T Nation

At a Crossroads...

I thought I’d hit you guys (and girls) up, since I think this forum best represents people from every walk of life.

For the past few years, I’ve been getting more and more down on the idea of spending 50-60 hours a week working…feeling like I’m just preparing for retirement. I’m 29, and don’t want to wake up one day and be too old to enjoy life.

My background is in aviation maintenance and inspection, and I’m currently working on my electrical engineering degree. I was given an opportunity to work in our engineering department as an intern, and have been doing so for about 6 months. As great of an opportunity as that is, I’ve seen our engineers spend 10-12 hours a day (5-6 days a week) sitting in front of a computer. They are generally pale and overweight.

I’m only 2 years into school, and I’m questioning if that’s what I want to do for the next 30 years. I’m getting an overwhelming feeling of not fitting in to many of the companies I’ve worked for, and can’t stand how everyone pretends to get along, then rips on each other behind their backs.

The technicians I worked with were great, but drank themselves to sleep every night. The engineers are nice, but are mainly spoiled kids who have never had to work until now. Last week I was called “blue collar” because I maintain my own vehicles (one of the biggest turn-ons for my wife). Many of them have never so much as changed their own oil.

Do any of you feel like you don’t quite fit the mold of what you’re doing for a living? I know every job is tough and I’m not a complainer, I just don’t want to waste the life I’ve been given.

I would love to find time to play guitar and sing again, or start writing in some form, but those are hardly good career decisions. How do you succeed in a career without losing who you are as a person?

P.S. If you can’t relate, just move on. I don’t need any more negativity right now

BLUE COLLAR FOR WORKING ON YOUR OWNE CARS!!! I would slap them bitches!! There is ABSOUTLY nothing blue collar about working on your own cars.

I would say try and see if you can work less hours for the time being. Look around there has to be a company that you both like and is in the field you are currently studying. With the economy the way it is right now I would hate you to leave your current position only to find out that there were no jobs out there.

Stay up, being young has the advantage of time being on our side.

If you are interested in engineering and if you wouldn’t mind a relocation, you should look up Spirit Aerosystems. I have worked for Spirit for over 3 years now and they are always looking for Eng’s.

Mechanical, Structural and Electrical. Some say we are overpaid but I don’t mind and the wife sure the hell don’t. You would be hard pressed to find anyone working more than 8 hours a day (Union)… If you want more info just let me know.

They are even giving a referal payment of $5,000 for Eng’s.

I understand your sentiment a little bit OP, although I’m coming at it from basically the opposite end of the spectrum. I can identify with you especially regarding not feeling like you’re fitting in and getting sick of the environment around you.

I went straight from college to grad school, where I’m finishing up my first year in pursuit of an MA in political science.I’m having some issues with that decision, and it has definitely made me change my mind about what I thought I wanted to do with my life. I’m not going to get into it here since it’s not my thread.

I’ve been thinking lately about what I want to do after I finish this degree in December, and I think I’m making progress in that respect. I encountered this essay while reading up on the pros and cons of law school (I don’t see myself going there in the near future) and I think it fits in this thread:

http://www.paulgraham.com/love.html

[quote]timbofirstblood wrote:
I understand your sentiment a little bit OP, although I’m coming at it from basically the opposite end of the spectrum. I can identify with you especially regarding not feeling like you’re fitting in and getting sick of the environment around you.

I went straight from college to grad school, where I’m finishing up my first year in pursuit of an MA in political science.I’m having some issues with that decision, and it has definitely made me change my mind about what I thought I wanted to do with my life. I’m not going to get into it here since it’s not my thread.

I’ve been thinking lately about what I want to do after I finish this degree in December, and I think I’m making progress in that respect. I encountered this essay while reading up on the pros and cons of law school (I don’t see myself going there in the near future) and I think it fits in this thread:
http://www.paulgraham.com/love.html[/quote]

Just curious what the point of attaining a non-technical, liberal arts MA is? Teaching at a community college? Stepping stone to a PhD?

[quote]abcd1234 wrote:
timbofirstblood wrote:
I understand your sentiment a little bit OP, although I’m coming at it from basically the opposite end of the spectrum. I can identify with you especially regarding not feeling like you’re fitting in and getting sick of the environment around you.

I went straight from college to grad school, where I’m finishing up my first year in pursuit of an MA in political science.I’m having some issues with that decision, and it has definitely made me change my mind about what I thought I wanted to do with my life. I’m not going to get into it here since it’s not my thread.

I’ve been thinking lately about what I want to do after I finish this degree in December, and I think I’m making progress in that respect. I encountered this essay while reading up on the pros and cons of law school (I don’t see myself going there in the near future) and I think it fits in this thread:
http://www.paulgraham.com/love.html

Just curious what the point of attaining a non-technical, liberal arts MA is? Teaching at a community college? Stepping stone to a PhD? [/quote]

Honestly, when I entered the program it was a stepping stone to a PhD. Also, I looked at the profiles of researchers at a lot of the think tank and academic jobs that I was looking into after college, and it seemed like an MA would be a good tool for getting into that field.

I did get an assistantship, so I haven’t racked up any debt in going after this degree, and I don’t think it will hurt to have.

[quote]OutOfControl wrote:
BLUE COLLAR FOR WORKING ON YOUR OWNE CARS!!! I would slap them bitches!! There is ABSOUTLY nothing blue collar about working on your own cars.

I would say try and see if you can work less hours for the time being. Look around there has to be a company that you both like and is in the field you are currently studying. With the economy the way it is right now I would hate you to leave your current position only to find out that there were no jobs out there.

