A dead-end job is a job where there is little or no chance of career development and advancement into a higher paid position. Yeah, I agree with you about the arbitrary deadlines and power plays. But I’ve also been a long time reader and have thought about what you and a lot of others go through in their late 30s and early 40s after being promoted to management. Thanks for sharing and best wishes. I’m a Structural Engineer , have been doing this for 13 years and I have the same feelings but the biggest downside in my opinion is the poor social life. I am in similar boat. “Both my parents and my grandpa were all doctors,” Alan, a hospital marketing … I just received my programming grade and got a C-. I enjoy being a writer way more. The politics, stress, corporate silos(90 employees down from over 200), managers who did not really understand the technology and were afraid answering questions without consulting with a team of other managers kind of drug me down. To me, it means “freedom of choice.” I have been retired for over 20 years, yet I choose to work about every five years or so on a seasonal basis in the USA or at a university overseas. I lost interest in the job/career. Anyway it’s not a skill that comes naturally for me either, but I have learned it and am getting better. Maybe you can do contract jobs instead. The next group, the largest with 50% of the employees, gets from 0% to 1% above inflation. Thank you for your input. Employer skill set requirements have become increasingly ridiculous, often commanding mastery of embedded programming and hardware together (with their particular boutique of tools and architectures). I am bored and lost complete interest in engineering. Needless to say, it’s a very small company (80 employees, 7 engineers) with completely unreal workloads and development schedules. So I how some ex engineers feel . In my current job, I was hired for my analog background. His writing is atrocious, though. If things don’t work out, then you can try graduate school. There are some new challenges ahead, though. Not to everybody, but to a lot. Luckily, I saved and invested diligently since I started working. i’ve seen many engineers quit the past 2 years and a bunch in their 50’s get let go. I want to reach out and experience that things that a young 20 something year old should be (creating awesome products, working on collaborative teams, enjoying work/life), instead of grinding out code all day on test equipment. 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/. Time to learn react. I feel that you are similar to me, in that, I love the technical side of things, but I have way too much of a relaxed demeanor to know if I’d ever be good at being a boss. I stopped really liking the coursework last semester and felt that I really did not have a passion for it but being Indian, I didn’t want to disappoint my parents and I was doing decently, so I kept going. I am going on 16 years as an individual contributor in the same job. I am happy with my job and the Company. When I was employed, I was healthier than I’ve ever been in my life (before now), I was working less than 30 hours a week (even though I was considered full-time), and I had a substantial amount of freedom. Am I too scared? Do you enjoy it (considerably more)? Considering the level of education necessary for proficiency in engineering, many engineers replied it is not a lucrative career choice. I cut back on the hours during my last few years too. I also don’t think it is right to let your career take away everything else in your life. That job sounds like a nightmare. Been emphasizing my publications and the few patents I have, yet no dice. But the truth and bottom line is I don’t feel fulfilled. My school offers a lot of resources but the one thing they all is an actual person from the field. I’m considering getting back into the more high stress world of engineering because I have zero stimulation in my job (a monkey could do what I do), and my family’s needs are growing. Yeah, it’s not that bad to work a lot of hours when you’re young. I have been a stay at home dad and blogging. I finished my final project that high visibility with flying colors. Good luck! Engineering can be a good gig if you adjust and try different fields instead of staying in the same field. Working part time is a great way to have the best of both worlds. It was a huge shift going from high school to university. Arizona also has many defense and non-defense jobs. After all, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan are all over STEM graduates, and banks' existence is unlikely to have passed you by - especially if you went to a top school. Also, my wife still works. Thank you for your thoughts! In fact, I quit Intel a couple years ago to join another company (I’ve since returned). You were exceptionally lucky to never have been forced into involuntary overtime. In time, your private company will get bought/sold, followed by endless reorganizations and layoffs. Good luck. One of my friend’s husband is still working in chip design and loves his job. It is true! My wife works, but doesnt bring in a lot of money. We can not fill any vacant position. Engineering career, especially in big companies is an endless fight up the company ladder…engineering does not matter at all. I don’t think I can retire until I’m 55. #21. rheidzan 390 replies 11 threads Member. I’m glad to hear you were able to work it out too. I’m pretty sure there’s something which could match your background. “How can leaders be better mentors-of-the-moment and create a mentoring culture? Everyday I get up I work for me, not the company, for me. I concur with this. See the original article here. For instance: “I noticed that you’ve been working on/doing great things in ____. “the average person is done with Intel after about five”, Voluntary turnover rate at Intel is currently 2%. I wanted to learn how the machines worked and sadly the industry/manufacturing trends in America put my potential interests in China. 