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Need more $$$, thinking about changing careers or doing side work.
11

Need more $$$, thinking about changing careers or doing side work.

Need more $$$, thinking about changing careers or doing side work.

(OP)
I know the title sounds a little silly but that's what it comes down to at the present moment.

I think I might need to make more money, considering a career change. HVAC engineer (PE) currently; looking for advice and experiences.

Hello, my wife and I just went through our finances in detail and things aren't looking great; with the student loan repayments starting up again, we discovered that we have a net negative income every month. We have started to cut what we can but it's still pretty dire right now. My end of year bonus is generally pretty large so we should be able to coast on that for a while. But it's got me thinking about possibly going back to school, my wife possibly going back to school, etc.

We've got 3 young kids so we're trying to avoid my wife working full time if possible; she currently works very part time. We have a modest mortgage that's on the lower end for our state (house barely fits us), 10 year old cars, don't live extravagantly at all. Just a little wild how much things cost.

I currently make $100k with 7 years experience and a pretty good bonus. Seems to be about in line with what I see as I look around for job postings for HVAC and plumbing engineers with my experience in my geographic location. So it doesn't seem like hopping to another company will do a whole lot. My wife currently only makes $10k per year but we'd both like her to be home with the kids as much as possible, for now at least. Wife is starting to pick up more hours at night so I won't see her much right now but it is what it is for now.

I guess I'm hoping some people reading this have hopped careers after investing significant time already and I'd love to know how that went for you and what you learned. Did you get more schooling?

My grades in college weren't stellar but not horrible either. Wondering about going the route of patent attorney but not sure if I'll enjoy it. Even thinking about doing something in the medical field; opthalmologist, psychiatrist, etc. but I'm just brainstorming at this phase. Some of what I've written is probably very naive but we literally started thinking about this just yesterday afternoon. Also curious about what side work I could possibly do that would make more than uber/door dash.

Tldr; jumping careers after 7 years to something different possible? What was your experience or advice? Thanks for reading.

Also adding, I know student loan deferment or decreasing payment amount is possible, and we may have to do that, but right now we would pay them off in 10 years with our current payments. Going longer than that would obviously suck because of all the added interest. Thanks in advance to anyone who responds.

Edit: probably helps to add that I'm 35 years old.

RE: Need more $$$, thinking about changing careers or doing side work.

Unless your geographic area has obscene childcare rates (Boston, NYC, etc.), then it looks like it's time for your wife to go back to work. I am in a similar situation, but live in a very low cost of living state. Student loans are poison and should be killed ASAP.

RE: Need more $$$, thinking about changing careers or doing side work.

7
"Student loans are poison and should be killed ASAP."
This may be off topic, but do you have a suggestion that does not include someone else paying off your loan for you?

RE: Need more $$$, thinking about changing careers or doing side work.

Anything is possible. I guess a big question is: what do you want to do? Do you enjoy your work now? If money is tight and you have a young family, going to law school or med school may not be a fantastic option. There's one law school in my area that does a 'law for professionals' sort of program where you get your JD while you work...but I think it takes 6 years on average. Traditional programs are 3 years and you're generally barred (ha!..sorry) from working while you're in the program unless it's an internship clerking for a judge. Med schools often have similar rules since the coursework is so intense. By accepting you they are also staking their reputation on your success, so they want to make sure you're focused on doing well.

Is there room for growth in your company? What about other companies in town? One of the best ways to move up is to jump between companies. You don't want to do it too often, but every 5 years or so is often cited as 'normal.' My career stages have been 6 years, 4 years, 5 years, 1 year, and then I hung my own shingle and I've been at it for 3 years. They weren't all as a structural engineer. I did O&M engineering in the military, worked my way through school at an engineering firm, and then specialized in structures.

Your wife being able to be home with the kids is great. But that may be a sacrifice your family needs to make. I'd rather have the kids in a good day care while my wife and I work and we can enjoy nice evenings and weekends together than for a cloud of fear of running out of money to be constantly hanging over every thing we do.

RE: Need more $$$, thinking about changing careers or doing side work.

