But, most engineers don’t do well when they have to jump back and forth between daily tasks…but that is the life of an engineer now. #21. rheidzan 390 replies 11 threads Member. The longer you wait, the harder it’ll be to change. 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. My goals and circumstance are very similar to yours. I can relate. Well, my question is about finances. 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. You can always quit if it didn’t work out. Almost all end up in managerial positions. Hi, I have been working as a techie for the last 7 years now but I just don’t seem to enjoy it anymore. Would it be worth it when engineering job do not fit my lifestyle, interest, and talent? The comments on this post are excellent too. I have been thinking about switching over to statistics or accounting or something with numbers and not too much science. If yes, go do what you can to complete the degree. I've been specializing in front-end for a while and the framework I'm an expert in (Ember.js) is basically dead. I got across your blog because after 1.5yrs of being retired I am contemplating on returning to the work force but don’t want an engineering career in the same industry. Seeking for some expidiendo advice. She’s planning to retire soon, though. I understand that you worked at Intel for a long time but were there any drawbacks when you were thinking about retiring at early age? Nobody will hire you as entry level because they think that you will bolt for the first better paying job that comes along (and they would be quite right in thinking this). Engineers are so skillful doing very complex works, but at the same time, people with less training are doing better by being their own boss. Maybe you can do contract jobs instead. Drivers. Why? Prior to that, I only have watched shows on TV. 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? I read your blog and felt like sharing my feelings too. I am 20+ years into an engineering career and currently with a big tech company. You probably need to just hang on for a few years. I have a couple other friends that have been with the company for 10-15 years and are plenty happy with their jobs. In my estimation it should be double that for both levels. Not sure if you can retire in 5 years. In fact, they’re rather have those kinds of ppl fired (sorry, my bad … make that rightsized) . They probably should have trained you in it and not put you in that position. Do you have a good counselor or professor you can talk to? But does this hold true for engineering, traditionally considered a solid, secure career? If one doesn’t like one’s job, one should find a way to leave. IMHO, you need to be among the 1st one or two dozen in a startup firm. Don’t know where to start… I got my EE and after my first gig at a small defense contractor, I went to work at Compaq Computer (later HP) in ’89. An engineering career isn’t as good as it once was. I’m more incline towards cs but taking some hardware classes will definitely help me in my career. Like you said it has the potential to be a rewarding career, but it’s definitely not for everyone. I am bored and lost complete interest in engineering. So the guilt I would have from leaving the field of engineering has been holding me. But then again, I’m just a “new” senior engineer, so we’ll see what I’ll say after a few years! I agree with him, if you study engineering, you will not enjoy video games as before. At the ripe age of 50 (12 months ago) I decided to shift out of engineering. Got tired of working in the downtown area of our metropolis and my wrists were starting to hurt from the constant clicking of the mouse, so I moved to a small town and went to work for the road design branch of my state’s DOT. The guys in my level who landed the jobs weren’t necessarily the cream the crop academically but tended to be more outgoing socially and thrived in team projects. You start your career in “resource mode”, frantically learning how to execute on the technical end but without having to “manage work” per se. Thanks for reading and any comment would be greatly appreciated. I’ve really enjoyed this reading this discussion, as I am living life nearly in reverse from most of the people posting. I think mentoring the younger new engineers has been rewarding and made me realize I might like being a “professor” or something. Never felt better. Which one fulfill better the human soul most? I got a good GPA (3.4) upon graduation but I seriously hated it. I’ve been working 3 years as an engineer in computer hardware (servers) and see the writing on the wall. But hey let me follow my original passion I do not regret anything though. Well, I jumped between construction engineering, physics, commercial law and pharmacy. I studied VLSI (chip design) so working for Intel was a dream came true. 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. Once they started asking me to travel to China, I quit again in 2010. But memory is one of the easiest subsystems to understand. Can you be an engineer in the military? Our finance is in great shape at this point. To add to the misery, I’m an IT worker that has just turned Joe’s target-age, and have been out of work for over 2 years. It keeps life more interesting. I hope you enjoy this one. Ah, good times. I too am an engineer and have undergone a similar transformation as I’ve progressed throughout my career. It will fester. Engineers work in disciplines that include mechanical, electrical, chemical, civil, and environmental engineering, among others. I am still confused though about what should I do? It is a shame that you were promoted into something less enjoyable and thus hastened your departure. If you don’t make it in 15 years, then get out and find something else to do. System Architect here (Computer System Engineer) and I totally here him on that, Lance. 