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. You have new assignments. It’s good that you got out of there. Maybe you are on to something with the small firm vs. large company though…. I have looked tirelessly for skills and traits that make for being a good engineer and being successful at it and I believe I don’t possess enough of these to be a good engineer and enjoy being one. If you do not continue to learn and change over time, you become unpromotible and stagnate. I left my previous employer (listed on Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For too no less) partly because I tired of the corporate drama… makes you wonder what it is like for companies not on the Fortune list. This comment is right on. Intel is one of the better company in the industry from what I understand. The person it takes to excel in the technical side and in the management side of things is a rare person indeed. It’s the stupidest way you can possibly generate income! It is quite depressing to sit in front of the monitor all day long. Thanks! Lack of interaction with people, no physical movement, and a mentally taxing job feels like I’m just selling my soul. I was lucky and managed to get a gov’t job w/in $6k of what I used to make. Nobody who was laid off has any intention of ever going back. An engineering career isn’t as good as it once was. Here’s my advice to you … since you’re in a decent career track now, start to research jobs in the government. 0 replies: How did dead pigs end up in Shanghai river? It’s interesting because I know guys who are mostly still technical after 30 years at the company. But I am taking some of your advice to meet with an adviser in my program to see what the best course of action is. Wish me luck, and I wish the best of luck to all of you. I thought about making contact with some of my old buds who are still there and try to scrape up some kind of work, but reading this blog and these comments reminded me why I left. Intel is also one of the best companies to work for. and need the type of income that I have grown to make. Or whatever gets you up out of bed in the morning. I know I am smart, but I am also more creative than the average engineer. As much as I love engineering though, I always go back to the thing a diving friend of mine and I say to each other. Again – you’ve got to really have the desire to do this kind of thing in order to make it work. After so many years, you are a bit more realistic, especially just being the “cog in the wheel.” I think it’s healthy to change every so many years so you don’t end up a burn out just hanging in for the check. Good luck! These days, I contend with systems and applications that are dated and have much newer and better alternatives, but we have to continue to make the “old stuff” work everyday, and it’s frustrating that I don’t get to learn anything new these days, merely just reworking budgets to get them cheap enough for the higher ups to approve for the quarter, 2 quarters later(usually never ordered). Many engineers believe this leaves degreed engineers with no status. I choose what projects to work on and let the market decide what my time is worth. I would like to get some advice or thoughts from different perspective? Have we secured stuff so well that security in now more of a hobby? FORTRAN did teach me basic programming principles. Who knows. I woke up two weeks ago with heart palpitations. I want to switch my line but still puzzled as to where. 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. It might help you out when you make the transition back into the work force later on. You have given me the courage to quit my job. It was the same for me. Good luck! That’s the problem with engineering. Thanks for sharing. I’ve also done numerous circuit designs and know dozens of tool suites and work flows, some of which are now obsolete. I have an IT role in an Operations group. 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”. Some people can make the transition to senior engineer and manager, and some have a hard time with it. Unfortunately, a lot of factors really turned me against it. I’m no slacker (my boss even said so) but I was starting to get fried from all the stress and pressure (every single day was approx 10 hours (lunch not included) since I started there). I’ve been laid off, let go, walked out, ect., ect. Financial independence will give you more choices. You have a safety net – those rentals. I am sorry if this question has already been asked, but what are you doing now for work? I don’t think my job is super high stress, and my hours are typically very reasonable, but I do see that changing as people go up in the chain. When a basketball player get injured and quit. I haven’t done anything related to engineering since I left in 2012. I found this blog brainstorming for some way of returning to engineering from my current career as a physician. And yes, I get insurance, but our new Affordable Health program and my young age make that less of a concern. All engineers ultimately in their senior years are heavily encouraged to distance themselves from the technical aspect and are pushed into people or systems managerial positions. out of 230 at my high school. I’m an engineer, EE, but started and have stayed in software, and I’ve worked with everything from embedded devices to large scale communications and control. At the ripe age of 50 (12 months ago) I decided to shift out of engineering. All of their problems are my problems…not to mention helping them through mentoring and listening to each of their specific issues. It does, but since 2016 I haven’t had any conventional experience, other than working on software projects I have been working on and personal project all but abandoned after 2 years. Be prepared for the career to lose its luster eventually so that you can change careers or retire without drama. Why? Seems like you’ve put in a lot of time in your education and experience, and I’m sure there are other’s who’d pay for your knowledge. I started looking for a new job, but I am exhausted bet getting better. You can travel, have fun with friends, and do things to lessen the stress. Except we have not invested in a way I could retire at 45 and still eat, not to mention raise the kids for about 12 more years and put them through college. I majored in finance. Here’s the thing though, I don’t want to waste my time and money doing these classes this semester that I don’t enjoy. But being about 10 years into my field, I will say that I have had my fair share of burnout since there is always something new to learn, to the point where your job is literally an endless parade of people showing you what you are doing wrong, and never getting anything fully correct. I complete my Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering in 2017 and singled out Digital Design and Verification and VLSI as my sole passionate field. Between my 1st and 2nd sabbatical things started to change. Chemical Engineer here, 7+ years of experience. Engineering is a great career, but it doesn’t last long anymore. I make a little money with my blog. 