolt. Then tomorrow knowing that there's another six bolt groups to do and your probably going to have to write an excel spreadsheet over the weekend to get them all done in time and who knows if the boss is going to be mad about that, and the QC/VV that has to be done with a program etc... I don't blame him a bit.

I justified it as a continuation of my education, and that I was building a tool set - not a super fun tool set but still the tools I needed for the career. I think its shocking for most EI's to get out of school pass the FE, heck even the PE and realize that its still so much larger than your education and the mentors aren't necessarily nice or appreciate your visit during office hours like they did in school. Lump all that in and years later still having to play nicey-nice politics in a typical corporate office environment/manila envelope, I almost started cutting down sticky notes. WFH has shown me that its not the career its the people, get around the right people and it will be better.

RE: The great resignation

Quote:

Have you considered becoming a "designer" in the sense of you create your own company where you market yourself as a designer level drafter to other engineers. You could probably command reasonable fixed fees and I bet many engineers on this forum would be happy to have someone doing 1099 work for them. A good designer is worth their weight in gold, especially one who understands the engineering side and load paths.

I've thought about switching to designer myself. In the last 10 years, it's gotten to the point where I can lay it out better than them. (It was different at the beginning of my career. I wish those guys were still around.)

Only one small problem: I'm not that good of a drafter and I don't know 3D software. smile

RE: The great resignation

The real trick here it seems is to find something closely related to what you do know that has fewer downsides and more upsides.

At 40 you are probably actually better than you think you are and in reasonable demand. Companies though want to know why you want a particular post and not just why you don't like your current role / company / position. Get to 50 and it's a different environment altogether.

I was part of a smaller growing company a few years ago and recruiting senior leads. Many could tell us in detail why they wanted to leave whatever company they were with, but not why they wanted to join ours. Only when you have a good story to tell will you get somewhere. IMHO.

but good luck and let us know where you're going with this.

Remember - More details = better answers
Also: If you get a response it's polite to respond to it.

RE: The great resignation

Quote (LittleInch)

Get to 50 and it's a different environment altogether.

Can you elaborate on that? I'm curious since I'm now closer to 50 than 40. My perception:

1) At point where I'm fairly expensive relative to what I produce.

2) Not enough time left on the clock for me to occupy a leadership role for a meaningful length of time.

3) More mature folks tend to be less energetic than the rookies for valid, if non-PC, physiological reasons.

Not all of these things are true in all situations but that's my perception. My wife is involved in the hiring of senior engineers so I've had a bit of a window to it through that.

RE: The great resignation

Well maybe 55, but yes, all of those things in my experience.

Also as you get further into the years of experience, you tend to do less and less actual engineering and more reviewing and overseeing, at least where I'm at - not true for everyone of course. So if what you actually need is someone to crank out some calcs, reports, drawings etc from a more or less blank screen, then I wouldn't normally go for the >55 person and I'm one of them!

These are wild generalisations of course, but the point was that at 40 you are a prized asset that companies can still take and mould a bit, get 20 odd useful years of work out of you at a decent cost and don't have to spend much on training. 50+, the opportunities gradually start to go into inexorable decline.

I joined a new consultancy group at 49 as I saw it as the one last decent chance to be in a growing firm and a chance to be in at the start point. Didn't work out mainly due to the oil price slide of 2014/2015 ($120/bbl to $60/bbl in 6 months, then even lower) causing all the firms to stop all projects and killed the consultant industry, but then started life as a consultant for hire as I knew I didn't want and not many people would want me starting on the management ladder again. Best move I ever made. But if that option wasn't available to you then you are kind of stuck once you get to the 55+ mark for sure.

Remember - More details = better answers
Also: If you get a response it's polite to respond to it.

RE: The great resignation

Thanks for that LittleInch.

RE: The great resignation

Another career transition that I've considered is switching to geotechnical engineering. Simpler product to deliver, no architect headaches, and more "sciencey" on a day to day basis I feel. Maybe I would pick up a masters in geo part time before transitioning and, after a few years, be back to 80% of my current earning capacity.

In all my travels, I can't say that I've ever heard of an SE going geo. And I've always wondered why that is.

Were time and money no issue, I might shoot for the fences and become an astrophysicist. Target one of the five available jobs like my life depended on it since, nowadays, I kind of see that it does with respect to job satisfaction.

RE: The great resignation

(OP)
Having considered this over the past while and discussed it with my wife and a close colleague, I’m going to stick it out - for now. Also booked into a therapist to help manage the classic Engineers anxiety over our worst fear.

Thank you all for your valuable input and thought provoking responses as always.

