I don't know what I want to be when I grow up...

Peeps - I'm looking for a job. I have an engineering degree and 5 years of varied experience including sales (inside) and design. The last thing my employer said before I left was - this isn't your niche - you need to find your niche. Nice eh? Anyhow - this is a brainstorming pros/cons list I came up with. If you have any comments or experience - having been in the same boat perhaps - I'd be interested in hearing about it.

Project Designer

I enjoy designing things/creating things

I enjoy working in the zone - uninterrupted

I work best when lined up and then left alone to complete the task.

I enjoy using a computer and cutting edge design software.

There will always be design work - can retire and do design on the side

Steady pay.

But tops out at some level.

Only increase in pay comes from moving into a project management role.

Did really well in drafting class

Have an Engineering degree and may be worth something to an employer

Pretty good amount of jobs available

Contract work is prevalent and but may be the norm in the future

If you have a boatload of experience it may not help you in contract work if all they need is a designer - i.e. you may not get the money you feel you are worth

Design jobs can go overseas.

Technical Sales

Sometimes I can't sit still and want to get up and interface with others

Like to problem solve

Interested in talking with others/meeting new people

Like the challenge

Like the entrepreneural aspect

Like the potential for making a lot of money

Not sure that the market will always support the sales role/company

The older you get the more you have to compete with the younger guys

Engineering degree not so important as experience

Like to multitask and good at it

Lots of sales positions - not sure that that will change anytime soon

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If possible, rank the items you like doing best.

  1. Either find a job that pays you to do the top few. or
  2. Think of a way to start a business so you end up doing the top few.

The fortunate people do what they love AND make money doing it.

For most, Love and Money are not on the same career path.

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Go work for a VAR.


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What the heck? I'm not knocking working for VARs but how do you figure from his list that's what he's suited for? He's a designer through and through, not a CAD demo guy or selling software. There's nothing there indicating he should be working for a VAR.

Dannyboyy, it looks to me like you're meant to be a design engineer, do freelance consulting work. You won't be bored as the landscape always changes. You'll always be challenged because you'll be hired only by people that really need your work. The money is better than being an employee cranking through the same work everyday.

You also will develop skills that will get you back into an employee position if you choose again. And should you choose to work for a VAR you'll be suitable for that too.

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Only advice I would give -

Choose with your heart, and then let your intelligence make a career in what ever you choose.

It is a mistake to do it the other way arnound.



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That is really good advice - thanks.

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So an important question to ask yourself about your last job that informs this discuss--

Do you agree that it wasn't your niche?

If so, what portions of it were you unsuited to? Were they difficult enough for you that they're worth avoiding in the future?

If you don't agree, to what do you ascribe the difference of opinion between yourself and the guy you were working for?

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You find niches in odd & sometimes round-about ways.

I originally went to work in Cousteau's U.S. Divers designing SCUBA, Navy, Firemans, and Military breathing equipment, because I liked SCUBA diving and engineering. It turned out to be all fun and no money.

Then I tried 3-4 other jobs with similar results.

Finally joined a group designing the first microproccessor controlled adult ventilator (which became known as the "BEAR" ventilator). From there I went out into a startup with one friend into designing the disposable plastic ventilator circuits for infants to adults in the ICU & Anesthesia field for the last 30 years.

It took 10 years to get to finding my "niche". You have to like whatever you pick above all, or it is just drudge work. Hopefully you pick a niche which has significant growth prospects that you can visualize.


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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote in news:1113920218.895618.279120 @o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com:

Actually, working for a VAR is not a bad suggestion with his list of skills. The thing is that most VARs are extremely lacking in exactly those real world skills. The pay may not be great, and the benefits will suck, but it will be an opportunity to try your hand at a lot of different things, and most importantly to make a lot of contacts from which you may get a really great job offer one day.


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I'm not saying the VAR wouldn't be happy to have him or he's not qualified, quite the contrary. What I'm saying is based on his post it appears that he would be happier being a designer not working for a VAR.

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"Choose with your heart, and then let your intelligence make a career in what ever you choose. "

Sure but make sure you can make some money at it. Anyone who says money doesn't matter and can't buy you happiness doesn't have a mortgage, kids, dogs etc. etc. with an income that just makes ends meet. Reality is you need to make decent money to be happy. At some point you're likely going to have a family, kids with braces etc.etc. so find something you like that is economically viable too.

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Money rules, no contest. It may not buy you happiness, but it sure does help a lot!

Right way Get the money jobs first, work hard, bloody hard! Then get the car, mortgage and holidays Then get the wife and kids, (hide some of the money) Then choose a job you love, low pay Loads of money left for early retirement Happy life and wanting to live forever! :-)

I didn't listen, sigh!

Wrong way A job you love, low pay Then you can't afford the car, mortgage or holidays! Wife and kids, (if you can afford to find them and they can accept living in poverty) Wife nagging, " my mum said I shouldn't have married you, looser!" Take any job, because you need the money, (the wife said so), now dream job has gone) Claiming from social benefits, when you reach the state pension age, no chance of early retirement Sad and lonely life, can't wait to Die!, wife still nagging, " my mum said I shouldn't have married you, looser!" lol :-((

This was the way I did it!, :-(

Now really think about what you want, later in life!!!!!!!!

Mind you, this is all irrelevant, if you have rich parents and they love you! :-)

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If all else fails, make sure your wife has the good paying job, then you learn how to cook, clean the house, and fix the cars.


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John Scheldroup

I think you have profoundly misunderstood what I meant. I agree with you, one has to make a living etc, but that is where ones intelligence and rational thought comes in: Life is process and one uses ones intelligence to adapt and to forge a living out of what one loves.

If one approaches a career by trying to use ones intelligence first to select a good path to riches; many will be dissappointed and they will also have missed out on at least the consolation of doing something one loves.

Rockstar - look what you've done - I'm turning into Oprah !! I must find my cynical innerself.



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Thought I might as well jump in here.

Figure out what your priorities are. Do you like where you live? Do you have an ideal location you want to move to? How important is your family? How important is your free time/vacation time? Do you want to work 40 or 60 hours a week? Quality of life stuff.

That being said, I would recommend working for a small company to start with. The smaller the company, the more job functions you will have the opportunity to do. Get out into the shop. Make prototypes on the equipment. Learn first hand what kind of tolerances are easy to make, and what tolerances are possible. Learn how to buy parts. Learn how to negotiate for the best prices. Learn how to get free samples. Learn how to use the production software. Learn how to calculate the finished goods cost. Learn how the sales people work. Learn what the customers want.


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Hope YOU'RE getting closer, Matt . . .

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Sporkman wrote in news: snipped-for-privacy@bigfootDOT.com:

Funny thing is about 2 months ago I had 2 great job offers, one doing the CAD Mgr gig, which I would have enjoyed and another doing cool design work with cool folks, and ironically I turned them both down to play the independent role for a while and see where it leads. So far the independence is an immense benefit, and the pay looks adequate so far.

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