Are you happy with your job / career?

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dr wogz

Fly caster
TRF Supporter
Feb 5, 2009
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Land of Poutine!
Exactly that. Are you happy with what you do.

Was it a life long dream to do what you do?
Did you jsut 'sort of' fall into it?
Do you secretly hate it, but fear changing?
Are you making the best of a bad situation?

I've been saying I'm going to return to school for a few years now, and I think I am finally fed up with (getting tired of) working as an Engineering tech / CAD technologist, and feel it is time to change. To do somethign different, but interesting. I beleive I'll have some support to make teh change..

My 'challenges' here are becomming less and less frequent, and being replaced by 'frustrations'.. Or, teh challenges are becomming routine, that I'm looking for something. But faults are easiest to find and bicker about..

Anyone else get this?
Anyone else do something about it?
Has it worked out to be better?
I was an auto mechanic for 18 years and after doing it for 5 years I hated it!

The old joke about the questions asked a doctor at a party really do apply to a mechanic..."come out to the driveway I want you to take a look at my car.":kill:

A customer had been coming into the shop for about 3 years and asked me if I wanted to go to work for him.

I did! A few years later I bought the business and never looked back.

Now I work 3 or 4 days a week, make a good living and have time to play with rockets and make nose cones.

No...I never thought that one day I would be working in theater but I do.
man, i've been working at my job for about 2 months, and im already fed up with it. lol. but i need it. im in college. i'd like to be a cop when i get out. but my dream job is being on the state SWAT task force. or as an ATF agent. i've always liked the excitement of solving hostage situations, but, this is why i go to school. once i get my degree in criminal justice, i'll probably join the coast guard reserves if i dont get picked by the state police right away. the test is once every 2 years, so its not like i can fail and take it again next week. lol.
That's one of the reasons I got out of the Navy. I enjoyed certain aspects of the work, but others became more and more difficult to endure. For example, I loved visiting foreign countries, but I hated that to do it I had to be away from my wife for 6 months (or more) at a time. I loved helping ships become self-sustaining in their training, but I hated having to drag them, kicking and screaming, up to that point, and not getting any appreciation for it.

In the end, when they gave me a choice of "A) Sign here for another 5 years (to include at least 2 10-month trips to the war zone); or B) Don't sign and get sent to the war zone for a year with no hope of seeing your wife..." I chose option C) Get out, find a different job, and enjoy the change!

My new job? I love it. Truly, I do. I love the people (top notch engineers, machinists, programmers, etc), I love the atmosphere (very professional, yet also very friendly), I love the company reputation (one of the best gas turbine component manufacturers in the world), and I love the work I do (program management and product development). I never said that during my 11 years in uniform.

If you'd like some tips about career switching from someone who just waded through that quagmire, PM me.

Wouldn't trade it for anything. Only thing that could make it better would be to be self-employed, but being in a small company of < 20 people is almost as good as that. Didn't start out that way. Got the Ph.D. in aerospace engineering, rising from a lower-middle class household and stoked by a youth filled with model rocketry, a successful NASA, and anything else that flew. Had a NASA fellowship, but suffered from bad timing. Coming out of school in '91 when communism was collapsing and defense was drawing down made it hard to find a job. Found one at a solid rocket motor manufacturer out west, and quickly learned to hate the aerospace industry and NASA. Bugged out 3 years later for a new job and new career in the DC area. Have bounced amongst employers a bit, but the work has been similar. Difficult to explain what I do...wouldn't bore you with the details. Suffice to say the education is NOT wasted. No more fluid dynamics. No more combustion. [And no, I don't miss them either. Sport rocketry is sufficient to scratch that itch.] What I get to do now is actually far more fun and interesting. Would never go back.

Bottom line: education was worth it for me...made it all possible.
Originally posted by Dr Wogz
Anyone else get this?
Anyone else do something about it?
Has it worked out to be better?
TRF is the last place I expected to find career information nonetheless I am pleased. I enjoyed reading all the positive comments.

I have been job-hunting for over a year now. I am back in New England after living in Florida for about eight years. I suppose that I moved back “home”, as family is in this area.

