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First Entry Level Job
11

First Entry Level Job

First Entry Level Job

(OP)
Hi guys,
This is my first post on the forum and feels like a pretty big decision.
I graduated last year and have recently been offered a position at a small engineering firm that mainly deals with clients in Oil & Gas.
I'm hesitant to take the job as I would rather not be in the Oil & Gas field. Furthermore the location is in a relatively small country town and I'm not huge on the idea that I may be spending many years in a small country town.
Would it look bad to future employers if I was not in my first graduate job for a long time, say roughly 1 year?

RE: First Entry Level Job

It will neither look bad nor good, but you can expect someone interviewing you ask why you took a year off of school before starting work.

Your answer will determine if that year is bad or good. Take some time off, but do something amazing with your time, don't squander it. Then, show how whatever amazing thing you did during that year makes you a better candidate.

--Scott
www.aerornd.com

RE: First Entry Level Job

That will all depend on how you answer an interviewer's question of why you left your first job in such a short period of time. If you can sell yourself well then it isn't really going to matter.

The better thing to ask yourself before taking the position is what experience and skills can you gain in this position, and how do they line up with your overall career goals?

RE: First Entry Level Job

Well, if you're interviewing for another job in a "small country town" (is this a town in a small country? or a small town in the country?), it's likely to not reflect well.

RE: First Entry Level Job

2
If you "would rather not be in the Oil & Gas field" then STAY THE HELL OUT OF IT. People in the field have gotten very sensitive to people that have a moral objection to Oil & Gas, but want to exploit the industry to make a lot of money. In other fields they are called "prostitutes" and are looked down upon. In Oil & Gas they are tolerated only as long as a willing worker is not available, as soon as someone comes along that actually wants to be in this great industry, the conscientious objectors tend to find themselves on the layoff list, everyone knows who you are, you cause far more problems than your industry can ever compensate for. Don't do it.

This advice doesn't just apply to Oil & Gas, it applies everywhere. Don't go into any industry that compromises your ideals, it simply is not worth it. Find an industry that you are proud to be a part of, working for a company you are proud to work for. Like Mike Rowe says "don't follow your passion, bring your passion with you". If you love what you are doing, you will be the best you can possibly be. If you hate your industry (or company or department or boss) then you will be a long way from the best you can be.

As to being unemployed for a year, other poster's have addressed that issue very well.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist

RE: First Entry Level Job

Hmm, I might have misread what you wrote. Are you currently employed, and this new job would be your second? If so, you would have to explain at a later date why you left TWO jobs after short stints, assuming you bail from this second job quickly because you never liked the situation and found something better in a year or so from now.

As a starting engineer, you could probably get away with this sort of job behavior on the grounds that you are still trying to find your niche. But, unless you have a compelling reason to leave your current job, you'd be much better off continuing to learn at your current job. Note that this new company gave an offer, knowing you'd been at your current job for less than a year, but they might be desperate, since there may be other candidates that object to the "small country town"

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: First Entry Level Job

you graduated last year
you applied for a job in oil/gas in a small town
now you don't want to take the offer because it is in oil/gas in a small town
yes, it will look bad if you quit after a year

sounds like you have to make up your mind
- decide what you want to do
- decide where you want to live
- after you decide, then go find a job that meets your requirements


RE: First Entry Level Job

Remember the guy that hires you or looks to, will likely be an old guy with lots of experience. He (she) has seen plenty and no lame excuse as to why you didn't start working right out of school will work. Regardless of where you try to find a job you already have put yourself in a bad situation. You may have to bite the bullet and take what ever position you can find, even if it is a technician level. Me, being one of those old guys, I would look at you very critically before taking a chance. That aversion to oil and gas or small town strikes me as being someone that is going to find it very rough getting a good job ever.

RE: First Entry Level Job

Probably not a big deal as long as 1 year or less is not a repeated pattern. Make sure you have job number 2 locked down before quitting job number 1 and you'll be good to go. Oh, and don't get fired.

RE: First Entry Level Job

You can always argue to a future employer that you did not land any offer during your 1st year out of school despite actively prospecting and putting all your efforts into it. That can buy you one year of relative freedom as one year - after all - can be probably justifiable or at least forgivable ; it is always worth it, if you can find a trick to escape the dictatorship behind all these "codes" in the job market sustained by the victims themselves. Its a sort of a Nash equilibrium: Do like everyone does even if it does not resonate with you - is the best way to stay safe. Guess you will certainly discover that there are many other "codes" that you will have to manage, if you want to escape assassination of your career. Free will is not a very well appreciated vocabulary.
For example, if you switch jobs too often, this is labeled as "job hopping". Although it was used initially to describe a true pathology it has been generalized to give HR a new toy during interviews. They become ecstatic about it but most of the hiring managers too. You will also encounter the so called "employment gap" ; this is one is designed to mercilessly keep you away from doing a break in your life, de-intoxicate and check your compass. These codes exist all over the place.

By the way, if you should stay away from oil and gas I think it is simply because this industry is doomed.