RE: The great resignation

The two major contributors to disaster are:

1) New materials, new geometries, or a significant change in scaling of existing geometries.

2) Last minute changes to some detail without going back to the original design analysis to ensure that initial assumptions are still in force after.

As long as those cases are in control/understood/avoided then the chance for a major screw-up on a normal career are pretty small, like infinitesimally small.

I struggle to think of a failed situation that isn't one of those as far as those caused by design and analysis. Construction failures are a separate consideration - people failing to follow the plans or substituting substandard materials, for example.

If you wish to deal with anxiety over this, then realizing that the breadth of the problem has a far narrower scope than everything might help.

Best of luck.

RE: The great resignation

Quote (P)

This is what quality control, checking and oversight is there for.

When things go bad, you find out what all that’s worth. Your checker, to save his own neck, becomes your executioner pretty fast.

Never been thru it personally, but I’ve seen it. It’s not pretty.

RE: The great resignation

Quote (PMR06)

I look at it this way, a person can:

1) Be really good at something
2) Get paid really well to do something
3) Really enjoy something

RARELY does one maximize all three simultaneously.

I, with respect, couldn't disagree with this more strongly.

Lacking one of the above in your professional life just means you haven't found the thing you should be doing. Finding that thing takes risk, and likely some minor level of failure along the path - but that thing is out there for everyone. This is a little woowoo for this forum but it's something I truly believe.

If you aren't enjoying your work over the long term, you should quit and do something else. When you find something you enjoy, that you also do well, the money will come.

Enjoying your work is as much a function of taking satisfaction from your own success and skill growth as it is about having objective 'FUN' during the work day. Almost always, enjoying it will mean you're good at it, and being good at it will mean you make more money. In my opinion, if you think you're great at something you hate doing, you're probably not as good at it as you think you are.

RE: The great resignation

I think that the caveat "RARELY" applies; there's a reason why all the engineering disciplines aren't flooded with super-engineers. The sub bullet "Be really good at something" has to come into play; I think most people simply are NOT "really good at something." We can see that in children's sports; all those kids playing summer league, travelling league, etc., to the point where they might actually be good enough to get noticed for a college scholarship, and find that there are dozens of people equally good, or even better. And by the end of college, most of them wind up having to live in the real world, instead of going to the "big show." And in some cases, it may simply be the lack of decent educational resources/opportunities, or it may simply be that most people are NOT "really good" at anything, they may be just barely good enough to hold any job.

Sure, there might be a potential Edison, slaving away at some menial job, but the odds are pretty low, but non-zero, for that happening. That first sub bullet is a really large threshold, and that puts the 90- or 99 percent of the rest of the discipline in those lower-paid jobs. There's obviously a question whether any of the lower quartiles would, or could, be successful in something else. And, that would need to be coupled with the 3rd sub bullet, "really enjoy something" and the two somethings have to coincide. Otherwise, one is faced with choosing something that they're really good at vs. something they really enjoy. And, only then might there be the commensurate compensation. On top of all of that, you need to be able to manage your finances well enough, and have a number of other dominoes fall your way, like health, companies that have some level of staying power, etc.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
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RE: The great resignation

3D Dave,

I'll try and remember those - they sound like the root causes to the Miami Bridge collapse to me, but apply to all engineering disciplines.

MI Struct IRE - Well maybe do a retread in a years time after some counselling / therapy and see where you go. I've maybe been fortunate, I don't know, but I've always enjoyed what I do, think I'm pretty good at it by now and have received pretty good compensation for it over time.

Out of PMR06's list I would take nos 1 and 3 as the key parameters. How much you compromise those for no 2 is your call and everyone's different.

Remember - More details = better answers
Also: If you get a response it's polite to respond to it.

RE: The great resignation


MIStructE_IRE ,

I got really sorrow when i read your post.

I was retired several years ago after 40 ++ working life . You can imagine that my generation had worked with slide rules then with calculators then with computers .
But at least we enjoyed , get paid really well and get respect. Nowadays, IMO, enhanced softwares ( input cow , output sausage ) together with plague of MBA destroyed the real engineering

I am afraid that we are witnessing the last days of engineering due to escape of clever young engineers to marketing , management..etc..

I wish GOOD LUCK to you..

RE: The great resignation

Hturkak - I think its worse again. The very young youngsters (even 10-20 yo) dont see college or university as a future. They see youtube, crypto and NFTs as the way they will make money. There is no doubt that people can make money and do make money from these, but only the very lucky ones.

I think all professions (marketing, accounting, finance, engineering, medicine etc) will suffer!