(OP)
Thanks phamENG for your thoughts. I really enjoy the work I do now, but I can also see myself enjoying something else as well. But I know it's rare to have a good paying job that you enjoy so I'm wary to leave it. That's a very cool program that I didn't know existed.

There is not much room for growth at my company; I am the head engineer with two newer engineers and a couple of drafters under me (small company). I do have a little hesitation in "moving up" in another company because I think that means that I may have to manage more and calculate less but I'm not sure. As you can see, I have a lot of opposing thoughts going through my head right now.

Putting the kids in daycare may be a decision we have to make, you make some good points there. Thanks!

RE: Need more $$$, thinking about changing careers or doing side work.

Some questions. How much is the shortfall? Are you happy in your work?

RE: Need more $$$, thinking about changing careers or doing side work.

(OP)
We've done only our basic accounting and it looks like right now we're about $125 short per month, NOT including food, clothes, miscellaneous, fun. We need to go into some more detail but I'm estimating about $1000 per month more would get us everything except for retirement savings and vacations. Obviously, retirement savings and vacations are a big deal and I wouldn't want to go without those indefinitely.

I'm very happy in my work, although feeling a little bit like a big fish in a small pond for the last six months or so. Thinking about possibly moving companies to get more growth but undecided as of yet.

RE: Need more $$$, thinking about changing careers or doing side work.

I'd start putting discreet feelers out. See what else is available and how much of a pay increase you can leverage. Or, you could talk to your boss. When was the last time you got a raise? The big fish in a small pond feeling won't go away. You need a bigger pond if you're going to grow.

RE: Need more $$$, thinking about changing careers or doing side work.

Have you tried talking to your boss for a raise? I know my company used covid as an excuse to axe raises even though financially they were very good years since we didn't run out of work. I'd consider sitting down and saying hey I need to be here or I may not be able to stay.

RE: Need more $$$, thinking about changing careers or doing side work.

(OP)
They've been giving me an annual $5k raise for a few years now. I haven't asked, they just do it every year and I've been happy with it and think it's fair. I guess I don't want to ask for something ludicrous that they can't provide and then they are nervous, wondering when I'm going to leave, and maybe start looking to replace me.

My bosses are the owners of the company, and although I don't believe in corporate loyalty, they're good guys who have made every accommodation I have asked for over the years. Maybe putting out feelers really would be a good course of action for now; couldn't hurt. Then I can at least know for sure what other companies are offering in my area.

I did see advice given once that even if you're happy where you are, you should interview every now and then with other companies and name a price that you're actually serious about and would make you move. If it's very high, you either get offered the job at that price or they turn you down and there are no hurt feelings. I haven't put that into practice yet though.

As far as big fish/small pond, I have wondered if we start getting larger and better projects if that feeling might go away; I know we've been pushing for them but they're hard to land as a design/build firm. I could even seek out specific trainings for certain systems/equipment I haven't had the chance to design yet. I'm just starting to think about these things so I'm not sure yet.

RE: Need more $$$, thinking about changing careers or doing side work.

100K for only 7 years experience in HVAC, even with a PE - you must be in a fairly high cost of living area. That being said, you are not likely to get much more blood out of that turnip except for annual raises which can change based on economy. Also, I would not depend on bonuses for anything other than as an extra. Bad to budget based on expected extra revenue.

If you are only about $125 short per month, that could be easily made up by wife taking extra hours.

Maybe cut down on vacation (go cheaper) and put that money toward student loans.

RE: Need more $$$, thinking about changing careers or doing side work.

If you're short $1000/mo, then that is presumably net--meaning you need 1000+tax gross per mo--such that you need a 20% raise to make it all work.

You're contemplating day care for your kids. Your wife would need to earn that net of taxes to break even, and then you haven't yet moved any closer to your necessary make-up. That means she may have to work long hours, in which case you miss out on the kids and her, and the kids miss out on her, and it all spirals into the modern joyless experience of farming out the raising of the next generation.