I did not expect finding a job to be so difficult. I am trying to keep my attitude positive, but I am wondering why I ever quit a good paying job, no matter how much I disliked it. Maybe I should have stayed in Florida, visited family in August, and taken vacations to the Kennedy Space Center in central Florida.

I have eighteen years experience as an investment advisor for wealthy individuals. (Note to reader, an investment advisor is not a stockbroker, an investment advisor is similar to a financial planner.) My current résumé is located here

I have thought of a career change, but I do not know what I am qualified to do. I have thought of going back to school, but few industries prefer 45-year old newbies.

Unemployment has some advantages; I have lots of time to build model rockets, hone my skills, and read many technical reports. There is always a silver lining, if one takes the time to look.

I will keep my chin up, and thank you all for your positive comments. I have read them all.

Michael O’Malley
My current job is at a grocery store. The sole purpose I work there is for the money. It's hard to say whether or not I enjoy it because I have the mindset that I won't be doing this for many years to come. Every once in a while there is a humorous moment or two, but overall it is pretty dull work. The best part is when paychecks are cut every Wednesday. By the way I plan on majoring in some form of engineering when I go to college.
I'm glad to see that you engineers out there like your jobs. I'm currently a freshman studying aerospace engineering at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. After I graduate from Riddle I plan to earn my master's degree in AE and eventually my PhD. Ultimately, I'd like to work at JPL or some place like that. The prospect working on advanced projects and creating new technology is very exciting to me. In a few years, I hope I can say I love my job too.
I've periodically loved and hated the jobs I've had. I fell into engineering, and have drifted from job to job over the years. I started out an Electrician, went back to school, moved into Electrical Engineering, more school, and from there into electronics and eventually Software Engineering. I can still get excited about it but it's not as easy as it was. These days I work in a small startup company on a project I really believe in, and so it's easier to be excited!

But even now, I sometimes wish I had chosen a different career. I wish I done someting more artistic. Maybe graphoc design I would also like to write, maybe journalism. One of the most unexpectedly satisfying things I have done, was to edit UKRA's newsletter. Editing a rocketry magazine could be my ideal full-time job!
oh man, is *this* the forum for *me* to answer this sort of question, or what??? :D :D :D

Yea, I love my job, what can I say...???

I worked 25 years in the high tech field rising from test-technician to Principle engineer (software) and Sr. Eng (hardware) making a darned good salary. I got laid off 3 years ago and decided to change my focus. Now I'm working harder than i EVER have, making less money then I EVER did and enjoying it more than i could have EVER hoped.

hey kid, wanna buy a rocket?

Originally posted by hokkyokusei
But even now, I sometimes wish I had chosen a different career. I wish I done someting more artistic. {snip}
I agree with your thinking above, yet this seems so cliché, as do the ideals of the younger TRF members.
  • Do we loose our idealism after a few years?
  • Are we more realistic?
  • Are we more experienced in how the world works?
Oh no, I am becoming an elder…. Yikes… :confused:
Right now I work during the winter at a ski hill. I'm trying to become an instructor. The pay ain't the best but the perks are sweet! (3rd year, FREE season's pass!)

Don't know what I want to do. I'm interested in aerospace and would gladly work with any aerospace company. I'm interested in SPACE camp and the various CSA internship programs. I've talked with a few at the local Carleton U aerospace faculty. I've impressed them with some of what I asked them!

I also am interested in Civil engineering like bridges and dams.
Words are inadequate.
Overall, I loved my job until about 4 years ago. I have worked at the same company for 18 years in several different roles in IT. Not the place to be now, with most of it being outsourced to Asia/Eastern Europe, and less and less interesting work. Well paid now, but how much longer will it last? I'm 40, first kid starts college next year, and I know I will likely have to take about a 40% pay cut when this runs out, while the cost of everything goes up relentlessly.

Some free advice: when analyzing a job field, do your best to pick one that can't be done on the other side of the world overnight for a tenth the labor cost.

