Author Topic: ENGINEERS - Why Does It Seem Like a Lot Don't Like Their Job?  (Read 3326 times)

birdman2003

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Re: ENGINEERS - Why Does It Seem Like a Lot Don't Like Their Job?
« Reply #50 on: August 09, 2018, 12:52:25 PM »
As an engineer you start out with a relatively high salary but there are no opportunities to move up in pay unless you go the management track which gets you away from the detailed engineering work that you were hired to do and enjoy.

mschaus

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Re: ENGINEERS - Why Does It Seem Like a Lot Don't Like Their Job?
« Reply #51 on: August 09, 2018, 01:00:49 PM »
For those who don't like their job, especially at MegaCorp... consider finding a new one! The whole attitude of "oh FI sure is neat, I'll just suffer for the next 10-15 years until there" is a really self-defeating attitude, and in my opinion no way to live a life.

I used to work for a MegaCorp and made the best of it while there (since like politics, all [or most] work culture is local), but put my money where my mouth is and moved across the country to work for a fun privately-held company making products I use and believe in, while having increased autonomy and opportunities for things to learn and focus on. World of difference.

If the problem is technical/managerial balance, or whatever it is, talk about it with your boss and make a positive proposal. Even if you still have to leave a place, taking action will always feel better than sitting back and feeling victimized.

MoStache

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Re: ENGINEERS - Why Does It Seem Like a Lot Don't Like Their Job?
« Reply #52 on: August 09, 2018, 01:20:21 PM »
If you ask my dad, it's because they're always the smartest person in the room and that's exhausting.  :)

-FreshPops, Electrical Engineer since 1979

I was trying to find a nice way to say this and here it is.  But this ^^
Especially when everyone else in the room is above you on the corporate ladder.

If these engineers were so smart you’d think they would be able to find a job they liked.  There are plenty of examples of engineers who like there jobs.  Complaining about your job without doing anything about it is neither smart nor unique to this field.

P.s.  I have a CS degree and I was a very successful software engineer for 7 years. 


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

freeat57

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Re: ENGINEERS - Why Does It Seem Like a Lot Don't Like Their Job?
« Reply #53 on: August 09, 2018, 02:17:25 PM »
O yea, and "your doing a great job, keep up the good work, here's a 3% raise"...WTF, I just saved this company over $500k and nearly killed myself working tons of hours to meet deadlines that weren't realistic to begin with...I feel really appreciated...
I think this sums it up pretty well

I also like the "thanks for the patent you produced in addition to and on top of your normal responsibilities, we made a quick couple million off it, here's $500 to show you how much we appreciate you...


Everything on this thread sounds familiar to me.  I'm not an engineer, rather a research chemist (happily FIREd).  Our IP attorneys gave us a one dollar bill for each patent.  I have a stack of them as a memento of my contributions to the megacorp.

mm1970

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Re: ENGINEERS - Why Does It Seem Like a Lot Don't Like Their Job?
« Reply #54 on: August 09, 2018, 02:26:33 PM »
engineering is becoming a comodity.  I work in consulting and we are seeing increasing pressures from supply chain on rates.  Which is in turn leading to outsourcing.  We own a company in India now.  In my team we're actively automating processes basically automating ourselves out of jobs but we're the ones creating the automation so it will last longer.  But the glory days of engineering being a fast track to FIRE may be coming to a close once its viewed simply as a comodity. 

Paper is going away data is becoming king just like it is for the FAANG stocks.  Engineering designs will be done with heavy data on the back end which make it faster to issue packages and decrease the hours needed to produce the same amount of work.
This is fascinating because I see it too. In my current role, I'm seeing our own supply chain pressure - meaning - pressure from our customers, but also the pressure we are putting on our overseas sub contractors to decrease their rates.

But...as overseas countries are getting more and more business, and their standards of living are going up - THEIR costs are increasing, and being passed on to us.  So, in the process of planning out our "cost decreases" over the next 5 years, we are finding that we'll be lucky if they don't INCREASE.

