Career Advice

BigHornRam

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Nov 15, 2004
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"Land of Giant Rams"
Didn't you say somewhere that you are moving to Washington state? You like designing with wood, the Northwest is the hot spot for the up and coming CLT industry. Vaagen just started up their new CLT plant about 1 month ago.


Design, sales, on-site construction management? Sounds like this might be right up your alley.
 

teej89

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Oct 7, 2015
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It's complicated.
Didn't you say somewhere that you are moving to Washington state? You like designing with wood, the Northwest is the hot spot for the up and coming CLT industry. Vaagen just started up their new CLT plant about 1 month ago.


Design, sales, on-site construction management? Sounds like this might be right up your alley.
It’s a very likely option but it’s not definite that’s where we’ll end up.

Interesting, very interesting. I just glanced thru the article but I’ll read t more in depth tonight. I’d be curious to hear how combustible the material is, my concerns would be fire ratings. That does sound right up my alley tho! Thanks for the heads up! Definitely going to look into this.
 

riv3rbanks

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Oct 30, 2017
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Deep in the Heart of Texas
- Army Combat Engineer - We went back and forth with this for a while last summer and eventually it was vetoed... If I was on my own I'd do it, it is physical and also has engineering/math/phsyics/thought involved. However, with kids in the future I couldn't imagine being deployed if she's pregnant or our kid was just born. Hats off to all the active duty and veterans that did do that, that had to be extremely tough.

This is not what you think it is. I signed up as a combat engineer in 2004 not really knowing what it all entailed. You will not be doing anything that involves your engineering degree in this job. When I got to AIT we learned how to tie knots, defuse mines, and clear routes with explosives and a lot of infantry training. When I got to my unit, we practiced clearing houses and ruck marching with some explosives in the mix. This job requires one of the lowest ASVAB scores in the military. Good call on the veto.
 
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3855WIN

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Jul 17, 2014
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852
Location
Mississippi
Dreams come true when the daydreaming ends. I see you have multiple western hunts planned, but don’t have a job lined up. This is backwards after all the education and training you’ve gotten. You’ll have to grind, even in a career you enjoy.
 

teej89

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It's complicated.
Dreams come true when the daydreaming ends. I see you have multiple western hunts planned, but don’t have a job lined up. This is backwards after all the education and training you’ve gotten. You’ll have to grind, even in a career you enjoy.
The out of states hunts prior to our move is contingent on wherever I land job wise. There’s 4 of us going, they’re going going whether I’m there or not so anything prior to the move isn’t up in the air.
 

teej89

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Messages
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It's complicated.
Dreams come true when the daydreaming ends. I see you have multiple western hunts planned, but don’t have a job lined up. This is backwards after all the education and training you’ve gotten. You’ll have to grind, even in a career you enjoy.
But I definitely understand what you’re saying with the dreaming. It’s kinda complex but I’m not going to go jobless to hunt. I have a plan and a back up plan and another back up. Ultimately if I can land a job in 2mo, which if it’s engineering shouldn’t be too tough, then my hunts will continue as such.
 

bcar

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Mar 13, 2018
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99
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Iowa
I thought about going to the construction side but my concerns are the hours are going to be crazy. My bud is a super and he's putting in 50-60hrs on average, the money is great but dang I'd rather not have the money and be 40-45hrs.

I'm not sure if I'd be able to land a manager position with a CM or GC because my experience managing is only on the structural side. Should I look at more of a gradual transition into the construction side or maybe just shoot for a manager position?
I work for a mid sized GC/Design Build/CM firm in Iowa. currently I'm a project engineer, but in transition to superintendent. I have no doubt you'd be able to land a management position with a contractor based on how strong the market seems to be across the country. Contractors are desperate to hire people who know how to build things. You would pick up on the "constructability" aspect quickly, and knowing how to communicate and negotiate with engineers would be very appealing to a contractor. The structural background would make you a great fit with a contractor the does a lot of plant work or industrial work, and with a PE license (assuming) you'd be able to design and sign off on things like deep excavations, and sheet piling. There are some firms out there that you don't have to work crazy hours on a consistent basis, ours is one of them; but depending where you end up it might be hard to find one. A lot of my college classmates work for the huge firms and work the 60+ hours all year. Most get burnt out after a few years and find firms like ours to settle in at.
 

