Author Topic: Working as professional EE and having well rounded life?  (Read 13707 times)

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Offline eecook

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Working as professional EE and having well rounded life?
« on: September 21, 2015, 05:02:23 am »
Hey All,

I guess I am dropping these lines out of complete exhaustion. I've been working long hours for the past 2 years in Dilbert land and I've had it. This is not working out for me, I value my family, my friends, surfing, my side projects, my girlfriend. Instead of being able to live a balanced life and dedicate time to the things I care about, I'm either working 10ish hours a day + some excersise + some time with my girlfriend and finally when saturday arrives I just want to sleep all day.
Is there any type of engineering job out there that won't suck the life out of me?

Cheers.
Nullius in verba
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Working as professional EE and having well rounded life?
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2015, 05:35:22 am »
Is there any type of engineering job out there that won't suck the life out of me?

Yes, one where you work less hours.
If you aren't being paid to work 10 hours a day, and especially if you don't enjoy it, then you are doing it wrong.
Change jobs.
 

Offline sarepairman2

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Re: Working as professional EE and having well rounded life?
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2015, 06:51:23 am »
I waited a long time to get a job in a field that I was kinda doing as a hobby so that I can "hijack" projects a bit to fulfill my own curiosities.

i do feel like a salary is kind of a scam though, I have not been abused yet but I maintain poor documentation etc to protect myself against bullying..

you do gotta have eyes in the back of your fucking head at work though, sometimes I detect "fishing" for capabilities etc. gotta watch out always .... :-X

make sure you are always accumulating something at work other then money. study the environment etc so you know how to eventually setup your own company and not be the stooge of some dilbert guy. if you start to feel bullied try to figure out what the "firing" point will be and redline the lack of productivity vs getting fired and develop your own capabilities etc using company resources

usually this means attacking some contractor that makes more money then you and stealing their business lol. this just means you took some initiative to save the company money in the long run! have contractor assault plants alpha through zeta ready even if you are happy, just incase

this thread makes me cry :(
« Last Edit: September 21, 2015, 07:10:50 am by sarepairman2 »
 

Offline sarepairman2

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Re: Working as professional EE and having well rounded life?
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2015, 07:08:42 am »
does anyone here trust their employers lol? :popcorn:
 

Offline marshallh

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Re: Working as professional EE and having well rounded life?
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2015, 07:19:30 am »
The altenrative is to work for yourself and choose which 14 hours of the day you want to work..
Upsides: can travel anytime, can do errands during daytime hours.
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Offline John_ITIC

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Re: Working as professional EE and having well rounded life?
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2015, 07:34:27 am »
The problem is not that you are an engineer; the problem is that you are an employee. And, likely, one without overtime compensation. These days, corporations are making more money than ever because they are running much leaner than ever before. They do this by squeezing out more of the few employees they keep around after having laid off the rest. Fear of layoffs keeps the rest working hard.

In Europe, there is more work/life balance because one gets overtime compensation. At least this is the law in Sweden. France has working hours capped to 35, I believe, and have laws against dealing with work emails outside working hours. Here in the U.S. one is normally "exempt", which means fixed salary without overtime compensation.

Take a look at "rich dad poor dad" to change your reality;http://www.amazon.com/Rich-Dad-Poor-Teach-Middle/dp/1612680011

Employment is a trap because one builds no long term assets. The solution is to have assets pay for your expenses, not your earned income. With assets paying for more and more of your expenses, you can work less and less. Financing your expenses with your salary will never set you free since you will go into the "rat race" (work/spend/work/spend... going nowhere).

Offline Bud

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Re: Working as professional EE and having well rounded life?
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2015, 01:56:35 pm »
I'll tell you how i do it: i get a job that requires no overtime (or very occasional and paid overtime), requires not to be on-call, no or very little travel may be once in a few months, and-important: short commute. Just cutting your commute time gets you much additional free time and you get less tired. But if your vision of "balanced" life is 30% work, 30% family and 30% fun and hobbies, this is not how it works in life.
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Offline IanB

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Re: Working as professional EE and having well rounded life?
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2015, 02:14:02 pm »
I'm working 10ish hours a day...

