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Re: Will my engineering career be like this?

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Sounds like this thread got a lot of activity.  After reading all the 
responses, I figured I would chunk in my 2 cents....that should bring the 
total to over 38 cents worth of advice.

I wholeheartedly agree with the 'compensation' comments.  We never seem to 
command the pay that is equitable for the work we do.  Part of this because 
we are somewhat taught that "talking" money is not ethical.   I find that the 
more I get paid for a job, the more BS I can take...and the better I am at 
getting things out under demanding schedules.

As far as that long list of "headaches" that go with this profession, YES, 
those are all daily headaches.  All jobs have a select set of daily 
headaches.  That list was the common one for Engineers.    Add to that list, 
getting a vacation that is not really a vacation.  I used to work salaried.  
Everytime I tried to take vacation time, I spent more hours the week before 
and after vacation doing the work that would have been done during vacation.  
I figured I never really got a vacation, just piled on more hours the weeks 
before and after.

Don't let the daily headaches discourage you, all jobs have them.  
Concentrate on the daily cures for those headaches. 

1.  Take lunch when you need it.
2.      Don't work late all the time.
3.  Take a real vacation
4.  Insist on getting paid equitably
5.  Don't lose sight of a personal life beyond engineering.
6.  Learn to say NO sometimes.

If you work is fundamentally sound and you can learn to "deal with clients", 
you can get a lot of mileage in any firm.  They will tolerate an occasional 
No, if tactfully stated and clients can tolerate things also PROVIDED your 
work is fundamentally sound and you can communicate tactfully.

I used to work with a guy that could call our clients with the worst tempers 
and tell them bad news.  At the end of the conversation, they were offering 
to buy him a beer.  When I had to talk to them with bad news, I got a promise 
of an butt-whipping the next time they saw me.   That says a lot about my 
communication skills in my formative years.

Ron Martin
Tuscaloosa, AL