ChickenStash

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Re: ENGINEERS - Why Does It Seem Like a Lot Don't Like Their Job?
« Reply #55 on: August 11, 2018, 05:38:34 PM »
Engineer in the IT sector here. Most of my work life complaints apply to every job. I enjoy the actual engineering work but I can barely tolerate the work environment. Unrealistic project planning, impossible deadlines, interference from non-technical or otherwise unqualified departments, lack of responsibility. In most IT jobs I've worked, the team I'm on (infrastructure- server and os layer) winds up being the dumping ground for everything that other departments failed to build or built and failed to support/maintain with the expectation that the engineers will somehow make it work. On the plus side, we usually come through but, it's at the expense of high stress, long hours, short fuses and high turnover.

The pay is good but I could probably make as much being a truck driver.

Hargrove

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Re: ENGINEERS - Why Does It Seem Like a Lot Don't Like Their Job?
« Reply #56 on: August 11, 2018, 10:28:22 PM »
Some of this is surprizing to me... I heard somewhat similar from an engineer friend, though. He landed one of probably the best 3 jobs in the state right out of college, and he hates it, after just a year.

There's quite a gap between the idea of the work and the actual work, sometimes. The "perfect position for a handrail" comment... eugh.

Slee_stack

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Re: ENGINEERS - Why Does It Seem Like a Lot Don't Like Their Job?
« Reply #57 on: August 13, 2018, 11:02:15 AM »
I chose Engineering because I excelled in the core disciplines and it was a good career track at the time.

25+ years on, I'm well burned out and am now 'engineering' my departure.

In hindsight, I can't complain too much.

I could have chosen a better financial career track, but at the same time could have chosen far poorer ones.

At this stage of the game, I actually enjoy working more on the data analysis / science side of things.   Not enough to keep me from RE too much longer though.

FIPurpose

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Re: ENGINEERS - Why Does It Seem Like a Lot Don't Like Their Job?
« Reply #58 on: August 13, 2018, 01:04:42 PM »
I recently talked with an ED Tech who used to work in IT. He had a similar reason for leaving tech: you're "on" all the time. There's no scheduled down time on the job. There's no part of the work that you can do on automatic.

middo

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Re: ENGINEERS - Why Does It Seem Like a Lot Don't Like Their Job?
« Reply #59 on: August 13, 2018, 10:01:54 PM »
As a trained Mechanical Engineer (B.Eng. Hons.) who worked for the corporation for 8 years, before retraining to take a pay cut and become a teacher, a couple of thoughts for this thread:

Firstly, engineers are generally asked to do things that they may consider to be illogical by managers that expect to be respected because of their position rather than their greater knowledge or other attributes - this is not logical.

Secondly, engineers are trained to find the most efficient solution to a problem.  Working for 45 years to spend money on things we don't need is the normal social program. - this is not logical.

Lastly, from my experience most engineers would, given a chance, grab that spanner/welder/grinder and fix the problem in a minute if they were allowed to.  They are not allowed to.  (this may be logical)

Putting the blowtorch of logic to anyone's current situation, which engineers are trained to do, suggests that working and investing, and getting out as soon as possible is the best engineered solution to the problem of being in the workforce.

gerardc

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Re: ENGINEERS - Why Does It Seem Like a Lot Don't Like Their Job?
« Reply #60 on: August 13, 2018, 10:57:59 PM »
The reason I find my software engineering job hard to cope with, is that it abuses my brain. It makes me too one-dimensional, too analytically focused, less mentally balanced, and as a result way less happy. It exacerbates my autistic tendencies, pushes me to isolation as a coping mechanism, and eventually straight up makes me weird. I get less time to be sociable, fit, creative, funny, artistic, etc. It's similar to a runner with bad knees, a construction worker with bad back, etc. It's the consequences of the overuse of your brain. It's not well documented and not widely known, so most engineers just feel that something is wrong but can't explain it perfectly, but it's obvious if you know where to look.

des999

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Re: ENGINEERS - Why Does It Seem Like a Lot Don't Like Their Job?
« Reply #61 on: August 14, 2018, 08:13:29 AM »
IT Engineer here.  I actually enjoy my job, but it took me changing companies and then changing within (large mega corp) to find a good fit.  I have lots of flexibility, which is why I am able to enjoy it. 

I get paid well, I enjoy what I do, but still am looking forward to not having to work.  My thought is I'll work part time as a transition to FIRE, since I still do like it.

agree with everyone else, think it's more the fact that there are a lot of engineers on this site.

