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#1 Maddriver20

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Posted 17 June 2011 - 01:12 PM

I need your advice on which career path is best. First a little about me. BS in Civil Engineering, EI, sitting for PE soon, 4 years working for state government in design branch. States across the country are cutting budgets and A LOT of projects are now going to the private sector. So I have some choices:

OPTION 1
Stay where Iím at. Low pay, not much room for growth, seems like a dead end job. Job is somewhat secure, benefits are good (not great), and relax office setting.

OPTION 2
Go to a small firm as lower-mid level engineer. This firm would put me on a partner in development program, which would lead to me becoming a partner down the road. The existing partners are very close to retirement.

OPTION 3
Go to a very large firm; 24,000 employees. Come in as entry level, move up to task lead in about 4 years, then maybe project engineer.


Salary aside which would you chose and why?


#2 willsee

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Posted 17 June 2011 - 01:19 PM

I worked at GE, did not like large companies
I've worked at a small A/E and I now work at a small MEP Consultant and it suits my personality better.
I've never worked for government

So I would choose option 2 based off my preference for small companies.

#3 snickerd3

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Posted 17 June 2011 - 01:26 PM

government work isn't as secure/stable as it used to be, even with unions. The pay is a little on the low side, but the benefits are decent. The work environment is very relaxed which i enjoy as well. I agree there is really no upward mobility for engineers. But it serves its purpose. Thats why i've stayed so long. but if you have the means to move around or travel then consulting might not be a bad choice. I knew i didn't want to travel a lot so consulting is not for me.

Haven't worked anywhere else so I can't help there.

#4 kevo_55

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Posted 17 June 2011 - 01:34 PM

#2 would be a good choice but I wouldn't count on partner with your experience just yet.

#5 Maddriver20

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Posted 17 June 2011 - 02:19 PM

QUOTE (kevo_55 @ Jun 17 2011, 09:34 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
#2 would be a good choice but I wouldn't count on partner with your experience just yet.


Im sure that parntership will not come to light until they feel im ready. I was told the position I would be offered leads into partnership.

I'm leaning toward option 2

#6 picusld

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Posted 17 June 2011 - 06:11 PM

QUOTE (Maddriver20 @ Jun 17 2011, 10:19 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (kevo_55 @ Jun 17 2011, 09:34 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
#2 would be a good choice but I wouldn't count on partner with your experience just yet.


Im sure that parntership will not come to light until they feel im ready. I was told the position I would be offered leads into partnership.

I'm leaning toward option 2


Although I have never worked for the gov, that is what I would choose.

Doesn't every position in the private sector lead to some sort of partnership? If you are able to make the company money, they will do whatever it takes to keep you around. If you don't, they will drop you and not think twice about it.



#7 willsee

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Posted 17 June 2011 - 07:16 PM

QUOTE (picusld @ Jun 17 2011, 01:11 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (Maddriver20 @ Jun 17 2011, 10:19 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (kevo_55 @ Jun 17 2011, 09:34 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
#2 would be a good choice but I wouldn't count on partner with your experience just yet.


Im sure that parntership will not come to light until they feel im ready. I was told the position I would be offered leads into partnership.

I'm leaning toward option 2


Although I have never worked for the gov, that is what I would choose.

Doesn't every position in the private sector lead to some sort of partnership? If you are able to make the company money, they will do whatever it takes to keep you around. If you don't, they will drop you and not think twice about it.


Not necessarily

#8 merb

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 08:15 PM

I would consider the type of work you will be doing to be more important than company size/career advancement opportunities. Seems like your best chance to advance is if you enjoy your work. But no matter what you choose, I would wait until after you get your PE.

#9 solomonb

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 09:45 PM

This question is one that many engineers, as well as other professionals have sometime in the first 10 years of their professional career. You are not asking anything that someone else has not considered previously!!

Government work is and can be challenging, exciting, cutting edge and very rewarding, both professionally and personally. My experience in Governemnt Work was very positive, we did lots of projects which were cutting edge, using sophisticated methods and principles to accomplish the various tasks that needed to be accomplished. Yes, there are some mundane government jobs as well, knid of depends on what you do and where you are, I think.

Private practice can be very rewarding and challenging as well. The more of an entrepreneurial you are, the more that you will probably enjoy private practice. There is always some pressure to bring in more work-- this is not the case in government. A large company is just like the government-- a big bureaucracy, many levels of approval, etc. etc.

The real answer to the question is what suits you best? There is no right/wrong answer-- each answer is correct based upon your background and personality--. Don't be afraid to try something different, I like that and have done that for 40 years-- you always learn something that you did not know before!

Does this help?

#10 Road Guy

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Posted 29 June 2011 - 08:46 PM

IMO option 3, when your younger, larger firms will have more work, more challneging work,etc,

especially for transportation..

#11 3point5

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Posted 20 July 2011 - 01:45 PM

I am sort-of in that same boat nowÖ

I went with the ginormous company option first (the Kiewit Family) but have found wanting a change. I worked for Kiewit for 7years in 9 states. The pay, benefits, opportunity, perks were amazingÖthe company travel, politics/bullsh!t, hours, stress were ridiculous and although I did last 7 years the travel is ultimately what did me in.

I am now looking for a state / municipality govt engineering job because I will have the chance to sleep in my own bed every night, see my family & friends everyday and overall live a normal life. The stress levels will be lower and the stability (IMO) will be better. There may be a pay difference but when you factor in how many hours you will be working (in my case) I will be making more per hour.

Overall, if I were you, I would think about your priorities and what's really important to you in the big picture and go after a outfit that will support those views.




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