I have another career change question for the forum, but the “gotcha” here is that after 8 years as a mechanical engineer, I’ve spent the last 4 years as a business analyst.
I started in the power industry 12 years ago, working for an EPC contractor as an ME. I moved to my current employer about 7 years ago.
I left engineering for lots of reasons, but mostly ego. I felt bad because I wasn’t as successful as I wanted to be in life. A business analyst isn’t >> an engineer, but at the time I was thinking corporate business planning was where I wanted to go. Things didn't turn out as expected. I've stayed in it for 4 years because of the non-core benefits - a nice office, no concrete deadlines, nice boondoggle-type meetings instead of going to jobsites in July - but at the end of the day, I'm again embarrassed that I don't do any real work. I have the capability to solve problems, and instead I do something that doesn't matter. If I'm right or wrong, nothing changes. Also, due to many corporate structural changes, my future isn't what I imagined when I laid out my 5-year plan. I don't see a future in anything now. I'm so far out of engineering, but my business role isn't traditional enough to translate to other companies, even if that was the direction I wanted to go (it's not).
I have gone in serious circles with my self-analysis trying to figure out if going back to engineering is the best fit for me. . .after years of wondering if maybe I should consider medicine, organic farming, or dog training, I ended up articulating that my “sweet spot” is using math to figure out how things behave. That was my “doh” moment. . .you mean you like the type of work an engineer does? I’m definitely more the ‘analyze on a computer’ type of engineer than the ‘tear apart a motor’ engineer, so I always questioned my place as an engineer, but I think is where I belong. I get the nice feeling that I'm with my people when I'm with engineers but feel like I have shown up naked when I'm with corporate people.
Anyway, I’m still a PE, and I still have 8 years of real world engineering experience. I also I took a graduate fracture mechanics course 2 yrs ago to try to stay on top of the game a little (barely keeping a toe in, but something).
I started exploring what to do next last fall, and got accepted into a full-time MSME program with funding for this fall, but I turned it down due to a family situation. I thought a fresh degree would help, but now I’m not sure how I feel about it. Ideally, I’d rather move into a new engineering role, perhaps in a different industry or company, without a detour through college again, but would they even consider me? (I do feel I could get back to my old engineering department at my current company, but it isn’t exactly what I want to do long-term and I want to start fresh.)
Thank you anyone who did take the time to read to the bottom of my novel. I am happy to share more details about my background and situation if you have questions. I really appreciate any insight you might have about getting back on the engineering track.