Thank you for your input. Or go to the union and take up a trade. I think many engineering companies work similarly to the following (due to HR receiving similar training at college): People in each pay level (which pretty much aligns with age/experience) are compared to each other. However, some people may enjoy engineering/enjoy the career path. But hey let me follow my original passion I do not regret anything though. I feel like the others are willing to compromise their family to make management happy. What should I do? The other exam everyone did do bad, but that was because the prof didn’t design the test in the best way he could’ve done it. Computers fascinated me when I was young. I’m thinking 66-70. It’s just not worth the pressure of having to bring in well into 6 figures just to get by. Being a senior engineer most of all the work load falls on my shoulders. Long hours yes, but there was an energy, a life to that place that was amazing. I quit my job as a lead web dev’r recently. Can you handle another 5 or 10 years of this stress? I am currently the Engineering Maintenance Manager andddd I hate it (strong word but yes). No job security, no significant income, long hours, hatred by non-engineers, etc., etc., etc. I was offered severance or a position back in engineering. You clearly didn’t find any meaning in the work that you were doing other than collecting the paycheck. Go figure! Good luck! It is a high stress job with little flexibility and constant demand for after hours work that is not sustainable. If you invest 6 more years into engineering, then you will really feel obligated to be an engineer for a long time. If you really want to get back into engineering, it might be best to get an MS or something like that. Seems like long hours in the beginning are the norm for both. I think ECE and CS are like this. It sounds like a tough spot to be in. Good luck. That causes major disruption in the departments. I pretty much agree with the author – engineering appears to have a “shelf life” as a profession if we are talking about the corporate world. 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. 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. * The long hours that companies expect the employees to work, and the expectation that the employees must be available 24/7. I’m not really sure if I can be an engineer my whole life. Even so-called ‘sales’ requires a pre-existing CO-OP nowadays. You won’t regret giving it a shot. 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. This resonates. “Why is getting a job so dumb? Be prepared for the career to lose its luster eventually so that you can change careers or retire without drama. I think it’s good to try something else. Many engineers pursuit their career for the love of technicality and get lost in the management side. Ask yourself why so many *Senior* Business Systems Analysts know practically nothing? 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 see even guys with PE licenses not getting work because they can’t manage. I think it’s tough to stay an individual contributor these days. They trap you, too, with the sabbatical offer every seven years, which is fairly brilliant for them, since they know that the average person is done with Intel after about five, so you get a bunch of disgruntled folks. 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. The pay and recognition was great! You can get a Computer Science degree and take all the PT requirement classes too. Stop by! At least that’s what I think. I think we will be OK if he is not ideal..but we will survive. I think you’ve invested too many years in education and professional experience to simply quit the workforce. I can actually say that my sole efforts generated 20+ million in sales for my last company. This was an interesting read. Nothing about it excites me anymore, and it’s far from being my “passion”, in the college-admissions-essay sense of the word. Job Description: A civil engineering technologist develops engineering drawings and designs from concepts and sketches which have already been laid out. I guess I am in a limbo and getting frustrated, while still not sure what I should do with Engineering anymore. According to my planning when I was 22, I should have been retired and pulling in 100K in interest/dividends by the time I was 35! ), Many of my friends left the company or were laid off. I just received my programming grade and got a C-. I have had some twists and turns in my career. 