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. If you like the leadership role, then that’s great. That being the case, I myself am looking for another field of work to branch out. I know I am smart, but I am also more creative than the average engineer. After a couple of years you have gotten better at what you do, and you are asked to “manage” as well as execute. According to Matloff, "Statistics show that most software developers are out of the field by age 40." I have strong speaking skills and would be more than happy if my whole day were to be filled with meetings, presentations, etc. My next stint of unemployment after that started in March 2012 and has continued since. Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Mark Cuban, Zuckerburg. This pattern is particularly true in applied STEM fields like engineering and computer science. I gave up music because having a church gig and a full time engineering job took too much time (churches of all types are terrible employers – and while I had the music expertise, big donors would tell me how to do my job – church politics is another topic I won’t get into, but it makes the worst corporate stuff I have seen look like child’s play – no wonder more people spend Sunday mornings drinking lattes! Unfortunately they outsourced my new job. FWIW – the grass isn’t always greener in the career alternatives. They all got forced to retire or got fired. We need to find something that we enjoy and then the money will come. Had a hard time getting a job with no experience so had to go overseas for cheap but rigorous engineering labor. You excised Corporate America bureaucracy from the equation. If you really want to get back into engineering, it might be best to get an MS or something like that. You might get lucky. It’s great that you are saving and investing now. I couldn’t work full-time and take care of my mom. Most people don’t really care how fast a computer runs these days. To those for whom work is the end, success is often found in working longer and harder than those around you. If things don’t work out, then you can try graduate school. He was a top-shelf engineer, a top-shelf program manager, and a top-shelf director. This is basically an inevitable trend but unlike STEM, no one is predicting a shortage of pharmacists anymore. They taught it to us! Entering a company in an administrative support role is not a dead-end career, contrary to popular belief. We have debts from previous houses, etc. What is your plan, or have you been doing after you retired as an engineer? Very interesting to read. By the way, we’ve been in place for eight years no and my wife is starting to talk of moving. You’ll find plenty of opportunities. I am an engineer (civil) and I work for the government. I know this unrelated to your RB40 story, but I am curious on how you dealt with the transition from highschool to college? As a young engineer, strive to be a sponge and learn as much as you can about your chosen technical area. My mom is struggling with dementia. Good luck! At my first job I realized the happy days of DEC and the 80’s were over. Now that I have three kids, I struggle with 40 hours! Especially when it’s the sedentary life, stress, and my unhealthy coping mechanisms related to the job that are adversely affecting my health anyway. As of now, I’ve been with my company for ten years. I was unable to escape this even when switch jobs multiple times. I personally find the technical details interesting and I think that I will stay that route, and seem to be OK at leading (so far LOL!). I have tried the freelancing side of things, but I know from that that its very difficult to get any kind of steady jobs rolling along. I became more senior and the expectation was to sit in god awful meetings all day, make slides sets, and influence others. The good news is, I really like leading technical things, making presentations, planning, etc., so I hope I’m still able to enjoy my career for years to come! 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. 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. There isn’t a good word for leaving a career. The 25+ year career guys are just the ones lucky enough to survive and perform as project engineers/managers. They did not hire many experienced engineers, so they needed to have strong resumes to get hired, yet they usually did not make it past 2 layoffs. They literally “rank” the employees from 1 to xxx in each pay level. If anyone out there has any ideas of good non-engineering jobs out there I’d like to know because I want to change my career. who cares how gasoline is made anyway? That way you can control your hours. Today, America's workforce is running scared. We both work long hours however thankfully my current job is a little flexible. Even a 20 year person would be overwhelmed working there. 20 years later, those engineers are now mostly laid off. It is scary to leave $100k+ job and start from scratch……. To summarize, I would advise the 30 somethings not to let your 40’s sneak up on you, especially if the last few years of your career have been in cruise control as an engineer. I would have too. Who knows. Again – you’ve got to really have the desire to do this kind of thing in order to make it work. A lot of people retire early with rentals. Several of them were severe alcoholics stumbling late into work each day with an occassional bruise or two from the night before. Thank you for your thoughts! © 2020 Endeavor Business Media, LLC. I do like the place I am at now. Monday I have a phone interview from someone at another iconic brand. Helps to have plenty of FU money and be close to FI. However, an engineering career might not be a good fit for everyone. I’m sure it’s the standard operating procedure to squeeze as much as they can out of engineers. Cutthroat culture, with dinosaur hardass management. It is quite depressing to sit in front of the monitor all day long. There is no way for me then to work as an engineer,and I gave up. It will give you more options as you get older. Now I’m 4 years out of employment, perhaps 10 years out of any real technical work. 