Talk to your management and be open and frank. Express your gratitude for unsolicited annual raises but let them know you have a quality of life family decision to make as well as a career growth path to map out. Maybe they have plans that they can pull out of the drawer and allow you to implement in return for a possible company growth spurt. Who knows? But communication is key. If communication nets a bad experience, be thankful you make that discovery early and not later. Guessing you have a good company situation and that discussion would be helpful all around.

RE: Need more $$$, thinking about changing careers or doing side work.

(OP)
No, cost of living is not crazy high in my state, though it currently feels like it; looks like it's pretty much in the middle when taken with all the states in the USA. That's why I'm thinking I may not be able to get much more cold hard cash out of my current career.

Yeah, not thrilled about my wife working when I'm with the kids and me working when she's with the kids, but we'll have to start making decisions soon and that could be one option.

Thanks all for the comments so far, it's giving me good stuff to think about.

RE: Need more $$$, thinking about changing careers or doing side work.

how old are the company owners? any chance they would want to take on another partner, and thus you could get a portion of the profits?

RE: Need more $$$, thinking about changing careers or doing side work.

and how old are your kids? could they go to part time preschool (or are they in school) and your wife could work part time?

RE: Need more $$$, thinking about changing careers or doing side work.

(OP)
They're both about 50 years old and don't seem to be slowing down anytime soon ha ha. I've never thought about that and I have no idea how any of that works, but it doesn't seem likely at this point.

Kids are 5 (full day kindergarten), 3 (3 hr pre-school), and 1 (lounging around at home). Wife does work when they're at school but it can be difficult when pre-school is only 3 hours. Will be easier once they're all in full day school but that's a few years away.

RE: Need more $$$, thinking about changing careers or doing side work.

Quote (nuuvox000)

We've got 3 young kids

In that case, the last thing I would consider is going back to school for anything. Your income would plummet for several years, health insurance would suck, you'd run up more student loans and other debt. Even if you get a much higher paying position after that, it might take 10 years to dig out of that mess.

This one is pretty obvious IMO. You either pick up consulting work or your wife works more hours. A lot of people do stuff like that. When our oldest was little, my wife worked almost every weekend as a nurse for several years. We had no vacations and basically no fun. It sucked, but that's how it had to go because we decided to start having children before we were set up very well.

RE: Need more $$$, thinking about changing careers or doing side work.

(OP)
Yeah, I figured if I went to school again, it would just be more debt but I was thinking that the much higher salary would pay it off quicker. I haven't looked into this at all yet though so I could be very wrong. I will say, the best health insurance I've had was when I was a student; thanks to the insurance marketplace and a small income, it was $10/month with zero deductible, pretty amazing. Thank you for your thoughts.

RE: Need more $$$, thinking about changing careers or doing side work.

Unless I missed it, you didn't say what your wife does for a living. If she's making a low hourly rate (you're not), then an inexpensive degree for her might be a good move. I mentioned that my wife is a nurse. That, and many other medical careers can be launched with an inexpensive and pretty fast associate's degree, allow weekend or evening hours, and pay high hourly rates. With those three little kids in the house, that'll be pretty tough on her and your energy level, though.

I went back to school in my 30s after we had kids. My health insurance experience was not so good. It would've been cheap for me, but it was expensive to add family and it didn't cover very much.

Good luck dude! A lot of us have been in situations like you've described. They're certainly no fun.

RE: Need more $$$, thinking about changing careers or doing side work.

(OP)
I didn't mention it, it's work from home and very flexible (airline reservations). She has a journalism degree and was a writer for years but left last year to be home with the kids more. Journalism doesn't pay well for most, just the top performers who make it their lifestyle. It's very bad for work/life balance too.

That's a great point about inexpensive and quick degrees though; something I hadn't thought about. I know community colleges around us are pretty darn cheap. No matter what we do, we'll have to grit our teeth and get it done. Thanks!

RE: Need more $$$, thinking about changing careers or doing side work.

I jumped from tradesman to engineer, then engineer to regulator. Both involved a temporary pay cut and quite a bit of training/education but resulted in a higher income. Jumping to another industry or position can certainly be done if you're willing to accept the tradeoffs but I would be prepared with a backup plan in case it goes sideways.