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 $400 laptop works well enough and I, like most regular people, don’t really care about the next snazzy upgrade. I’ll tell my brother to look into it. I don’t think your experience is all too uncommon. Civil is the most secure from what I see. The stuff I hate most about my job is the non technical stuff. That’s the problem with big companies. r/engineering is **NOT** for students to ask for guidance on selecting their major, or for homework / project help. If you really love the technical aspect and want to somehow continue down that path, one option is to start your own company as somebody else suggested. A junior engineer is billed out at about $75-$125 per hour. When I look at job postings for ECE they just all look boring. After graduation, I taught in a comunity college while finishing my graduate degree. It’s stupid! It was time for me to move on anyway. Lastly, I wanted to try something new. Now that I have three kids, I struggle with 40 hours! Relating to this is one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite bloggers: “Getting a job and trading your time for money may seem like a good idea. Decided to leave my position 5 years ago and pursue a BSE degree. I went through it and can now say I thoroughly understand the systems and machinery. The women engineers have it pretty tough when they have kids. However, that part of the major involves mostly research experiences(surface engineering), which means a graduate school diploma will be necessary. All 6 were divorced by their spouses and still had to pay child support. They are probably not as bad. That’s unfortunate. Some of these big corporations really sucks the life out of you. I think the hype of “not knowing” and being inexperienced has worn off (not that I know it all, I acknowledge the fact that engineering is an ever growing field). Clients, including now two Fortune 500 companies, love it because they can buy the creativity from my office which has been strangled by their in house MBA’s. A family and children are not conducive to 12 hour days and going into the office 7 days a week. And chances are, that person will probably have a job for life, even if a few clinics shutdown. The main reason why I call it retirement is because I don’t plan to go back to my engineering career. She’s planning to retire soon, though. I suspect only a few people can become a successful entrepreneur in tech. It is a bad financial decision to leave. You will have more options than people who just like the technical aspect of the job like me. I spend all day writting permits and doing what is basically clerical work for shit pay. . Seeing how my high school friends who have done finance , law, or even just opened a restaurant have much better social network , happier and most of them have more money than me. Austin, TX. I never fully understood this false advertising for engineering careers. I’m concerned I only got into engineering in hopes of doing stuff like that, but I have only briefly done stuff with that in college and everything else I don’t enjoy very much and struggle with at times. I don’t want to end up like this. 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. People retire at different time. It’s all about meeting, planning, and that kind of work at that level. 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 loved my job the first 10 years…I think all engineers do because you get better raises the first 7-10 years and don’t have a lot of responsibility or expectations placed upon you. Also, if one specializes in areas like mixing radiological solutions for diagnostics, that salary can easily bump up to $70K on 40 hours alone w/o the overtime. I just turned 40, but I’m not in a place to get out yet. It has both to do about purpose as well as bringing in some extra cash flow. You should see what classes is required to get into a PT program. If you like the technical side, it seems your career will be a short one. Wow, 30 years experience. They contacted me – I did not contact them. I charge only a little less than big management heavy firms, but have no management overhead. Thanks for sharing. Probably not, I find my field to be a lot more rewarding. At the same time I know many, many engineers who hit the “wall” at a particular level and are content to just sit and specialize in something and be a “go-to” guy for something. I am not saying you should realized you were destined to be an engineer and have no other recourse. By the way, if you have eaten at Panda Express lately, know that eatery was started by an electrical engineer. You might be the expert in any field but if your manager is incompetent so you will be in the eyes of the higher management guys. And of course going back to school is always harder than going the first time. Wish I would have saved better like RB40 but I am catching up. Companies all try to shoehorn the employees. Hopefully, she will retire in 1-2 years. Medicine and finance are great careers too. I’m sure some senior level engineers are happy with their jobs and still enjoy their time at work. It might help you out when you make the transition back into the work force later on. (Yes suffered, I hated almost every minute of it) Worked at a firm through college, then a contractor afterwards. I think engineering is still a good field to go into. I think your management and the actual nature of the job probably matter as much or more than the company. Joe, sorry to hear about the outsourcing at your job. But the truth and bottom line is I don’t feel fulfilled. Maybe you’ll find a good group of people to work with and revitalize your engineering career. I wonder if other careers are like ours. It’s ridiculous. However, dreams change and often do so with major life events (e.g. It’s crazy that politic is such an integral part of engineering. Anyway, people change career a few times