You have not really said why that is. Is it because you feel peer pressure to do that, or that you need to work that many hours to complete your assigned tasks, or that managers instruct you to do that? Really, you need to find out what the official expectation of your job is. What does the HR policy manual say the length of a standard working week is? In America, for example, it would typically be 40 hours a week.

What would happen if you came in at 8am, worked an 8 hour day with an hour for lunch, and went home at 5pm? Does anyone do that where you work? If not, what is the reason?
I'm not an EE--what am I doing here?
 

Offline free_electron

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Re: Working as professional EE and having well rounded life?
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2015, 02:52:07 pm »
Is there any type of engineering job out there that won't suck the life out of me?

Yes, one where you work less hours.
If you aren't being paid to work 10 hours a day, and especially if you don't enjoy it, then you are doing it wrong.
Change jobs.
<- this
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Any comments, or points of view expressed, are my own and not endorsed , induced or compensated by my employer(s).
 

Offline Stonent

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Re: Working as professional EE and having well rounded life?
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2015, 03:02:29 pm »
Is there any type of engineering job out there that won't suck the life out of me?

Yes, one where you work less hours.
If you aren't being paid to work 10 hours a day, and especially if you don't enjoy it, then you are doing it wrong.
Change jobs.

This might be a one-off because I've never seen it at another employer, but where I work, salaried employees are allowed to receive overtime pay of what their equivalent hourly rate would be up to a certain pay grade. *HOWEVER* you have to have approval to get that.  If you're just hanging around an extra hour to tie up some loose ends before the next day, you can't claim that, but if your boss says "I need you to stay after and keep working on this project" You can pretty much imply he's authorizing overtime.

Now, I'm not an EE, I just like to do this as a hobby, but I find one of the quickest ways to make me hate my job is to overload me with paperwork. I also dislike the thought of being pushed into management one day.  I'm also not particularly fond of project management per se, but if it's a project of my design, I don't mind as much.
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Offline retrolefty

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Re: Working as professional EE and having well rounded life?
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2015, 10:38:32 pm »
The oil refinery I worked at had about a dozen EEs working full time, contractor engineers would be added for special projects. They had a good salary, set 40 hr/week, little travel, compensated for extra work with scheduled time off, and great benefits.

 Down side was work was almost exclusive electrical power stuff, lots of paper work, mostly specifying equipment for purchase by meeting with vendors, reviewing datasheets, reviewing new designs for NEC requirements, etc.

 I was in a different group, Instrumentation/controls, but did meet most of them over a 28 year span. Only one of them ever expressed interest in electronics outside the job. Most were tracking for management promotions. This was not a place for EEs that like to design stuff down to the component/module level. The refinery was very slow in bringing in new products with little or no track record. Very conservative company/management. But electrical reliability in a refinery is of utmost importance and a >100 year old refinery is always upgrading or building new proccess plants so the EE department was important and was well budgeted.

 I suspect that very few of any EEs that hang around this forum would like to have a EE job at that refinery, electrical power is not all that interesting. But for EEs that don't LOVE electronics, want a well balanced life with a very stable company it was a great job. Most were recruited out of college/university directly, some even having interned prior to graduation. It was a whole life career kind of job, very little turn-over.

 Bottom line is that there are EE jobs for different kind of people but you just have to know what is most important job priorities for you and seek to find it. 


 
 

Offline IanB

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Re: Working as professional EE and having well rounded life?
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2015, 10:57:08 pm »
The oil refinery I worked at had about a dozen EEs working full time, contractor engineers would be added for special projects. They had a good salary, set 40 hr/week, little travel, compensated for extra work with scheduled time off, and great benefits.

 Down side was work was almost exclusive electrical power stuff, lots of paper work, mostly specifying equipment for purchase by meeting with vendors, reviewing datasheets, reviewing new designs for NEC requirements, etc.

