firstname.lastname@example.org (known to some as email@example.com)
Engineering and financial management? "Match immaculately?"
(after a moment's recovery...)
You are, it seems to me, neglecting a couple of factors. First,
you're assuming that money is the #1 item on an engineer's list when
While that may certainly be true for some, it's most definitely NOT
true for others. For many engineers, I think (myself included), factors
such as job stress, appreciation, and the ability to actually create
something that others find wildly useful, are far more important than
making a small mint.
Sure, lots of $$ are a nice thing. But what good is it if the words
'free time' are not in your vocabulary, or if said time is so limited
that you're in no mental or physical shape to enjoy it?
As one example: After getting laid off from Boeing in early 2003, I
found that I was so burned out in the (very lucrative) field of IT and
network support that I chose to stay on the unemployment line for a year
and a quarter, living at a near-poverty level, rather than go back into
IT. Had I chosen to stay in IT, I doubt that I would have been
unemployed more than a month or two.
The final result was that I ended up in an amazingly flexible
civil-service slot, in a field that I truly enjoy (electronics
engineering tech), for our state's police agency. My stress level is
about 1/100th of what I had at Boeing, my pay is actually the same or
slightly better, and I have many opportunities to use ALL my skills
instead of just a tiny subset of them.
Perhaps most importantly, the Patrol recognizes that we ALL have a
life outside of work, and we are encouraged to take full advantage of
it. I have, and I continue to do so.
Am I "poor," or disappointed with my income? NO BLOODY WAY! Heck, I
expect to be able to finish my private pilot training next year, which
is something I put off a little more than 18 or so years ago!
What I'm saying is that it is of CRITICAL importance to both
physical and mental health that any job I do be one that I can actually
LIKE DOING, and that it be one where I can look myself in the mirror and
say "good work!" Salary comes about third or fourth down on the list.
Sure, I could probably have stayed at Boeing, and even moved into
electronics and gotten filthy rich -- IF I wanted to help make or
maintain electronics used in the defense field. I said 'No Way!' to that
for two reasons: First, I enjoy talking about my work with others. I'd
make a rotten security risk for classified stuff.
The second is my conscience. I don't believe in war as a viable
path for resolving conflicts, period. While technology is certainly a
neutral tool, I have chosen not to work in any field of it that directly
aids armed conflict.
So, in summary: I never went into financial management because the
field doesn't interest me in the slightest, AND because I see money as
merely a tool, a means to an end rather than the end in itself. I would
have real trouble working in any job where I'd have to obsess about it.
You could offer me a salary ten, a hundred, or a thousand times
greater than what I'm making now, and all the necessary training, to do
some sort of financial management. I would probably laugh at you, wish
you a nice day, and get back to work.
Heck, the ONLY thing I could see pulling me out of my current slot
would be an opening in the FAA's electronics division, and even then
it'd have to be one heck of a juicy offer.
Money is just not a primary reinforcer for me. I'm making enough to
maintain my chosen lifestyle, and our home (I've been happily married
for nearly 13 years), and I'm good with that. I'm sorry if this confuses
Now, if you'll excuse me... Rather than working some (completely
optional) overtime on Monday, I've chosen to take the day off to take a
day class at the Vancouver (BC) Zoo, and I need to go get the car ready
for the required road trip.
The class teaches the basics of falconry, and it's going to include
considerable hands-on with the birds. I wonder if I'll be partnered with
a Redtail or Harris hawk for the day...?
Keep the peace(es).
Dr. Anton T. Squeegee, Director, Dutch Surrealist Plumbing Institute
(Known to some as Bruce Lane, KC7GR)
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