Sorry, it has been a depressing day.
Originally posted by Mike_BAR
I agree with your thinking above, yet this seems so cliché, as do the ideals of the younger TRF members.
  • Do we loose our idealism after a few years?
  • Are we more realistic?
  • Are we more experienced in how the world works?
Oh no, I am becoming an elder…. Yikes… :confused:

I'm not sure which part you think is clichéd, but in answer to your questions above:
  • To an extent, but I think our ideals change, mellow maybe.
  • I think so.
  • Definately!

So to sum up, I know I'm not as wildly idealistic as I used to be, probably because I'm realistic enough to see that there's a limit to what one person can do. But I'd also like to think that I have the experience to recognise when one person can make a difference.
Originally posted by Mike_BAR
I have thought of a career change, but I do not know what I am qualified to do. I have thought of going back to school, but few industries prefer 45-year old newbies.


I can think of no more rewarding career change. Many many schools now offer programs where experienced professionals bring their real world viewpoint into the classroom. Many many young people would benefit from knowing how to manage money.

As of the beginning of 2004, I really disliked my job. I worked in a factory that made test tubes. I hated the hours (nightshift) and disliked management (at least their decisions and policies). Actually, I disliked just about everything about the job. The amount of money I made was the only positive thing about the job.

This is why when my grandmother left me money to go back to school, I jumped at the chance. I am hoping to get into Radiologic Technology. I will be applying for admission into the program in January. Meanwhile, I am taking a full load of coursework to reduce the number of classes I have to take once in the actual program (I am allowed to anything except the "Core" courses). I am working pretty hard right now, trying to get the best GPA I can. GPA is one of the factors that the review board looks at when selecting people for the program. If I can maintain my current grades for another 10 days I will have a 3.7 average.

I should know in February or March if I am accepted!!!!!
I currently enjoy my job. Ask me in a couple of days, and I may hate it :)

When I graduated High School, I took the easy path. A local tech school, offering a degree after two years, and job placement promised. It wasn't till 3/4 of the way through, and after having fully paid, that we were told the jobs were in either Kansas, or Texas. Nothing against those states, but they weren't home. So, after school, I started job searching on my own. In my area, there's very little available in the electronics field. I ended up working nights at a wholesale warehouse. Eventually I worked my way up to the night manager, which lasted all of about a year. As soon as the opportunity came up, I got out of that, and moved into the transportation dept (driving). A bit later, we moved up to tractor trailers, and I got to train for and obtain my CDL for free. Now, I work for the local Coca Cola company, running a regular route. Sure it's hard work, but it pays much better that most would think. I toss soft drinks all day, with no worries about who's watching, no bosses looking over my shoulder all the time, meeting new people every day, and make more than I ever was promised from the tech school.
I didn't graduate high school. Technically I'm a 12th year drop-out (long story).

After high school I fell into a job working at an autobody repair shop. I liked working on cars, I had a few muscle cars. I worked for ~7 years in several different body shops, and I was very good. I was restoring classic cars at a high-end shop for the better part of 4 years. Unfortunately, I hated it after the first couple of years and thought I could do nothing else.

I've been a ham radio operator since I was 13, I always liked electronics and technology. My dad was an engineer at Westinghouse. I didn't think I was smart enough to be an engineer but, it's what I really wanted to be.

Finally I said screw it, and I went to electronic tech school while working at the body shop. Breezed through it, got a job at a small company as an electronic technician. I loved it! I sold all of my tools and swore I would never work on cars again. Worked for ~10 years as a tech and finally decided to return to school to get my engineering degree.

I started college in 1996 and I struggled through it but I stuck with it. I graduated in 2002 at the ripe old age of 40 with an EE degree. I am now in an engineering position in a top rated medical equipment company and loving it. I won't kid you, it was hard, real hard (hardships in my personal life not withstanding).

I am now thinking about going for that Masters. It won't be easy but, I can't say enough about going back. Going to work everyday is a whole lot easier now than it was 20 years ago.

