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Career Advice - Need Some Direction

post #1 of 44
Thread Starter 
HgaleK's thread inspired me to post this. I've been meaning to post this for quite some time, but just never got around to it, for whatever reason.

Anyways, I'm basically lost, in terms of where to go from here with myself professionally. The economy really threw a wrench into the whole works, and so now my smooth plan that was envisioned when I was still in school is no longer a viable option. I'm looking for somewhere to go from here, but I really have no idea where to go or how to even start looking.

I received my BS in Civil Engineering in 4 years. I was on the Dean's Honor Roll for some time, was in the Honors' program for a couple semesters, and managed to get through with a 3.0 GPA. I also passed the Fundamentals of Engineering exam and so am a certified EIT. I am a dues paying member of American Society of Civil Engineers and Engineers Without borders. I have held two internships, one in the private sector and another at a public sector job working for the company that manages the sewers here.

Sounds great, right? Well, it's not. I graduated at probably the worst possible time, as all engineering companies were laying off left and right. Even the stimulus money, which was supposed to help create jobs, did little in the engineering field, as companies would just increase the workload on their current employees or rehire old ones (the job gains were mainly in the people doing the building - construction - rather than the people doing the design work).

I applied for jobs, sending out about 50 resumes on a daily basis, for probably 6 months. I got 2 interviews, both of which I didn't get. They "really liked me" but needed someone "with more experience". In other words, because there were so many out of work engineers with 10+ years of experience that could be hired at an incredibly low wage, I was shit outta luck.

So I went back to school. I got an Economics major in two semesters. I am fairly knowledgeable about economics/finance on top of this. After searching for about a year I finally received a job at a company that manages retirement plans for people. They are paying for me to get my Series 6 and 63 FINRA licenses in December. They have wonderful benefits.

But the job sucks. I sit at a desk for 9 hours a day in a call center talking to the dumbest fucking people on earth that need to pull money out of their 401k's. They yell at me when they mail something and we haven't received it yet. They get pissy if they filled out the form wrong and ask me to write on their form to correct it for them. Etc...

I hate my job. I can't stand it. I don't enjoy going into work whatsoever. The people are really nice, the company has great benefits and they have a really cool culture, but I just can't stand my job. I have two fucking degrees, and here I have to sit 9 hours a day for someone that probably failed out of highschool and can't even say the fucking word beneficiary (NO IT'S NOT BENEFICIURARY).

Seriously, I deserve so much better than this. I pictured myself graduating with the BSCE, getting a Geotech Engineer job and making $40-50k a year doing something I enjoy. I'm currently making $17 an hour doing something I fucking hate.

My financial situation isn't bad at all, especially in comparison to most people my age. However, I am about $6000 in debt from going back for the Econ major. I am also trying to save up a 10-month safety net, so that's about $12000-15000 of saving before I consider my finances to be "in order". That's a lot on $17 an hour.

I don't know where to go from here. I'm completely lost.

I know that I'd like to have a job making a decent amount of money (doesn't have to be too much). I like helping people. I like traveling (but not too much), I enjoy using my hands (but I don't want to come home tired every day). I want to be able to set my own hours, or at least not be a slave to the clock. I don't want to have a boss looking over my shoulder or micromanaging me.

I don't know if I should try going back into Engineering or stay in Econ, or maybe even find something entirely new. I'm worried that whatever choice I make now is going to affect my career path for the rest of my life, as if I stay in Econ then I won't be marketable as an engineer due to the fact that I'd be older with no experience. I'm also worried that Engineering is a very sensitive job field which experiences the brunt of economic downturns, whereas people always need help having their money managed, etc... in Econ/Finance.