neffa3

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Wenatchee
So I work for a civil engineering firm and what I found was that while I'm not exactly thrilled with my actual job most of the time, I do work for a company that provides complete flexibility and a healthy PTO benefit. I can show up when I want, leave when I want, work from home... it's about family and time off. The only requirement is that you get work done and you do high quality work.

I view it as path to achieve the things I want to achieve. Sure I could enjoy what I'm doing more, but the trade off would be less flexibility, less money, and probably more stress (certainly in the short term).

Whenever I start thinking about career changes or just get frustrated with work I remind myself that the grass is not always greener across the fence and that in reality I'd just be trading one set of problems for another.
 

teej89

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It's complicated.
So I work for a civil engineering firm and what I found was that while I'm not exactly thrilled with my actual job most of the time, I do work for a company that provides complete flexibility and a healthy PTO benefit. I can show up when I want, leave when I want, work from home... it's about family and time off. The only requirement is that you get work done and you do high quality work.

I view it as path to achieve the things I want to achieve. Sure I could enjoy what I'm doing more, but the trade off would be less flexibility, less money, and probably more stress (certainly in the short term).

Whenever I start thinking about career changes or just get frustrated with work I remind myself that the grass is not always greener across the fence and that in reality I'd just be trading one set of problems for another.
Wow, that is one helluva way to put it! Talk about hitting the nail on the head for my case. Thinking about it like that certainly sheds a better light on my current career. Also with the current career the market makes it pretty easy to relocate or have a firm work with you(working remotely). I do see this as a plus and the fact if I need to make make a little more cash then I just work more hours since we get overtime.
 

teej89

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Messages
871
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It's complicated.
I work for a mid sized GC/Design Build/CM firm in Iowa. currently I'm a project engineer, but in transition to superintendent. I have no doubt you'd be able to land a management position with a contractor based on how strong the market seems to be across the country. Contractors are desperate to hire people who know how to build things. You would pick up on the "constructability" aspect quickly, and knowing how to communicate and negotiate with engineers would be very appealing to a contractor. The structural background would make you a great fit with a contractor the does a lot of plant work or industrial work, and with a PE license (assuming) you'd be able to design and sign off on things like deep excavations, and sheet piling. There are some firms out there that you don't have to work crazy hours on a consistent basis, ours is one of them; but depending where you end up it might be hard to find one. A lot of my college classmates work for the huge firms and work the 60+ hours all year. Most get burnt out after a few years and find firms like ours to settle in at.
I may reach out to you for a little “what’s your job like questioning”. My only friend in it went from college graduate to a super. He is damn good at what he doesn’t and deserved that position so he never really worked up to it if you don’t count working construction during high school.

You’ll most likely see a PM from me if you don’t mind me picking your brain.
 

crock239

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Sep 18, 2012
Messages
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Location
Iowa City, IA
Man, interesting thread to find there are so many engineers/ office guys on here facing the same issues (work life balance, stuck at desk, etc.) Maybe a topic for a future thread on how we all deal w that.

To the OP, I am an engineer and have been through similar spouse driven relocations. I assume since you're moving for her she brings in a good income. My advice is to try to take the time necessary to find the right job fit in your new location, if finances allow it. Been there, done it and It's stressful short term but you'll both be happier long term if you're in a job you enjoy.

For career counseling maybe reach out to your alma mater....usually I think they'll advise graduates.

In your new location there may be career counseling thru a local university or economic development agencies. They want good people in good jobs to boost local economy. Focus on networking and meeting people in the business community, talking openly about what you want to do and you're more likely to find the right job fit.

