Many Geotechnical Engineers probably have not even thought about it too much, but what is that motivates many of us to practice Geotechnical Engineering? Is it the money? I don’t think so. If you compare the salaries of different engineering disciplines we are not even in the middle. If you compare with other non engineering disciplines we are so far down the list! We are under Wedding Photographers if you can believe that. Here is an article from EngineeringSalary.com regarding this issue.
So what is motivating us?
I came across two very interesting articles, the first in Geo-Strata September/October 2012 issue and the second in Ground Engineering Vol 46, No 1, January 2013. The first was the “Thoughts form the President” by Phil King in which he describes how he felt when he visited Terzaghi’s gravesite and reminisced his career as a Geotechnical Engineer. The second article was about John Burland “Towering Achievements” which describes how Prof. Burland became a Geotechnical Engineer and his career path.
Both describe with great passion their careers as Geotechnical Engineers and what more geotechnical engineering is for them.
What we do in the end is more about our passion for Geotechnical Engineering and less (much less) for material gain, salary or recognition. Our work usually is not even visible, but can you build a great structure without solid foundations?