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Career Advice for Job Move

Career Advice for Job Move

Career Advice for Job Move

Hi All,

I am looking to get some advice on a potential career move.

I currently work for a big aerospace manufacturer, in a liasion fatigue stressing role. We basically do fatigue analysis for production issues, with little opportunity to perform advanced analysis, use FEA etc. The day-to-day work consists of quite mandraulic calculations using an internal stress tool, with little work from first principles. It's getting quite boring and I don't feel like I'm learning too much beyond just using the black-box methods that they have. Additionally, we are understaffed and two people have just handed in their notice (out of eight total in the team).

I've been offered a role at a civil engineering consultancy firm doing what sounds like more interesting work, such as explicit FEA for blast and impact design. It sounds like there's potentially a lot more there in terms of development, but it means going from a 35 hour week to a 40 hour week for the same pay, and losing a profit share bonus.

Is it often worth taking a small step back in terms of pay in order to gain more development? Or should I be looking to gain in salary with each step I take?

And am I going to hamstring myself moving between industries like this (i.e. aerospace to nuclear, fatigue to dynamics) or is it good to get some breadth?

For context I am early in my career, I did a three year degree apprenticeship followed by another two years as an engineer, all at the same firm that I currently work for.

Thanks for any advice.

RE: Career Advice for Job Move

a 35 hr week ?? ... you're in Europe ?

"liaison fatigue stressing" ... yes, I can see that that wouldn't be very creative ! and very focused (never heard of that job function before).

"mandraulic" ... ?

yeah, a career path is rarely a straight line. Changing industries is a big move. Maybe short term pain for long term gain ?

how long have you worked with the employer who "sponsored" (at least supported) you through out your training ? Five years training ... anything less than 5 years service (after the training, the degree) would be a bit of a red flag to me.

A key question ... are you a plane "guy" ? Are you highly motivated to work on planes, or are they "just a job" ?

"Hoffen wir mal, dass alles gut geht !"
General Paulus, Nov 1942, outside Stalingrad after the launch of Operation Uranus.

RE: Career Advice for Job Move

Its much easier to move between very different fields early in one's career. If you move to the civil/nuclear firm, and work there a while, you might find it hard to get back into aerospace. However there is always a benefit to getting a breadth of experience in technical areas, but they should be applicable to the general field that you want to work in.

In general, unless one is desperate for a job, or really wants to change career paths, moving to a new job should include a pay increase. Its one of the few times that you will actually have some leverage to get a significant pay increase.

Have you looked at getting into a different role in your current company? maybe new design stress? or R&D group?

RE: Career Advice for Job Move

Non linear FEA is one of the few bits of FEA I find interesting, so that's a big plus (at least for me). Learning how to plug and chug with proprietary formulas sounds fairly bad. Fly little monkey.


Greg Locock

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RE: Career Advice for Job Move

Employers hire candidates who fill their need. If you have the required knowledge, skill, and ability they're not going to care about any detours/pivots your career had unless you were gone a decade. If you want to try a different industry for a few years then go for it, many do.

IMHO the biggest way juniors hamstring their careers is by staying with employers who dont have the resources or intestinal fortitude to develop them into good engineers. Your first few years post-grad should be VERY busy and challenging. You should learn more your first year than during your entire undergrad. If you're bored bc you're mostly doing "grunt work" then you're behind your peers in knowledge and likely income. Another big career limiter that I've seen is your choice of location. Relocating employees is both an expensive and slow process so even companies with standard relocation packages hire locally first. Consequently, moving out into the boonies for a few years' break puts you at a severe disadvantage during hiring, even if you're willing/able to relocate yourself fairly quickly your resume often won't make it past HR.

RE: Career Advice for Job Move

I'm a generalist, and I prefer it that way. Aviation has too much to offer to sit and do just one thing day in day out.
I did "liaison" for a while. Though I learned a lot from that experience, I couldn't stand it for more than a year, and didn't do much to improve my engineering skill.
A colleague of mine left a job just like the one you describe, for the same reasons you cite. He hasn't looked back.

The tools and methods you describe sound like the kinds of tools developed by/for generalists like me to complete projects with many more aspects than just a fatigue question to answer. Imagine moving from the fatigue question to the primary structural design and then to the loads, then check the design is still within the mission spec, make adjustments, then rinse and repeat... That's what those plug-and-chug tools are made for. Imagine doing all of those steps yourself before arriving at the design that gets sent to production. That's a much more satisfying role in the design cycle so I hope you can get a more broad experience at the new gig.

RE: Career Advice for Job Move

Hmmm ...

Quote (...work consists of quite mandraulic calculations...)

makes no sense... not even for a bad typo at 0400 AM.

Quote (For context I am early in my career, I did a three year degree apprenticeship followed by another two years as an engineer, all at the same firm that I currently work for.)

... implies not a USA/Canada engineer in a 4-year degree BS engineering program. Anyone familiar with such a work-study program?

Regards, Wil Taylor
o Trust - But Verify!
o For those who believe, no proof is required; for those who cannot believe, no proof is possible. [variation, Stuart Chase]
o Unfortunately, in science what You 'believe' is irrelevant. ["Orion", HBA forum]
o Only fools and charlatans know everything and understand everything." -Anton Chekhov

RE: Career Advice for Job Move

Yes. Associate's degree, technologist's diploma, and many flavours in between. The OP is in the UK, so I'd guess the former. Not everyone has the cash to study at Eton.

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