The industry is pretty heartless nowadays. Defense is probably close to aerospace on this one. See if you can turn it into a side hustle somehow. Every boring meeting I attend I fantasize with retirement. But as the years flew by, things changed when there were dept reorgs and many managerial changes. He has had a few long stints, both about 12-14 years, each ending with a layoff… The last layoff was last October and he found another job at a start-up type foundry that was a spin-off of another larger company, but where all the systems had been mostly stripped-away. I am still relatively young, single and debt free and although I have to scale down quite a bit I have a few investments to carry me through. Having no kids and being a frugal person, I’ve been socking away savings. It really wasn’t too bad to work long hours in my 20s. Thanks for sharing your real experience ! Pruning Dead-End Pathways in Career and Technical Ed. I think you are going to be much happier now Joe. The best thing for a young person to do today is to try for careers in health care and forget about technology because eventually, everyone ages and a person with a few white hairs, imparts trust/confidence, especially at a clinic. If you changed mid-semester and did not complete those 19 credits, I understand you may be done. That may sound like a tall order right now. They trap you, too, with the sabbatical offer every seven years, which is fairly brilliant for them, since they know that the average person is done with Intel after about five, so you get a bunch of disgruntled folks. We have zero debt. lol. Here’s Harvard Business Review’s insight on mentoring …, https://hbr.org/2019/12/real-mentorship-starts-with-company-culture-not-formal-programs?utm_source=pocket-newtab. All of their problems are my problems…not to mention helping them through mentoring and listening to each of their specific issues. Hopefully, she will retire in 1-2 years. Thank you for your reply. When I was a blue badge employee, I enjoyed two sabbaticals and several grade promotions, but towards the end it wasn’t the same for me either. I’d say, stick with the trades for now, like being a license plumber or electrician. That’s what I’ll be graduating in next year and it’s refreshing to get a wise perspective from you on priorities and how it is out there. This is truly income for dummies. Since turning 40, I have begun to realise I hate every living second of my life as a Engineer. The stress is unfortunate but the company has to make money for the executives and shareholders. I don’t do music anymore (a career I have had since high school – mostly on the side but full time for 5 years), but after 6 years of engineering in different companies, it was just not satisfying. I am unsure of what to do, whether I should keep sticking it out with the classes and power through in hopes to get a job/internship in engineering that I’m not even sure I would enjoy or drop out for the semester and recompose myself and change my major. Manette @ Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance, Travel Hacking 2019: Chiang Mai, Hanoi, and Narita, Engineers need to plan for early retirement, *Sign up for a free account at Personal Capital, Sign up for a free account at CrowdStreet, Why engineers should plan for an early retirement, SAHD Cooking – Hoi Tod (Thai mussels pancake), https://www.ted.com/talks/mark_applebaum_the_mad_scientist_of_music/discussion. Agree on creative. Entry-level at a good organization, they give you tasks and you do them. And we all had a huge discussion about chemical engineers and this guy couldn’t even fathom passing thermodynamics & fluid dynamics, never mind getting the B+’s to A’s needed to even land an internship in the field. I started at DEC (anyone remember them?) Gallery: Signs You're Stuck In A Dead-End Job. The functions performed will still need to be performed, regardless of what you title the person in that position. No surprise, long-time engineers tout computers as the biggest change they've seen in engineering. In this article, we explore what a structural engineer … Thanks for sharing. I suspect only a few people can become a successful entrepreneur in tech. The warning signs are clear and many with engineering degrees get out of the field real quick. Massive. Got to agree with brian. I felt the work was inconsequential. I feel like I haven’t enjoyed anything so far except SolidWorks which was a very brief part of the introductory courses. It seems to happen to a lot of guys in their 40’s. I think many engineering companies work similarly to the following (due to HR receiving similar training at college): People in each pay level (which pretty much aligns with age/experience) are compared to each other. But it's probably more competitive since our global economy has opened up the borders in the employment market. Your annual review process is almost exactly the same as what they had at Intel. I ended up switching major and taking courses in sociology and family psychology and I am happier than I have ever been, both mentally and emotionally. After graduation I was employed as a Mechanical Engineer in the Oil and Gas industry but got thrown straight into project management. Prior to that, I only have watched shows on TV. That’s the problem with engineering. There are some new challenges ahead, though. I don’t think you would want to put up with it