From the dawn of civilization, mankind has sought to build awe-inspiring structures – from the Great Pyramid of Giza to the Great Wall of China. Behind these momentous structures, civil engineering played a crucial role. Civil engineering is arguably the oldest engineering discipline. And even until today, the role of civil engineering is ever-increasing. The civil engineer job market is expected to grow by 10.6% between 2016 and 2026.
One question that comes up often from people aspiring to get into the field, or those that are just curious, is the stress level associated with civil engineering. There are several nuances to be considered in pinpointing an apt answer. This post explores the amount of stress civil engineers experience in their day-to-day work life.
What Civil Engineering Entails
Civil engineering is the professional practice of designing and developing infrastructure projects. This can be large-scale, like the development of a nationwide water supply network or transport system, or on a smaller scale, such as the development of buildings and individual roads. Civil engineering is a wide field with multiple branches, including structural engineering, surveying, earthquake engineering, water resources engineering, and more.
You should realize that civil engineering entails more than just fieldwork. In the office, plans are developed using mathematics and sophisticated programs. Based on the predetermined timeline, the project is then executed.
Is Civil Engineering Stressful?
To get straight to the point, YES. Civil engineering is a demanding profession, and if not managed properly, it can cause mental or/and emotional stress. Here are some of the reasons civil engineering can get stressful.
When a building, road network, or any other structure is to be constructed, there’s always a strict accompanying deadline. In most instances, the proposed timeline is less than what’s required because of unforeseen factors that eventually arise.
Civil engineers typically work full time, and some work more than 40 hours a week. For those directing projects, they need to work extra hours to monitor progress on projects, ensure design requirements are adhered to, and ensure deadlines are met.
Because the projects carried out by civil engineers usually impact others, adequate care must be taken in the design and construction phase. For instance, load-bearing properties must be well accounted for before construction begins. Similarly, many factors have to be accounted for before a rail network is designed and constructed. As you can see, there’s little room for error. A poorly built structure may collapse, injuring inhabitants.
This utmost care and detail required increases the level of stress. That’s why you should only opt for this profession if you’re passionate about it. If you’re not, your daily routine will quickly become tiring.
Tips to Reduce Stress Level in Civil Engineering
Civil engineering is stressful, but by taking certain actions, you can cut down the amount of stress you experience. Some of which include:
Working with the Government
Working in the private consulting field can become stressful. On the other hand, a job in government as a civil engineer tends to be less stressful. At least, it’s unlikely you consistently work over 40 hours a week.
Working as a Sales Engineer
Civil engineers can also work as a sales engineer for a manufacturer. A sales engineer is both a salesperson that understands and can apply engineering principles and an engineer that understands how to sell engineered systems. Since most sales engineering roles are commission-based, it’s possible to work out more flexible working hours.
If you get stressed out by sitting for 8 hours straight in the office, then working in the field might be the right fit for you. While it may be more physically demanding, at least, you’ll always be moving around and maybe have a more enjoyable experience.
Try Out a Different Role in Civil Engineering
Civil engineering is a wide field, and there are several sub-roles you can opt for. For instance, a civil engineer can transition into an AutoCAD manager within his/her firm. In this new role, you will help other civil engineers use AutoCAD and other software more efficiently. At the very least, this role wouldn’t have strict deadlines associated with conventional civil engineering roles.
By staying in private practice, you can decide to work fewer hours. All you have to do is make it clear to the firm you’re working with that you wouldn’t want to get bogged down in management. Working less time will minimize the stress you’ll experience.
Civil engineering is an exciting but stressful job. But if you’re passionate about your job, in most instances, the stress becomes manageable. Luckily, there are many strategies you can apply to reduce your stress level.
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