Working at a Start Up
Working at a Start Up
I'm looking for some advice/thoughts/etc on a potential job move.
A little background info: I'm currently 2.5 years out of college and with my second employer. My first job was with a small building design firm. We did mostly commercial buildings (1-2 stories) and residential work - the owner's philosophy was to never turn down work, including the jobs no other local firms wanted anything to do with. Long story short I ended up leaving at about 1.5 years in.
I'm now at a larger, full-service civil design firm doing bridge design. I'm paid well, have decent benefits, and enjoy my coworkers... but I feel more like a CAD tech than an engineer. I'd say I do about 20% design work and 80% CAD work and I often have significant downtime during the day. I've expressed these concerns to my manager, and have been told that they appreciate me taking on tasks outside of design work, but at the same time, there just isn't any other design work to be doing.
Enter my dilemma: A Principal and Senior Engineer from Employer #1 left shortly after I did to start their own firm. They recently offered me a job to join them as their workload keeps increasing. It sounds like an exciting opportunity but I do have some reservations.
1. The main reason for leaving Employer #1 was how stressed out I was. This mainly stemmed from the fact that very few of my designs (especially the residential stuff) got reviewed. As a new engineer who didn't know what I didn't know, this led to a lot of stress. It also led to staying late double and triple checking stuff to try and ease some of that anxiety all while I was being assigned more and more work. Would those of you in building design say this is typical? Does it get better, or do you learn to deal with it in more effective ways? This is something that I discussed with the Principal while leaving Employer #1, and he knows it's one of my hang-ups in regard to working at the Start-Up.
2. I worry that I'm not giving myself enough time in the bridge design industry to know if bridge design is something I enjoy doing more than building design. As of now, I'd rather be designing buildings, but I feel it's not a fair comparison as the only bridge design I've done is a bridge deck, along with backchecking some abutment design. Do you all think that 1 year at a company is enough to get a feel for the typical workload?
I want to come up with a list of things to discuss with the Start-Up Engineers before making a definite decision. So far, I have the basic stuff (salary, benefits, etc) and other items like maintaining a good work-life balance and not working until 6 pm on Fridays. What other questions do you guys think are pertinent, especially for a Start-Up? Any other advice would also be greatly appreciated.
Thank you all in advance!