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. 95% of the people who went into the traditional workforce lifestyle, couldn’t get out of it. I had planned on 44, but reading your blog has got me thinking more aggressively. We have been strong-arming kids into engineering based on their standardized scores and math grades for decades now. My words of wisdom to any reader here is, Beware the Big Corporation. In most jobs as long as you continue to write code you will likely have a limited set of promotions you can get. The first computer I interacted with was my uncle’s monochrome PC clone. Nope. I spent a ton of time with our son when he was young. All paid for by the company. I don’t feel appreciated at work and frankly I am kind of sick having to do repetitive debug work. When I was single and without children, I was able to be focused on tasks for hours on end and found myself attaining higher positions and salaries. Joe, sorry to hear about the outsourcing at your job. Engineering was fun in the beginning, but I got burned out. Just a note that I got fired from my engineering job over 30 years ago for taking too much vacation. It has it’s challenging days, but I can count on my fingers the companies in the world where I an do what I do. Only the top 10% get good raises (ie more than 1% above inflation). Intel was my eighth company, and the worst, despite great pay and benefits. I think you might have! In it, Matt Damon & Ben Affleck made a point that Will Hunting was wasting his life by doing menial jobs like custodial support, construction work, etc, because he was a math genius with a photographic memory. I’m making low 6 figures and have plenty of reasons to enjoy the work and opportunities I’ve been given. Hi, it’s Randy again with more anti-corporate America stuff. Thanks a lot for sharing your experience , I am a Chemical Engineer your story is pretty much a parallel for where I am now. I quit for different reasons. T, I just wanted to check-in. Maybe your husband can find a different job while the economy is good. It didn’t look good when others worked more, though. I went back to Electrical Engineering school at the age of 30, graduated at 35. I finally quit when they laid my director off, who by the way is a BRILLIANT man and a great guy to work for. Another friend quit but for him I honestly think it was mostly that he was homesick for his home state and didn’t like living here. I hope it’s not too personal, out of curiosity, what would you like your kid to study at college/university? CrowdStreet specializes in commercial properties across the USA. I think it’s good to try something else. people driving fork trucks doing better than engineers? What now? 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. This whole gig based engineering thing aerospace is killing the industry. I kept those! “An everyday task seems like a burden, not an achievement. He’s doing very well. I had many different technical roles in my time, but construction industry was the longest stretch by far. They do exist but are in the vast minority. That’s hard, though. I do have certain aptitudes in, as I said earlier in 3-D modeling with SolidWorks, some proficient math skills (I have taken Calc 1-3 and linear algebra and done fairly well in all of them), and some science skills such as physics but not an extensive understanding. Plus, future generations may face a world where creativity is rewarded more than logic. I think engineering is still a good field to go into. I’m a much better individual contributor and I’m just not comfortable with leadership. Find a good mentor and you’ll get a lot of help. (Professional interpreter for an example). That might be a way to get back into engineering. I still consider myself retired. Wow, I would consider $10 million for one year. There are a lot more opportunities there if you want a job. If I end up in one of the many, frequent layoffs that happen in the IT world, I’m never going back. Regarding RB40’s situation of getting thrust up the management ranks, this is a typical corporate thing, not just Intel. You already paid for the class. I would think the business would initially ask your husband if he’d be interested in the managerial role. Seriously, it is very sobering when you realize that you are smarter and harder working than 90+% of the idiots around here driving their $70,000 BMWs, and I probably won’t be able to get even an entry-level engineering salary unless I go back into the hell-hole. This semester I ended up taking 19 credits of senior level design courses and the projects were time consuming and intense. Each employer may be slightly different, but I believe there are examples of success in each that demonstrate a reasonable work-life balance can be achieved at even the highest ranks. I know this has been a really long rant and cry for help, but please any suggestions or comments to help guide me are much appreciated. If you really can’t handle it, then take some time off. That piece of paper can be a significant feather in our caps. This is very similar to my development curve when I was young. I felt the work was inconsequential. Some engineers feel the profession has lost the luster it once had while others say it's still a valid and satisfying career. 