these days. I have decided that this year will be my last year in engineering – coronavirus or no coronavirus! You’ll get a big pay cut though. I don’t think i’ll even get in. If you are a senior-level engineer, do you still enjoy your job and will you continue with it until full retirement age? The ultimate goal of an engineering career should be innovation and creativity, making life easier in the society and hence better for the humanity; as a self-employed engineer — a wealthy entrepreneur; you could have spent as much as time you wanted at home with your son while enjoying the pride of your technical achievements. Needless to say, it’s a very small company (80 employees, 7 engineers) with completely unreal workloads and development schedules. I’m admittedly in a difficult situation and I hope you have something to say about this with your wisdom and experiences in the field of engineering. It’s not worth the money to stay in a job that you hate for the paycheck unless you really need it. So the idea is for the market to be flooded with STEM graduates so that even the star programmers can no longer command a decent salary. And BTW, every physician assistant, working a 70 hour work week, can easily clear $150K. Why is getting a job so dumb? That’s normally more than 1 out of 5 graduates for STEM students. I am glad to read you still stand by your decision almost after 2 years??? He’s a civil engineer who retired in his 30s. Do what you need to for your health, but one thing I haven’t seen in this advice is something you absolutely need to know: being an engineer is nothing like being an engineering student. Now that he’s going to school full time, I can spend more time on Retire by 40. I have worked in several large organizations as well as a mid/small sized non-profit. But it seems they simply said FYS and founded a new conmpany like Shockley Labs-> Fairchild Semiconductor-> Intel There is a huge collection of video material in the Stanford libary featuring interviews with a lot of famous guys and company founders from the older times and most of them look super happy regarding their work. I’ve kinda grown into my current role but I’m mid-30s. Its all very different mixed results all under one company. Difficult degree, difficult job, big responsibility, a lot of pressure, shit pay. I have been working in bridge design for over 6 years now (in the UK) and I am truly tired of this profession. I’m seriously considering getting out altogether because this same scenario has happened to me too many times in a row. I think 5-10% doesn't solve anything for me. I worked on the memory (DRAM) interface and learned a ton about how the computer chips were made. My husband and I are in a similar boat. Occasionally, we’d work long stretches of 80+ hour weeks when the chips came back from the Fab. At the retired age of 69, knowing what I know now, Never in Hell would I recommend the engineering field to any person. At this point, I am doing more leadership in design – and it is what I want to be doing. Got to agree with brian. And they get that every seven years. Would I regret going to grad school (MS or PhD) if I do not “truly” enjoy my work? *This post was originally written in 2013. Good luck with everything. My employer, a small defense contractor that is actually a branch of a holding company is having hard times. Her job involves ordering stationary and ensuring things like broken printers, chairs, computer screens etc. 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 is very sad the human tool all this corporate cost-savings has had! I found making drawings is very boring and time consuming process and killing the fun I’m doing in calculation and analysis . This leaves an unsatisfied, unfulfilled worker and a company with less profit-in other words it sucks for everyone involved. You might as well choose a career that gives you a life that you enjoy. I consulted with graduate students and professors at school and they gave me similar answers that you gave me. It was really hard to go back to work after the 2nd one. all the while dreaming of a design job. Been emphasizing my publications and the few patents I have, yet no dice. My wife works, but doesnt bring in a lot of money. I was glad I found a way how I can work online and earn enough while at home. After about 3 or so years I had already lost interest in everything…I used to read up on the latest computer/tech news and now I honestly just don’t care about engineering or tech or any of it. So I’m trying to make a big decision whether I should go to graduate school or just finish my military duty, possible as an interpretation officer, and find out my true passion. I have a masters degree in Power Distribution and Control,and still can’t find a proper job. The engineering group was small and still very “family” oriented. My parents couldn’t afford for me to make any mistakes in choosing careers since they weren’t rich and still had our extended family to support back home, so I picked the safest, highest in demand career I could find. These criteria do not seem like something I will be able to meet, especially when I have no passion for engineering. Most civil engineers start their learning with basic physics and calculus courses. I think rentals are great. Some people can make the transition to senior engineer and manager, and some have a hard time with it. If you want to be a civil engineer, have the right academic subjects and attitude you can start making your career choices right here. But memory is one of the easiest subsystems to understand. ... Where to Get Your Civil Engineering Degree. 