Stay up, being young has the advantage of time being on our side.[/quote]

I don’t get the hostility towards blue collar workers. Working on your own car is blue collar and that is nothing to be ashamed about. Blue collar workers built this country and armed it’s wars.

To much is being made by the people changing money through smoke and mirrors while the ones actually producing goods and services keep seeing their standard of living going down.

[quote]Rp0406 wrote:
If you are interested in engineering and if you wouldn’t mind a relocation, you should look up Spirit Aerosystems. I have worked for Spirit for over 3 years now and they are always looking for Eng’s.

Mechanical, Structural and Electrical. Some say we are overpaid but I don’t mind and the wife sure the hell don’t. You would be hard pressed to find anyone working more than 8 hours a day (Union)… If you want more info just let me know.

They are even giving a referal payment of $5,000 for Eng’s. [/quote]

Engineers are unionized in the states wtf?

OP, that company sounds like the exception rather than the rule, my dad has been an electrical engineer for over 20 years and he has a very comfortable job working normal hours (8:30-4:30). If you like the field just try to find a company that suits you a little better rather than trying to switch careers just so you feel at home.

[quote]jermag27 wrote:

For the past few years, I’ve been getting more and more down on the idea of spending 50-60 hours a week working…feeling like I’m just preparing for retirement. I’m 29, and don’t want to wake up one day and be too old to enjoy life.

I’m only 2 years into school, and I’m questioning if that’s what I want to do for the next 30 years.

P.S. If you can’t relate, just move on. I don’t need any more negativity right now[/quote]

I share the exact same feelings about my professional career. I’m only 22, going to graduate with a BS in engineering in the fall at the top of my class, but when I’m sitting here doing homework or when I was co-oping in past semesters, I just feel like I don’t want to do this stuff.

Not to make you feel any worse, but I look at it as I don’t want to work for the next 40 years to supplement a possible retirement (you never know what might happen).

It might be cliche, but I’m planning on taking a ‘find myself’ trip this summer across America. My girl and I are just driving all around the country for 12 weeks, experiencing what America has to offer and learning about ourselves. It’s a dream of mine, and I definitely recommend it to you as well, on any kind of scale you can manage. Go camping for a while, do something, and ask yourself what really matters to you. More money, or happiness? OP - where do you see yourself in 10 yrs? Sitting behind a desk chasing the mighty dollar? Maybe performing your music in front of people who can share in your happiness with you?

[quote]OutOfControl wrote:
BLUE COLLAR FOR WORKING ON YOUR OWNE CARS!!! I would slap them bitches!! There is ABSOUTLY nothing blue collar about working on your own cars.

I would say try and see if you can work less hours for the time being. Look around there has to be a company that you both like and is in the field you are currently studying. With the economy the way it is right now I would hate you to leave your current position only to find out that there were no jobs out there.

Stay up, being young has the advantage of time being on our side.[/quote]

I’m definitely not going to do anything drastic, but I dread the thought of spending so much time in a cubicle basically giving up the next 30 years to companies who would potentially throw me out with tomorrows trash.

I’m currently doing the 30k mile service on my Dodge Ram, and the dealer wanted $600 to do it! I’m doing it a few hours here and there, but will only end up spending about $100 on supplies. Saving $500 is blue collar?

[quote]Rp0406 wrote:
If you are interested in engineering and if you wouldn’t mind a relocation, you should look up Spirit Aerosystems. I have worked for Spirit for over 3 years now and they are always looking for Eng’s.

Mechanical, Structural and Electrical. Some say we are overpaid but I don’t mind and the wife sure the hell don’t. You would be hard pressed to find anyone working more than 8 hours a day (Union)… If you want more info just let me know.

They are even giving a referal payment of $5,000 for Eng’s. [/quote]

Thanks, I’ll keep that in mind. The company I work for is good, they just seem to have “crunch time” all the time. Most electrical engineers work 6:30am-5 or 6pm every day. When deadlines come up, that includes weekends!

[quote]JCS19Y wrote:
jermag27 wrote:

For the past few years, I’ve been getting more and more down on the idea of spending 50-60 hours a week working…feeling like I’m just preparing for retirement. I’m 29, and don’t want to wake up one day and be too old to enjoy life.

I’m only 2 years into school, and I’m questioning if that’s what I want to do for the next 30 years.

P.S. If you can’t relate, just move on. I don’t need any more negativity right now

I share the exact same feelings about my professional career. I’m only 22, going to graduate with a BS in engineering in the fall at the top of my class, but when I’m sitting here doing homework or when I was co-oping in past semesters, I just feel like I don’t want to do this stuff.

Not to make you feel any worse, but I look at it as I don’t want to work for the next 40 years to supplement a possible retirement (you never know what might happen).

It might be cliche, but I’m planning on taking a ‘find myself’ trip this summer across America. My girl and I are just driving all around the country for 12 weeks, experiencing what America has to offer and learning about ourselves. It’s a dream of mine, and I definitely recommend it to you as well, on any kind of scale you can manage. Go camping for a while, do something, and ask yourself what really matters to you. More money, or happiness? OP - where do you see yourself in 10 yrs? Sitting behind a desk chasing the mighty dollar? Maybe performing your music in front of people who can share in your happiness with you?[/quote]

What’s hurting my motivation the most is knowing that our electrical engineers don’t even engineer our systems. We have systems engineers that spec out the entire system, then the electrical guys just make autocad drawings to connect the components. You go through all those classes, and then can’t show any creativity.