This community skews toward the very experienced. That often means you’ve fought in the trenches for many years, engaged in hand-to-hand combat and suffered through management incompetence and bit your tongue (or not) amid marketing mindlessness.
You’re still alive, but sometimes you wonder how.
I want to take your comments on that post a step further. Since we (heart) data, please take 30 seconds to answer four questions on a Google form (using this link or see the form below) so we can put some context around what is otherwise intangible: happiness. (We’ll keep it anonymous, so no need to give your name and email, as we do with the quiz forms).
Presumably you ask yourself these life and career questions as much as I do: Why I haven’t written that novel yet? It’s been on my to-do list since second grade. Maybe I should try farming. Etc. Most Americans seem satisfied with their jobs according to last summer's Gallup survey, but perhaps we just aren’t. Perhaps it’s an occupational hazard. Perhaps engineers simply have a higher standard by which they gauge work and the workplace.
Once you’ve answered the form questions, let us know here in the comments section below:
What’s your ideal job?
And how would you advise the next generation of engineers to manage their careers?
I am self employed and am perfectly happy doing
the design work I like.
No boss to please, no office gossip and no mindgames.
Take the advice also given here, and ask yourself what you are good at and then DO IT !!!
To add to many accurate prior comments:
1. To work as an engineer, that is build ‘something’ drawing on understanding and innovation: this can include building a market, a test system, a company, whatever. As much as that is true and one can value the work he contributes, the job improves. As the job diverges into clerical, political, survive by sacrifice, or just a pay check, it worsens. An important part is that those running the company have an innate interest in the product and the work and the workers. The above while modest are increasingly missing in jobs.
2. New engineers should work toward owning their own company or being self employed. The past decades of being appreciated as an employee are not going to be repeated. Companies increasingly treat employees like contractors removing the significant connection of valuing the company product as something they owned a part in producing.
1. What’s my ideal job? To create either for myself or others things that makes life better, and get paid so my children will thrive. Other than that, get back my Original Slack and not work for anymore Pinks.
2. I would advise the next generation of engineers to save all their money and be uber thrifty. Go to labor statistics where there are graphs that show the gaps between obtaining jobs are always increasing. I foresee a point where as soon as an engineer gets out of school you will have the shelve life of an unstable trans-uranium element and will be fired at the time you “fix the problem” for others. You will then go back to searching for work or school to start the process over and over. Whether you work as an employee or for yourself, the non-income gaps will become larger for most people. Stability and consistency is becoming a lost concept (except mortgages, service contracts, and bills) and income will be erratic. From this, relationships with employers will be like a construction job. The better you buffer yourself from the vicissitudes of life by having a big buffer, the happier you will be. You may even be able to say “no” to Pinks who wave just a dollar bill under your nose for all your skills.
In my university's engineering department there was a cartoon showing two sine waves 180 degrees out of phase. one was labeled the economy and the other graduate school admissions. In other words it's the economy stupid. Studies have shown that graduating during a bad economy affects ones earning over their whole career.There are some graduates who's career goes 123 and there are others that get stuck at 1 +/- 0.2. Bitterness/loving aside, from what I have read, it boils down to supply and demand once the BS is earned.Then starts the real BS hitting the rotating air impellers.
1. To be work in an autonomous team designing and ramping cutting-edge electronic products. To be consistently recognized for innovation and productivity.
2A. Do not listen to the complainers comments.
2B. Find what is your ideosyncratic passion. What do you like to do that noone else does? To say that electrical engineering is a dead field is just plain wrong. If you get a charge out of computers, radios, guitar amps, teeny tiny accelerometers, etc. then EE is the field for you. I would warn that every engineer graduating today will go through at least four layoffs during their career. Networking, career development, continuous learning have to be part of your job. Learning does not stop when you graduate. If this sounds unappetizing, maybe EE is not for you.
1. I actually enjoy the design work I sometimes get to do.
2. For the upcoming engineers: you will be better off finding something other than electrical to go into. Mechanical Engineering now gets paid more and does less work. Main thing is: investigate the firm wanting to hire you. If the parent company is an investment firm, tell them NO!, you do not want that job. Find some small mom and pop engineering shop to work for and as soon as they are sold out go find another mom and pop.
I hate trying to design things that have already been sold by salesmen who will promise anything for their commissions. Then they come back and complain that you aren't doing your job when you tell them that it's impossible.
Definitely do not work in anything automotive, ever.
1) I think I've finally achieved as close to perfection of opportunity as is possible. I work for a large chipmaker in one of its lookahead teams, and I have lots of freedom to go create. I had to work my butt off for 7 months as an underpaid contractor to prove myself, but the sky's the limit now. And, oh, yes, I have no CS or EE# degree; it's all self-taught and learned through almost thirty years of commercial experience. I'm not a millionaire yet but that's where my writing comes in. ;-) 2) I disagree that engineering in America has died or will die. First off, the corps are going to discover the downsides (loss of IP, etc.) of outsourcing and the salaries overseas are already rising rapidly. We live in very interesting times but the best is yet to come as we are poised for the need to make many technological leaps, from leaving silicon behind to storing power efficiently to bringing space technologies to profitability. I envy the next generation and hope I can keep my noggin working long enough to see and appreciate some of it. Those who see only sour grapes will reap what they stomp.
Dude, the golden age of EVERYTHING is over. The artists, actors and such that make the big bucks are those on the top of their craft, pretty much like Gates or Jobs. The vast majority barely make a living, like the rest of us.
1st off...degree does not equate with profession. I'm an EE and enjoying it. Being an EE gives you tons of flexibility on what job you want, especially if you are actually performance driven (i.e., not a slacker). Old timers are a totally different generation. 30-something EE here and loving it.