Author Topic: Advice for a part time job as a Mechanical Engineer?  (Read 2721 times)

jo552006

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Advice for a part time job as a Mechanical Engineer?
« on: July 13, 2017, 07:51:52 AM »
Hi all,

I've been busy trying my hand at many things over the last year, the biggest one was purchasing a foreclosure for me and my wife and renovating/moving into it.  I have been out of my industry (Mechanical Engineering) for a little over a year and really want to stay relevant in the field so that I am not eliminating an opportunity that I currently have.  As I see it, engineering pays well, I enjoyed it, and I worked hard/spent a lot to create that particular opportunity.

I have started looking for part time work as an engineer around where I live.  While I haven't exhausted every resource yet, early feedback seems that nobody wants a part time engineer.  If I wanted to work full time, then I think I would at least have a shot at a number of jobs near me.  I may go down the path of full time if that's my only option, but I'm not done trying to find a job that would have me working 2.5-3 days/week.

My only thought so far is to start my own consulting firm, but I don't know if I want to spend the upfront cost of a computer capable of running a good CAD program, and the cost of Solidworks, especially when I do not currently have any clients lined up.  Do I have any options I'm overlooking? 

I basically have 3 goals:
1. Stay relevant (employable) in the engineering field to keep my options open
2. Earn $35+/hour* (since I don't need benefits)
3. Work 3 or less days/week (I am guessing 30 hours or less/week)

*Note that $35/hour is the going rate around me for full time engineering jobs near me.  As I don't need benefits I'd expect it to be higher

schneider

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Re: Advice for a part time job as a Mechanical Engineer?
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2017, 10:57:20 AM »
Posting mostly to follow. I'm not a mechanical engineer but am in an industry where part-time work is unheard-of, and where staying relevant would be a concern if one took a "sabbatical."

Consulting seems like a very interesting solution IF you can find clients. But if it were me, I'd want to be comfortable just eating the computer and the software license if it didn't pan out. If you can't stomach that, perhaps you might want to work full-time for another year or two to build a larger cash cushion…

Maenad

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Re: Advice for a part time job as a Mechanical Engineer?
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2017, 11:18:36 AM »
In my industry, most of the time if you want to do "part time", you do a 6-month contract position with a company, then take 6 months off. I've known a few engineers who've gone part-time, but it's usually people with a proven track record of high performance for years, and eventually the employers change their minds and insist on full-time or nothing.

kendallf

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Re: Advice for a part time job as a Mechanical Engineer?
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2017, 11:48:01 AM »
Do you have the relevant experience and can you take the PE?  That's your best bet for a part time, consulting job.  My boss has a PE and has a side business doing design and certification for office/industrial electrical installations (we're EEs).  If you like the renovation work then construction related work would seem to be a good fit.

FireHiker

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Re: Advice for a part time job as a Mechanical Engineer?
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2017, 12:18:54 PM »
You aren't anywhere near San Diego, are you? A part time ME would be welcome in my office. Our two full time MEs are pretty overloaded, but there isn't enough certainty of adequate work to sustain a third full-time. Just figured it would be worth asking. There are certainly options out there! If you aren't in the San Diego area, maybe look around at temp agencies for work on a consulting basis?

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Advice for a part time job as a Mechanical Engineer?
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2017, 12:23:06 PM »
Yeah, my understanding is work cycling is much more common in engineering fields than part time work. That's the route my husband plans to take.

Sarah Saverdink

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Re: Advice for a part time job as a Mechanical Engineer?
« Reply #6 on: July 14, 2017, 07:48:48 AM »
I work at a very large engineering-centric company. There are only a handful of employees who work part-time and those individuals have a "reason" - i.e. children AND they were already established employees who previously worked full-time. There are also some individuals who retire and come back as part-time or cyclical contractors.

So, yes, it is very rare. Contractor route with shorter term contracts may be the best route.

jo552006

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Re: Advice for a part time job as a Mechanical Engineer?
« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2017, 06:12:28 PM »
Thanks for all the responses.  I am just planning on finding a full time engineering job and saving more at the moment since I don't see the short term contracts around here much.

I could stomach eating the computer and software license, and while I don't want to, the driving factor is that I don't want to start up a new business.  I think it would be too much stress on my wife to be honest.

MayDay

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Re: Advice for a part time job as a Mechanical Engineer?
« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2017, 06:53:16 PM »
I've been part twice as a chemE. Once after maternity leave- my company let me go to three days a week for a year and then four days a week for another year.

And once when I worked for a very tiny company of 7 people total, and they sort of didn't care how much anyone worked as long as they worked on stuff. It was easy going to an extreme.

Although that gig sounds good in theory, it made me a bit crazy.  Now full time again at a more normal company. If you live in Central OH I can put you in touch.