RE: The great resignation

Rough estimate - (For the USA) since I graduated the cost of college has gone up at least 10X but the salaries have only gone up 3-5X making the investment less of a payoff. I'm not sure they see anything as an alternative except that they all have terrible career prospects. Between this and the way the USA handles medical care, it's clear that the less-optional segments of the supply side of the economy have decided to look at how much most people might ever earn and price their products to take all of it. Housing, education, healthcare. Can food be far behind?

RE: The great resignation

Quote:

They see youtube, crypto and NFTs as the way they will make money. There is no doubt that people can make money and do make money from these, but only the very lucky ones.

It's a general life lesson; it's no different than learning that being a rock superstar is neither for the faint of heart, nor for the less than stellar performer.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
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RE: The great resignation

My wife is a doctor and her office just had a mass resignation yesterday. Almost half of the doctors quit or retired en masse. She said most of them had no prospects or plans lined up -- just couldn't take it anymore. Pretty crazy considering the student loans these people are repaying (my wife's education cost ~$600k @ 7% interest).

I've observed that many of the trends in the physician profession seem to mirror those in the engineering world. But at least they have a sort of professional association that has the power to continuously negotiate compensation rates with the insurance companies. We don't even have that.

RE: The great resignation

600k? Is that what medical school costs nowadays? WTF? Why would anyone become a Doctor?

RE: The great resignation

Quote:

Why would anyone become a Doctor?

Family medicine is probably close to a losing proposition; they get squeezed on all sides and make the least amount of money. Almost any specialization, particularly surgical, boosts income by factors of 4 or more.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
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RE: The great resignation

I have noticed a similar trend with the medical industry, family doctors are closing down as the older doctors retire and the new ones are going to work for hospitals or urgent cares where they sign a contractor for x years and their student loans are paid back by the company. Their industry is already taken over by corporate America so to say. Engineering I bet isn't far behind with the latest trends of the ones who offer the most to the industry having had enough and leaving (either switching careers or retiring) and the newer ones (in my opinion 9 out of every 10) coming into the industry relying only on software and not knowing what they are doing nor receiving proper training/education or going into project management. I am hoping there is an adjustment as the engineering community shrinks allowing us to become more profitable again to attract the best talent.

RE: The great resignation

The 10 year public service loan forgiveness program allowed her to choose family medicine. Otherwise she would have gone into cardiothorasic surgery in order to pay off the loans. Under Trump, the feds rejected over 99% of the loan forgiveness applications, effectively reneging on the promises made to borrowers. Seems to have reversed course under Biden, but there is a lot of uncertainty and we are reliant on the government keeping it's 10 year forgiveness promise in order to not fall into financial ruin. It boggles my mind that some of her colleagues decided to bail with only a few years left in their 10 year forgiveness term.

RE: The great resignation

Family medicine woes are compounded if they are single-practioners or IPA members; there's basically no paid vacation and vacation incurs costs to pay staff, not to mention being on-call all the time. Working for a hospital or something like Kaiser gets rid of a lot of that built-in stress

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
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RE: The great resignation

phamENG - yes, the Rogun Dam . . . we are in a very interesting point of the project - yet, another estimated 10 years to go . . . About 80 Mm3 of material to place . . . has been a very good project to work on thus far.

RE: The great resignation

I never got sleepless nights from engineering until two-weeks ago. I write my own engineering software and two weeks ago, I managed to delete all the named ranges in my excel database. 14 years of stuff. There must have been a hundred named ranges. All gone. Every spreadsheet filled up with #NAME?. Worst still. Not knowing what I did, I tried to reload my add ins and managed to turn all my functions into #VALUE?

For two-weeks, I have done nothing but fix my work. I load a beam, find the missing named-range and then go into the database and recreate the range.

I am nearly 70, I love this job, never want to retire. If I had the chance, I would teach engineering and algebra in code.

RE: The great resignation

Here's a fun fact. The AMA lobbies to keep a lid on the number of teaching hospitals in the US making sure that competition for decreasing the costs to become a doctor cannot happen.

I wonder why. /s

RE: The great resignation

As-Lag, you dont back up your work somehow???

RE: The great resignation

This is interesting; Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, reminds us that there are those of us that haven't yet found their passion, or simply don't have a passion, and that perhaps following your curiosity might be an equally valid life path.

https://www.oprah.com/video_embed.html?article_id=...

TTFN (ta ta for now)
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RE: The great resignation

Quote (IRstuff)

or simply don't have a passion

This is something I've come to grips with over the past year or so. It's not that I don't have a passion...it's that I don't have a professional passion. I'm passionate about my family and ensuring they are as safe and as comfortable as my labors can reasonably make them, but that's about it.