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? In short, if anyone offered me $10 million to go work as an engineer (or any other corporate job) for one year, I wouldn’t consider it even for a nanosecond. You think things will always be like that. Programming Is a Dead End Job May 03, 2014. I had one engineering job and got sacked in 2001 due to the downturn, and as the Chinese products drove our company from existence. It all just seems so meaningless to me now. Granted, it doesn’t pay as much as I made as a technical lead, but I can afford to take the pay cut. That being the case, I myself am looking for another field of work to branch out. Nobody will say Hey, you were always on time, great job! Also experienced my own autoimmune issues that aren’t going anywhere. Then, when you’re looking for another job, prospective employers see your work history and think you can’t hold a job because you’re not lucky enough to have found a steady job. Sure I get to be creative through math and engineering through my work, but that pleasure only lasts a few years before the results are repetitive and anticipated. Textbooks present problems to demonstrate basic principles, but rarely will a future employer ask you to perform an outright estimate of the friction coefficient for a rubber ball rolling down a fictitious driveway. It seems most of those people doesn’t do much technical works though. Older Nasa guys always tell the story, that the real fun was during the Gemini times. I already am a qualified Java SE6 professional programmer by Oracle,so PHP is not that hard for me(at the moment),and study to obtain the mysql5 associate certification. I have started chronicling my pregnancy journey in my blog but I was wondering what steps people are taking(supplementary income esp for new moms etc-i want to support my husband so he can take a break eventually) to secure their finances? I don’t think there is any way to know if an engineering career is right for you unless you try it out. However,none of you should complain. At this point, I am doing more leadership in design – and it is what I want to be doing. They probably should have trained you in it and not put you in that position. The reason for this is two fold, for one, too many PharmD programs came up during the past decade but more so, as in long term trends, robotics can replicate the pharmacist’s work while in tandem, the pharmacist isn’t able to bill himself out, as a health care ‘provider’, to outset the rise of the machines taking over his job. Good luck. 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! My goals and circumstance are very similar to yours. You can’t keep working on the things you love. Why is the guy who engineers the solutions making less money than the mechanic he is instructing??!! Seth Godin covers this very well in his book “The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)”. You can be an engineer for 10-15 years and evaluate your position again. A cheap laptop works pretty well these days. Now those in their late 20’s and even engineering graduates are stuck contracting. I think you’re right about pharmacist. If you changed mid-semester and did not complete those 19 credits, I understand you may be done. 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. Thanks for sharing. It Would Take a Big Event for You to Get Promoted You put something in and you consistently get the same thing out. Can’t you try to get a job here in the US with an undergrad degree? in 1983 as a computer technician, I started attending college for an EE degree part time in the late 80’s – tuition was 100% reimbursed back then. At first, I was an RCG and loved working late and even on weekends. Ask yourself why so many *Senior* Business Systems Analysts know practically nothing? Each person must choose what they prioritize, but it has been my observation that those who want it all rarely find happiness in even one. We designed very complex systems. I’m not a senior engineer (about 6 years in), but I definitely can see what you are saying regarding individual contributers at the senior level having trouble staying in the field. 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. I was unable to escape this even when switch jobs multiple times. After two years I quit. Is blogging immediately profitable or something? You will now rarely have the “luxury” of focusing on the execution work. That’s why I said I’m not a good fit for the job anymore. Consequently, I didn’t put much effort into them. And, you need to have the talent of persuading them using the right technologies. Very intersting view. I have strong speaking skills and would be more than happy if my whole day were to be filled with meetings, presentations, etc. I have three kids, 5 and under, and taking care of them is my favorite thing to do. How can I help make it happen? I’m a civil engineer, master’s degree in structures. At least you figure it out relatively early and you’re proactively trying to get out. It’s crazy that politic is such an integral part of engineering. But I m not big fan of being on the road for client site visit. As someone who also left a similar industry, with a similar layoff pattern I can totally sympathize. At my job, there’s the same old men, writing programs and eating the same leftover lunch every day. For me I’d rather die than continue doing the mind numbing work I do now, sitting at a computer for 8 hours and being in 20-25 meetings and conference calls a week is not for me and never will be. Most young engineers should learn about this option. It would be fine for me to keep doing the same job and getting minimal raises, but that’s not enough for the company. I like helping people and I think that i might be in a better position to do it as a FA but not sure if it is a right move. These are smart guys, but become victims of ageism in some respects. Download this eBook to learn how pressure mapping can be used in numerous consumer goods and health & safety applications. I was pushed into Engineering by my parents. hi, I’m a freshman studying computer engineering. That’s right. But the coronavirus doesn’t have to be a dead end for your career. We’re treated like a number 100%. My salary will cover our expenses plus an additional 4K, even with the new baby expenses. “This whole gig based engineering thing aerospace ” What is the motivation behind this? I’m much more ambivalent about performance increases. Good luck with very thing and I hope we can both find