FIPurpose

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Re: ENGINEERS - Why Does It Seem Like a Lot Don't Like Their Job?
« Reply #62 on: August 14, 2018, 10:00:00 AM »
I found two interesting articles on this:

Jobs that people retire early from more often: http://time.com/4727153/retirement-age-earliest-job/
vs.
Jobs that people tend to retire to/ stay in for a long time: http://time.com/4726657/retirement-age-jobs/?xid=homepage

From the trends in these two articles
Jobs where people tend to retire earlier:
Computer/ IT jobs
Healthcare Technicians (EMTs, radiologists, etc.)
Blue Collar Workers (especially the more taxing ones)

Jobs people tend to work longer:
Highly compensated white collar work (Dentists, Doctors, Accountants)
Creative Work (Authors, muscians)
Low-stress Blue Collar Work (Bus driver, taxi, librarians, office clerks)

There could be some skew since computer/ IT jobs have gone up a lot in the past 20 years, but I think the overall trend is still apparent. People do not stay at a job just because it is highly compensated. I believe this trend shows that people want a job where you can:
1. Have greater control of your schedule
2. Be independent
3. Be creative
4. Be appreciated

The jobs that people leave I think fail at least 3/4 of the above.

js82

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Re: ENGINEERS - Why Does It Seem Like a Lot Don't Like Their Job?
« Reply #63 on: August 14, 2018, 10:36:12 AM »
Hot take: it's very rare that a good engineer is also a good manager, and vice versa. Yet in many major corporations the only way to 'get ahead' is the management track. Yes, there's lots of lip service about technical advancement and staff/senior staff engineering positions, but the truth is you either run in one circle or the other, both at work and play.

It also seems the further you proceed in the technical track, administrative and clerical work replaces actual 'engineering' work. You might review test reports and provide direction, or be consulted on an issue, but you're no longer involved in the hands on 'nuts and bolts' design. Not that there's anything inherently wrong with that, but that's not usually the reason people train to become engineers.


This is 100% true, at least at my company:

1. Getting to higher pay-grades as a non-managerial(either people or project management) engineer is probably the most difficult path to get there.  If you have a Ph.D, getting there as a scientist in R&D is pretty straightforward.  But getting there as an engineer without a Ph.D is perhaps the most difficult path that exists at my company.  Some other companies may be different, but in my particular company there's a substantial bias favoring Ph.D's/against non-Ph.D's in technical fields, regardless of individual talent/contribution.

2. The part about administrative/non-engineering work is true as well.  I have 6-7 hours a day of meetings(at least 1 1/2 of which are mind-numbing schedule reviews that make me want to claw my eyes out) on my calendar on average.  As a "Senior Engineer," I don't get to do the fun/interesting technical work nearly as much as I'd like to - and even when I do, it involves an inordinate amount of time pushing back against the micromanagement of upper leadership rather than using my technical aptitude to ensure good outcomes.

Don't get me wrong - there have been times when my job was awesome.  But 1) engineering tends to be a high floor/low ceiling kind of field in terms of career progression, and 2) dealing with management that doesn't "get" engineering can be a pretty soul-sucking experience.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2018, 10:39:07 AM by js82 »

Gondolin

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Re: ENGINEERS - Why Does It Seem Like a Lot Don't Like Their Job?
« Reply #64 on: August 14, 2018, 12:46:41 PM »
Boy, do I love patching badly written code with band-aids and accruing ever larger loads of technical debt rather than giving the code base the wholesale refactoring it needs.

...oh wait, no. I hate it. Guess I'll FIRE as soon as I'm able.

NathanDrake

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Re: ENGINEERS - Why Does It Seem Like a Lot Don't Like Their Job?
« Reply #65 on: August 14, 2018, 10:05:07 PM »
High floor, low ceiling sounds about right.

Iím at year 10 of my engineering career and itís not fun anymore. The first 3-5 years or so were interesting because of new challenges. Years 5-10 became a monotonous grind with little challenge and additional stress of leading projects and people, combined with more office politics.

Expecting at best 3-4% raises from here on out, thereís very little incentive to do more than the bare minimum. Iím simply padding my FIRE number at this point.

Very frustrating environment for a high achiever, which a lot of engineers are. I wish I could turn back the clock and go into finance or sales where youíre truly rewarded for hard (or even not so hard) work. Oh well, too late now.

Life is too short to push paper around in an office, chained to your desk the vast majority of it.

