I felt the work was inconsequential. 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. One of my high school teachers gave his graduating class the same advice year after year. This kind of skill will be much more appreciated in a smaller company. I feel rather stuck right now. I’m not quite senior since I don’t feel like I’m the sharpest tool in the box. I feel like I haven’t enjoyed anything so far except SolidWorks which was a very brief part of the introductory courses. Well done!” “I wonder if I could get your take on something I’m working on. Now I’m 4 years out of employment, perhaps 10 years out of any real technical work. Wow, you have had similar experiences as me (I worked at Lockheed)…it’s not fun once you finally make good pay (and have the pressures of supporting a family). System Architect here (Computer System Engineer) and I totally here him on that, Lance. Life is way better for me. *Starting a blog is a great way to save money on your therapy bill, build your brand, and generate some extra income. The budget can’t keep up with the complexity so the senior people had to contribute more. Envious of the sales person, who on his slowest month still makes more money than I do. I earn $60k and work 60 hours a week (this isn’t including travel and all that crap). Surprisingly I still love my job, I have some friction with my boss but I am sure he’s won’t be staying back for long as we follow a strict rotation policy. I will like to get a BS in Software Engineering. If you plan correctly, you may be able to find govt work in the FAA, State Public Works, DoT, etc, where in effect, you can survive till near retirement age and work 35-40 hours per week. This has prevented me from finding another (maybe more interesting) government job. Otherwise, you will be subject to the ebbs and flows of consulting work and it will be hard to get into a so-called comfort zone. I have been reading your blog for a while. Now I’m 32 and looking to start over. Yup, that's the Industrial Engineer. It’d be tough to make supplemental income as a new mom. One system was literally the most complex the gov’t had ever undertaken until than – well over 5 million lines of code! Typical EE not doing EE work, right? Job #5 lasted 2 1/2 years and the site was unceremoniously closed in 2003. In hindsight, I probably could have done things a little differently to have tried to hang in there. I’ve been a software (writing low level I/O firmware) engineer for 16 years now, and am expecting to make that “senior” level in the next year or so. Seeking for some expidiendo advice. Now all development is more or less outsourced to Asia and senior developers (not in Asia) do less and less development and more and more documentation, sitting in skype meetings and doing all kind of booring midless work. We picked our careers so early in our lives and we change as we get older. I was able to gain experience in other disciplines such as marketing, selling, legal, strategic planning, leadership and project management. I don’t know if it would be possible to get back into engineering at your age (I assume older than 50.) However, don’t you think it would be prudent to find another job before quitting, especially in this very difficult, ultra-competitive job market? 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. It is good. But if I am not well and fall sick, I can’t ask just about anyone (or self medicate) to prescribe me a pill or take medicine (Sometimes even the medicine on goggle isnt listed correctly because a doc will prescribe you meds very specific to your case history and biochemical levels and condition ). It seems like more and more companies simply want you to wear a dozen hats. uh...) or way too career-spammy, and they were all way too serious. I’ve updated and expanded it to be more useful. Our finance is in great shape at this point. Thanks for sharing. Some people still love it after 20 years and that’s good for them also. A junior engineer is billed out at about $75-$125 per hour. I love lots of aspects of engineering and try to learn new fields and have gotten jobs in the different niches in the phases of my career. What I would love to do is to run my own business of some form, preferably related to engineering, but am a realist in that I know it takes a good chunk of money to get going and I need to find a good niche. I think you are going to be much happier now Joe. 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. A lot of people retire early with rentals. Fortunately, it worked out even better than I imagined. Joe Udo retired from his engineering career to become a stay at home dad/blogger at 38. Also, a music degree made me a better engineer as music develops the mind. Hi. I couldn’t stand it. But the engineering degree would be like starting at the top. Here is the problem Two years ago I suffered a heart attack after leaving a gym and doing some swimming. I think most engineers can find a different job within the same field after a layoff. The ultimate goal should be innovation. You can try it for a couple of years and see how it works out. I don’t even play video games anymore. 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. It would be fine for me to keep doing the same job and getting minimal raises, but that’s not enough for the company. We designed very complex systems. I still like to believe people can always transition their skill sets too but its not for everyone and those that love technicality will eventually feel intellectually suppressed. RB40, I am a young engineer working in the semiconductor industry. The other stuff wasn’t important to me. I would go for Oceanography! What do people do after they retire from these careers? 1. There are always other jobs and there is no need to keep yourself in the pressure cooker. I took a basic Vehicle Operator job with Uber’s self-driving group but it pays much less. Only a few people can make that kind of transition. 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. I worked for a big pharma in robotics until 2016 and moved onto starting my own engineering project. However over the 8 years since graduation I’ve lost my grandparents, mother, and best friend from the age of 7 to various tragedies. Each time there has been another opportunity! 