RE: First Entry Level Job

I took my first job in an industry I had no specific interest or experience in having a degree from a university that did not cater to topics relevant to the auto industry in a town where I only knew one person.

I quickly developed a passion for the product and learned a ton about the industry from the designers and engineers I worked with.

It being a small town, it was difficult to break into existing social cliques so I formed my own clique with other 'new comers' in the same situation as me in other local companies

I would say go for it and see where it takes you. This is life, there is no dress rehearsal. If it turns out that you really don't like oil and gas and small towns you can move on and start a new chapter in your life.

RE: First Entry Level Job

Rotw,
"Doomed"? I see a future so bright you have to wear shades. I guess it is all perspective.

David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering

In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual. Galileo Galilei, Italian Physicist

RE: First Entry Level Job

"Although it was used initially to describe a true pathology it has been generalized to give HR a new toy during interviews. They become ecstatic about it but most of the hiring managers too."

From a manager's perspective, a job hopper is a serious concern. Job vacancies causes all sorts of disruptions and lost time. Every time we hire someone, there is a level of gamble involved, and unless the job hopping can be adequately explained, why would any employer take the risk that the new hire won't get "bored," or need to "find" themselves after a year?

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: First Entry Level Job

OP I'd take advice from some of the older gentleman in here with a grain of salt. They advanced their career in a different era and employment environment. Don't take the first job offered to you simply because it's a job (as long as you don't have financial obligations pending). Look for a job that will provide a benefit toward your career path. Also, there is nothing wrong with job hopping if the purpose is to advance your career/knowledge and obtain your ideal position. Don't sit in a job for 5 years just because the old guy says it looks good on the resume. If you spent 5 years in a job that has nothing to do with the "real" position you want...guess what you wasted 5 years of your life. There are more and more younger hiring managers who want employees who take control of their careers and that means testing waters and not being afraid to jump into new situations to test your abilities. If the person hiring doesn't respect that initiative in their new hire, then you shouldn't want to work for them. No great manager should expect their employees to work under them forever. They should want the employee to grow and that often means leaving a company.

RE: First Entry Level Job

I would take the advice from the younger whipper snappers with another grain of salt. They are not doing the hiring or the firing. Not sure what this "younger hiring manager" is. Most hires are done by the office manager or above and that person is nearly always at least one generation older than a first timer new hire. And of course we want engineers to grow. just grow without job hopping through our office. feel free to job hop with the competition.

RE: First Entry Level Job

IRstuff,

I think when "trust" is there, employees will most likely refrain from leaving unless they become bored and feel they are not growing. This is human nature and it is self protecting! But the employer must make the expectations as clear as possible right from the start. There will always be a residual risk. But what I refer to is that "job hopping" is being used and abused; in rhetorical sense (not the rational sense underlying your concern) namely as a weapon for HR to do their predation.

Let me share an example of what I consider to be "stupid management" (this is the opposite of creation of trust: withdrawal of trust and that is five minutes before the employee is hired): A certain company wanted (very badly) to hire someone because of their blend of skills. Problem is: candidate is suspected by HR/Top Management (Politics) to have a "job hopping" pattern (again they are very happy to take advantage of their blend of skills ...hard-won.)...well.. how to solve this dilemma? This is the their brilliant idea: Put in their work contract, a non hire / non solicit clause (extended to the full client portfolio - thousands which means the whole world), put a non-compete clause and extend its validity after the termination of the contract, put incredible penalties and scary financial compensations for each and every violation which would occur. Put also a clause in their work contract that the work contract can be changed unilaterally and to be agreed to upfront. Check with lawyers that the whole package is designed in such way any attempt to make a dispute in court (local regulations) would become an extremely difficult case. And on top of this, add a statement that the employee is employed at will. Bottom line: the brilliant thinking here is to use legal measures to protect the company and mitigate the risk by literally leaving zero options to the employee in case they would envisage to switch (unless they quit the country, stay under radar screen etc.). I let you appreciate the culture of trust.

RE: First Entry Level Job

rotw... did said person ever accept the legal-bound offer? 'Twere it me, I'd chuckle a bit and say "no thank you".

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

RE: First Entry Level Job

"Put in their work contract, a non hire / non solicit clause (extended to the full client portfolio - thousands which means the whole world), put a non-compete clause and extend its validity after the termination of the contract, put incredible penalties and scary financial compensations for each and every violation which would occur. Put also a clause in their work contract that the work contract can be changed unilaterally and to be agreed to upfront. Check with lawyers that the whole package is designed in such way any attempt to make a dispute in court (local regulations) would become an extremely difficult case. And on top of this, add a statement that the employee is employed at will. Bottom line: the brilliant thinking here is to use legal measures to protect the company and mitigate the risk by literally leaving zero options to the employee in case they would envisage to switch (unless they quit the country, stay under radar screen etc.)."