I'm reasonably good at problem solving, and so I've leveraged that into a career in engineer that allows me to provide for my family better than many. For a long time I conflated that with a passion for engineering. Admitting to myself that I'm not passionate about engineering has been very liberating and has allowed me to seek new ways to fulfill goals.

RE: The great resignation

Quote:

Admitting to myself that I'm not passionate about engineering has been very liberating and has allowed me to seek new ways to fulfill goals.

Indeed, that's kind of Gilbert's message; "passion bullies" would want, or make, everyone to feel like failures if they haven't found a productive "passion," when that isn't the end-all or be-all.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
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RE: The great resignation

I'm enjoying this thread, so I'll offer a bit from my own experience.

I'm a structural engineer (had an SE license, but let it lapse...still licensed as a PE) in my late 30s. I meandered into the Civil Engineering field mainly due to family history and an aptitude for technology - and then meandered toward structures due to an intuitive feel for physics and a draw toward architecture. I practiced at four firms in two states and picked up a Masters in Civil (structures focus) along the way.

The thing that started to bother me was the problem of "career discovery." It wasn't exactly clear to me how I became a structural engineer -- only that I did. I'm not sure that I really ever sat down at the buffet table of careers and made a deliberate choice. I just kept walking along and ended up where I ended up. I believe that is how most people choose a career -- some combination of family ties, autopilot, and some spark of an interest along the way. It's not a bad system (it has gotten society to this point, thus far) -- but it certainly isn't a good one.

Personally, I needed a change away from design engineering. It's not that I dislike the field -- I actually came to enjoy it when practicing it way more than I did in school, especially when flying in formation with more experienced engineers -- but I was getting to a point where I felt stuck. The economics of engineering consulting didn't help much. I still practice, just not as a full time job. Only for allies, when and if I can.

Instead, I created a project that collects the "day in the life" videos of local professionals (engineers, architects, manufacturers, and contractors) and then funnel those into local education programs (called "Expertise Project.") The idea is that by exposing students to a buffet table of local professionals (many of whom they would never meet, despite living within an hour from them) on a dedicated video platform...we can make more students aware of their career options and let them, in an informed way, choose a career path or their first employer with a bit more confidence than our current system is. That project led me to become a faculty member in a Civil Tech program at a community college, and dive into the belly of the beast of technical education, video production, and website design. Exhale.

What I've found is that, viewed from a step back and in context to other local career paths, that the best parts about engineering design (the problem discovery, solving, and communicating) are really quite attractive... even though the economics of the field are "eh, not bad." Honestly, the economics are the part that spooks me the most (and I'm always searching Eng-Tips for rays of light) -- and the part that I think our field has to worry about the most.

I'm just offering my experience thus far, because I found that I was becoming depleted on an engineering design only tract -- and needed to leaven it with an education / student career discovery tract to find more fulfillment. I think all students should at least get glimpses into local professions so they are somewhat aware, and then engineering students should taught how to communicate, above all. (My two cents).

This current career path is a high wire act and wouldn't be appealing to most - but it has turned out to be "funner" for me, at least right now.

"We shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us." -WSC

RE: The great resignation

@MJB315

Gilbert mentions this in spiritual/philosophical context, you are where God drew a circle for you to be in; so at the end of the day, if you are fulfilled and happy, then you are precisely where you were meant to be, and the path that got you there, however tortuous, was the path you were meant to be on.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
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RE: The great resignation

I thought of MIStuctE_IRE and this thread recently when I was walking my dog and listening to a podcast by my favorite podcaster Russ Roberts: Link

In the middle third of that, they have an interesting discussion about career choices and happiness. And, as economists are prone to doing, they remain very pragmatic about it. The suggestion is that a good way to live might be to alternate periods of exploration (dreaming & scheming) and exploitation (working what you've chosen to your benefit). We all do this over the long haul by going to college and then not making any big changes in our final earning years. But, within reason, one might benefit from instituting modulated cycles of the same concept every 10 years or whatever. It was a interesting discussion.

Rationally, if you choose a path and then never veer from it without pausing to re-evaluate and re-strategize, what are the odds that you're still on the right path thirty years later? Additionally, I think that there's merit in questioning whether or not your can execute a truly fruitful re-assessment while still mired in the workaday hustle of you last strategic career choice. It's hard to really see what's on the outside when you're still very much on the inside.

RE: The great resignation

So instead of being married to my job, I should have more of an... open relationship?