forever unless you like playing games – like our president…, “I think it’s great that you can handle both the technical and leadership aspect. Office politics, high demands, and lack of control are some of the reasons office jobs … Envious of the receptionist, who spends all her days on the iphone and make still make 95% of my salary. A PA, on the other hand, can burn the midnight oil with extra shifts, from let’s say ages 25 to 45 but then, cut back the hours to let’s say ~24 hours/week, and still be able to enjoy those fruitful years between ages 45 and 65. When people ask me what my job entails, I have a hard time synthesizing what I do on a daily basis into a cohesive answer. Just recalling the period of life makes me want to retch my guys out. In this article, we explore what a structural engineer … I log in almost every day to check on our accounts. Unfortunately, a lot of factors really turned me against it. The theme of ‘Good Will Hunting’ has proven itself to be a bit of a sham. All it did was piss off around 10 to 20% (depended on how well the business was doing; etc) who got no raises for a LONG time. Lots of senior engineers will be laid off around the same time and everyone will be looking for a job. You have to be flexible. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Sign up for a free account at CrowdStreet to check out their projects. The person who knows how to do things and the person who does things are separated into different individuals. Engineers left because they wanted to be engineers, not managers. There will always be plenty of jobs for talented engineers … That’s creativity and fun, but difficult to obtain as soon as management tries to stearing you. In contrast, PAs don’t have to worry about that. I’m more than unhappy right now with my current situation, even on the verge of having mental issues that are starting to affect my health. You can try it for a couple of years and see how it works out. Calling all engineers who are looking for a change….we have an exciting new high school in the Austin, TX area and are looking for someone to teach intro to engineering classes…please reach out via email if you are interested in changing students lives for the better and sharing your wealth of knowledge with our youth! I found the engineering aspect fascinating, it certainly broadened my ability to solve complex math problems, but that’s really all I got out of it. It is true! I definitely wouldn’t make it as an engineer. It is quite depressing to sit in front of the monitor all day long. I worked in many big and great companies , was known as one of the best engineers , I worked also 50-60 hrs a week for many years and was often back home doing research and try to fix problems but later on I discovered that effort is meaningless for my boss, client and architect , they only care about job and drawings are done on time. Health care is the most solid hiring sectors in the economy and I suspect … the PA’s role is possibly the most important one long term. Good luck! ", When it comes to designing consumer products, or human health & safety equipment, a quantifiable measure of the human experience is vitally important to develo. As I near the age of 80, I notice a subtle difference within weeks of my memory and mental state after being on the new job after a few weeks. This is why I have no hope for work, outside of professions which require a licensing strategy, ala electrician or physician assistant. Now that I’m 40, the reality is that though I’ve loved literally nearly every day on the job, the income just doesn’t allow for any real savings or retirement planning, or auto mechanic bills or orthodontics for the kid. You don’t have to be an engineer for 40 years. Maybe you will find that it’s enough and your passion for your original job is rekindled. Relating to this is one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite bloggers: “Getting a job and trading your time for money may seem like a good idea. Being best in this job will just get you depressed as only award you will get from higher management is to finish other people work since you were too fast, and less bullshit you are…deeper you will go in to the pit. Is engineering a smart career choice? I’m sure you will have a better idea about the field after you work for 10 years or so. Well done!” “I wonder if I could get your take on something I’m working on. However, I didn’t really get along with my last manager and it made leaving a pretty easy decision. Engineering has been good to me but not easy. Graduate schools in Korea offer no financial support, and I find people there to be quite irrationally hierarchical and egoist. The comments on this post are excellent too. But first we have to get rid of companies who have other ideas about us engineers, I still hope I will find that opportunity to make a better world. If it is yes for you two, then you are also a retiree. I’ve seen people do that and they accept their lot in life then go back to the job they hate and just accept it as life. In my previous 2 jobs, I was working solonor duo on systems that required my ability to do hardware, software, analog, RF/microwave, and power. I finally retired and I and a year later I still haven’t looked back. Now I understand why Lockheed Martin makes such an excellent passive investment for retired people. Those senior folks who were good at office