Oh, the Places I’ve Been

You’re sure to find as many engineers that have worked the same job for years, as there are those who changed into different areas and industries throughout their career. I fall into the latter category.

My first career change happened two years after graduation. The move to North Carolina to work as a construction engineer ended up being one of my most rewarding times. I learned a lot about planning from that stint. Good planning is a must when you pour concrete. No one wants to be the bearer of bad news to tell the boss he needs to get the jackhammer out.

After my divorce I was invited to join the aerospace field. My knees were knocking over the first few weeks at that job on the International Space Station. Chills from my experience in flight with the balsa wood model haunted me until I realized ‘yea, I can do this.’

I have a friend who is a civil engineer whose specialty is building big steel structures such as you would find in chemical and refinery plants. He performed well over the first ten or fifteen years of his career and then the big plants were no longer being built. I guess you can get to a saturation point for these types of mega-million dollar plants. He found he was forced to reinvent himself. Except that he didn’t.

I suppose he was afraid of the risk of change and of failure, so he found a new home of sorts designing big power plants. That has kept him employed, but always at the ragged edge of a layoff. Now some thirty plus years into his engineering career, he works overtime, building up funds, just in case a new job is unavailable when he finishes his current project.

For me and to this date I’ve never been faced with a layoff. (I was almost fired once, but that is a tale for another time.) I’ve been fortunate to accumulate a lot of skills that have been repurposed on different occasions for varying occupations. I’ve morphed from a mechanical engineer to a construction, project, systems engineering, software test, software systems, and human factors engineer.

As my career comes winding to a close, expected in a couple of years, I’m very satisfied with the places I’ve been and the work I’ve done. It has been a lot of fun and nothing gets me charged up for work in the morning like a new adventure. Like tomorrow, wonder what’s in store for me?

I’m still taking comments to provide a free coffee to one of our soldiers via the ‘Cup of Joe for a Joe’ program. I’ll buy up to thirty cups in exchange for thirty comments. I think we’re up to about six cups. No obligation for you by commenting, I don’t know how to spam, I’d just love the feedback. Thanks for reading and commenting!


About stemzandroses

I'm an engineer and writer with a built-in need to share my nearly 40 years of experience working in a male-dominated field with the rest of the world.
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