In one of my relocations (b4 kids) I wound up getting a job at a large company, worked long hours, desk too much, lots of stress and it sucked. Now I know what a bad job really looks like bc I made good money but it affected life at home in ways I didn't like.

Next relocation I focused on networking and taking my time, knew I wanted a smaller organization, etc. Wound up in a more flexible situation (less money) and enjoyed it. Led to me starting my own company 5 years ago.

For me, flexibility is hugely important w young kids at home.

In a smaller firm you'll get to do a wider variety of tasks and have better visibility to results, profits, etc. from your day to day activities.
 

Europe

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Dec 26, 2018
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323
I have zero advise as to which field you should look into or work AND admittedly when we ( my husband and I ) said what do we want to do, the internet did not exist.

But we knew we had expensive tastes, we knew we liked to travel, we know we wanted to have our children see and experience a variety of cultures and decided the only way that we could do it, our way, was if we owned our own business. So we started our own company---hard, long hours, anxiety ( especially the first couple years ) but we did it and it worked for us.

Would owning your own business work for you ? I have no idea ?

My husband use to tell our children. I dont care if you shine shoes for s living, as long as that is what you WANT to do and you are the best shoe shiner in the business. Do what makes you happy and what you can look back on someday and say I am glad I did this

I wish you all the best !
 

GearJunky

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Aug 7, 2014
Messages
116
I have had several jobs and now I am an owner in a company... my two cents.... Jobs are jobs, the people and the company typically will make or break the career for someone. Talk to people who love their job, ask them why they love it, If it aligns with your likes then see if they are hiring.
 

Bowhuntrben

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Dec 26, 2010
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SE Minnesota
Also check out state government. Lots of jobs with DOTs which require working on a team. Also great variety and opportunities for trying new things if something isn’t the right fit for you. I work in bridge design. I have done it my entire career but have seen people successfully come over from the building side of things. Most people coming from the private sector are wanting to leave the crazy schedules. Pay isn’t as good but benefits are great. Also don’t have to worry about the “profit” piece.
 

wllm1313

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Dec 9, 2015
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Aurora, CO
Also check out state government. Lots of jobs with DOTs which require working on a team.
A couple of different times I've tried to switch from the private to public sector and never had any success. Played the whole USAJOBs game, yada, yada... applying on and off for 8 years in various states and only ever got one interview... which was the most uncomfortable experience work related experience I've ever had.
I was 28 applying for a position as a GIS specialist with the BLM, during the interview the interview asked "I see you have worked in the Oil and Gas Industry, how do you feel about women? Would you be comfortable with women in the workplace?"

Anyway would be curious to hear from people who have successfully made the jump.
 

SD_Prairie_Goat

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Mar 18, 2019
Messages
150
-working for profit, I don't have a huge drive to work harder to make someone else money unless I'm seeing progress in my career due to that extra work.
-as you get to a more senior level I see these guys working 60hrs a week and when kids are in the mix I'm absolutely going to be putting them first. Some guys are in at 6am and leave at 6 and go back to work again at 8 ro 9 after the kids are in bed. I work to live not the other way around.
This portion right here speaks volumes to me personally. I work at a mid sized engineering firm (300 people) and find motivating to make someone else more money difficult... We're an esop now, which in theory should make it easier to motivate since I get a cut of the pie now, but out of the like ten million we had in profit I ended up with like $250 in my esop account, so it did little for motivation....

Your second statement about working long hours is my biggest fear with my current company. They have a plan to basically increase your hours yearly to make the company more money. I don't mind the 42 hour weeks, but I refuse to work 50 hours all the time. The other kicker is anyone senior at my Company can't take time off because they feel they are too important or vital to the operation to be away...

Talking with the older engineers at my Company said that when we were a small firm things were a lot different. I wonder if your situation wouldn't be improved by working for a small firm, like ten people. One of the tech's I work with said when he worked with a company that was like twenty people they cared more, it was more of a family event, one year the company made good profit and his bonus was 33% of his salary!

If I were you, I'd look into what work might be like at a smaller firm.

Sorry my post got a little lengthy and what not
 
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