politics or schmoozing or shirking work onto others got better visibility and reviews and seen as stronger leaders. Thanks for sharing your experience. They don’t care about you. I also don’t think it is right to let your career take away everything else in your life. Technical only carries you so far. You have to make the most of your life! I just have a small shop so I don’t have a lot of BS to deal with. Engineering?! My question is: why did you like your job at first? But IMO anyone who makes a blanket statement like the above about Intel’s culture should do a bit of self-examination. Thanks! If your team fails you will be under scrutiny even if you didn’t had any influence on the bad decisions made by your team leaders. Everything is NOW, driven by whatever the VPSs said that they want this morning. I changed job a few times, but it was always high stress because I was in the CPU division. Hi all! I found firsthand that if you don’t have the passion you’ll eventually wind up hating it and do mediocre work at best (I’m not saying you’ve done mediocre work; this just happens to be how my story unfolded). Why? And chances are, that person will probably have a job for life, even if a few clinics shutdown. . Or maybe beekeeping (*my* hobby). Being an engineer is … different. We’re talking about this more on our Sept 3rd post. Our goal is to retire by 45 years at least. A dead-end job is a job where there is little or no chance of career development and advancement into a higher paid position. When I was 48, I quit my engineering job but went back after 2 years off. My husband has been an engineer since graduating in 1991. I know engineering is very applicable in getting many different jobs in the real world, but my main fear is that these other majors I have mentioned don’t have as much applicability or opportunities in the job market. I have been doing a lot of soul searching about this subject this past week and I feel like this is the best thing for me mentally right now. I totally identify with this post…I’m a database engineer..been doing this for 9 years and I’m 34 years old going on 35. More generally, the dead centre is any position of a crank where the applied force is straight along its axis, meaning no turning force can be applied. We designed very complex systems. To alleviate some of the financial pressure. They probably should have trained you in it and not put you in that position. When I wasn’t in front of a monitor, I was attending useless meetings. It’s stupid! I graduated with honours after doing a chemical engineering degree and found that I just couldn’t break into the industry. Needless to say, it’s a very small company (80 employees, 7 engineers) with completely unreal workloads and development schedules. I think mentoring the younger new engineers has been rewarding and made me realize I might like being a “professor” or something. The paycheck was the only thing that motivated me to go to work. I pursued engineering with high hopes.loved coding but after joining the company ,interests have started to vanish. Entering a company in an administrative support role is not a dead-end career, contrary to popular belief. That’s the beauty of retiring relatively young (50’s for me), lots of choices and new experiences. As someone who gave up such a technical career, what advice would you give to someone that just wants to be more on the B to C side of things? I realized though that I was getting more exposure to management (and the politics was going to make me stagnate in a very junior management position for a long while) so I decided to look for something else where I can gain more technical exposure. Stay out of aerospace. Just a note that I got fired from my engineering job over 30 years ago for taking too much vacation. I was a young guy who liked the outdoors and loved to tinker, weld, paint, innovate, and customize things in my garage. I am harassed by managers who have zero knowledge in the field and making double or triple money than we do, yet we are the first to go when the company is ”shedding fat”. I lost interest in the job/career. It’s ridiculous. When I first started, my Engineering job was only intended to be a starting point so I could figure out what I really want to do (And I have figured it out at this point). Makeupgirl, I feel like I could have written your exact post. Good luck! I have been in IT for over 14 years now and have an engineer title but have to spend most of my time with budgets, presentations, meetings, and trying to convince coworkers to do work required for a project, when I am not even a manager or their boss. And then, the EEs who were making good salaries back then were in the defense sector like Honeywell, Lockheed, Raytheon, etc, but not in the private ones as Japan (plus Korea) Inc were eating the US’s lunch in consumer electronics. Kids just have to be prepared to transition to something else. I couldn’t stand it. Why management, in my area of work I never see or have seen managers travel more than 10% of the time on a 5 day basis. I’ve always wondered why they get paid so much. I worked for Computer Computer in Singapore from 1989 to 1993 as an Industrial Engineer. . I am currently 36 and may be able to retire retire at 40, but I would never do so because I like engineering too much. It used to be like this for us as well, but it feels as if a solar flare has hit