That said, IME in an applies-applies comparison (same role, same industry, and areas with similar population-density) the cost of living stateside varies drastically whereas income doesnt so moving generally nets more than job-hopping. JMO but if a decent house in a nicer neighborhood is more than 2-3x your salary then you're in a high-cost area.

Another big factor is the aforementioned spousal income. Not sure if its possible for you wife but many parents are working from home today to save on daycare costs. Disclaimer: Like most I despise calling into meetings and hearing either loud children or dogs, so judgment is needed.

RE: Need more $$$, thinking about changing careers or doing side work.

If you are interested in a PE role with a consulting firm based in Houston, I'm happy to share the description with you. Higher pay and advancement opportunities.

RE: Need more $$$, thinking about changing careers or doing side work.

(OP)
Thanks, CWB1, great thoughts. I'm going to put "moving" into our thoughts and see where it lands; that's a good point.

Consulting_analyst, way too early to tell if I'm headed that direction, but I appreciate the thought.

RE: Need more $$$, thinking about changing careers or doing side work.

I'd be wary of Consulting_analyst's offer. They joined the forum today, have logged in only once, and have only responded to this thread....

RE: Need more $$$, thinking about changing careers or doing side work.

Nothing shady going on here. My husband is a PE and building a great team, I am a management consultant in technology and helping him explore the talent market in the US. The original poster has a unique combo of skills that would be a good fit (HVAC experience specifically), so I decided to reach out. No harm, no foul.

RE: Need more $$$, thinking about changing careers or doing side work.

I'm a little lost on how far adrift you are every month?

You said $125, but not including Food and some allowance for clothes etc isn't really going to work, but then $1000 more and you would be ok?

It's not easy for sure - those pre school? years are tough - but maybe look a few more years into the future when you or your wife don't have to be at home all the time once schooling starts and that's when a bit more time appears. Even after school stuff is a bit cheaper than all day.

It's easy to think and plan for any other study, but the time taken is significant and your kids grow up very fast. Time spent now and at weekends etc is so important long term and should be high on your time budget requirements. And then with kids comes more time taking them places, especially if they get into sports or dancing or anything and with three it's definitely hard core - one goes one way, one goes the other and the third one....

Seven years into anything, it's not so easy to move professions and get into the same earning bracket immediately.

First port of call is your current work - most companies know they need to have a bit in reserve to keep people if they ask so 5 to 10% might be possible.

You don't mention any family or other support locally you can tap into? Is that an option anywhere from either side?

But thinking and planning is good, but the time issue in your case is the most crucial I think. Kids need parents, not carers or fancy holidays or flash cars. We had no real family support and had 3 under 5, but went on holidays to see family / cousins, ran a car for 10 years, didn't get a new kitchen, but life happens and I think we've navigated it fairly well. Let us know how you get on.

Remember - More details = better answers
Also: If you get a response it's polite to respond to it.

RE: Need more $$$, thinking about changing careers or doing side work.

Quote (nuuvox)

10 year old cars

Your wife works at home but you have multiple cars?

You need one. Sell the other(s).

What other debt so you have. All debt is poison.

Mobile phones? Find the cheapest service you can. Amazon prime? Netflix?

RE: Need more $$$, thinking about changing careers or doing side work.

(OP)
Thanks for the advice LittleInch, yes, I figure about $1000 would cover food, clothes, and unexpected. You're right about the time; I'd have to spend a ton of time studying and that time has to come from somewhere which means it would be taken from my kids. Thanks for bringing that to my mind as it's very important for me to consider that. Unfortunately, both sides of our families aren't able to help with things, not even with time. It would be great if we could get a cheap or free babysitter now and then but they're just so busy with work and things. I appreciate your perspective!

MintJulep, where we live, things are far away and public transit infrastructure is very bad everywhere in the state; we both need cars unfortunately (especially for my work where I visit job sites). Unless we moved closer to the city, but house prices jump higher the closer you get. Yeah, we've cut all unnecessary services as of yesterday and have very cheap phone plans; been getting videos and books from the library for a little while now so we'll probably keep doing that more often.

