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Engineering Career Advice
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Posted by: JP ®

09/11/2003, 20:55:44

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Hello fellow engineers, I could really use some career advice. I graduated with a BSME from a well-respected engineering school five years ago. I feel like I have hit rock bottom career wise.

I work for a Fortune 500 company as maintenance reliability engineer. The problem is I detest my job because I am not given challenging assignments and I typically work between 60 and 90 hours per week. I am tired of the long hours and lack of gratification. Moral at my plant is at an all time low. I am one of the few degreed engineers at the plant, and the only reason my colleagues are staying is they are 50+ years old and have 25 years experience – they anxiously wait for retirement (55 with 30 years experience).

I am well liked and respected by many people at all levels, however, no one seems interested in affording me the challenges that I seek because I am extremely dependable and good at my present job. My salary is capped because I am at the max for my level. A new level system was recently implemented making it virtually impossible to achieve a level promotion. I worked as a plant project engineer for 3 years prior to my current maintenance position and loved it, but it still required many long hours. Plant project engineers were eliminated when the company cut capital investments following 9/11/01.

What do you think:

  1. It seems everyone I talk to in manufacturing says I should expect a 60-70 hour work week – is this so? I would really like to spend more time with my family and still have a rewarding career.
  2. What else can I do with a BSME degree other than manufacturing? I would like to avoid relocating from the Midwest because I wish to remain close to my family.
  3. I am considering resigning my present job, so I can focus on finding a more rewarding career. Is this advisable, or should I try to conduct a discrete job search while working insane hours? Working fewer hours is not an option because the plant is performing poorly.

Your input to my situation would be greatly appreciated. I can provide more specific details regarding my dilemma offline via email.

Best Regards,
JP







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Re: Engineering Career Advice -- JP Post Reply Top of thread Forum
Posted by: RKimball ®

09/14/2003, 10:28:57

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thank you for your support!
-randy-



** The worst suggestion of your lifetime may be the catalyst to the grandest idea of the century, don't fail to listen to suggestions. -randy-


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Re: Engineering Career Advice Sad
Re: Engineering Career Advice -- JP Post Reply Top of thread Forum
Posted by: Cragyon ®
Bart
09/12/2003, 07:24:23

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JP,

60 - 90 hours per week is insane.  I have worked in design and engineering for 20 years, and I disagree that the hours you work are the norm.  If you give 110 % (your giving 200%) and are a committed and contributing professional then, that is enough and is fair.  I started a process improvement initiative several years ago at my place of employment to reduce the insane hours it took to do my job.  The result was we improved processes so much that, I am able to reduce my hours to about 45 per week and produce the same (45 hours is 110%).  There are individuals I work with that still believe one is not working unless an individual gives 50 + hours.  These people are the most inefficient people on the staff. 

If one cannot do their job in less than 46 hours per week, then they are managed improperly or they do not know how to do thier job.

Now, don't read me wrong, I will work extra - extra hours if I mess up (I always fix my mess ups for free) or if a legitimate emergency occurs.  I guarantee my employer 110% commitment and performance.

I would like to say that, there are many individuals whom love their job, and for them 60 - 90 hours per week is fun.  I have the utmost respect for these individuals and wish them well. Additionally, I have great respect for these individuals whom choose to work hard to advance their careers. 

JP, I estimate that your plant is managed improperly, with this, I suggest you continue to work hard and do a good job and start a discreet job (career) search.  Bear in mind, that you may have to look for several months or more.

Good luck!






Modified by Cragyon at Fri, Sep 12, 2003, 07:42:34

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Employer support & relations
Re: Re: Engineering Career Advice -- Cragyon Post Reply Top of thread Forum
Posted by: RKimball ®

09/12/2003, 18:51:10

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I must agree 100% with my commrade. I would like to add these comments.

Often we get different ideas what the company goals are, and they change. As an engineer it is important that we stay on tract with the company business plan. We all have gotten flustered and taken in by other people's talk around the company. We sometimes break the rule, to stay out of politics and work strictly as an engineer making definitive decisions based on facts. We all get disconcerted from time to time. Engineers must strive to make decisions based on facts arrived at and not let politics nor emotion effect the results, this means we must sometimes be thick skined and let many things roll off us like water on a duck's back in order to not allow our tasks to be effected.

However, a company should provide the engineers employed the tools and resources required to accomplish the tasks at hand. If the engineers are quality and are provided the required resources the company should reap benifits. Often resources are hard to acquire at first, but as a company gains from its engineering achivements it should boost the engineering resource tools and thus increase the angle of the achivement curve. If not, look for a better company as you achieve accomplishments on your resume. Continue to work and do your best towards the tasks asigned, while you build that resume! Others may see that you are an achiever in a weak environment and realize that you would be a good asset to their business and make an offer. So always make the best of your situation, you may be being watched by your future employer.

Equipment vendors are often excellent networking contacts which know of open employment opportunities, but they will not recommend you if you are not a productive employee in your current employment. They need to believe you would become an asset to their other customer.

Attitude at a present employment not only will effect your future performance habbits but could make the difference of even if a better employment opportunity ever gets so much as mentioned.

smile,
-randy-




** The worst suggestion of your lifetime may be the catalyst to the grandest idea of the century, don't fail to listen to suggestions. -randy-

Modified by RKimball at Sun, Sep 14, 2003, 10:37:45

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Employer support & relations
Re: Engineering Career Advice -- JP Post Reply Top of thread Forum
Posted by: RKimball ®

09/11/2003, 22:21:01

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I have removed my comments in this note as I was in a less than healthy mood with my employer and the matter has been corrected. We all have times of weakness and lower curve performance in the cycle of daily life. I am not unhappy with my employer and I don't believe they are unhappy with me. I do not believe my, nor their, performance was a factor, but AS AN EXAMPLE I am leaving this message in the list. We all DO have weak times and must work as engineers to continue to achieve the tasks at hand towards definitive results, no matter.

I also edited the message above to instead better address whjat I believe the ethics of what good engineering attitude should reflect according to employee and employer relations.

Thank you for your personal comments and support, the e-messages were unexpected.
-randy-




** The worst suggestion of your lifetime may be the catalyst to the grandest idea of the century, don't fail to listen to suggestions. -randy-

Modified by RKimball at Sun, Sep 14, 2003, 10:42:25

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Re: Employer support & relations Smile
Re: Employer support & relations -- RKimball Post Reply Top of thread Forum
Posted by: jalipa ®

09/25/2003, 12:13:45

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In Europe they now have the 48 hour week limit.

That is your core hours and your overtime must not exceed 48 hours by law.

Better go home now as I've done my 50!

J.







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