semiconductor corporations around the year 2010 making their management and financial controlling idiots transfer into a zombie mode. Yes, but wait a minute: If your reason for taking the job is to get experience while qualifying for a more promising place on the career ladder, you don’t want to be pressured into competing for advancement in that workplace anyway. I’m 32 in August and have a net worth that just breached 7 figures. Let me explain. My company does have the technical track, where you’re expected to continue your education (PhD), publish papers, and research, which is not a bad thing. I think I will probably give up on graduate school for now and see if I can pursue happiness in something else. Who taught you that you could only earn income while working? But now I have substantially more freedom. I fall into the latter category, where work is what enables me to find success in my personal life. Why is the guy who engineers the solutions making less money than the mechanic he is instructing??!! According to my planning when I was 22, I should have been retired and pulling in 100K in interest/dividends by the time I was 35! You see, one can work as an engineer into one’s forties and still be a wage slave. I’ve experienced this over and over. A majority of engineers can’t be among Wall Street’s Silicon Valley’s darlings. However, soon the working relationships became … disheartening. It is a big waste of time that will eventually form you into an obedient dog of the system. I have worked for some of the largest and most successful companies in the US, like IBM, Apple, Netapp, Amazon, and unfortunately, felt like I was not valued at any of them and was never happy with the positions I had at these companies, but knew they would open other doors for me if I was patient. Why are you asking me what to do? I owe a lot of what I have to them. The only folks that make it out of IT with something to show for it are the Jobs, Gates, and Zuckerburgs of the world, as you will work your fingers to the bone to make the shareholders rich, and at the end of the day, be tossed to the side as a non-producer(remember all those reports and budgets they want you to do). Hi, I know this is an old blog but wanted to comment on this regardless. * Companies not hiring IT personnel and using contractors for their IT work. I really like engineering; I absolutely despise the engineering industry. I became more senior and the expectation was to sit in god awful meetings all day, make slides sets, and influence others. I would love to just quit right now and not look back but I am not financially independent at age 37. I’m thinking about returning to an engineering career but I didn’t really gain much in the way of transferable skills at Intel and I’m usually getting screened out by HR for entry level engineering jobs because they say I graduated too long ago. i’ve seen many engineers quit the past 2 years and a bunch in their 50’s get let go. You will need to build your client base and learn how to be profitable with limited resources. What is your opinion on taking a position now, before completing the degree, and finishing it as my schedule allows? I know so many people whose lives have fallen apart (divorce, sickness, etc) because they sold their soul to their job. The word “Retirement” means different things to different people. Go figure! I was debating whether to choose computer engineering or computer science (hardware vs software). If you’re a recruiter and are starting to feel as if you’re in a dead end job, first acknowledge that it’s a question many of us ask about our careers these days, as technology and innovation rapidly change and reshape the ways in which we think, work, and live our lives in fundamental ways. What other things do you do now as a home-stay father? Well, most ASIC stuff, you can pick up pretty quickly. Sure, it’s less than that for let’s say electrical engineers but within a decade, that number could bloom to 40% and others in the field may be facing layoffs and downsizing, since they can’t provide other health care services for patients. Cheers. That’s the doctor’s role in the delivery of health care and thus, given the sheer volume of expected diagnosis per day for the regular internal medicine physician, a good PA (technical plus communication skills) is worth a heck of a lot more to a clinic than a mediocre one. However, I have met women who WERE in this position, left to raise kids while their husband took over, and people the word “retirement” never applied to them. You may simply be burned out and will later have a rekindled interest in problem solving using math and other tools. They want people that can make more impact. The answers for Joe I believe is yes. What are you plans? I feel like I’ve been putting out fires rather than really taking all my engineering knowledge, putting it together, refining it, and growing. I think Kodak in Rochester, which had 60k workers at the peak, is 100% gone now. I’ll only work on what I want to from now on and will never go back to working for a corporation. (Not knowing culture and area/people is huge con, plus my husband is getting new better role in his current company)So I am having second thoughts on whether to even pursue this field further? A real moron, who’s only goal was to work there for a year so he could collect his $200,000 retainer. At some point, there has to