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. I’m pretty sure there’s something which could match your background. Once this occurs (and it doesn’t take long), the engineering career paths in those firms goes downhill fast. I’ll say this… I don’t know if engineering is the big problem, I think engineering is a cool occupation if you like the work and also (very important) when you are in the right environment. This means you will not be able to interact with others in the community after that time. Not all engineering fields offer low starting salaries and minimal benefits. WTF. Surely, there are exceptions but in my pretty long experience all companies are same when it comes to handling people and competency. I do like the place I am at now. Basically it’s a place no one would spend their time at. Because you only get paid when you’re working. Interesting insight, thanks for sharing! I was only in the corporate world for 4 years before making my leap, so while I don’t consider myself retired, I’m definitely out on my own. Engineering is a complete waste of time There isn’t a good word for leaving a career. The big problem in aerospace I see I when the 25+ year career guy retires no will replace him. Over the past several years of work and school, and spending time with many students and workers of a variety of backgrounds, I can say without much regret that the engineers tend to be the least tolerable. Oh boy!! Even a TV was rare in Thailand when I was a kid. That’s the way I think about it. Yes, one and done. Afterwards, many companies develop into the CYA-kind of organizations, run by MBA-types. In other words, if he picks up an additional shift, here and there, he’s clearing $70K. You were exceptionally lucky to never have been forced into involuntary overtime. I guess it depends on how much longer you have left. If you really can’t handle it, then take some time off. Good luck in finding your next career when you are ready! I remember interviewing for a software engineering job in 2010, and the company offered me the same salary that I was making back in 2002. Good point about the first 10 years. I wasn’t sad when they laid me off and gave me a severance. Seems that a lot of much-needed changes are finally happening (high-res screens, much thinner profiles). This didn’t compare favorably with single engineers who enjoy working until 10 pm. What changed it for me was when I used my experience and education (Masters in business) and formed my own technical services company. Don’t get tied down to your engineering career. I obligated numerous projects and helped their HSIP thrive. Likewise, working hours are getting longer. I just never really thought of anything much to do after figured out which discipline of civil engineering I wanted to pursue in. I changed job internally a few times too. New Process Gear (GM/Chrysler transmissions) is 100% gone. If you like the leadership role, then that’s great. I also like volunteering for the same reason (mental challenges) and meeting new people. IMO. You already paid for the class. I graduated with honours after doing a chemical engineering degree and found that I just couldn’t break into the industry. Keep trying different jobs, maybe you’ll find one that’s a good fit. I found the engineering aspect fascinating, it certainly broadened my ability to solve complex math problems, but that’s really all I got out of it. You’re still young. I feel so similar as a former ME and now stay-at-home dad. Okay, this isn’t totally related, but I’ve been wanting to ask this question ever since I first came across your blog a few months ago. Thinking of changing my career, will happen soon I hope, feel like I lost so much time learning such demanding degree, and yet being paid like I have no education at all. The company expected the senior engineers to contribute a lot more. It’s good for the short term, but I don’t think it works in the long term. Its all very different mixed results all under one company. The warning signs are clear and many with engineering degrees get out of the field real quick. I was pushed into Engineering by my parents. I was honestly about to give up on becoming a computer hardware engineer. Probably not, I find my field to be a lot more rewarding. Most skilled blue collar jobs pay equal to or more than most engineering jobs. The 4th company, my job was also outsourced to Ireland( Main company based in UK ). I know you did very well at many of them. I enjoyed solving technical problems and didn’t have to worry about any of the corporate politics. Just take this article to heart when planning your finances. I don’t know. I choose the title Retire by 40 when I started because it was more catchy than Quitting Work by 40. Anyway, let me know if I can answer any questions. Hope you have a great career. There were weekends that i have to report to work. I know people driving fork trucks and collecting garbage who are better off than most engineers. It’s the stupidest way you can possibly generate income! 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. Good luck! It sounds like a tough spot to be in. I will be starting school at 21. I think I will probably give up on graduate school for now and see if I can pursue happiness in something else. Engineers are creative. Maybe work on a wind generator or something like that? I only have two semesters left, but grades are plummeting despite even working harder. Good luck! Thank you for sharing your experience. I excelled at the technical side of the job and was promoted every few years. And still it´s a miracle what the deeper cause behind the problem is. They do help with tuition reimbursement, too. 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. OK, so I don’t use FORTRAN anymore. I work for a pretty good company, the work is enjoyable, and my boss is awesome. With your degree, they should maximize your usage somehow. It’s time to do something else. This is a common feeling, but what makes it worse is that it is easy to end up trapped by your PhD. Why engineers should plan for an early retirement. . Were you the one supporting the family mainly for 15 years? When I was a blue badge employee, I enjoyed two sabbaticals and several grade promotions, but towards the end it wasn’t the same for me either. Shift out of you job should read financial Samurai ’ s a lot of young engineers routinely worked hours. You gave it a shot, right for my own engineering project is heartless feeling depressed bout my but. 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