That, by definition, is not "trust." Moreover, if they leave, you still don't have a body in seat to do work, and by the time you send threatening letters and promise legal action, the damage is already done, and dragging them back will result in a surly employee who doesn't want to be there, which means you spent a bunch of money on lawyers to enforce the contract, and probably still won't get a body in the seat to do work. It's amusing, at best.

Oh, and let's not forget the other bodies that go missing so that they can testify and prepare for the legal action.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

RE: First Entry Level Job

5
nathmechy,

I get it. I've been where you are (if I infer the context correctly from your post). You're young, you got your degree, times are tough, you're applying for whatever engineering job you can, and an offer has come your way - not the one you want, but one that you applied for nevertheless.

The choice is yours, but I'll tell you how it eventually played out for me...

The only reason I got my first engineering job was because I qualified for a program sponsored by the Federal Government under which they would pay my employer 75% of my salary. I was a contract employee, no benefits, 23 years old, and my salary was $12.00 / hr. I didn't cost my employer much. Even at that, half of those two years I spent in a teeny little town called Bow Island, Alberta, bouncing around a 30-kilometre irrigation canal reach doing nuclear densometer testing of canal embankment compaction and collecting samples of canal armour. In other words, playing with dirt and shoveling rocks. After that, I got bounced to a field assignment in Fort McMurray checking drawings against piping that I had no idea about. Then I got bounced to other field assignments doing as-builts and teeny Mickey-Mouse design tasks at various wellsites in all kinds of places where the largest building was 20 kilometres away, and it happened to be the town's grain elevator.

Here I am now, 35 years later, and in my career I have spent, in aggregate, fewer than 20 days unemployed - *in oil and gas*. When civil guys talk about "...1750 proctor and 8% moisture...", I know what it means because I have held that very dirt in my hands. When I build a soil model in CAESAR II, I don't ask for help - I know what "dirt" I'm dealing with. The pipes I knew nothing about 35 years ago, I not only "walk down and as-built" in the field, I design them. When I tell an operator or contractor to "...go and pull that 8" check valve..." in January and it takes him an hour to do it, I understand what I'm asking and why it's taking so long. There is a certain "I get it now" element that small town assignments give you that you just can't get any other way.

Yeah, it'll kind of suck waddling through mud and shacking up in rented double-wide trailers or 2-star motels or run-of-the-mill apartments, for a while. Then decades later you'll look back and say that's what taught you the most.

On this one, I wouldn't view this offer as a disappointment. It might be the best job you ever had.

I'd accept it.

Who is right doesn't matter. What is right is all that matters.

RE: First Entry Level Job

Getting a ton of other offers?

Really want to work as an engineer? Or at least to have the option to work as an engineer until you no longer feel like it, or can't find the right kind of work?

Fresh grads are in the absolute worst peril of losing their profession right after graduation. Don't get a first job in engineering, you've likely lost engineering as a career option- for good. After a first job away from engineering, it'll take a really rare, or really desperate, engineering employer to make you worth the risk relative to hiring a fresh grad who probably wants less money than you do anyway. And fresh grads without meaningful work experience are, frankly, a dime a dozen.

Take that with whatever measure of salt you wish- it's the truth.

RE: First Entry Level Job

Sounds like a great opportunity to me, especially starting out. Jump in, make contacts, get mentored, learn the business. Could be Oil and Gas is better than you expect.

I used to count sand. Now I don't count at all.

RE: First Entry Level Job

As sandCounter mentioned above, small companies can offer a great opportunity to learn; whatever the industry. They'll give you valuable site experience, contact with the contractors/operatives who'll go on to build your future designs and will take the time to explain why things are done a certain way etc. Math is only about a third of the job (approx). And lets be honest, until you've wracked up about 10 plus years of experience, you can't afford to be fussy.

RE: First Entry Level Job

You can always look for a job while your on the job, it'll be like having two jobs.

Take the job, it will be easier to justify how your experience is transferable than explain why you have no experience!

That being said, if you really find that you don't see yourself developing professionally the way you want to, don't sit at this job. Take a year to get an idea of what this job is and what you have to look forward to. You can also research the industry you currently want to join. Also, as a recent graduate you should join the professional associations related to the industry you want to join and the Oil and Gas industry. Build your network ASAP. Don't waste your life doing work you don't like, but don't write off work that you don't know because you think you won't like it.

RE: First Entry Level Job

Don't job hop through a small business like that. They have enough to deal with aside from putting training resources into you only to have you walk out of the job the day you might actually become a productive member of their team. 1 year? You're barely out of training at that point. You would be a net-loss for them. Zero ROI if you quit after 1 year.

You're going to teach that business that they can't trust fresh graduates. You would be screwing that business over and you would be screwing fresh graduates. Let that job go to somebody who actually wants to be part of that company and be part of that community.

Take a contracting job somewhere else.

Sorry if I sound like an asshole, but you're coming off as inconsiderate to that business and community. Go back to your city life and do whatever you guys do in cities (Seems to mostly consist of honking at each-other in traffic).

"Formal education is a weapon, whose effect depends on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed." ~ Joseph Stalin

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