RE: Need more $$$, thinking about changing careers or doing side work.

If you have the capability (soft + hard skills), and the stomach for it, running your own business will offer you much more financial freedom.

that said, I am so glad i started my own business before my wife got pregnant. there is no way I would feel confident enough to take the risk of quitting my job to hang my own shingle with dependents relying on me.

RE: Need more $$$, thinking about changing careers or doing side work.

I read this again as I'd missed some info int he middle of all of it.

Kids at 5,3 & 1. That's hard as it happened to me and your and your wifes time will be either work, the kids or sleep just about. These years are hard until the smallest gets to go to school or nursery, especially if you have no family support on either side.

Think it might be time to have a decent sit down with the owners and get some crucial update / information on where they see the company going and your role in it before making any rash moves. If you've already basically peaked int he company then it may be time to cast glances into bigger ponds.

It is always good to have a bit of a peek into other local opportunities to know where you stand.

Take a bit of time - the year end is always good for time for reflection and what you want / need / can do in the New Year, talk to through together and then act on your decision. What ever you decide to do maybe program in a pause part way through after 6 months to see if its working.

Life will get easier / better / more money, but might take 3 or 4 years before you see it start to improve substantially.

Let us know what you come up with, even after the New Year - threads stay open for 6 months after the last post.

Remember - More details = better answers
Also: If you get a response it's polite to respond to it.

RE: Need more $$$, thinking about changing careers or doing side work.

(OP)
NorthCivil, I don't think I have the skills required for running my own business quite yet; although I'm feeling more and more confident in my field, I think I've got a few years at least before I could pull the trigger on something like that. I think the risk involved is probably too much as well. Glad it worked out for you though, that's great.

LittleInch, the owners are pretty transparent on their vision for the future of the company and we discuss it at least once a year during reviews. They'd like to continue growing steadily with me running the engineering/BIM team. I've got a few people under me now so that seems to be going fine. I think I mentioned it in another comment but I'm the lead engineer in the company and I've only been here 7 years. Although this has forced me to learn a lot of things quickly (sometimes through mistakes), I do believe that there are things I'm missing out on by not working with engineers who have 20 or 30 years under their belts.

On the other hand, it's pretty amazing to not really have managers over me (only the owners, but they trust me to do my own thing and leave me to it), which is why I'm wary to step out of my situation. I know from experience how management can make work a good or bad experience. Wouldn't hurt to look into it though, I think I'm going to start poking around just to see.

I'll update you, thanks again. For now, just pinching pennies and wife is picking up hours while we think about our options.

RE: Need more $$$, thinking about changing careers or doing side work.

Frankly, sounds like you are underpaid for the level of responsibility you currently have. Suggest you discuss with your owners during a review soon where they see you salary progressing in line with increased responsibility and company size.

RE: Need more $$$, thinking about changing careers or doing side work.

I agree with SWComposites. It sounds like you are the de facto "Director of Engineering". You should research what that title typically earns in your market.

Also, at that level ownership/partnership is common. You should be discussing a path towards becoming a owner/partner.

That won't be a gift, you'll need to buy in, which currently seems like a challenge (actually an impossibility) for you. You mentioned "a pretty good bonus". One option would be the bonus as shares instead of cash. Any idea of the company value relative to your typical bonus?

There are some threads here about the value of an engineering company (although I can't find them now).

RE: Need more $$$, thinking about changing careers or doing side work.

"There are some threads here about the value of an engineering company (although I can't find them now)."

Most of them say the value is next to zero....

Remember - More details = better answers
Also: If you get a response it's polite to respond to it.

RE: Need more $$$, thinking about changing careers or doing side work.

Sounds like OP is part of a design/build company. Very common in the building MEP and Fire Protection world. If that's the case, it's likely not just an engineering firm, it's also a contractor. There's likely to be some real asset value there. This kind of company becomes a little easier to value in a 'traditional' business sense and it could well have a lot of value just beyond the depreciating vans and tools.

RE: Need more $$$, thinking about changing careers or doing side work.