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 know so many people whose lives have fallen apart (divorce, sickness, etc) because they sold their soul to their job. I have asked him to at least talk to his current manager and see if he can get back on track to what he was hired for, or at least a workload that is somewhat doable where he can feel like he is making some head-way. As a civil engineering graduate from Liberty University, you can be assured that you will be prepared for an exciting future in building your community. I log in almost every day to check on our accounts. So sure, if Matt Damon, Robin Williams, and the MIT professor started a hedge fund and Damon’s algos generated millions of dollars then sure, it’s a real win and he and Minnie Driver could live happily ever after, whether or not she attends Stanford Med in Cali, since having money makes plane trips rather cheap. Most people can tolerate corporate America, but it really isn’t for me. That’s why I’m hesitant to advise my kid to go into tech. Looking forward to seeing you next week. Humans weren’t designed to work like that, no matter how attractive the salary is. People who are above the middle of the pay level mostly get no raise – they are “fully compensated” in that pay level (but if they get promoted tot he next level, they are at much greater risk of being laid off! system. This will be my main income stream over the next 5 years as I work on building up my passive income. Anyway, let me know if I can answer any questions. You are expendable. Because the pay is shit. I went through a similar career impasse in my mid forties; I’ve got laid off from my senior engineering position in the automotive industry; as such, I truly understand your career story — Yet, there is one major flaw in your perception about the engineering careers; you are totally neglecting the creative and entrepreneurial aspects of an engineering careers which could be emotionally and financially very satisfying, especially, in the late years of an engineering career. FORTRAN did teach me basic programming principles. While it may be true that you COULD move somewhere else and live cheaper and be financially independent (which is really the core issue, not retirement), you aren’t choosing to do this because it doesn’t make sense for your life choices. On most days I wish I could be doing something else. You need to get out while the economy is good. 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? By the end of the 90’s I had been through four companies. I’ve seen some of what you’re talking about though, with the expectations changing as engineers get more senior. Don’t worry about the sunk cost. Instead, why not give them 2% raises…that’s only 10% x 2% = 0.2% of the total payroll! Civil Engineering has different fields like earthquake engineering, environmental engineering, water resource engineering etc. I have just been recently let go (fired) from my job yesterday-right at the close of the 90 day probationary period. Really? Joe, it sounds like pure burnout on your end, and I’m sure the engineering community is poorer without you around. 10 years after i am pursuing fat fire…, “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. Engineering was fun in the beginning, but I got burned out. Thank You for sharing with us. That’s why they always try to get rid of highly paid senior people who are individual contributors. Maybe you never expected to fall into this category, ha! I’ve seen people do that and they accept their lot in life then go back to the job they hate and just accept it as life. At least you gave it a shot, right? In reality, technical brilliance is not rewarded unless it’s directly tied to royalties. 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 love engineering and the different aspects of working on a team. Are you a chartered engineer and still getting low pay? Something which I used to enjoy about a year ago, does not please me anymore. The good thing about engineering is that the income is good right from the start. They see that engineers will always be needed and will have higher chances of getting a relatively well-paying job. I am familiar with the power distribution industry as a licensed electrician of 25 years, and previous city electrical inspector of 4 years. Even a 20 year person would be overwhelmed working there. He continued to work long after he made a decision to leave because he understood that simply making a decision does not will it into existence. He said he read my resume and thought he was hiring a 12 year engineer (I was hired through a recruiting firm and the job advertised a “5+ year” candidate; I had 6 years of relevant experience in that particular area of EE). 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