be acknowledgement that work is either a means to an end, or the end itself. I was a data scientist for four years. Are you in San Jose? Good luck. I would rather be the mechanic and actually do something useful. ), so hardly did they need to force anyone out via other methods. What about accountants – are they asked about obscure tax laws? I’d really appreciate your insight on the matters. Hi, I initially wanted to be a psychologist but my parents refused to let me pursue that “scam” career especially with my super high maths and science grades so off I went and studied engineering. I am not trying to be negative – this is simply a survival strategy. I’ve been following your posts for a few months. It’s a great benefit and most people feels better after taking them. And like RetireBy40 is saying, I probably would’ve spent all my money trying to make myself happier. 3. I don’t even play video games anymore. Out of 180 EE’s, not many American born engineers graduated with a higher GPA. Most importantly – even with all the things that I’m doing as a “slash”, I’m STILL working less hours than I did as a technical lead, and I’m much happier and healthier. I have some planning of mainframe to open systems migration of my application, but I hesitate to call it planning because I am getting some new job request every couple of hours that I have to code NOW. At the moment, everyone I know who has an EE job is worried. I started looking for a new job, but I am exhausted bet getting better. He retired, right? They have best future in technology. So, to make sure you’re on the right track to grow in your career, keep in mind these three surefire signs that your job is at a standstill. Seeing how my high school friends who have done finance , law, or even just opened a restaurant have much better social network , happier and most of them have more money than me. The first computer I interacted with was my uncle’s monochrome PC clone. Or is process engineering just a fancy door for a dead end? Many sorts of machines are crank driven, including unicycles, bicycles, tricycles, various types of machine presses, gasoline engines, diesel engines, steam locomotives, and other steam engines. My wife makes a decent income to support this decision, and we are about to start a family so not bringing home this stress will be a big positive. I love engineering and the different aspects of working on a team. I almost think I should just find something outside of engineering for my first job and veer into something else for a career where I could utilize my engineering skills but in a different way. I had many different technical roles in my time, but construction industry was the longest stretch by far. I’m just not as sure about STEM/Engineering anymore…granted, good starting salaries, but I feel like many corporate careers are becoming like pro football – one had better maximize during ages 21-35, because afterward is iffy. Good luck! Engineers are expendable. I am looking at being a science teacher or going into healthcare. I can’t remember how many different managers I’ve had due just to reorgs alone. These STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) careers pay well and the world demands more engineers every day. Every company is run differently and has different views on work/life balance. Lots of companies (at least in my field of software engineering) say there is a career path for engineers that don’t want to go into management. There are better things in life than working at a boring job. I’m very sure if I had a different job role or just a bad manager that I’d hate my job too. I contribute to about 50% of our expense and I’m pretty happy with that. That was the last straw so I decided to leave the job and become a full-time mom. I have a MSEE degree with a 3.8 GPA…and graduated in 5 years basically (had 2 classes out of the 10 to take when I started working). and after a fantastic and profitable year, the gave the 5% back and called it your “raise”. This is great for me because it creates both technical and leadership potential opportunities. Chemical Engineer here, 7+ years of experience. That puts them at #2 among the top 100 companies to work for (at least among those that report #’s), http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/best-companies/2012/turnover/. I am in almost the exact same position as you with almost the same amount of time in the work force. But though better computers let engineers use higher-level languages to design more complex systems, the basic method of computer analysis has not changed much since the 1990s. Hi, it’s Randy again with more anti-corporate America stuff. I am not a good multiplier. I think it’s tough to stay an individual contributor these days. Instead, why not give them 2% raises…that’s only 10% x 2% = 0.2% of the total payroll! Thus more of the older folks become “full-time direct consultants” rather than the go-to guys. Good luck with everything. Perhaps this is a trend that will continue which is a plus for foreign countries to grab excellent engineering talent that has gone to waste in the USA. I’ve always been available to do more but asking for extra work usually falls on deaf ears. Any advice would be appreciated. It sure doesn’t sound like they’re burning out or wanting to leave! Now I’m a human being again. Replies to: Is mechanical engineering a dead-end career? The job was not a good fit for me anymore. You can travel, have fun with friends, and do things to lessen the stress. Thanks for sharing this post. Engineering was fun in the beginning, but I got burned out. Only the very best were left. Silicon Valley companies value that and it works for many companies (I might be generalizing a bit too much). "It all depends on what direction you want to go with your technology career." How does one do all this? Computers will keep improving with or without me. You can help make presentation, set up meetings, and those kind of work. It keeps life more interesting. “The difference in difficulty between high school and the university was too much for lots of people.”