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 graduated in 2010 in electrical (digital) engineer. Good luck with everything. I’m sure the real estate market will turn around at some point. At least you get to move around a little. Financial world vs the engineering world. On the other hand, maybe it is our age or it´s just a natural process. Bad investments and 2008 really killed that plan! Like you said in the article, I can’t compete with the hungry single kid crushing those hours for peanuts. It Would Take a Big Event for You to Get Promoted You can travel, have fun with friends, and do things to lessen the stress. Replies to: Is mechanical engineering a dead-end career? 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. Many engineers feel such practices arise because the work they do does not contribute directly to the bottom line. Some other brainwashed employee perhaps?”. 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. Being at one company for for decades is good for securing your financial future but ultimately became unfullfilling. people driving fork trucks doing better than engineers? A guy I worked with at Lockheed (around 60 now, and laid off) was from DEC in the Boston area. And, you need to have the talent of persuading them using the right technologies. Just a note that I got fired from my engineering job over 30 years ago for taking too much vacation. I figured if it didn’t work, I’d go back to work within a year. Engineers should recognize that it’s a lot harder to spend your whole life as an engineer. Its funny because I just graduated in December and I would love to do the exact opposite of you. I’m glad to hear you were able to work it out too. One quote I love is: be the leading actor of your own life. 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. I worked for a small amd medium size company and both have their pros and cons. I can’t imagine still working 40 years from now! My parents also had to spend sh*t load of money for my education, and I believe they even loaned money from the bank. Maybe start your own business or join a consultant? I’m sure your family would rather live a little simpler and have you around for the long term. Another idea was for him to look for other jobs where he could do something different and interesting while still using his engineer/analysis skills..He is a great people person and was told he was the best communicator in his group and the best project manager (because he is very good at working to bring together groups of people to a common goal) . Eventually, I think money won’t matter as much when you get older and more financially secure. Maths, Chemistry, Physics, and Biology are key - in the UK, for example, universities will be looking for strong A Levels in these subjects, with Maths and Physics typically considered most desirable . Diversity wasn’t really part of the regional landscape nor the local history. I went through it and can now say I thoroughly understand the systems and machinery. I got out before I even got in to the field for real. Because you only get paid when you’re working. You already had one scary episode and you don’t want to repeat that. Basically it’s a place no one would spend their time at. Processors gave way to microcontrollers and hardware logic gave way to FPGA’s. Graduated from a state univ summa, and started out with structures in 99. :(.. The job was not a good fit for me anymore. 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 don’t know how long I should wait until I plan other things in life such as marriage, having children, retiring, and etc. It’s a great site for DIY investors. I earn $60k and work 60 hours a week (this isn’t including travel and all that crap). Good luck! They told me I was no longer technically savvy, although there are upper management that are less technical than I am. Companies all try to shoehorn the employees. A lot of jobs are going oversea. Matching skills and needs, in my opinion, is getting impossible. Startup Why People End Up in Dead-End Jobs A study out of Duke University sheds light on the thought process that leads people to make career decisions that will make them miserable. No the pay I wanted and not an engineering role. Plus, future generations may face a world where creativity is rewarded more than logic. A dead-end job is a job where there is little or no chance of career development and advancement into a higher paid position. I am 33 now and a electrical design engineer at a Fortune 500 company. If you graduated in a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematical) subject, you may already have considered a career in finance. I suspect only a few people can become a successful entrepreneur in tech. 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. Most of my engineer friends from college are still working for a corporation, but none of them are doing the technical work. Here’s my advice to you … since you’re in a decent career track now, start to research jobs in the government. That could be partly due to the fact that if they stick it out seven years, they get a two month paid vacation. So much less stress now as I forge ahead with new interests. I’m an engineer by education and my 2 degrees, but never more than that. If you were an engineer, chances are, outside of a handful of contracting positions, most jobs (including 1099 ones), are on a full time basis. She already has expressed desire to be a physician but I am not sure if it is because of the financial benefits she sees me receiving or not. I’m not quite senior since I don’t feel like I’m the sharpest tool in the box. 