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EnvEngineer

Ethics who's got em

9 posts in this topic

My company reciently started a new division, more geotechnical than civil, but when I read the SOQ projects were clearly misrepresented. I expressed my disappointment to the owner and he seemed to share my concern and said he would look into it. The SOQ was modified somewhat but I thought the projects were still misrepresented and now my resume was in the SOQ.

We discussed it again and I said I did not want my resume included unless changes were made to better represent the project profiles. I was suprised that they made the changes but I am at a quandry as to what I would do if they did not and said that my resume must stay in the SOQ.

We can blame the economy and competition but ethics need to come first or we need to find a new line of work. Do you feel that the economy is changing professional ethics.

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Maybe, maybe not. The devil is in the details. You may not know all of the details...

The economy is encouraging people to focus their marketing documents based on the target market. If a business is good at topics A, B, C and D, and the client is looking for A and B, they may list A1, A2, A3, B1, B2 and B3 as areas of expertise. Also, one may list a certification as a means of qualifying the expertise, even if they aren't actually experts. Though who is to say what an expert is? At my work, I'm the local expert on many things, yet, I'm not an expert based on people who do these things for a living.

People with poor ethics generally have poor ethics regardless of the economy. Some people may get a little bit creative with what an expert is.

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I've seen plenty of companies oversell themselves, when we knew the projects they were presenting didn't fully represent what we were looking for in an RFP. I think there is a fine line between overselling and just plain unethical.

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Every company oversells itself. Hell, every worker oversells himself, it's called a resume.

I worked for a company that was unethical at one point. I could smell it as soon as I started working there. I quit after 3 weeks.

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You just have to remember that politcians build roads (or other infrastructure), not engineers. As long as politcians control the decisions, we will always be in an unethical profession.. but it is our job to be as ethical as possible.. but its hard to watch "engineering" in action sometimes....

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These project were just lies, in one case there was a pretty detailed description written with a $1.05M budget, when we finally got down to details there was only a phone call (not sure if this even happened) to a foreign country to advise. Transcontenental engineering by telephone, we are special. Another was just a fantasy expansion on a tiny contract, kind of if they had more money than braines we could build something really special.

I understand about overselling and I see alot of resumes that are quite oversold, but we need to watch where that line is drawn and work to move it back to something we can stand behind.

Thanks for all the comments, very helpful "You just have to remember that politcians build roads", I had forgot or maybe wished it was not true.

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A phone call is certainly not enough to justify claiming it. On the other hand, I would say that engineering for a canceled project is still noteworthy, depending on the scale of the project.

Right after I started working at my office, a large project was canceled. It was at the 99% stage, and was for a massive, beautiful warehouse - huge arching visible beams, all kinds of things. We still listed it in our project listing, because it wasn't our fault that the client scaled back their plans to a prefab structure.

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you obvioulsy have limited experience in dealing with politicians!

& its not the "Design Part" its the "funding part" that I am concerned with and disgusted with.. They wont tell you to design a bridge a certain way, but they do control doing Project K over Project A, which is lower priority over A, doing Project A where there are X accidnets and Project K has <X accidents but there friends live near Project K so they push Project K... Thats my main contention..

Directly they are responsible and our job is to argue until we are blue in the face (& then keep memo's to the file ) when we are over-ruled by the elected officials for the lawyers to find later...

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"You just have to remember that politcians build roads"

In my business this is very true, they decide which industries to regulate and what chemical are the bad boys today. For example MTBE, was just a political decision, no discussion of the more dangeous chemicals such as benzene. MTBE may taste bad so lets ban it. As an engineer it is my job to work with this regulation and help my clients comply, as such "You just have to remember that politcians build roads", Yes I will do the engineering and implement the tasks but the job was selected by a politician.

I am working on a project now where the opinion of a city desk clerk over rides all engineering, we must engineer the project to meet their approval to get a permit, and still do the work in a safe and cost effective mannger. Every day we spend alot of time and money incorporating the political side of projects into the design.

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