. Make sure you understand the compensation and flexibility of any career investment. And I truly enjoy work which is mentally rewarding and not stressful where you connect with people at human level, which I think this field that I am, in is only getting harder and more stressful. I just never really thought of anything much to do after figured out which discipline of civil engineering I wanted to pursue in. How does blogging pay the bills? Maybe your husband can find a different job while the economy is good. It is much much better than working for a big corporation. I personally don’t know what I can do, it’s a lot of human capital to give up. J. Maureen Henderson. We also received $500 bonuses for simply meeting milestones – doing our jobs….it boosted morale a LOT though. “How can leaders be better mentors-of-the-moment and create a mentoring culture? I was offered severance or a position back in engineering. Thanks for sharing. If you have the time, I’d appreciate learning how you got started writing. I believe that you will see a mass movement among the Boomers in the next few years who choose to return to work for a short time and/or volunteer. We all know those people and they are not fun. Companies all try to shoehorn the employees. Sounds to me like only the cheapest were left. Over the last 2 years work has dominated my life. Do you think you can improve with time? So, I “retired”, relying solely on my wife’s income, and then 6 months later she was laid off. I came back to the states in 2012 and worked for companies in both startups and mid-large companies. I hope your husband can figure something out. Very interesting to read. Then just find a part time to cover monthly cost as I won’t have to invest anymore. This process may take several years but it’s well worth it in the long run. I am glad to read you still stand by your decision almost after 2 years??? I noticed what happened to senior engineers at IBM, and felt disgusted at how they were treated — they would train young/fresh engineers who are usually contractors, the senior would be laid-off, and the new engineer would have to be a contractor for years and years before even being considered for full time hire. 1. I think we will be OK if he quits..it is not ideal..but we will survive. I miss the music, and a real pipe organ in a stone church – thrilling! Whether your an engineer, supply chain, middle management, or even a corporate lawyer, they feel like they OWN you. This didn’t compare favorably with single engineers who enjoy working until 10 pm. Your article seems to imply that engineers are, at the end, nothing more than expendable assets to the companies. I got out before I even got in to the field for real. I was the top math, science, and economics student ($$$!!!) I have had something like 7 careers. Management usually has a bit more job protection built-in, as you said before, you’re a multiplier and should be able to oversee not just people in person, but also the outsourced individuals overseas via tele-presense doing what used to be YOUR work. But not limited by moneytizing it. area both small and large. Here’s why … no “empty” suit wants a person who can out-powerpoint/out-explain things in front of higher C-level execs. There’s only one problem with it. I too contemplate my daughter following my footsteps. The person it takes to excel in the technical side and in the management side of things is a rare person indeed. Sadly, engineering is the "invisible" profession. It’s all about meeting, planning, and that kind of work at that level. In your opinion, are the issues you mention specific to Intel, or are they likely to be present with any company over a certain size? I know you are loving the time you are spending at home raising the toddler, but any thought to getting an intro job for 2-3 days a week? People have left engineering all together (one opened a package store), retired early or have given up looking. If he likes it, then he should go for it. My employer, a small defense contractor that is actually a branch of a holding company is having hard times. Beware the big house, the expensive car, spending money like it grows on trees. There is light at the end of the tunnel, however. Regarding RB40’s situation of getting thrust up the management ranks, this is a typical corporate thing, not just Intel. Working in big companies since graduation, I am now at the point in career where I feel stuck with no progress in sight, technical or managerial, and all I am doing is same stuff over and over again, with incompetent people being promoted ahead of guys who do the work in the office. Senior engineers will be targeted for layoffs at the first whiff of