Could you guys offer some advice? I'm seriously completely at a loss when it comes to this and it's really starting to affect my sanity.
post #2 of 44
Thread Starter 
I'm thinking about working at this place until I have my finances in order and then quitting and moving abroad, to France or Germany or somewhere in Europe, and working there for a bit and traveling. But I have no idea how one gets a job abroad or how difficult it is. Again, with an economy like this, I'm betting it's pretty damn hard to get a work visa, much less find a decent job.
post #3 of 44
Maybe you've done this already, but have you looked at the US Army Corps of Engineers? Seems like it'd be a perfect match for what you're looking for w/ your civ e background and traveling. And why did you go get an econ degree instead of MS in Civ E? Civ E is one of those thigns where you need a masters anyway to be competitive, and it would just be one extra year.
post #4 of 44
Thread Starter 
Quote:
And why did you go get an econ degree instead of MS in Civ E? Civ E is one of those thigns where you need a masters anyway to be competitive, and it would just be one extra year.
I don't remember, actually. I think I was just sick of all the work, and wanted some time off. Econ was something I got all A's in and I never even went to class. Plus, I have a friend who's into Development Econ and he said that with my Engineering degree I could probably get a pretty sweet deal in that field. Yet when I looked into it for most jobs you needed to go through a shitty internship first. As for USACE, I don't think I could work for them, out of principle.
post #5 of 44
One piece of advice should you get any interviews would be to lose the sense of entitlement. I don't see anything in your background that screams you "deserve" a better job. Is a 3.0 even good?

What did other folks in your program end of doing? Did they get the "geotech engineer" jobs you wanted? If so, why did they get them and not you?
post #6 of 44
Thread Starter 
They all went to grad school. And I do deserve better.
post #7 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by JLay87 View Post
They all went to grad school. And I do deserve better.

No, you don't. You just think you do.

In case you haven't noticed yet, life is tough. If you sit around on your ass with a 3.0 GPA in CivEng and expect someone to just hand you a job, you're in for a rude awakening. There are scores of more qualified graduates with better grades than you vying for the same jobs, so why should you get them?

It's the same economy for everyone. Some people rise above it, and some just whine on the sidelines. You're still young, probably don't have a tremendous amount of debt, likely have no dependents, and you actually HAVE a job, something a lot of people don't. Quit being such a baby and start hustling like everyone else.

And I have more news for you: the vast majority of jobs aren't "fun" or even stimulating, and it's even worse when it comes to entry level work. Much like life, work is what you make of it. Ask your manager to get involved in work groups, committees, or to sit in on management meetings. Take on more responsibility. You'll see that time goes by a lot faster when you're busy doing crap.
post #8 of 44
Something I really don't get: you went out and got a BSCE, picturing yourself becoming a geotech or whatever, but at least doing something you love, and you do a complete 180 and get an econ degree. Huh? You mentioned that you didn't even go to the econ classes, and that you got into the field just because -- or at least it seems that way -- your friend told you you'd be able to get some kinda sweet gig. Doesn't compute. Either you do something you love (or at least tolerate) or you follow the money, and it feels like you're doing the latter. I really don't want to come off as harsh, but you need to be honest with yourself and with what you want, and if getting what you want means that you'll be forced into relative penury, then so be it. Anyway, man up. The economy sucks for everyone. I have friends graduating in engineering with 4.0s or just about, from very, very prestigious schools. Many of them have also done great internships. Guess what? They can't find shit, either -- lots of them are moving in with mom & dad or just saying fuck it and shipping off to grad school, or med school, even. What makes you think you're better qualified than them? If I were you, I'd probably just go to grad school. Econ as a degree is really kinda useless unless you double in math anyway.
post #9 of 44
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lord-Barrington
No, you don't. You just think you do.

No, I do.

Quote:
In case you haven't noticed yet, life is tough. If you sit around on your ass with a 3.0 GPA in CivEng and expect someone to just hand you a job, you're in for a rude awakening.

LOL, did I ever expect anyone to hand me a job? What the fuck are you even talking about? Did you read my post before you spewed out this self-righteous grandpa lecture? Based on the rest of your lecture, you clearly didn't.

Quote:
And I have more news for you: the vast majority of jobs aren't "fun" or even stimulating

Well I am not going to stop until I have a job that is fun and/or stimulating, because that is what I deserve, and I will not settle just because that's what most people do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by volatility smile
Something I really don't get: you went out and got a BSCE, picturing yourself becoming a geotech or whatever, but at least doing something you love, and you do a complete 180 and get an econ degree. Huh? You mentioned that you didn't even go to the econ classes, and that you got into the field just because -- or at least it seems that way -- your friend told you you'd be able to get some kinda sweet gig.