Toad

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Re: ENGINEERS - Why Does It Seem Like a Lot Don't Like Their Job?
« Reply #66 on: August 14, 2018, 11:35:18 PM »
I'll add two new ones into the mix:

The amount of responsibility I have is extremely stressful --> I am a structural engineer.  If I screw up, people die.  This alone is enough to make me want to get the fuck out ASAP.  In fact, will be looking for a new job next year...if I can find something that pays the same or more than what I make now I will jump ship without a second thought.  I hate the thought of starting on a new career path when I know I will only really be doing it for 5-7 years, but not sure I can deal with my current stress level for another 5-7 years.

I know I am compensated like shit compared to what I am billed at --> Not saying that I am not paid well...on the contrary, I am paid very well for my experience level.  However, I also know I am billed out at $200/hr for most projects.  This makes my current compensation level of ~$40/hr so shitty it is comical.  I mean...come on...overhead costs and padding the principals and presidents purse is REALLY 5x my pay...really guys?  2x-2.5x seems much more reasonable, but I don't see a 100% raise coming anytime soon since I suspect the principals and president enjoy their 500k+ salaries, so whatever.  Super demotivating though.

boarder42

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Re: ENGINEERS - Why Does It Seem Like a Lot Don't Like Their Job?
« Reply #67 on: August 15, 2018, 06:29:33 AM »
I'll add two new ones into the mix:

The amount of responsibility I have is extremely stressful --> I am a structural engineer.  If I screw up, people die.  This alone is enough to make me want to get the fuck out ASAP.  In fact, will be looking for a new job next year...if I can find something that pays the same or more than what I make now I will jump ship without a second thought.  I hate the thought of starting on a new career path when I know I will only really be doing it for 5-7 years, but not sure I can deal with my current stress level for another 5-7 years.

I know I am compensated like shit compared to what I am billed at --> Not saying that I am not paid well...on the contrary, I am paid very well for my experience level.  However, I also know I am billed out at $200/hr for most projects.  This makes my current compensation level of ~$40/hr so shitty it is comical.  I mean...come on...overhead costs and padding the principals and presidents purse is REALLY 5x my pay...really guys?  2x-2.5x seems much more reasonable, but I don't see a 100% raise coming anytime soon since I suspect the principals and president enjoy their 500k+ salaries, so whatever.  Super demotivating though.

work for a better company.  I work for an ESOP so i get all that extra money thru our shareholder returns and bonuses at year end.

SuperSecretName

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Re: ENGINEERS - Why Does It Seem Like a Lot Don't Like Their Job?
« Reply #68 on: August 15, 2018, 07:01:45 AM »
Secondly, engineers are trained to find the most efficient solution to a problem.  Working for 45 years to spend money on things we don't need is the normal social program. - this is not logical.
This is it.  Add generally high salaries, and you get the self-selecting group of engineers who want to FIRE.  It's a problem to be optimized.

gerardc

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Re: ENGINEERS - Why Does It Seem Like a Lot Don't Like Their Job?
« Reply #69 on: August 15, 2018, 09:24:48 AM »
Secondly, engineers are trained to find the most efficient solution to a problem.  Working for 45 years to spend money on things we don't need is the normal social program. - this is not logical.
This is it.  Add generally high salaries, and you get the self-selecting group of engineers who want to FIRE.  It's a problem to be optimized.

That doesn't explain why they don't like their job though

FireHiker

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Re: ENGINEERS - Why Does It Seem Like a Lot Don't Like Their Job?
« Reply #70 on: August 15, 2018, 09:43:02 AM »
I find most engineers have a lower tolerance for BS (I include myself in this category). It isn't the engineering work that gets to many of us. It's the minutia of corporate life: the unnecessary meetings, cheesy fake morale BS, annual trainings and performance review cycles that don't accomplish anything, etc. It isn't the engineering; it's that so much of corporate life is NOT engineering!

boarder42

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Re: ENGINEERS - Why Does It Seem Like a Lot Don't Like Their Job?
« Reply #71 on: August 15, 2018, 11:11:43 AM »
Secondly, engineers are trained to find the most efficient solution to a problem.  Working for 45 years to spend money on things we don't need is the normal social program. - this is not logical.
This is it.  Add generally high salaries, and you get the self-selecting group of engineers who want to FIRE.  It's a problem to be optimized.

That doesn't explain why they don't like their job though

I think this thread has proven that most of us don't hate our jobs.