RE: The great resignation

Quote (bones206)

So instead of being married to my job, I should have more of an... open relationship?

Yeah. The concept of intermittent sabbaticals becomes very appealing (other than financially). I've been giving some serious thought to maybe driving a bus for a year or so. Kind of like Einstein's time in the Bern patent office. I'll just drive around, think about Eng-Tips threads and whatever else comes to mind, and worry about nothing when I get home. Just see where I land once I step outside of the pressure cooker for a while. A city bus driver here probably gets paid 2/3 of what I do or more.

RE: The great resignation

Quote (KootK)

I've been giving some serious thought to maybe driving a bus for a year or so.

Ha. This summer when our school district (like so many others around the US) was scrambling for school bus drivers, I was keeping an eye on the incentives they were throwing out.

RE: The great resignation

I find this bus driver business incredibly interesting because I’ve had a similar thought but for serving at a restaurant. Nothing too high class though. More like a Jack Astor’s situation. I think it would be fun to observe and interact with people (I’m generally not a people person so it would probably be good for me anyways).

On a related note, I woke up a few years ago realizing that I don’t have to live surrounded by concrete pavement. Not sure why that thought didn’t occur to me previously. I’m a tad slow, I guess. Been taking certain steps to change venues / actually enjoy life ever since. Moved to Northern Ontario (my city has North in the name lol), got myself a teaching gig and enrolled in a master’s program (statistics). I’ll hang around here for a bit but think ultimately, I’m heading out East to Halifax. Bring my sailboat, and study at one of the 5 universities and continue teaching. Where I wake up and a good day is actually a good day and not just a day where things don’t get too messed up.

Fuck just typing that out sounds good. Who wants to move with me? I could use some company!

RE: The great resignation

Years ago we worked with an architect that would take breaks every few years and run CAT. School Bus...Serenity NOW.

RE: The great resignation

Would it not put my marriage in jeopardy, I might approach Lomarandil about joining his ministerial, developing world engineering thing for a spell. It looks pretty cool and I'm pretty sure that I could fake enough religiosity to get me through a rainy season or two. Who knows, maybe I could be converted? I would love to adopt a more optimistic belief system if I could. And I've not the slightest concern for what is "true" or "real". I just want to enjoy my remaining time as much as possible.

RE: The great resignation

Quote (Enable)

I’ve had a similar thought but for serving at a restaurant.

That's uncanny. I've actually applied to be a part time server at some high end steak houses. I got nowhere and spoke to some restraint industry friends about it. Apparently a "tourist" resume full of engineering accomplishments tends to just piss off restaurant people. I've been told that I'd be better off coming in with a blank resume and saying that I'd been in prison since 1998.

Quote (Enable)

Who wants to move with me? I could use some company!

1) I'm NS licensed as of last month.
2) I've got a top three bestie out there.
3) I went on Halifax's Ghost Tour once and decided then and there that it's probably Canada's coolest city.

RE: The great resignation

I'll pass on the frozen north (I'm a Florida native and my blood will only get but so thick), but sail on down to the Chesapeake and give me a call. I live about 10 minutes from the Intracoastal canals. Have a dingy sailboat I'm fixing up in the backyard right now. Had a chance for a decent 26 footer a few months ago but the wife said no...

RE: The great resignation

I work flexible hours, remote from anywhere in the country we feel like, which is nice. I got into this because I'm good at logic, problem solving, math, and visualization, and I like getting real things done.

But I really hate sitting at a computer all day and have some horrible ADD. I don't have one life passion - I get into hobbies for a few years, obsess for a few years, burn out. Can't make money racing bikes, lifting weights, or backpacking. I had fun building out my campervan, so maybe do more of that in a few years. Probably still take side projects engineering.

Eventually when we've had enough of traveling, we will buy some land and build a house (or maybe buy a pre-build fixer upper with good bones), set up a workshop and AirBNB, learn woodworking or maybe build out a few more campervans to rent or sell. I always like teaching. Spent a year or so tutoring and several years coaching kids gymnastics. That was fun. And engaging. No way to zone out or scroll forums while teaching.

RE: The great resignation

Quote (KootK)

The suggestion is that a good way to live might be to alternate periods of exploration (dreaming & scheming) and exploitation (working what you've chosen to your benefit).

I think there's a lot of wisdom in this "noodle on it and then run" cadence.

One person summed it up along the lines of "Happiness is wagging a successful campaign." It's not waging a war (which is easy to get into -- especially on the internet) and it's not waging a battle (which is something we all do well enough, whether beit passing a test or finishing up a submission to a client). It's figuring out a way to string together a series of battles in a way that helps you inch forward toward winning...whatever war you think that you're in.

