Re: [PipingDesign] Request for Advice, Career Choices for an Old Guy

From: <Jack>
Date: Fri Apr 06 2007 - 11:04:00 EDT

Hi Thomas....

I know in my case, I have always watched the market and looked for work that would advance my career. When I felt stuck and the road to advancement blocked for some reason or another; I would start to look for the next opportunity. I have made some job changes that were mistakes, but I just moved past them.

I have been fortunate to have mentors.... I was always open to having them. I always listened to those more experienced than me....keep what I needed and tossed what I thought was not helpful. For me, I look to those mentors that see the big picture, can grasp the details if needed, and have leadership and people skills. They end up being the players in the big games and will take you with them. If you are lucky....you might get a big opportunity.

I agree with Chris that lifetime employment is out the window these days and that engineers are essentially hired guns that flow towards the project work and the money. My career experience has been that of a generalist; project engineering, design engineering, plant engineering.....but I have continually tried to expand my skills where I thought they were needed. For instance, at my last job, I recognized that the company did not have many HVAC folks. I took classes and filled that role for them. I think this has allowed me to float better between industries as I gain experience. Keeping your nose clean and out of the fray does not work. Making sure that you help the folks that you are working for does. Understand what they are trying to accomplish and help them get there. That's what I've tried to do. Make friends, not enemies. Expand your network, one contact at a time. This takes time....which is why it is the old guys that have the largest networks.

I sometimes regret not concentrating in one particular skill set, (jack of all trades....master of none!) but then I probably would have been forced out somewhere along the line. I would love to be a one man band, but I think, for me, with my family responsibilties, the stress of always looking for the next project would be too demanding and hard on me. I also think it takes time to cultivate the connections and the confidence of others. Cold calls are tough and work does not always drop into your lap. That said, I think the preparation you make towards being a consultant is valuable. It is you that you sell.....and that someday it will pay off. The fact that you even stop and reflect on these things bodes well for you.

Jack



Jack Osborn, P.E.
Mechanical Engineer
IC Engineering
510 242 - 3094

On Apr 5, 2007, at 11:01 PM, Thomas Laupa wrote:

> How do we make the most of our hard earned skills when the demand
> is high?

depends on whether you want to stay hands-on, go independent or stay captive. I got laid off 20 years ago at age 47--two kids in college and a third coming along. By some good luck I made some reconnections  with people I'd known or worked with previously and managed to score several contract positions which kept the bills paid while I was looking for consulting work. By the time I was offered a direct job, which I would have coveted before I got laid off, I Recent Activity
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[Non-text portions of this message have been removed] Received on Fri Apr 06 11:04:00 2007

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