Author Topic: How to approach getting more freedom while working  (Read 5025 times)

FreedomWorker

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How to approach getting more freedom while working
« on: October 07, 2015, 09:25:36 PM »
I've been a long time reader and I think this forum has a lot of value.

I'm currently working at a company as an Engineer, and I'm trying to figure out how to get a job with higher pay, more flexibility, and being able to focus more on my work.  I'm also not opposed to figuring out how to start my own business, etc. How do I start down this road? Do I start networking on sites like Linkedin and getting in touch with recruiters?

At my current job I have been getting top ratings essentially since I have been working, but I also recognize I'm likely underpaid even though I get "good" raises every year. Since I've only worked at one company those raises are nowhere as high when compared to job hopping.

I'm open to suggestions and just figuring out my next move.

lakemom

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Re: How to approach getting more freedom while working
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2015, 04:51:08 AM »
Start with a killer resume.  If you've only ever worked at one company you may want to consult with your university's alumnae advisor (different places call them different names but the office on campus that helps you find employment).  Then up your networking via linkd in (which has gone down hill lately but is still effective), your university alumnae office, reaching out to fellow engineers who work at companies you may be interested in.

And networking seriously by calling people up (in your field that you know and/or admire) and offering to take them to lunch (or coffee) to get their advice.  Then show them your resume, ask for feedback, then ask if they know of any companies hiring someone with your skillset.  That should get you a good start. 

Also if you are active on social media sites make sure to regularly mention that you are currently looking for a new position.  You never know where a solid lead may come from.  Finally, use all the different job search sites (I'm sure there are many that focus on engineering) because you can sometimes get lucky by throwing out a resume to a company you've never had personal contact with previously.

Schaefer Light

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Re: How to approach getting more freedom while working
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2015, 02:05:42 PM »
I'm not sure if this is an option for you, but have you asked if you can work from home?  Maybe even just part of the time?  I'd love to have the ability to work from home, but it's not allowed in my department.

AZDude

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Re: How to approach getting more freedom while working
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2015, 02:12:26 PM »
If you are underpaid and getting good reviews, download a salary guide and see what you "should" be making. Bring it in on your next review and says "I want $X, because that is the market rate". If you need more flexibility, then ask for it. Worst case, they say no.

If you looking for another job, recruiters work for themselves, but occasionally you have to go through a recruiter to get into a certain company. Most of them just troll job postings and then try to sell their services to the employer. I have ten years in the software development field. I have had six different jobs. I found all of them without a recruiter. I have gotten one interview via recruiter. They are sleazeballs and I would not recommend them.

boarder42

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Re: How to approach getting more freedom while working
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2015, 02:28:36 PM »
what kinda engineer are you, what do you get paid, what do you want to get paid and where are you located.

FreedomWorker

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Re: How to approach getting more freedom while working
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2015, 07:53:24 PM »
I work an integration and test engineer in the central Florida area. I get paid 94K base salary at the moment.

My current job does not much flexibility especially since I have to work with hardware.

I feel I should be getting 120+.


FreedomWorker

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Re: How to approach getting more freedom while working
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2015, 01:23:53 PM »
Anyone have any ideas on low overhead engineering services I could provide from home?

boarder42

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Re: How to approach getting more freedom while working
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2015, 07:43:57 AM »
I work an integration and test engineer in the central Florida area. I get paid 94K base salary at the moment.

My current job does not much flexibility especially since I have to work with hardware.

I feel I should be getting 120+.

This is about the going rate for this job in my area with around 5 years experience

FreedomWorker

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Re: How to approach getting more freedom while working
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2015, 09:20:31 PM »
I work an integration and test engineer in the central Florida area. I get paid 94K base salary at the moment.

My current job does not much flexibility especially since I have to work with hardware.

I feel I should be getting 120+.

This is about the going rate for this job in my area with around 5 years experience

the mid 90s or 120s?

Urchina

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Re: How to approach getting more freedom while working
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2015, 10:21:15 PM »
If you do your job really well with minimal management oversight,  and especially if you gladly take on and completely own work others don't want to do,  you functionally become Too Valuable to Ignore and can ask for pretty much what you want in terms of salary and work conditions,  as long as you're a team player and not a jerk about it.  Want to work at home?  Ask for it.  Want a raise?  Ask for it. Want an awesome project? Ask for it. 

I work for a local regulatory agency doing a job that nobody in our office likes.  I do it cheerfully and well.  I work part-time and have the flexibility to work in a variety of locations and at widely variable times on a regular basis. As long as I get my work done and my boss doesn't have to deal with it, I get a huge amount of self-determination at my job, which suits me just fine.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2015, 10:22:54 PM by Urchina »

FreedomWorker

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Re: How to approach getting more freedom while working
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2015, 11:57:35 PM »
This is one of those jobs I can't do from home though. If I could do that and get a higher salary I would be pretty happy.

boarder42

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Re: How to approach getting more freedom while working
« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2015, 06:22:27 AM »
I work an integration and test engineer in the central Florida area. I get paid 94K base salary at the moment.

My current job does not much flexibility especially since I have to work with hardware.

I feel I should be getting 120+.