Not exactly how it happened, sorry but let me basically sum up what really happened. I was working a student job, and required to keep my student status to retain my job (and yes, I did apply for a ton of other part/full-time jobs, none of which I even got interviews at, this was when the economy "bottomed out").

The reason that I went back for an Econ major was because of diversification, the fact that I could get it in two semesters (and incredibly easily, which meant that I could max out my hours to save up in case I couldn't find a job), the fact that I wanted to be able to leave whatever I was doing if I actually found a job (which I felt like I couldn't do if I was in grad school), the fact that I didn't want to pay for grad school and wanted to get an employer that would do so (extremely common in engineering), and yes, I admit, mental fatigue/laziness.

Anyways, obviously I wish I would have went to grad school for it, but I didn't, so let's move past that.

Quote:
Either you do something you love (or at least tolerate) or you follow the money, and it feels like you're doing the latter. I really don't want to come off as harsh, but you need to be honest with yourself and with what you want, and if getting what you want means that you'll be forced into relative penury, then so be it.

I don't know "what I want". That is partially what this thread is about. I don't know what jobs there are out there in the economics field that I could get with my degree/licensing/experience, and I don't really know where to go in terms of engineering because last time I tried applying nobody was hiring, and any out of state jobs that I applied at didn't consider me because they give priority to local applicants first, of which there are plenty. So I don't really know what to do or what I want. That's why I started the thread.

Quote:

Anyway, man up. The economy sucks for everyone. I have friends graduating in engineering with 4.0s or just about, from very, very prestigious schools. Many of them have also done great internships. Guess what? They can't find shit, either -- lots of them are moving in with mom & dad or just saying fuck it and shipping off to grad school, or med school, even. What makes you think you're better qualified than them?

I never said I was better qualified than them...

Quote:
If I were you, I'd probably just go to grad school. Econ as a degree is really kinda useless unless you double in math anyway.

I was considering getting my MBA, which my current employer will pay for, which would make the econ degree useful.

I've considered going back to grad school, but I think I'm turned off to the idea because after a year of applying for engineering jobs on a daily basis I basically feel like my engineering degree is useless so it would be money wasted.
post #10 of 44
why not apply to internships as well?
post #11 of 44
Quote:
Originally Posted by indesertum View Post
why not apply to internships as well?

Because, bro, I DESERVE A FULL TIME JOB THAT PAYS ME IN SOLID GOLD STATUES. HOW DARE YOU DEMAND I HAVE REALISTIC GOALS?!
post #12 of 44
You should definitely get a job that involves writing.
post #13 of 44
I had a friend that was always going on and on about how she "deserves" some really great boyfriend. She was perpetually single, and actually very physically attractive. I told her to drop the shitty attitude and understand that she doesn't deserve anything. Rather she has to go out, meet men, etc and, you know, actually "work" at finding a boyfriend.

The point is, your talk about deserving a better job reminds me of her whining.

Why do you deserve a better job than you have?
post #14 of 44
Also, what do you have against the Army Corp of Engineers?
post #15 of 44
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by indesertum
why not apply to internships as well?
I have. None even interview for me. The responses I've gotten back basically say that they're looking for someone in school, usually freshman or sophomores. I've offered to work for free as an "unpaid intern" to get experience. That didn't work, either.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Butter
You should definitely get a job that involves writing.
What's wrong with my writing?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Milpool
Also, what do you have against the Army Corp of Engineers?
It's part of the military. Anyways, thanks to people that have given me advice so far. I've actually started looking into all the options I have available, from choosing a profession in CE to finding a new field altogether. Perhaps I'll return to graduate school for a year for engineering and then figure out where I want to go from there. Now I just have to figure out what engineering field to go for. I was actually thinking about aerospace engineering, as I'm also interested in going for physics and would probably enjoy working on spacecraft or aircraft design. I have a friend that's interested in working on electric propulsion that's going to grad school for physics right now, so maybe I should talk to him and to the physics/engineering advisors at my school.
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