My advise, DO IT. If you try and fail, at least you can say you tried. Otherwise there will always be that little bit of regret lingering in the back of your mind.
Originally posted by Omega_D
My advise, DO IT. If you try and fail, at least you can say you tried. Otherwise there will always be that little bit of regret lingering in the back of your mind. {snip}
That is one inspirational story. Thank you for sharing it.
Originally posted by hokkyokusei
So to sum up, I know I'm not as wildly idealistic as I used to be, probably because I'm realistic enough to see that there's a limit to what one person can do. But I'd also like to think that I have the experience to recognise when one person can make a difference.
I reread my comments and I realize that I spoke out of turn. I apologize. I enjoyed reading your comments and thoughts on careers and career changes.

OK, cliché is the wrong word. I am not sure how to describe my feelings, but your comments hit home for me. I too have wondered if I should have choosen a different career. I too wish I had done something more artistic. This sort of reflection must be common, while not cliché. Maybe we should incorporate some of the idealism of the younger group, while maintaining our realistic perspective from our many life experiences.

I try to keep my spirits up and maintain a positive outlook. Sometimes I get negative and appear “grumpy”. I am sorry if my comments were out of turn.

Thanks again for sharing your sound comments.
I sort of fell into what I do, but each little fall was suited to me more and more, until I ended up with something I'm more suited for than anything else I can think of.

It took quitting my previous path and risking everything.
I did not know what my end point would be.
It took accepting the advice "do not think of what you want to be or where you want to go study, rather find someone you want to learn from and do that".
It took 10 years, 4 degrees (one of which having nothing to do with the others, except to make more more employable than someone else with the same primary training), and >$100,000.

I'm a neuroscientist specializing in nonlinear signal analysis, something very few of my colleagues even understand. I invent new ways to look at the brain/mind. It's such a cutting edge job (way too small to call it a field) that my two post-docs, at National Institutes of Health and at the Department of Psychiatry at Yale Medical School, were by invitation. I did not have to compete for them. I learned science from some of the finest minds in any field learning to think together (Santa Fe Institute), and was mentored in my field by one of the greatest biological psychologists (and neurologists and philosophers and and and) Karl Pribram. This happened because I trusted the process and went with the flow, and most of all looked for what I thought would be fun.

If the only way I could do what I do was to have a job doing something else for money to live on, so I could do this for free in my spare time, I would do that. Yes, I like it that much.

I "started" at age 38.
I worked 18 years as a production foreman/ engineer for a local oilfield service company...hating EVERY waking moment of it... hated the work... hated the people...hated the customers... hated the feast or famine attitude of the owners....

I have since grade school been obcessed with computers and technology... 4 years ago, i quit.... went back to college and got certified as a network engineer... and went to work for myself as a consultant...

After a few months, the local school district had an opening as a field tech for pc's, which i took. (who could pass up a big fat gov't job eh??)

In July, i took over as the district's network administrator and LOVE every aspect of it. I'm in charge of everything to do with technology for the school district, purchasing, planning, and implementation of it.

In my 4 years of employment here, my WORST day... is still LEAGUES better than my best day working in the oilfield ever was.

It was a daunting and very difficult decision to leave the security of my previous employment... but everything has worked out beyond my greatest expectations so far.

I get to do what I love... work with great people, get to work with the folks that are responsible for my children's education, and even get to influence how that education will come about in some regards.

hey... I even get to share neato stuff about my hobby with the teachers and district staff.... how cool is

A career change is never easy, but in my case it was the right thing to do.

Do I like my job, yes.

So I'll also share the backstory.

I was one of those driven kids in HS, who had parents that meant the best yet pushed way too hard. I spent my formative years bucking what my parents tried to make me becuse somewhere down inside I knew it was not right.

I completed my entire BS in Metallurgical Engineering coursework except, English composition and a couple of humanities electives when I graduated HS. I did this in 30 months of 21 hour courseloads during the Fall/Winter and overclocking myself during the Summer. The missed courses were in the category I referred to as "underwater bb stacking". I mean, I can always take that fluff later, right?

Well one morning I woke up in an alcohol induced fog and none of it made any sense. I was totally, completely, flatline, burned out. I took a 3.7 GPA and shot it in one 19 hour semester. I then realized I needed I was 20 years old and needed to figure out what I was. I chose an enlistment in the USCG

(WWattles keep yer comments to yerself, remember I could walk back if my ship got in trouble):p

After two hitches as an electronics technician, I got out and took a position as an engineeering tech with a large manufacturer of NC equipment. I went to night school, completed my BSEE and worked in engineering.

