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Sitting at a Desk

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#1 PowerEngineer



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Posted 23 January 2012 - 06:57 PM

Hello all,

Since graduating 7 years ago, I have worked as a system planning engineer (power distribution) for a consulting firm, dealing primarily with rural electric utilities.  I am searching for a position with another company, preferably at a large power utility.

At my current company, I sit at my computer doing studies and analyses all day.  I'd really prefer to spend part of my day at the desk doing that work, and part of the day moving around some.  Going into the field, consulting with others, playing with equipment... anything really, that would just get me on my feet for a few hours and break my stare at the computer.  I enjoy my work, but staring at the same computer screen for 8 hours a day every day does get monotonous. 

So I guess the question is, do engineers at utilities tend to get to move around a bit more than those at consulting firms?  If so, do all utility engineers move around, or are there specific positions (protection engineer, system planning engineer, substation engineer, etc) that tend to move around more.

I appreciate any comments.

#2 benbo



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Posted 23 January 2012 - 08:02 PM

Try to get a job at a power plant. You may not leave the plant that much, but you can spend a good deal of time walking around the plant. It's geographically a smaller area, but more interesting than looking at poles, towers, and substations all day, IMO.

#3 Supe


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Posted 23 January 2012 - 08:13 PM

Field engineering is all about moving around the plant, new construction or otherwise. I loved it (Welding Engineer, not EE).

#4 John Williams

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 08:14 PM

I have worked for Utilities and Contractors that work for Utilities and know what you mean by moving around more. Gets old sitting at a desk all day.

First Id say get your PE before you leave. It will help you land a job at a Utility easier (If you don't already have it). I never use mine but just having it definitely stands out to Utilities.

I have been in many different sized Utilities and found that I like the smaller ones better. The large Utilities tend to put you in Silo's and you might just end up sitting at a desk. The smaller ones tend to have less people and require you to do many different types of things. Then again every Utility is different, if you are offered the job tell them that you want to move around and not be stuck at a desk. I would also highly recommend asking if you could meet some of the people you would be working with.

When you are deciding on a job really think about the management of the Utility. If it is a small Utility you might report directly to the GM. Ask around and see what others think about the management or the GM. If you find a good GM or management team you will love it. If not then it will be crappy no matter what you are doing.

Finally yes there are plenty of Engineers that do things other than sit at a desk. Most of my experience with Engineers at Utilities is they are out of the office quite a bit at job sites. I think it will all depend more on what Utility as opposed to the job title.

Good Luck.

#5 CntrSnr2001


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Posted 12 April 2012 - 03:42 PM

get into startup - it's a ton of construction, running around and also some desk stuff. you'd like it if you're looking for challenging situations mixed with interacting with contractors.

#6 Matt Bellott

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Posted 24 May 2014 - 03:14 AM

I spent 5 years at Entergy. And during my tenure there I hada position in the control room for about 3 years. After that I went to the relay settings department. And subsequent to that I was in the construction management department. Overall each engagement was quite interesting and challenging, however the thing that I found to be most interesting was working in relay settings department. Because you spend some time behind the desk, but you also got to go out into the field and see new substations new lines and transformers. And also you had a very diverse group of engineers to work with and share experiences and pick up new skills. Overall each utility has quite a bit to offer and I think fit any engineer with a power bent should spend some time with the utility. That's just my opinion best of luck!

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