 I was in a different group, Instrumentation/controls, but did meet most of them over a 28 year span. Only one of them ever expressed interest in electronics outside the job. Most were tracking for management promotions. This was not a place for EEs that like to design stuff down to the component/module level. The refinery was very slow in bringing in new products with little or no track record. Very conservative company/management. But electrical reliability in a refinery is of utmost importance and a >100 year old refinery is always upgrading or building new proccess plants so the EE department was important and was well budgeted.

 I suspect that very few of any EEs that hang around this forum would like to have a EE job at that refinery, electrical power is not all that interesting. But for EEs that don't LOVE electronics, want a well balanced life with a very stable company it was a great job. Most were recruited out of college/university directly, some even having interned prior to graduation. It was a whole life career kind of job, very little turn-over.

 Bottom line is that there are EE jobs for different kind of people but you just have to know what is most important job priorities for you and seek to find it.

I would say that kind of engineering job would be typical for chemical engineers too. In addition to the technical areas of design, troubleshooting and upgrading, there would be project management, interacting with vendors, design codes, safety, environmental and emissions requirements, costs, interacting with other specialists, and so on. Promotion would involve more management and less technical work. But a refinery is also a good place to get outside, put on a hard hat, and interact with plant equipment. It's a good kind of job for people who like to be hands-on and have a mix of responsibilities.
I'm not an EE--what am I doing here?
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Working as professional EE and having well rounded life?
« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2015, 11:01:29 pm »
The altenrative is to work for yourself and choose which 14 hours of the day you want to work..

Only 14?, doing well!  ;D
 

Offline Stonent

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Re: Working as professional EE and having well rounded life?
« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2015, 11:37:37 pm »
The altenrative is to work for yourself and choose which 14 hours of the day you want to work..

Only 14?, doing well!  ;D

Become self employed and pick which 14 you want.
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Offline eecook

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Re: Working as professional EE and having well rounded life?
« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2015, 12:10:23 am »
Well, I most definetely like electronics design, whatever that may involve, although I have a bias towards power electronics. I do like what I do, it's just the boundary conditions that I don't like. The fact that I work long hours ultimately is my fault, but there is peer preassure to do so. With regards to my boss, I think he is a good guy, but he's so damned stressed all the time, he's just hard to deal with.
- He doesn't answer emails (I suspect most of the time he doesn't even read them), and many times he simply doesn't pay attention to what you say.
- When I arrive to the office he won't say "hi" back although I try to be loud and clear.
- He minimizes efforts (although he claims to hate people that do that), like "what is this task gonna take you 2 hours right". One time I had to go to one of my experienced co-workers because I was assigned 2  days for something that was way to hard to complete in that time, we went to the board, made a fine break-down of the tasks and reached to the conclusion that it couldn't take less than 3 weeks. He went to my boss and negotiated it for me.
- He comes to you and tells you something, then he forgets, and tells you the opposite or pretends he never said anything. It's frustrating.
What sucks is that he is a really fine engineer and has a ton of technical skills. He has experienced all these things himself in the past. It is confusing to me why he would act like these.
I am gaining a lot of knowledge, that's why I haven't gave up on the job yet. I don't what I'm going to do next, but at least now I know what not to look for in a job. I appreciate everybody's input, I'll consider it for my next gig, whatever that may be.

Cheers!
« Last Edit: September 22, 2015, 12:30:56 am by eecook »
Nullius in verba
 

Offline eecook

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Re: Working as professional EE and having well rounded life?
« Reply #15 on: September 22, 2015, 12:13:18 am »
The altenrative is to work for yourself and choose which 14 hours of the day you want to work..

Only 14?, doing well!  ;D

Become self employed and pick which 14 you want.

Any advise on that front? It seems appealing right now, let me tell you. :-+
Nullius in verba
 

Offline Stonent

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Re: Working as professional EE and having well rounded life?
« Reply #16 on: September 23, 2015, 03:55:20 pm »
The altenrative is to work for yourself and choose which 14 hours of the day you want to work..

Only 14?, doing well!  ;D

Become self employed and pick which 14 you want.