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. Thanks for visiting! 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). I too studied engineering (construction) and I remember that being the most boring time of my life – what’s the point of enjoying TV and graphics if you are constantly bombarded with that in the work? When I asked my son why he switched he said, “I realized I would have to be an engineer.” I don’t know if this helps, but the engineering curriculum and it’s approach to critical thinking has certainly aided in his transition from Engineering to Finance. To start a career that’s not related to nursing, you can also follow the steps above. For a few years I had a couple crappy managers and I hated my job .. manager changed and job got better again. Hi, it’s Randy again with more anti-corporate America stuff. I believe the camaraderie and the tighter community make engineering much better in a small company. Do you think you can improve with time? Very soon i will put myself out of this life. Overall, have control of your life outside of work and refuel your spirit and determine a course of action. In between I studied commercial law, and it wasn’t bad either, I liked it – but missed the science. Engineering is team endeavor and there’s always going to be at the very least a little corporate drama wherever you go. Doesn’t look very promising from what I’ve read here and elsewhere on the internet. I worked very hard hoping to be promoted. I enjoy being a writer way more. If you only have a year left, maybe it’s better to grind it out. As for myself, I am a non traditional EE student, age 43. I’d say go for it if you like it. “Management” as conceived by the Harvard Business School is a massively overrated. Add in the fact that I can be sued for errors and omissions, and certainly its an easy decision so choose wisely. With China, India and now Indonesia coming online with semiconductor plants and their engineers fresh out of America’s best colleges, the industry is ripe for having electronic computer engineers being brought under pressure to perform more than ever before, or get out-sourced. Around half of those who got no raises were the same people as the prior year, but many were not, so around 30% of the workers at some point got shafted. The person who once was a garbage collector is now a sanitation engineer. Our son, RB40Jr, is only in 3rd grade, but it looks like he’ll be good with math. It is the IT business that is completely cut-throat. You’ll regret it later if you don’t give it a try. 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/. And right now, the owner of a liquor store nearby, who was once an engineer for Raytheon, told me that of his entire cohort, only one was in tech after the age of 55. I make a little money with my blog. I still think you should talk to your professor. He made around $110k at the former company – with 20+ years of experience. I am a senior level civil engineering student that got into engineering because I enjoyed math and physics. I couldn’t disagree with you more about your management line… I have a team of 10 and am the first to arrive and last to leave. Why is getting a job so dumb? Business in general has found that they can take advantage of IT workers and I won’t be a part of that. As an engineer I see my managers putting in more hours and having the more stressful careers. If so, you wouldn't know it from engineering school enrollments. Far from it. I just hit 8 years with the company I hired on with directly from college. He was told this and given great reviews at his last company before they layoff a bunch of senior level folks as a cost-saving measure to prepare for selling the company, his boss didn’t even know about it until he saw him being lead out the door by security. New engineers can learn it quickly. My fear is growing complacent and wasting 10 more years only to wake up one day and be let go because they’ve hired an inexperienced college grad to replace me, which is how I got this job anyway…. 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. I did the management thing for a few years but moved back to being a drone because it’s better fit with who I am and where I want to be. That’s great. A sabbatical would be great to get your head straight. My son, like yourself and CNBC’s Jim Cramer studied engineering. I am currently in the engineering field but have lost a lot of interest in the engineering field. The company can always hire more engineers. We all know those people and they are not fun. Good luck! I’m not planning to get a job at this time. I never fully understood this false advertising for engineering careers. It is sad when companies lose valuable people because they don’t recognize what makes that person so special at their jobs to begin with. I work for a company that is an iconic brand and very old. 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 am in a fairly similar situation as what you mentioned; the biggest problem is dealing with politics in a sunset industry because there is no real upside of raising to management level. I need a C+ to pass the course. I think we will be OK if he quits..it is not ideal..but we will survive. Anyway, people change career a few times these days. People have left engineering all together (one opened a package store), retired early or have given up looking. However, some people may enjoy engineering/enjoy the career path. Good luck! I was pressured and intimidated into applying, so I did. Let’s see how this works out for now!”