our ways. Improved 3D Printing Method for Aerospace Composites, Computer-Aided Robot Design Scales New Terrain, How to Conduct a Spend Analysis: Methodology in Detail, How to Collaborate with Suppliers to Reduce Product Costs, Miniature Magnetic Pump 3D Printed as a Single Part, Human Body Applications for Pressure Mapping Technology, Stratasys - Products, Best Practices & Case Studies, The Difference Between Film & Tactile Sensors for Pressure Measurements, Give your Battery and Power System Designs a Jolt with Interface Pressure Measurement. The craze for programming and IT field seems to be gone now for me. One lead test engineer, after 9 months of searching hard, took a job (doing hands on IT work) which barely pays half of what he used to make. I have no wish to go into a leadership/management role yet I’m not sure if I can remain in a developer role for much longer. But man, am I envious. The warning signs are clear and many with engineering degrees get out of the field real quick. Replies to: Is mechanical engineering a dead-end career? And do you think the technology industry inherently has more pressure for employees than non-technology? It really wasn’t too bad to work long hours in my 20s. I did make connections in supply chain that got me out of enginnering for the next 3 years and reduced my travel to about one five-day week per month. You should try to find a different job in the same field. On balance, Intel is a darn good employer. However, that part of the major involves mostly research experiences(surface engineering), which means a graduate school diploma will be necessary. After selling my business, I was able to afford becoming a “slash” in a field that I really enjoy – fashion. I was just a cog in the wheel and anyone can replace me. It’s a great site for DIY investors. Stop by! I’ve applied for promotions 3 times, but have been turned down; not that I desperately want to give up engineering and move into the mind-numbing management world, though the extra money would be nice. My new department head was very demanding and I left shortly after that. Life is short. It keeps life more interesting. More and more time was spent on technical writing, planning, presentations, meetings, calling people, classes, etc… I liked the technical side of engineering and I loved working in the lab. I consulted with graduate students and professors at school and they gave me similar answers that you gave me. Best case, we’d like to drop out of the rat race in 5 years and join the RB50 club. They study the properties and structures of metals, ceramics, plastics, composites, nanomaterials (extremely small substances), and other substances in order to create new materials that meet certain You think, “Man I know my stuff – I am at the top of my game.” And you think that this translates to your value on the market. It’s silly. Hi all! They have this idea of cross training and the company thinks that if people move throughout the ranks, that makes for a successful company. When I had the right manager who know what I could do, it was fine. AND I WAS OBSESSED WITH ARCHITECTURE SINCE CHILDHOOD. From what I understand, there are still a lot of jobs for ECE and CS engineers. I really like engineering; I absolutely despise the engineering industry. Check them out after the main post. 1. The job was not a good fit for me anymore. But I get told and scared by the people that how can you leave such a good amount of money that you are getting at the end of each month. After taxes, that’s $15 even. I eventually went into architecture, then marketing, then Dietetics & Nutrition. Hence I decided to move into the area of of web design(HTML/CSS,Photoshop,Flash) and developement. With your degree, they should maximize your usage somehow. You start your career in “resource mode”, frantically learning how to execute on the technical end but without having to “manage work” per se. I’ll mark the date on my calender and make sure to drop by. Ever since the downturn, the teams shrunk and the work load grew. Most of them were very unhappy and eventually quit. Or perhaps try a different career or start a business. While this looks good for U.S. science and technology numbers, an informal survey done by Machine Design reveals many dissatisfied engineers. That’s the beauty of retiring relatively young (50’s for me), lots of choices and new experiences. Learn more. But not limited by moneytizing it. Maybe you can enroll in more classes that are interesting to you. That may sound like a tall order right now. Sorry to hear that. I’m going to major in ECE this upcoming fall and after reading your article and other things online I’m starting to get worried. Learn, learn, learn, ask questions – and I use the internet and the library often. , I love engineering, I love what I do. After 3 years, I was in the office so little that I had no chance to make the political connections or relationships with the right people required for management consideration. Fun at first but now is just a drag… I am obsessed with early retirement. Probably not, I find my field to be a lot more rewarding. I will be starting school at 21. I am starting school next year going into healthcare. To me, this was the best period as an engineer. I can strongly relate to this one. As an engineer I see my managers putting in more hours and having the more stressful careers. There were other factors as well. I still love engineering and do a lot of projects with my daughter on the side (she is 7). Some of your options include engineering work in the mechanical, software, biomedical, chemical, environmental and electrical fields.With so many choices, it’s almost certain that you’ll find a sector that’s just right for you. I would be creative for no money as long as my kids get their minimum life standard. With the accountants running the companies and the quarterly profit the top priority, engineering is just a necessary evil to top management. In the meantime, research interior design: residential or commercial? Loving nature a lot more. When I look at job postings for ECE they just all look boring. Choose wisely because each action has a consequence.” More than 15 years later, I can say this advice rings true for myself and