Smushing that analogy into the context of career paths -- I think waging a series of "three year campaigns" in your war-of-career makes sense. Something like:

Campaign #1 - College. Win a series of battles and end up with a credential (and if you're lucky, something useful you actually remember). Stop. Exhale. Reset.
Campaign #2 - First Job. Win a series...actually, lose lots and lots of battles and realize you really don't have much expertise. Claw your way toward a base level of competency and justify your existence in the company. Brutal. Exhale. Reset.
Campaign #3 - Get a few real projects under your belt -- top to bottom. Show you got it. Start to breathe and look around....Realize that financially, there's something not quite clicking.

Those first three campaigns usually will take about 10 years (which, ahem, is probably 1/5th of your working life). Welp, time to gear up and do the next campaign.

Whereever that leads, it leads. It doesn't really seem to matter much... but I've just personally noticed that when I am in the middle of a campaign (whatever that is) and if I feel like I'm moving forward, I'm happy and fulfilled. Whenever I'm between campaigns and/or feel stuck, I feel anxious.

I'm not sure quite the point I'm driving towards here -- just riffing on alot of others have been sharing. It makes sense to me to take a few moments between campaigns, chill out, work at a restaurant/dig holes/paint the garage/whatever -- and then suit back up for whatever the next campaign is and see where it leads.

I just know that many of most successful people I know have quilted together a weird array of skills that makes them valuable -- and I'm starting to suspect they did it in this way.

"We shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us." -WSC

RE: The great resignation

Quote (KootK)

Would it not put my marriage in jeopardy, I might approach Lomarandil about joining his ministerial, developing world engineering thing for a spell. It looks pretty cool and I'm pretty sure that I could fake enough religiosity to get me through a rainy season or two. Who knows, maybe I could be converted? I would love to adopt a more optimistic belief system if I could. And I've not the slightest concern for what is "true" or "real". I just want to enjoy my remaining time as much as possible.

It's definitely very cool/fun and super fulfilling. I've worked on everything from schools for kids whose parents make a living picking through trash, to vocational training facilities for rescued victims of human trafficking, to an airstrip that cuts travel time to the nearest hospital from most of a week to a few hours. (And yes -- we tend to have a pretty positive outlook on life that goes past Solomon's conclusion of "eat, drink, and find satisfaction in your work".)

I wouldn't say it's low stress. Not as a full-time gig. In the training before we come over, they like to point out that on a clinical scale, the stressors of the first 1-2 years of moving to another culture and language puts most people just short of the "lock them up in a straightjacket" threshold -- working with some sort of mental health professional is pretty much mandatory. After you get the language and routines figured out, that cuts down... Nowadays, I can get around town and handle anything short of a hospital or government office without much difficulty. So I've been able* to enjoy the slower pace and lifestyle/culture in Southeast Asia -- but it takes some investment.

*Of course, for problem-solving types like me (us), there's then the balance of wanting to help and fix everything. As Pixy pointed out in his recent threads, the Etabs jockeys are everywhere and making a real mess of things. Or even outside work, the economic disparities will get to you... My wife and I rent a nice concrete house in the big city, I've seen more Lambos and Range Rovers here than anywhere else in my life, but as I walk around the neighborhood, I chat everyday with a bunch of kids living under leaky tin roofs whose families are surviving on dollars per day. The needs are enormous.

The good news -- there are lots of ways to contribute meaningfully to those needs without threatening your marriage and moving halfway around the world. We constantly are looking for volunteers to help coach younger engineers remotely, or take a two week trip out to visit a project site and keep the architects from doing anything totally crazy. (https://emiworld.org/trips). KootK, we even have a team based in your fair city who would love to get input from time to time for their projects in Haiti or Africa.

----
just call me Lo.

RE: The great resignation

I took a sabbatical/hiatus/time-away from engineering. 3 years and a bit from the day I slipped out the door to when I slipped back into an office. Learned a lot in those 3 years. Very much cleared my head and developed a better understanding of "me" as opposed to a version of me under stress. Definitely got sick of a few jobs (tutor, gopher on a film set, warehouse muscle, administrator) and understood what engineering can actually do for me.

I don't know why this isn't encouraged or even acknowledged as a realistic option for many. Definitely a tough move to do in your early-30s, but not impossible. If you have any sort of independence in your later life, do it.

RE: The great resignation

I'll throw this out there -- just in case the mood should strike.