. Qualification wise Job Vacancies 10th pass Govt. Phd’s were laid off the year before me (especially those over 40, which most were). It happens to a lot of people. I think you’ve invested too many years in education and professional experience to simply quit the workforce. “How can leaders be better mentors-of-the-moment and create a mentoring culture? Ask yourself why so many *Senior* Business Systems Analysts know practically nothing? My own family is living on one income. 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. I think that good managers who thrive are those that have mental health /counseling /psychiatry training. Most people can tolerate corporate America, but it really isn’t for me. It’s the stupidest way you can possibly generate income! You’re still young. We also received $500 bonuses for simply meeting milestones – doing our jobs….it boosted morale a LOT though. I think I will probably give up on graduate school for now and see if I can pursue happiness in something else. Here are several recommendations to get started: Use simple mentor-of-the-moment conversation starters. I fee exactly as you did. If an individual requires further education to progress within their firm that is difficult to obtain for any reason, this can result in the occupation being classified as a dead-end position. 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). At the end of the day, this is all I have seen; you find a company that is small/medium and has a niche in a market that seems sustainable for your path. Entry-level at a good organization, they give you tasks and you do them. Now, not so much. I have zero interest in computers, hated programming, but was pretty decent at math. I found making drawings is very boring and time consuming process and killing the fun I’m doing in calculation and analysis . Yeah!No reason to be stressed. I have been working too in an IT company for past 2 years 10 months..yes not long time as yours..but i had started to feel the shiver 1 year back itself. Good luck! Anyway it’s not a skill that comes naturally for me either, but I have learned it and am getting better. The trouble with riding incremental career changes into middle age is that your “value proposition” starts to diminish at a certain point, contrary to what you might think inside about yourself. I have the freedom to make choices for my life without being worried about pleasing my boss, or working under stress or duress, or doing a lifestyle no longer fitting for me and my wife. I firmly believe Engineering (or any career for that matter) is something you have to have a passion for, and frankly I never had it. 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. I was a software engineer, now a manager. If you save and invest diligently, you’ll have enough to retire early or switch careers. Sorry to hear that. Here are the signs you are stuck in a dead-end job and you have to walk away before you finally lose yourself. You don’t have to be an engineer for 40 years. Law gives you a lot of freedom and a VERY good social life. It is a big waste of time that will eventually form you into an obedient dog of the system. 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. Many of my friends work for consultants and work nights, weekends, or whatever it takes. and after a fantastic and profitable year, the gave the 5% back and called it your “raise”. Good luck! I heard small companies are better overall. 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. Is Network Security a Dead End Career? As such, foreign engineers are being imported to take jobs, while more jobs are being exported through outsourcing. We can not fill any vacant position. Be prepared to make that gear shift, or else somebody will do it for you when you’re not prepared…. I would suggest to everyone to try law 1 year, to see if it’s anything for you – you will be surprises how much it will teach you about everything. My parents now tell me to decide my own future, but they had been telling me what to do with my career path until like 3 months ago when I raged at them for manipulating my life. This is a great idea. Such success may come with significant financial compensation and personal recognition, but those rewards have to be something the individual wants or they will not find happiness. My mom told me not to become an engineer, and so I didn’t. How to use dead-end in a sentence. 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. That’s normally more than 1 out of 5 graduates for STEM students. Financial independence enabled me to become a stay-at-home dad and take care of our son when he was a baby. New Process Gear (GM/Chrysler transmissions) is 100% gone. The stress is unfortunate but the company has to make money for the executives and shareholders. The place is very disorganized with very limited systems and no training..and the person that used to do the failure analysis job is only minimally interested in helping..he is just probably happy to be not the responsible party anymore… So, my husband, who is 50 and all ready pretty shaken from the last layoff last year, has very low morale; very high stress; and the said he just feels pretty numb at this point, but can’t handle the stress much longer. 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). That piece of paper can be a significant feather in our caps. You work your ass off for them. Save up and move on to something else. 