most of those I have encountered in the professional workforce. At this point, management will lie to your face and say that nothing will be changing and it will help the company progress to the goals they are trying to attain. Save up and work part time at something you like. Also, though not sure if as true anymore, but it’s a sad irony that more business travel is usually expected of the more senior level folks, so instead of doing trips when young and single, they are expected of employees when they have kids and need work/life balance. That’s great to hear. It’s a different world today for kids with their tablets and smartphones. THIS practice at IBM made me quite unhappy with the career choice I made, but I knew not every company was like this, and found refuge at a company that actually valued their employee’s shortly after this job. Overwhelmingly, engineers report fewer jobs that are harder to find, require specific training and experience, and last only five to six years. It has both to do about purpose as well as bringing in some extra cash flow. The early years in my career were tough as it was hard to find a job I enjoyed, but after four career switches (different companies, and different positions in engineering), I think I am in a pretty good place. Maybe you never expected to fall into this category, ha! I’m sure you made the right choice for you, though. My friend got no raise, and 1-2 months later won a huge corporate award for the work he did during that same period! Life is short….. it only becomes more evident every passing year. So, you can say I am not looking for going alone at this moment. Out of 180 EE’s, not many American born engineers graduated with a higher GPA. and would it pay off in a long run? Do you know any other careers I can pursuit if this was to happen that I could achieve with a BS in Software Engineering, with decent pay of at least $60-70 and not discrimated for age? My job is just fine and I’m happy with it. But IMO anyone who makes a blanket statement like the above about Intel’s culture should do a bit of self-examination. * Companies not hiring IT personnel and using contractors for their IT work. I have to say, I experienced it in every company as well as the insensitive lay-offs with no warning or consideration for the lives of those laid off. Don’t quit now because you never know how it’s going to turn out. Hi, I know this is an old blog but wanted to comment on this regardless. The faster I get into management the better! Sloka I am going to throw something past you: Consider completing the BS in engineering. It is a bad financial decision to leave. Being an engineer is … different. Maybe work on a wind generator or something like that? You need to get out while the economy is good. Nobody in your particular industry will hire you because they’ve just laid off your peers. Don't expect to ever become CEO unless you start your own company - but even then the needs of leadership will likely result in not writing any more code. My employer, a small defense contractor that is actually a branch of a holding company is having hard times. “Management” as conceived by the Harvard Business School is a massively overrated. My technical skills are outdated now. I think most engineers can find a different job within the same field after a layoff. I know this post is over a year old, but just wondering what you ended up doing. It gets hard to plan the future – your head is down, working, and you go home to relax. Once they started asking me to travel to China, I quit again in 2010. I made a leap from engineering to interior design a few years ago. But I just don’t want to do engineering anymore. These people are not in front of the computer 10 hours daily. Many engineers quit their job and moved on to do something else. The company I work acquired the branch I work with 7 years ago, and isn’t happy that the engineers under this branch work from home and would much rather have us in their stuffy office under micro management. It is a big waste of time that will eventually form you into an obedient dog of the system. I know you could probably say that, for me, it’s way too early to start complaining about what I do, and that my lack of experience could be the leading factor to some of my disengagement. I’m not planning to get a job at this time. Good blog. If it is yes for you two, then you are also a retiree. I used to really be good at one or two things and was very successful at my last company doing just that. What changed? I was also thinking about getting an MBA a little down the road, but I’ve heard the value of those is decreasing. My reasons were similar to those I’ve read here – it’s hard to stay on the technical side and advance your salary so you have to eventually move into management as they hire fresh graduates to take your place. , retire “to withdraw from office, business, or active life, usually because of age: to retire at the age of sixty.”, retirement “removal or withdrawal from service, office, or business.”, Keri’s perception of retirement “Obviously, you are free to call yourself whatever, but I still would not call your departure from the workforce a true “retirement” as long as you have a working spouse you rely on.”, A year late… but… yeah different strokes for different folks. Warren County High School seniors Alex Yates, left, and David Romero work on an assembly … They have best future in technology. Engineering is tough these days because the corporations have so much power and they don’t value the employee… Check out Root of Good if you haven’t read that blog. I've applied to front-end, back-end, software engineer, QA, database admin, data analyst, etc. It has completely devalued a once lucrative profession. I am a female mechanical engineer and hate sitting at a desk for long periods at a time. Huge layoffs and big-business outsourcing to cheaper, foreign labor markets does nothing to boost morale. Most companies hire young ones because the interviewers are much more younger than you are and mostly on their early 30s. Regarding rental units I don’t see them as a vehicle for retirement. A family and children are not conducive to 12 hour days and going into the office 7 days a week. It seems to happen to a lot of guys in their 40’s. I love engineering and the different aspects of working on a team. Engineering is a good field, but it’s just getting more difficult everyday. I am also going back and forth on this too because I’m not sure I would like a sedentary job as he mentioned, I would like to be able to work with my hands too and work on stuff with physical results I can see. Lots of people moved on to something else. No. Well, it would have worked in the 90s. Personally, I think it’s one of the better job. That way you’ll have a choice when you graduate. It’s nothing personal against any of the companies. If you’re working full time and being a mom, you’ll be too tired to do anything else. My parents also had to spend sh*t load of money for my education, and I believe they even loaned money from the bank. Do you have an update? And of course going back to school is always harder than going the first time. 