You should consider a career change to forensic engineering. As a mechanical PE with seven years of design experience, you would be considered qualified by most forensic engineering firms. While the salaries are only marginally better than those in MEP consulting engineering, the work schedule is more flexible and less demanding (as an example of this, some forensic engineering firms consider full-time employment to be 32 hours of billable time per week). This could allow you to continue doing HVAC design work on a part-time basis for additional income without getting burned out. Obviously, you would need to ensure that the forensic engineering firm does not offer design services. Most don't, but there are a few out there that do. MEP consulting engineering firms prefer to have full-time employees, however, some are open to the enlistment of part-time and 1099/contract workers - especially in today's market where there is such high demand for MEP engineers.

I can't say enough great things about forensic engineering. It's interesting, thought-provoking, and never gets dull. I think it can also make you a better design engineer. If there is one drawback, it's that it requires a lot of travel. As someone with a wife and kids, you will need to consider its impact on your family. In my case, on days where I'm performing site visits, I'm usually back home on the same day. There are, however, instances where overnight travel is required. On average, this occurs about three times a month.

I'm an electrical PE who left MEP consulting engineering after about 20 years. A career change is certainly possible in your case.

RE: Need more $$$, thinking about changing careers or doing side work.

(OP)
Thanks, all. I definitely need to dig in on my salary potential in my area more. I'm going to start checking postings every day and possibly set up some interviews to get an idea. I guess it would make senses to ask for more money first from my present employer, rather than come to them after I have an offer elsewhere though. We have an annual review in about a month where we usually discuss these things so I'm going to try to prepare for that.

Yes, it's a design/build company so out of 150 employees (field workers/project managers/estimators), there are just three engineers, including myself. It's privately-owned so I guess I don't understand why the owners would want to make me part-owner? Maybe that's a design firm thing or it's very possible I just don't understand enough about business (I really don't).

Forensic engineering sounds interesting and is something I have never considered so I appreciate the information about that. I'll look into it, thanks!

RE: Need more $$$, thinking about changing careers or doing side work.

Yes, many companies and managers take it badly when you present an outside offer to try to get a higher salary. My last company would typically immediately terminate anyone who did that.

RE: Need more $$$, thinking about changing careers or doing side work.

I make $120k in a very easy corporate gig working remote at home (commercial real estate consulting). And then I have a side business where I make an additional $130k-180k a year doing residential engineering work, depending on the economy. Don't sell yourself short. You already have a PE. Get out there and use it. Slam dunk easy way for a mechanical PE to make side money is residential Manual J calculations. Also in some states you can get a home inspector's license with your PE and some free training. I average $1500 a week alone in side money just with those two things. I know one guy that makes a good living entirely off of Manual J calculations, from his kitchen table.

RE: Need more $$$, thinking about changing careers or doing side work.

(OP)
StrucPatholgst, sorry for the late response, I wasn't notified by email like usual. Those are really great ideas and I thank you for letting me in on your information. How did you get started doing Manual J's? I've done a few over the years for my bosses friends. I guess I would just start calling home developers and asking if they have any needs for it? Being a home inspector sounds like a really interesting proposition (with training of course). I know the home inspector I hired for my house missed so many basic things and he's been doing it for 40 years; so if he can do it, I'm sure I can! ha ha
Thanks again.

Someone mentioned updating everyone with how things are going. It's been about four months now. I received a $7k raise and $30k bonus at the end of the year; I used the entire bonus to pay off my highest interest debts and things are going much better. Credit cards are paid off and we don't have that monthly payment to worry about anymore. I also happened to be very close to paying off a couple of student loans so I don't have those monthly payments either. My wife has picked up a few more hours every week and it's amazing how far that little extra amount of money can go. Lastly, I made a mistake in my calculations and didn't take off our babysitter expenses that we were paying previously(approximately $900 per month). Pretty embarrassing for an engineer but a happy discovery.

At this point, I'm not looking to go back to school or change careers. However, the fear of poverty has been carved into my skull and we are still pinching where we can and paying off things as soon as we can. I'm also still interested in looking into side gigs that don't take a ton of hours to get a little more money and pay off loans. Thanks again to all of you for the great advice and commiseration.