Any advise on that front? It seems appealing right now, let me tell you. :-+

Dave would be more of an expert on that.
The larger the government, the smaller the citizen.
 

Offline john_p_wi

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Re: Working as professional EE and having well rounded life?
« Reply #17 on: September 23, 2015, 05:38:10 pm »
Have not read the full thread, and will add that a 50 hour week is the norm for the hardware group that I work with.  Engineering is not glamorous, but a solid job with little turnover - yes there are higher paying jobs and it certainly does not seem to have the respect that it did when I started 30 years ago. 

If you want more time, go into sales / marketing, work from home and yeah, bust your ass the last few days of the quarter to make quota.  Work for a respectable company and be successful - the rewards are that you'll make more than an engineer ever will in the second year of your sales job  >:D
« Last Edit: September 23, 2015, 05:40:21 pm by john_p_wi »
 

Offline hammy

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Re: Working as professional EE and having well rounded life?
« Reply #18 on: September 23, 2015, 05:53:58 pm »
With regards to my boss, I think he is a good guy, but he's so damned stressed all the time, he's just hard to deal with.

The points you list look like your boss is an engineer/technician but not "manager material".
You  are maybe right, maybe he is a good guy, but you are suffering due this situation and management style. It's your health you have to watch for, and your life you want "well rounded".
It is always a hard decision you have to make in such a situation.  :-// 
« Last Edit: September 23, 2015, 10:13:51 pm by hammy »
 

Offline HighVoltage

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Re: Working as professional EE and having well rounded life?
« Reply #19 on: September 23, 2015, 09:24:05 pm »
Start your own business!
You will still work 10 hours a day, depending on how much workload you have.
But you will make much more money and enjoyment of life.
There are 3 kinds of people in this world, those who can count and those who can not.
 

Offline eecook

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Re: Working as professional EE and having well rounded life?
« Reply #20 on: September 23, 2015, 10:07:03 pm »
Start your own business!
You will still work 10 hours a day, depending on how much workload you have.
But you will make much more money and enjoyment of life.

I'm actually considering either starting my own thing, or moving to san francisco an try to get a job at a starup.
Nullius in verba
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Working as professional EE and having well rounded life?
« Reply #21 on: September 23, 2015, 11:30:55 pm »
Dave would be more of an expert on that.

I've worked as a freelance contract design engineer, and it's no bed of roses. There is financial risk (lack of work gaps + projects going wrong & over estimate).
Plus you have multiple bosses, and they always want something yesterday.
You could be working harder than you are now, be careful what you wish for.
In that respect 9-5 work was better, as you simply walked out at the end of the day and forgot about it all. If you are working more than that all the time & not being paid for it, then you are working at a poorly managed company. Just leave and find a better job.

As for making videos for a living, I'm at the point where I probably could work only one or two days a week if I ignored the forum and all comments and emails, and was very efficient at shooting quick videos. But that doesn't really get you anywhere.
And it's kinda hard when your hobby has become your career.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Working as professional EE and having well rounded life?
« Reply #22 on: September 23, 2015, 11:32:39 pm »
Start your own business!
You will still work 10 hours a day, depending on how much workload you have.
But you will make much more money and enjoyment of life.
I'm actually considering either starting my own thing, or moving to san francisco an try to get a job at a starup.

You do realise that working for a startup is one of the longest hours high pressure jobs there is? And usually paid in stock options.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Working as professional EE and having well rounded life?
« Reply #23 on: September 23, 2015, 11:33:52 pm »
Start your own business!
You will still work 10 hours a day, depending on how much workload you have.
But you will make much more money and enjoyment of life.

Potentially make much more money.
And you'll only enjoy it more if you enjoy working on your business. If it's family life and holidays you want, forget it.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: Working as professional EE and having well rounded life?
« Reply #24 on: September 23, 2015, 11:36:37 pm »
Another job choice that many like is to get a job at a really big company (usually they won't let you work more than 40hrs week), and in a role that has a lot of travel.
They pay for you to see the world, and you can take your partner with you.
 


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