As the company imploded, I took a risk, and tried a stint in procurement. They say without risk, there is no growth. Well I also found that I was spectactulary unsuited for the job. I got bagged and became a consultant (temp for about a year).

I took a position as a contract PC technician as engineering jobs were scarce at the time and, well, I needed a job.

From there, over a one year period I moved from contract technician, thru systems analyst, to Manager of Desktop Support.

Ok, why Al loves his job:

I work in one of the larger teaching hospitals. (Yale-New Haven). I see wonderful things everyday. I see babies that weigh a pound at birth go home happy and healthy. I see people horribly injured go home restored. The miracles never cease. I guess what I'm saying is that what I do means something. I help make sick people better. No, I don't treat them, but I help make that treatment possible. What more can I ask?

Yeah, some days I get the bejeesus slapped out of me, yet I would not trade it for the world.

I got layed off after 16 yrs with the same company(along with over 100 others). so I have been self imployed for 3 yrs now and I'm doing what I love to do .. design/build industrial machinery.I've been doing it for 23 yrs so I don't have much choice. I still enjoy my job except for the fact that I work alot of hours right now busines is booming ..and leaves little time for personell stuff,but I consider myself very lucky.. and thankfull to have the work.I'm getting too old to do anything else .

Susi and I have seriously tossed around the idea of starting a small business to retire with , either a Hotwings shack or a used CD shop.
Originally posted by stymye
...and I have seriously tossed around the idea of starting a small business to retire with , either a Hotwings shack or a used CD shop.


You are not going to open a hobby shop dedicated solely to rocketry with a standing 50% discount off your cost to TRF members?!

Well, I never....

I'd like a double order of hot wings I'll eat 'em here...and a diet coke.

Gotta watch the figure.
Sounds as if I'm a bit of a youngster here at 34. I survived high school in '88, stumbled my way away from Computer Science to Cultural Anthropology because I couldn't hack my way through the Calculus filter classes. Weird thing was that the CS majors had to take more mathematics than the math majors. Departmental jealousy I think. Odd jobs until I was an organically based assembly robot at Boeing Commercial Aircraft Group in Everret. Got laid off in '99 (who at Boeing didn't?), went back to school for 2 years, and got almost 2 ATA's in Electronics and Telecommunications. Picked up the FCC General Radiotelephone Operators License (Elements 1,3,7,8,9) to be a 5 percenter, and am now in a rather quiet field of work. I like the job. The pay is pretty good, with more overtime then I know what to do with (I have seen 100+ hrs of OT in a 2 week period, not often though.), but I really miss being able to go home at night. It's not as bad as being in active duty, as are some of the folks I work with, but I've been home 4 times in the last 2 years. If I could find a job that pays as well or better, closer to home or inexpensive to relocate to, I'd be there instead of here. But until then.. Guess I'll have to see if I can get the elements of the GROL that I don't have so I can be a 1 percenter. Maybe I'll pick up an amateur-radio license or two while I'm at it just so I can really confuse people.

I'd love to work in the Info-Resources/IT field for an aerospace company, but they're all either so large that I'd have no chance of getting hired (Boeing [Only job I'd accept there anyway is an HR position specifically created to fire Stonecipher & half of middle management], Lockheed, etc), in Employer/Employee unfriendly [Taxes, housing cost] places (California, Oregon, etc), or so small and highly educated that they don't need a dedicated department of people with my skills (Scaled, SpaceDev, etc). So for the near term, I'm stuck doing what I am doing. Promotions are coming up though, so I might luck out and get a $7K/year raise.

Who knows, with my luck I'll end up managing the IT/Communications department of a cruise-ship and telling some centigenarian retiree for the twelvth time why he can't plug his RJ-11 deskphone into an RJ-45 jack.

Harm none,

This is such a great message thread.
So many ideas, creative adventures.
I feel much better about my job hunting trials.
There is hope at the end of the tunnel...