If anyone on this thread is up for a self-recording a "day in the life" style video of yourself, showing what you actually do as a practicing engineer -- I'd love to show it on ExPr Online (Expertise Project Online). Trailer here: https://www.expertiseproject.org/

My engineer videos are all currently locally based (Upstate New York) but I'd welcome honest videos from anywhere and put them along side. Videos can be as simple as talking heads (example here) or on location (example here). They're not intended to be advertisements, but more honest glimpses in to what programs look like (example here) and what make people anxious and hopeful about their current jobs (example here).

No pressure of course, but if it's something you want to collaborate on and use as an outlet -- I'm all ears.

"We shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us." -WSC

RE: The great resignation

Lo - that's awesome. I interned at a company that specialized in water/wastewater and environmental engineering and had just about the entire board for the local chapter of Engineers Without Borders on staff. Some of the stuff they did was really interesting - one that sticks out was building water filtration systems for villages in Cambodia - but never really touched on the structural stuff that I was getting into. Nice to know there's an outlet for that with a primarily architectural/structural bent.

On the off chance that I can make the time in the not too distance future, I'll have to reach out. Being able to volunteer on a short term, lower stress basis would be fun.

RE: The great resignation

I keep referring back to my physician wife's career on this thread, because there are so many parallels with engineering. One thing that she really enjoys is teaching medical students. This is a formalized program, basically set up like an apprenticeship, and she teaches a half dozen students a year as they rotate through her office. She also has opportunities to lecture at the local medical school as a semi-formal side gig. I know this teaching aspect of her profession brings her a lot of joy and satisfaction and helps balance out the daily grind.

I can see this type of thing translating to engineering pretty well. I think the key to making it work in the medical field is that it is formalized, rigorous and a regulated mandatory requirement. So no matter how busy and overwhelmed a doctor gets, participation in this training and education program will always be woven into the fabric of their job. I think the current state of engineering generally leaves the trainees largely on the sidelines without meaningful engagement. I know a lot of experienced engineers yearn to pass on their knowledge and help fledgling engineers spread their wings, but that experience is more an exception than a rule these days.

RE: The great resignation

Quote (Lomarandil)

KootK, we even have a team based in your fair city who would love to get input from time to time for their projects in Haiti or Africa.

So it seems. Canada's operations are headquartered here no less. Can I drop your name as a reference?

RE: The great resignation

One of the things that I feel hinders us from doing the sabbatical thing is the structure of financial reward within your typical structural engineering consulting firm. To make any real money, you need an equity stake. To get the equity stake, you need to get promoted to associate/principal. To get that promotion, you need to put in decade or whatever, develop good business contacts, and build a team around you that can deliver the work profitably.

Everything about the setup that I just described heavily favors continuity in your work life. At most firms, a sabbatical would knock you off of that track in a heartbeat. Or, more likely, prevent you from ever getting on to it in the first place. All of the incentives steer one towards just continuing to grind away whether you're enjoying it or not. That, especially when you combine it with things like mortgages and kids that need educations.

RE: The great resignation

So to sum up my take the last few posts (in jest):

1 - Looks like I shall try to twist KootK's arm to do some delegated stuff when I transfer provinces. I promise to get into funner things than taking out existing occupied high-rise building columns this time! FYI that is slated to go on shortly - I will let you know if I need to relocate to a non-extradition treaty country or not.

2 - I have to learn how to sail on the sea to navigate down to phamENG. Been a fresh water guy my entire life, but have experienced some near death sailing weather and have been sailing since I was in a car seat; my dad literally took me sailing while I was buckled into a baby car seat strapped to the deck. I'm told that my mom was not that enthused but in his defense the pictures indicate I was wearing a life jacket. So I'm 90% sure I am up to the challenge. I shall bring some Canadian maple syrup and Moosehead as a peace offering.

3 - phamENG must admit to his wife that she was right in that a 26 footer was not the right way to go. To be a real captain he needs at least a 28+ footer! (I have a CS30 and I love it dearly. Sometimes bigger really is better lol)

4 - We are all going to try and join / help Lo's volunteer organization at some point. Hopefully in an effort to help others while simultaneously making us feel like our skills are actually useful other than for sidestepping regulatory hurdles.

Note: I've had a particularly rough day barfing at details produced by large design offices that violate basic CISC requirements and the like. Apparently not only do they do shitty work in Canada but also in 50 other countries around the world! I needed to post something kinda fun. On to your regularly scheduled programming.