This is about the going rate for this job in my area with around 5 years experience

the mid 90s or 120s?

mid 90s ... i'm an integration engineer.  my base is lower but my company has large bonus's  total compensation is probably pushing the 110k mark if you count bonus plus the stock they give me ... but my base plus bonus is probably in the 95k range this year in my 6th year. 120k for this early is almost impossible to come by.  i've  scouted the network and kept my option open. 

Urchina

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Re: How to approach getting more freedom while working
« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2015, 08:08:50 AM »
This is one of those jobs I can't do from home though. If I could do that and get a higher salary I would be pretty happy.

Ok. But what you want is more flexibility,  right?  So ask for a raise and more flexibility,  after making sure your supervisors have clear evidence of how cooperative, easy to manage,  and badass you are.

Retire-Canada

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Re: How to approach getting more freedom while working
« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2015, 08:33:53 AM »
The first step is to decide if you are a rock star or if you are in the middle of the pack. Where you rate will inform how you go about making changes.

When it comes to starting your own business you also have to assess if you are just a good tech person or if you have all the other skills that you'll need to run a business - such as being an excellent communicator, marketing skills, being able to administer your own business and successfully project manage your work. Even if you have those skills do you enjoy using them? Because working for yourself means not doing your core competence 100% of the time you now have to dedicate time to selling and running the business. Some people dig that variety and other find it annoying they can't just churn out code or do engineering work.

I throw this out there because it's easy to look at a consultant when you are an employee and think they have a great gig, but typically you are only seeing a small slice of their efforts.

Starting by making an honest assessment of where you sit in your professional compared to others and what you really want out of work will ensure you don't start down a path that's not likely to be successful. During this process I would get external feedback to validate your thoughts and not just do the analysis yourself. I've chatted with quite a few average performers who thought they were rockstars despite all evidence to the contrary.

« Last Edit: October 13, 2015, 08:46:32 AM by Vikb »

Fishindude

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Re: How to approach getting more freedom while working
« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2015, 08:41:21 AM »
No offense, but in my experience engineers tend to be  "A+B=C Personalities".  All answers must have mathematical proof and be black and white, no grey areas.
This type of personality tends to struggle at many aspects of running a business such as; sales and negotiating, client relations, conflict resolution, human resource issues, etc. which are all very important aspects of running a business.

I would think twice about going out on your own unless you know you have a guaranteed source of business, and have the ability to deal with all of the above.

mm1970

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Re: How to approach getting more freedom while working
« Reply #15 on: October 13, 2015, 09:38:22 AM »
I should never read these threads, they depress me.  FWIW, I *know* I'm underpaid, based on salary reviews (about $28k underpaid, or $10k, because, you know, women get paid less than men).

Do your salary review, due diligence, and look for another job.

I've found it easier to get more flexibility in a current job, but easier to get more money somewhere else.

I'm starting to look elsewhere for more money.

CanuckExpat

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Re: How to approach getting more freedom while working
« Reply #16 on: October 13, 2015, 11:02:06 PM »
I think the tricky part for you is that you work with hardware, that might make it difficult for people to understand you working from home, but given that all your work isn't in the lab or at a test bench, you might be able to negotiate a few days at home to work on the other stuff you do (documentation, analysis, whatever it is).

There is always the nuclear option: Say you are quitting and see what they will offer you. Of course, you have to be willing to lose your job if they call your bluff.
I recently went through this as I had a new position I was accepting. When I gave my manager notice, I didn't mention accepting a new position, but casually mentioned I was going to look for something with more flexibility. Our conversation then went along the lines of "What can we do to make you stay, how much flexibility do you need?". I have no doubt I could have walked out of there with more money and several days a week of either adjusted schedule or working from home. Though I think once you say you are quitting, you should just quit, not accept their counter.

This is coming from a position where it was made clear before the culture was not to allow working at home, but during the conversation my manager offered having me report to someone else so I could have the flexibility I wanted. Sometimes, just the threat of you leaving is enough for you to get everything you want ...

PFHC

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Re: How to approach getting more freedom while working
« Reply #17 on: October 14, 2015, 12:19:47 AM »
All I can say is to keep at it. Keep looking, keep working, keeping poking and prodding until you find a route you like. LinkedIn may work. I have built an awesome page and a huge network, but it has never gotten me a job I wanted. Actually meeting people and getting to know them has worked for me. Be stubborn, diligent, and patient and at the same time work harder and smarter than the next schmuck. Before you know it, you'll be running the show.

FreedomWorker

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Re: How to approach getting more freedom while working
« Reply #18 on: October 14, 2015, 09:31:01 PM »
All I can say is to keep at it. Keep looking, keep working, keeping poking and prodding until you find a route you like. LinkedIn may work. I have built an awesome page and a huge network, but it has never gotten me a job I wanted. Actually meeting people and getting to know them has worked for me. Be stubborn, diligent, and patient and at the same time work harder and smarter than the next schmuck. Before you know it, you'll be running the show.

I really enjoy the technical aspects of my work, but there is a lot of red tape that usually has no added value to the actual work from my point of view. I'm sure as the corporation having all these hoops to jump through allows them to have x certification they can show to their customers.

I have to interface with many disciplines as this is what it takes to integrate everything. But at the same time many engineers in my position are just users of other people's tools. I design my hardware and write the software to control it too. I would really like to see how I can turn this into a business. I google in the area and there are definitely some shops that do what I would like to do.