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Engineer: Career Pathway Conundrum – job or business

Engineer: Career Pathway Conundrum – job or business

Engineer: Career Pathway Conundrum – job or business

Dear all,

I am seeking some insights from professionals in any field to guide me and help me decide where to focus.

I have done masters in aeronautical and mechanical engineering and I have 5 years of experience in the field of design and development. From an Australian point of view, I am an experienced mechanical design engineer/mechanical designer.

I am very happy with working for somebody but I am always jotting down business ideas to the extent that I ended up spending quite a few dollars on setting up everything but then gave up due to large capital required at later stages. My ideas are not out of this world but they are quite competitive, however I don’t have the investment to invest in those ideas. Kickstarter and other crowd source funding schemes have prevented me from giving up on business altogether.

Today, I am confused between job and business pathways and where I should put my razor-sharp focus to.

Battle of pathways:
1. Stable and consistent income
2. Opportunities to increase that income by few hundreds of dollars every year or so
3. Working hours are 9 – 5 generally
4. Gain specific experience
5. No financial investment required
6. If I am made redundant, I can get another job and maybe jump to business
7. Comparatively less stress, less overall management and easy work
8. Guaranteed family time including paid holidays and sick leaves
9. Company benefits if working for reputed firms
10. Can be challenging and rewarding at times, depends on work type and firm, however in general it is doubtful
11. It’s more like wordpress.com and wix type

1. Variable income (very low in one month and very high in another)
2. If the business picks up, could be financially independent in no time (no limits to how much you can make)
3. No proper working hours, so really speaking working 24/7
4. No limits to what knowledge and experience is required or could be gained
5. Large investments are required to flourish the business
6. If business crashes, I can go back into a different business but it would be close to impossible to be employed in a reputed firm (by into workforce)
7. Comparatively large amounts of stress, high demands of organisation and management, overall hard work all year round
8. Family will be compromised at some level even if we are very careful and on top of that no paid holidays or sick leaves
9. Guaranteed that it will be challenging and rewarding
10. It’s more like wordpress.org and coding your own website from scratch

All feedback and suggestions are welcomed.

Thank you,

RE: Engineer: Career Pathway Conundrum – job or business

Don't quit your day job. Do both part time, or moonlight a bit and see if it really is as promising as you think.

Richard Feynman's Problem Solving Algorithm
1. Write down the problem.
2. Think very hard.
3. Write down the answer.

RE: Engineer: Career Pathway Conundrum – job or business

I've always been quite happy with a steady job and all the benefits that come with it although you may find that it's not always 9-5 and low stress.

When our company was going through a turbulent transition about 15 years ago, one of the engineering managers left and started his own business, taking 4 other employees with him. After several lean years and a lot of hard work they were just getting things cranked up when the last recession hit and it nearly wiped them out. However they persevered and adapted and changed, eventually got bought out by a bigger company for a nice chunk of change. Now he is looking at a very comfortable retirement & I'm still working for at least 4 more years.

In the meantime I've designed several very successful lines of products, learned a lot and had plenty of recognition & compensation. I've taken a lot more rides on my motorcycle and spent a lot less time in airports. I don't regret taking the safe road but every once in awhile I do buy a lottery ticket for my shot at early retirement.


The Help for this program was created in Windows Help format, which depends on a feature that isn't included in this version of Windows.

RE: Engineer: Career Pathway Conundrum – job or business

Yes. For every one of those stories, I can tell you about 5 or so that went the other way.

Richard Feynman's Problem Solving Algorithm
1. Write down the problem.
2. Think very hard.
3. Write down the answer.

RE: Engineer: Career Pathway Conundrum – job or business

I hear your pain ! particularly in Oz in aerospace. I'm a child of the 60s, did my uni at UNSW in the 70s, went "OS", and the rest is history (so they say).

Before "job or business", what field do you want to work in ? aero ? mech ? civil ?? other ?

Then job breaks down into large or small company.

But the key thing between "job or business" is your personality. Can you live with (thrive with ?) the stress of not having an assured pay cheque ? Will you feel oppressed working for "the man" ? Will you be willing to travel to take up an assignment (working for yourself) ? Where do health benefits figure in ?

another day in paradise, or is paradise one day closer ?

RE: Engineer: Career Pathway Conundrum – job or business

Unless you have an idea for a product you'd like to design and build, I believe the question you need to ask yourself is - do you want to work in engineering or not? At this point in time you are still effectively a junior engineer so starting an engineering services firm is out, and if you are out of engineering for more than 2-3 years then returning may be difficult or impossible. Weigh the choices carefully and remember the golden rule of business - pay yourself first. The business' income needs to cover its own bills plus a decent salary for you. If the business' varying income cannot cover a consistent salary for you every month then its failing and the only thing propping it up is your savings, many owners personally lose everything waiting for business to come back during dips while not paying themselves.

Best of luck regardless.

RE: Engineer: Career Pathway Conundrum – job or business

WOW ... guys thank you soo much...

i wasn't expecting such a good response but this is great...

all your feedback is valuable to me...

and i agree with all of you taking all point of views under consideration...

as i said previously i am inclined towards a salaried job since I am only starting out and I am inexperienced in terms of engineering. However i am still trying to weigh my options here with SWOT analysis and what not...

let's see how it all turns out :)

Have an amazing day guys/gals!! :)

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