RE: Need more $$$, thinking about changing careers or doing side work.

I think that our educational system fails engineers in at least one critical area, namely financial education; going from poor, starving, college student to someone making relatively big bucks is exhilarating, but often leads to lifestyle creep, buying a new car, bigger home, adult toys, etc., that are detrimental to our long-term financial well-being.

While I don't necessarily recommend going the FIRE route, with saving and scrimping 30-40% of your salary, there are lessons to be learned; that is that people with way lower salaries can indeed amass small fortunes, and therefore, so can almost any engineer.

This is likewise something that could have also been taught in high school, such as in the infamous home economics classes; budgeting, setting aside savings and retirement funds, etc., are all things that all engineers need to do. Social Security is merely a safety net and not intended to provide anything more than general financial support and defined-benefit pensions are a thing of the past for most people. At some point in your life, you will need to have sufficient savings to fund your retirement lifestyle, beyond Social Security as well as emergency, medical, and long-term care expenses.

As I'm now retire, it's been painfully clear that as supposedly highly educated people, most of us are less than well-informed about how much money is needed to live retirement comfortably, and how little we've been educated in that regard.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
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RE: Need more $$$, thinking about changing careers or doing side work.

Adult toys can be fairly inexpensive. They just go through a lot of batteries.

RE: Need more $$$, thinking about changing careers or doing side work.

nuuvox000,

I am surprised this has not been mentioned.

Be damn careful about moonlighting. If you are seen to be competing with your current employer, you will be fired. If you expose your current employer to lawsuits, perhaps by using in-house design tools like FEA, you will be fired. If you are not getting your day-time work done...

If you are practicing on the side as a professional engineer, you had better have your own error and omission insurance.

--
JHG

RE: Need more $$$, thinking about changing careers or doing side work.

(OP)
drawoh, thank you for bringing that up. I would actually only do any side work after getting explicit and written permission from my employer; in my state, you can lose your license for doing side jobs that are not approved by your primary employer. In my case, doing anything residential would not be in competition with my primary work so I think my employer would be fine with it. Thank you for bringing up the E&O insurance; I know it's expensive so any side work I do would have to be work that doesn't require a stamp. That's definitely something I would need to look into more closely. For example, I assume I can't advertise that I'm licensed for doing manual J calcs (license is not required in my state for manual J calcs). Thanks!

RE: Need more $$$, thinking about changing careers or doing side work.

Sounds like you are in the messy middle of life. Its bitter sweet. A few things that proved helpful to me are learning more about personal finance and budgeting. The Money Guy show is a good resource and they nerdy take on personal finance appeals to my engineering brain. https://www.youtube.com/@MoneyGuyShow I recommend giving them a listen.

One more item, if your wife wants to increase her hourly pay I would look into certifications as opposed to a degree. IT, medical, and CAD certs are low hanging fruit.

RE: Need more $$$, thinking about changing careers or doing side work.

Quote:

Adult toys can be fairly inexpensive. They just go through a lot of batteries.

Depends on how you do the accounting. While batteries might be cheap, you also have to include the maintenance, and storage, i.e., bigger house, garage, driveway, etc., to store the toy when you are elsewhere or playing with some other toy.

We went from a nominally-sized house to a LARGE house, and accumulated A LOT OF STUFF, which we are now trying to downsize from. So, that large house didn't come for free, costing us mortgage and property tax expenses; it was nice, but totally unnecessary.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
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RE: Need more $$$, thinking about changing careers or doing side work.

Quote (IRstuff)

Quote:

Quote (jgailla)

Adult toys can be fairly inexpensive. They just go through a lot of batteries.

Depends on how you do the accounting. While batteries might be cheap, you also have to include the maintenance, and storage, i.e., bigger house, garage, driveway, etc., to store the toy when you are elsewhere or playing with some other toy.

We went from a nominally-sized house to a LARGE house, and accumulated A LOT OF STUFF, which we are now trying to downsize from. So, that large house didn't come for free, costing us mortgage and property tax expenses; it was nice, but totally unnecessary.

This is a superb series of posts......simply excellent lol

- Andrew

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