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. Readers report some companies will not give their engineering staffs necessary resources or provide only minimal funding. Our son, RB40Jr, is only in 3rd grade, but it looks like he’ll be good with math. Younger engineers that grow in experience that are paid less are the more attractive outlay for any organisation. I bounced back (although my GPA is still below 3.0) and started to enjoy part of my major slightly more. I’m telling you what I’m good at and you aren’t listening. Thanks for sharing your real experience ! I also hate fighting computer design software everyday ( and mixed signal simulators); it removes my motivation. There are too many people who are doing things for $200 that should cost $1000. They encouraged behavior which wasn’t constructive for effective team work or developing strong leaders. But I believe it’s never too late, I believe the only time it’s too late is when you completely give up. I fee exactly as you did. I think at that point for some that are inclined so, it can be good to forge your own path and go down the inventor route. Save and invest as much as you could. He set me up with a Defender like game and I was hooked. 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. .I ask because I’m in high school and I’m tied between being a software engineer or a Dr. in Physical therapy using my programming for apps and websites for my clinic.. After all these years working overtime and stressful project deadlines, I think engineering is a wrong choice for anyone who wishes to have a family life and some respect as a professional. It’s been over 7 years since I quit my engineering career. I used to get headaches too for the first time in my life as a manager and it took me 2 years to figure out how to reorganize my brain around these new HR tasks. He has taken a pretty substantial pay cut and the new job is extremely stressful as they took him out of the position he was hired for and made him responsible for many, many tasks (including failure analysis for the whole fab on all shifts) . So, its a matter of having to live with the stress. As a young engineer, strive to be a sponge and learn as much as you can about your chosen technical area. And all roles lead to what? I am an engineer (civil) and I work for the government. Hopefully, they can help. You’d have to compete with 20 something kids who don’t mind spending 80 hours on the job. The 27 year old group leaders work 60 hours a week with approximately 1/5 of those hours in meaningless meetings. Good luck with everything. Sitting at a desk from 8-5, and an occasional unpaid weekend (benefits of salary exempt) are no longer appealing to me. But, many readers say companies view them as a commodity. Unfortunately for me it just doesn’t seem to be possible to have that kind of job immediately, so I’ll end up drudging through my job until I can get there. There is a high demand for experience engineers willing to work for pennies on the dollar…, Again, I love what I do but if given the chance I would not do this again…. Despite this if things don’t work out for me, I think changing to a majorly research oriented BioMed engineering field would be a more likely option for me. what do you think? I’ve burned through both my savings and my 401k just surviving, and am now living with family. I really enjoyed that time with my son, but I’m glad he’s growing up too. Hi everyone. I note that you prefer writing as your new work after being an engineer. 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. MBAs rule the private sector, engineers are merely headcount for them, not assets. 2. Nonetheless, since it is easier to play the cards I have been dealt with rather than wonder about the life that may have been, I am planning towards pursuing my master’s next year while doing a thesis so I can taste the Research domain (my job right now comes under the R&D vertical but i seriously doubt I am remotely doing any “research”.). Therefore, just because Intel did you wrong does not mean you should give the notion of working for Corporate America the middle finger. And I fear that in my thirties companies will want to fire me for younger employees. Now, not so much. Unfortunately they outsourced my new job. I don’t know how long I should wait until I plan other things in life such as marriage, having children, retiring, and etc. Thirty years of being retired is a long time and I find that reentering the work force occasionally challenges me so that I keep my mental facilities sharp and fit. What’s ironic about that is without engineering, there would be minimal need for tradespersons. Nevertheless, at least in software, there is always somewhere else to work where you can continue on as an individual contributor, or where it is easier to get a management/lead role, depending on which direction you wish to go (and aren’t getting traction on at your current employer). I found this article through a google of “good paying jobs for former engineers.”, I studied EE. My masters degree is in music – organ performance, church music, and choral conducting. Looking forward to spending more time with the family. At least you get to move around a little. I too have been in IT for too long and in various roles (pc tech, telecom