RE: The great resignation

I'd take a bigger boat to be sure. I'd love me some blue water sailing. There's nothing quite like a 360 degree view of sea and sky. Granted, the years I had that I also had 100,000 tons of steel under my feet, so a fiberglass boat (or even a 60' steel hull) would probably be equal parts exhilarating and utterly terror inducing, but I'd love to do it. But a 26' boat with water ballast can be towed behind my budget friendly SUV and parked behind my barn. A 30' boat is a slip fee.

I haven't been sailing as long as you - had some fun with it high school on the Florida Gulf Coast, and did it for a few years here in Virginia after I left the Navy. Then came kids and I've been mostly out of the water - the project in the back yard is my attempt to claw my way back.

Interestingly, I can get Moosehead locally. Sort of. Closest store with it is about an hour away. Never had it - next time I'm up that way I'll have to pick some up.

Hey - take advantage of those terrible details. You can pick up enough change orders to buy the blue water boat.

RE: The great resignation

I did the race from melbourne to hobart once. That's the west coast of Tas, not the sissy race. 40 footer. To my amusement the boats were lined up at the dock in finishing order. Or indeed, length.

Cheers

Greg Locock


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RE: The great resignation

Quote (KootK)

One of the things that I feel hinders us from doing the sabbatical thing is the structure of financial reward within your typical structural engineering consulting firm. To make any real money, you need an equity stake. To get the equity stake, you need to get promoted to associate/principal. To get that promotion, you need to put in decade or whatever, develop good business contacts, and build a team around you that can deliver the work profitably.

Everything about the setup that I just described heavily favors continuity in your work life. At most firms, a sabbatical would knock you off of that track in a heartbeat. Or, more likely, prevent you from ever getting on to it in the first place. All of the incentives steer one towards just continuing to grind away whether you're enjoying it or not. That, especially when you combine it with things like mortgages and kids that need educations.

Eh, but in the reverse, if the situation changes such that the above doesn't make sense anymore, then it suddenly makes a lot of sense to do that pause. I'm on a break right now for at least several months because I realized that even if I got the positions where I was, I didn't really think it'd be a good life situation, so might as well pull the ripcord a bit.

That being said, I'm also at a reasonably good time in my career to do it though. I'm in the latter half of my thirties, have a solid enough list of projects behind me and likely have the flexibility to come back in to the industry on at least a bit of my own terms, whether that be solo consulting, a reasonably significant role at a small firm or a senior technical guy at a big firm where I set some better work life balance than last time.

RE: The great resignation

Quote (TLHS)

I'm on a break right now for at least several months because I realized that even if I got the positions where I was, I didn't really think it'd be a good life situation, so might as well pull the ripcord a bit.

Ahhh, so you are the great resignation. I'd actually been thinking to myself that you'd really been stepping up your contributions here as of late. I figured it was pat-leave or a new corner office.

Quote (TLHS)

That being said, I'm also at a reasonably good time in my career to do it though.

I'm inclined to agree with your assessment of your perceived sweet spot. When I was right where you are, it seemed as though employers and recruiters were practically mud wrestling over me. It's the perfect balance of pre-existing skill / reputation and future exploitation potential from an HR perspective.

I would love to have you as a colleague somehow. I may or may not be able to resist tracking you down and making a pitch.

RE: The great resignation

Quote (Enable)

Looks like I shall try to twist KootK's arm to do some delegated stuff when I transfer provinces. I promise to get into funner things than taking out existing occupied high-rise building columns this time!

You won't have to twist very hard. The existing column removal thing was more fun than most of the work that I do. Besides nowadays, I tend to be less concerned with what I'm doing than who I'm doing it with.

RE: The great resignation

RE: SAILING.

It never ceases to amaze my how much commonality tends to exist between structural engineers. An interest in sailing among us seems to be almost as ubiquitous as in interest in bicycles.

The attached article is pretty Kindergarten level as far as sailing theory goes but it helped me immensely on my journey through windsurfing, catamaran, and toy sail boating. I found that the folks who were trying to teach me how to sail focused mostly on what to do when rather than on what the underlying principles are. And, as a person endowed with almost no physical intuition whatsoever, I do much better with the underlying principles.

Go vectors!!!



RE: The great resignation

Well said TLHS..

I think that even if the situation is not sprung on you, there is a lot to be said about keeping ambitions and goals in proportion with our means -- specifically including accommodating for time away, by choice or not. That's something I think our AUS and NZ friends get right.

There are two sides to that equation, but I've personally found that keeping a lid on my demands (costs and contentment) is a heck of a lot easier than trying to chase demand by increasing supply (income and accomplishments). Full circle back to the stoics.

Quote (Enable)

I will let you know if I need to relocate to a non-extradition treaty country or not
As it works out.. I have you covered!
----
just call me Lo.

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