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. I guess I am in a limbo and getting frustrated, while still not sure what I should do with Engineering anymore. Older seniors who try to hang on to the technical aspect are at higher risk of being moved on. It seems to happen to a lot of guys in their 40’s. That’s too bad because most of us hates politic. That’s the way I think about it. We designed very complex systems. Sounds to me like only the cheapest were left. I got a job right out of college with Intel, a great tech company. I also had my fair share of work politics and yes being a female in a male dominated profession has its challenges but hey my goal was just to gain experience. Changing job improved the situation temporarily. Why full time senior positions, especially individual contributor roles are not available in this industry? I work for a pretty good company, the work is enjoyable, and my boss is awesome. 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. That will give you more options later on. It really wasn’t too bad to work long hours in my 20s. While acknowledging that engineering is not a career for the rich and famous, one engineer stated, "I enjoy and take pride in the work I do. Typical EE not doing EE work, right? Seems like long hours in the beginning are the norm for both. See if you’re really near the bottom. I’ve been at megacorp for 18 years and am now a manager. Aside from this theme, sure, the movie’s a great depiction of what happens to a kid, after growing up in an abusive the foster system but in reality, that’s a story for a lot of people, not just some random genius from South Boston. Good luck! I personally don’t know what I can do, it’s a lot of human capital to give up. I’m 32 in August and have a net worth that just breached 7 figures. I’ve only had one manager that had high expectations for me and I found out pretty early on that he was never going to be satisfied. Although I told myself I did not want to program out of college, it seems to be the only task that aligns with my company’s priorities. I don’t know if it would be possible to get back into engineering at your age (I assume older than 50.) Can money possibly make up for a job that you do not like? You will understand what we do here.”. Just recalling the period of life makes me want to retch my guys out. I think it’s best to work for small companies and shoot for the moon. Like Keri mentioned above, I see the confusion on the use of the word “retired” as when I came across the blog I was thinking of that as meaning financial independence as well. https://retireby40.org/passive-income/. If you make, let’s say, $100,000 a dollar/y but have to squeeze your brain out everyday not to get fired and live under constant stress. If software engineering is still seen as something that can be outsourced, it implies that it is still a blue-collar job. It is a bad financial decision to leave. Amazing post, finally found time to read it. . 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? IMO. Thanks for sharing your story; I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s had enough Engineering! Save up and work part time at something you like. Chemical Engineer here, 7+ years of experience. Those were just things I liked to do. I used to enjoy breakdowns but at this stage problem solving no longer pique my attention because I have experienced enough breakdowns and there’s only so much that can go wrong. Hey just found your site and it’s super helpful!! Quit the inflated lifestyle 2 years ago. If you do not continue to learn and change over time, you become unpromotible and stagnate. Do you enjoy it (considerably more)? 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. It’s a good field, but the corporations are not a nurturing environment. By the way, if you have eaten at Panda Express lately, know that eatery was started by an electrical engineer. Working for the government might be the ticket for senior engineers. I no longer care for it, actually I hate it and every time I hear any IT slang it makes me cringe. If you think Biomedical Engineering is something you may wish to pursue at undergraduate/career level, STEM subjects are the ones you’ll want to focus on. I love to both work on the details and then lead others, doing them for me. I think it was me that changed a lot over the years. I think it’s good to change career too. When I was 48, I quit my engineering job but went back after 2 years off. The terms meaningful work or fair work for a fair wage no longer exist. Status and recognition are sore points as well. I’ve seen companies in this position of having their key engineers retire and then those companies literally burn through leads and managers trying to find one. Maybe move to the Bay Area? You should leave then, and not waiting for things to go wrong. I’m in contact with the previous boss before that and can get the recommendation letter from him if needed. They do exist but are in the vast minority. I finally have my own blog but it’s about the environment! Yes, they are still useful 50 years later (many digital books from 10 years ago did not apply, however). Have you never considered that it might be better to be paid even when you’re not working? How do you like the courses? I am a consulting engineer specializing in structural glass for buildings, and a started my own practice two years ago. You think things will always be like that. In conclusion, companies are no larger interested in engineering like back in “the ole days”. 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. 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. But I doubt if I will be able to shine in the field of engineering. Engineering career, especially in big companies is an endless fight up the company ladder…engineering does not matter at all. I am an embedded engineer of 10+ years. Thanks! Problem is what the tech industry now considers “senior” can be just 10 years of experience, which at Intel meant youngish engineers spending much of their time on these quasi-managerial tasks, instead of the engineering for which they were hired. I have performed poorly in the first exams in these classes after studying almost full days for each one. Time to learn react. 