tech, telecom manager, IT project manager) and it’s ran it’s course. I totally understand your situation, I’m in a similar one (less stressful though). You have to make the most of your life! I had to learn a new expertise and it was difficult. The demand at the company stays the same, but you need to take care of the kids too. Since you still have a working spouse, and it doesn’t seem like you guys could get by without her income, despite working on other income streams, I don’t see how this can be in any way called retirement. I need a C+ to pass the course. Next post: SAHD Recipe – Thai Red Curry Chicken, Previous post: Travel Hacking 2019: Chiang Mai, Hanoi, and Narita. Good luck with changing your career. You should talk to a professional financial planner if you need more help with your finance. I’m not the only one that thinks this way. One of my friends told me that one of the best managers he ever had , had been a therapist in a former career. I am already much happier now. Why engineers should plan for an early retirement. Don’t forget to check out the comments to see more diverse views. Matching skills and needs, in my opinion, is getting impossible. You’ll find plenty of opportunities. He was a top-shelf engineer, a top-shelf program manager, and a top-shelf director. How many wealthy entrepreneur engineers can you name? 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. Several promotions and with rare exception that money goes right to the mortgage, which is within a year from payoff. I’d really appreciate your insight on the matters. I worked on the memory (DRAM) interface and learned a ton about how the computer chips were made. All this has been very hard – but I wish he could find something he enjoyed so he can get in another 5-8 years of an actual enjoyable working experience where his skills are valued..I just don’t know if that exist anymore..it is very sad the human tool all this corporate cost-savings has had! There are issues with every company, but most people deal with it. My actual salary after more than 3 years experience is around 30k$ before taxes thats makes around 18k$ after taxes. A guy I worked with at Lockheed (around 60 now, and laid off) was from DEC in the Boston area. You won’t regret giving it a shot. Wish I would have saved better like RB40 but I am catching up. A recent article published in the SPE Journal of Petroleum Technology asked various active young professionals about petroleum engineering as a career and whether they felt they made the right choice. The second company I hopped to was much smaller (instead of 5000 people, it was about 100 people). November 2008. isten buddy, if you learn anything from this financial mess on wall street and from outsourching in general, it should be that nothing in this life is certain. Adding further insult to injury is the loose application of the term "engineer" to nonengineers. Any engineers out there that went into teaching or healthcare? I couldn’t stand it. Work life out of college is not what they said it would be, I have no mentor, no goals, no achievements that I want to strive for, simply because I do not know how to acquire them. I got out before I even got in to the field for real. He loves the work but hates the stress. This leaves an unsatisfied, unfulfilled worker and a company with less profit-in other words it sucks for everyone involved. Beware the big house, the expensive car, spending money like it grows on trees. For a few years I had a couple crappy managers and I hated my job .. manager changed and job got better again. If I’m wrong, I might be looking for a job in a couple years :p. Your points echo what I have been feeling for the last couple of years. It is also difficult to find a job as a senior engineer. It will give you more options as you get older. Also, I loved debugging and working with logic analyzers. That’s too bad. I essentially passed out driving back to work and was dead for at least 90 seconds to two minutes until people at work shocked me back to life (got shocked a second time in the ambulance). At the same time, I feel like I’ve become that person that they always wanted me to be because that’s what I had been doing for my entire life. My son, like yourself and CNBC’s Jim Cramer studied engineering. He can study what he likes. Everyone who is thinking about quitting their job should read Financial Samurai’s book: How to engineer your layoff. I don’t know. I just have a small shop so I don’t have a lot of BS to deal with. Engineering is a great field to get into. 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. I’m just about ready to go to Colorado and grow pot for a living, or maybe open up a head shop and sell pipes and bongs. I think science teacher sounds great. 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. What can I say? I would really appreciate your advice. There is light at the end of the tunnel, however. Not all engineering fields offer low starting salaries and minimal benefits. I didn’t ask ANYTHING this time (other than how many workers were at the site – a few just for the sake of having questions), and I got the job. Processors gave way to microcontrollers and hardware logic gave way to FPGA’s. If you read about the “golden times” of the chip industry, they also had problems back then. Hopefully, my library will have your books. Who taught you that you could only earn income while working? I’ve been in engineering for 32 years since age 20. Also finding a job in the US as an international student, especially with the military duty in the way, is nearly impossible. The world needs more engineers in the future. 8 years after I left engineering, I came back in. And still it´s a miracle what the deeper cause behind the problem is. I reached a point where I just became so apathetic it started to scare me. I find it hard to find a 30 hour week job so I tolerate the 50-60 hours/week but take off after 6-8 months. Matloff argues that while software development is intellectually stimulating and initially lucrative, the field is ultimately a "career dead-end" because job opportunities begin to fade once you turn 35. I choose the title Retire by 40 when I started because it was more catchy than Quitting Work by 40.