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career decision

career decision

career decision

(OP)
Hi,

I have a career decision to make. I have about six years of experience and it's been a mixed bag, without me really developing a very strong expertise in anything.

Now I have two options: work for a large EPCM firm (one of the largest in the world) in a major energy center dealing with niche pipeline related subjects (in other words not mainstream work like process engineering, or electrical or instrumentation and controls – things like hydraulics maybe) or work for a twenty something employee electrical engineering outfit that's not in a major engineering city (but is in a very nice city), and whose specialty is doing high voltage (up to 287 kv) transmission line design and substation design to connect electrical customers to the grid. So I'm not sure which option to take, and am looking for some advice, the advantages and disadvantages which I see are as follows:

Working in a large engineering center for a major EPCM may give me better growth opportunities and a greater variety of experience -- there may be some major projects coming to this company which I could take part in, and there would be project engineering and project management roles which would not occur with a smaller company. However these opportunities on major projects may be reserved for the more senior engineers.

Working at the large company I would be working in a niche field for which the market does not really exist outside of one or two major centers, and for which there might be less demand after some major projects are complete. Working as an electrical engineer, designing HV transmission lines and substations there will always be demand for that no matter where I live

Company culture -- the large EPCM has lots of employees and contractors so there doesn't really see to be much collegiality and many of the engineers are foreigners with very poor English, so communication is a problem.

Advice? I'm thinking of going with the larger company, as it may present better opportunities in the next few years. However I see people who have worked at the large EPCM and for other large EPCM  companies for many years and don't appear to have gotten anywhere far, so I begin to think I might as well go with the smaller one where I might enjoy myself more.  

As for the money issue -- working in a city that revolves around the oil business and in which there is a lot of demand for engineers will lead to better money as there is more of a market, but I'm not sure how much that difference would be compared to working as an electrical engineer, of which there is a shortage. Any big difference monetarily would probably be because one city is focused around the oil industry.
 

RE: career decision

My vote is the smaller company.

You do more, and they typically expect more from you.

After a while, after working on smaller projects where you have done a lot, you can always make the move to a larger company if the projects at the small company stay small.

Regards,

SNORGY.

RE: career decision

Sounds like you've already made your mind up as all you've talked about is the larger company. So welcome to office politics, back stabbing, ducking responsibility, blaming others, and if it's got performance pay, making sure your colleague looks a complete prat so you look good in comparison.  

Tara

http://tinyurl.com/4ydjg7m

RE: career decision

Ditto to what SNORGY and corus said.  Double ditto.

RE: career decision

So, the vote seems to be on the smaller companies(mine included), but when do you guys see something big or small?

(i'm in a similar position as the TS)

 

RE: career decision

Its not uncommom for a large EPCM to leave behind a few experts to help the client run the stuff the EPCM just built. So you could go large EPCM and look for a nice place among the clients.

HAZOP at www.curryhydrocarbons.ca

RE: career decision

mrmojo,
If you believe that the larger EPCM firm will provide greater job security; rethink your beliefs. Also check the client base that the smaller firm has and the smaller firm's current backlog.  

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