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. ), no one looks at it as retirement – rather, it’s all about her becoming a stay-at-home mom. My husband got promoted out of his technical job without even being interested or consulted. BTW, did you get a letter of recommendation from your former boss? Is this field a field that I should not go into, regardless how much I like computers because it seems to me that the future is not to bright for ECEs. 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. Check them out. But, if you have the skill of convincing people, why not just be a sales person? In the end, that’s what all of us wanted originally out of engineering, until the MBAs turned the entire profession (if you can even call it a profession) into a white collar sweat shop. Seems like companies prefer to hire young people with a few years of experience. Evening meetings with Shanghai teams, zero design work, meetings, meetings, meetings. Good luck with the job search. 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. In my case : stress and heart failure, beacuse you try to keep everyone happy but yourself. I have had managers state, “You studied engineering? But as the 90’s progressed, and the company grew larger, it became a marketing company, then finally by the turn of the century it became a supply-chain company. If you’re working full time and being a mom, you’ll be too tired to do anything else. Any engineers out there that went into teaching or healthcare? I am starting school next year going into healthcare. At the retired age of 69, knowing what I know now, Never in Hell would I recommend the engineering field to any person. I can’t imagine doing this job,dealing with monotonous routine even for next five years down the line..The work doesn’t excites me anymore. 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. The dot-com boom was on the upswing and computer engineers were in high demand. Are all engineer fields like this? I’m sorry to hear that. I was debating whether to choose computer engineering or computer science (hardware vs software). In fact you might will understand the field of Design/Analog Verification of ICs, which I am currently in and have been working in this field for 4 years now. Is it some MBA consulting ideology? Yes the salary is good (for a beginner) and so are the benefits I have been given. Sitting at a desk from 8-5, and an occasional unpaid weekend (benefits of salary exempt) are no longer appealing to me. These criteria do not seem like something I will be able to meet, especially when I have no passion for engineering. I made a leap from engineering to interior design a few years ago. I have wasted enough of my life. But I was after the money. Keep trying different jobs, maybe you’ll find one that’s a good fit. I know ppl working in all of the aforementioned places in a technical capacity and none of them complain about stress and constant free (but expected) overtime. Engineers are the ants, always working and doing the stuff, at least 10 hours daily. I don’t know enough about the military system. My husband is going to quit his engineering job in a year. We may receive a referral fee if you sign up through the links on Retire By 40. Im 18 and going to uni nxt year. The good thing about engineering is that the income is good right from the start. You never know how it’s going to turn out. Good luck! Once your baby is older, you can try to do more. Anyway, that’s just a dream. Biomedical seems interesting, but I’d love anyone’s input on where the engineering field is headed these days. I totally understand your situation, I’m in a similar one (less stressful though). After my second sabbatical I stuck it out as long as I could, but it just got worse. If you invest 6 more years into engineering, then you will really feel obligated to be an engineer for a long time. Only a few people can make that kind of transition. I was too laid back and I hated telling people what to do. The world needs more engineers in the future. Do you have an update? It is also difficult to find a job as a senior engineer. However, I see my husband’s mental health being affected(works 14 hours somedays) because the stress is over the charts at this company!! I enjoyed being an engineer, but I quit my job in 2012to become a stay-at-home dad/blogger. It’s too late anyway. …and now that I am back in engineering I am more miserable, angry, and bitter than ever. When I was young, I thought the hours wasn’t that bad. I’ve saved and invested well. Actually, it’s a good thing that I’m not an engineer anymore. It’s mean more opportunities have for the engineering graduates. I’ll try self employment for a while and if I really have to, I would consider going back to work for a small company. 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 pretty much thrown in the deep end because my technical experience was non-existent (there is really not much you can learn in the short span of vacation work). Salary and benefits are well above average for the industry, and are very generous by the standards of nearly any other industry. That way you’ll have a choice when you graduate. Loved computers as a kid, so I worked hard through my engineering degrees and got a good job. 