an economic downturn. Anyway, I really think you should talk to a counselor. So much less stress now as I forge ahead with new interests. Engineering is a good field, but it’s just getting more difficult everyday. Thanks for sharing your story. But memory is one of the easiest subsystems to understand. After graduation, I taught in a comunity college while finishing my graduate degree. An anonymous reader sends this quote from an opinion piece at Bloomberg: "Many programmers find that their employability starts to decline at about age 35. Now I don’t even like the technical part of the job. Being an entry-level engineer is a lot more fun than being a student. hi, I’m a freshman studying computer engineering. I liked it because it was all about logic. I started invested in rental properties about 10 years ago and I have 30 renters now. If most young adults are certain of there future then consider me one that isn’t. ), Many of my friends left the company or were laid off. I pretty much agree with the author – engineering appears to have a “shelf life” as a profession if we are talking about the corporate world. Good luck! You already had one scary episode and you don’t want to repeat that. After two years I quit. Luckily, we have a couple of years worth of money we can siphon off of our IRA’s, but at 51, do I really want to do that? How do you keep a positive outlook to take you to self employment eventually. I hope you can improve it somehow. Especially when it’s the sedentary life, stress, and my unhealthy coping mechanisms related to the job that are adversely affecting my health anyway. “Well, you received such and such promotion and such and such raises.” Well, I never asked for them, you gave them to me! The defense industry has become highly aggressive (as most defense jobs are immune from competition from H-1B candidates) and the management exploits this fact. Then, at some point, you will likely be compelled to grow your company so that you can reduce your workload and hire your own engineers to do the execution aspect. I’m stuck in upstate NY however… plenty of SW jobs and some manufacturing related jobs, but nobody around here (except other dwindling defense companies) designs huge complex (mostly SW based) safety critical systems like I did at Lockheed. The first 7 years where challenging and rewarding. I love to both work on the details and then lead others, doing them for me. I am a senior level civil engineering student that got into engineering because I enjoyed math and physics. You said you didn’t feel equipped and was stressed out. If you have questions you ask for help. Wish I would have saved better like RB40 but I am catching up. Most engineers are very resourceful and I’m sure they can function even without an engineering job. Yet it was challenging, and I enjoyed the China trips initially. Since I was a kid back then, I only know of the horror stories from other adults who were carrying a mortgage in Houston while searching the entire country for STEM work. Also based on what you have wrote it sounds like you enjoyed at least some of your studies. Those are the things that I don’t want to face anymore because being a mother when I go home at night is another whole level and totally different career for a woman. I have made it a year here and the potential looks good. I’ve been seeking security through working more, but that’s not the answer. Graduated from a state univ summa, and started out with structures in 99. Xerox is WAY smaller than it used to be, and Bosh and Lomb’s HQ is leaving – announced a week ago. The details you have to remember drive me crazy. Seriously, how many engineers who’re not dean’s list with a relevant internship/CO-OP find a job anyways? Business analysis? The severance package was ok. Now though, the job market is highly competitve and sometimes I wonder if I should have not accepted separation package and stayed. Our relationship wasn’t that great anyway. I’m sure your family would rather live a little simpler and have you around for the long term. This work environment was non-existent prior to 2009. In Boston, many construction workers, electricians, and pipe fitters are unionized and make that kind of money (esp with O/T) with better health insurance than many non-unionized white collar employees. Medicine and finance are great careers too. The market is way kinder to people who automate work than people who get their work automated, so I think this will prove to be a good decision. I’ve been in engineering for 32 years since age 20. I’ve got my exit plan, I’ve got a dream to make my hobby, photography, into a profession. Changing job improved the situation temporarily. Our finance is in great shape at this point. I still think you should talk to your professor. I persevered. That’s $57k in today’s dollars. The thing is, even if you are really good at what you do, you are invariably a lot less marketable as a middle aged guy with highly polished skills than a 30 year old with lesser skills who will be allowed to learn the rest of it on the job. We’ll probably have to sell the dream house we designed and built on 4 acres in the country, something we put our hearts and souls into. In fact, in many instances, it probably grew out of tradespersons (who we may have called themselves engineers had the word been around at the time).
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