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. Big change. Your story caught my eye when “googling” engineering student burnout symptoms. More or less same for me. Similarly, your employer will not outright ask you to create a 3-D model of a mechanical part that cannot reasonably be fabricated. I’m not sure about the other fields. This has prevented me from finding another (maybe more interesting) government job. However, engineering was not the right fit for me anymore. I log in almost every day to check on our accounts. But as the years flew by, things changed when there were dept reorgs and many managerial changes. Believe it or not but having that skill is actually a detriment to one’s corporate engineering career, if one doesn’t pursue the MBA-like tracks. Some people are happy with the corporate life, but it’s not for everyone. Your future as an engineer seems boundless in the sense that you don’t see the endpoint to your learning – you just want to get better at your job and reach some sort of summit. The industry needs to find a better way to keep their engineers. But if you get to a point in your career where you realize that it’s not giving you value, you need to move on from there. Thank You for sharing with us. I feel like the others are willing to compromise their family to make management happy. It’s important to keep in mind that engineering school teaches you a methodology for solving complex problems. I’m a much better individual contributor and I’m just not comfortable with leadership. all defense companies w/in 200 miles have had layoffs this year and Lockheed has cut workers (around 70% to 85% over 40 years old) FOUR years in a row! What’s ironic about that is without engineering, there would be minimal need for tradespersons. out of 230 at my high school. Just being able to get an interview for a tech job, paying ~$70K/yr (according to the film), isn’t a great reward for being Issac Newton’s clone. I even learned a little French and German along the way, and the German is very handy now since I get to go to Germany often). I’ve had friends at the same company who hated their management, hated their group and/or hated their actual jobs. It is all about how you fit in the internal company politics schemes and opposing forces in the management. Nobody cares about you and your good work, you are small part of a big machine, and you spend your life trying to figure out where is that engineering discovery thrill you hoped for while studying. 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. I know some guys who are going into management and I think they came to the same conclusion you did – engineering just wasn’t fun or rewarding anymore, or found their calling. Having no kids and being a frugal person, I’ve been socking away savings. No one wants to stay in a stodgy workplace, sit on the same desk, perform the same mundane tasks, be in the same position, and receive the same entry-level salary every single day for the next ten years of their precious waking life. Good luck! Best of luck with your next chapter. @Michael – Well done, sir. I do not like the prospect of working 60-80 hours/week with a family but my family comes before work and I would end up quitting like you did in that case as well. 0 replies: How did dead pigs end up in Shanghai river? Xerox is WAY smaller than it used to be, and Bosh and Lomb’s HQ is leaving – announced a week ago. We have been strong-arming kids into engineering based on their standardized scores and math grades for decades now. I hope this helps. Software Engineering Is a Dead-End Career, Says Bloomberg More Login Software Engineering Is a Dead-End Career, Says Bloomberg Archived Discussion Load 500 More Comments I don’t know why they keep trying to make engineers a manager if there is such a shortage. Also Korea has a much worse work environment than the US, with crazy work ethics that require “voluntary” overtime work(60~100 hrs a week), not enough salary (50k~ for PhD holders), and other factors. Have you started school? “In most cases, you will have to choose between living in your dream location and working on your dream job. I obligated numerous projects and helped their HSIP thrive. 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 eventually got a job as an industrial chemist which is where most of the chemical engineers ended up – I’ve met many along the way working as chemists like myself. I think your management and the actual nature of the job probably matter as much or more than the company. Here’s why … no “empty” suit wants a person who can out-powerpoint/out-explain things in front of higher C-level execs. Being a student for most of us is just about managing the firehouse of information pointed at us. As you’ve mentiond in your other posts, staying out of debt will really help! I know you did very well at many of them. Stay out of aerospace. i think a lot has to do with big company culture. It was something I enjoyed doing, but over time it got boring. I discovered that I was developing a health issue. I will be starting school at 21. It’s just not worth the pressure of having to bring in well into 6 figures just to get by. These 13 careers rank among the worst in terms of prospects, advancement, working conditions and compensation. At the entry and midlevel, it was enough to excel at the technical side. They earn *just enough* not to be knocked off by the cost cutting strategies of the hospital & urgent care conglomerates out there. Because when you hit my age, if you haven’t saved your money, it can get bad really quick. I hit the 5yr mark as a chemE, but couldn’t take it. And in my field, we’re a technology integrator, so if I want to dive deep into something I can most likely, and if I want to generalize and focus on high level stuff, I can too. My wife does not work. That means anyone can replace you (like he wrote), sooner or later the inventions will come, if not from you, then from another. You are right. I semi-retired when my net worth was minus $30,000 (due to student loans) and have been semi-retired ever since, working four hours a day or so on things I like working on. Everything is NOW, driven by whatever the VPSs said that they want this morning. 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.

is engineering a dead end career

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