Change to a Career that matters

Tell us your wish, tell us your obstacle, and we'll try to come up with some useful suggestions to help you get into action toward your dream.

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Change to a Career that matters

Postby WindShadow » Sat Sep 21, 2019 6:51 am

Now at age 52 and despite having an Electronics Engineering degree and getting work only in the computer field (systems, web, database, servers, et.al.) . I don't feel encouraged nor am I going anywhere and I barely used my degree. I'm tired sitting on my butt coming up with administrative software solutions. :bash: It's bad for my body nor am I contributing anything.
My wish, to find a career (options): 1) Using the languages I know or learn more (Japanese, Spanish, bits of others) . 2) Combining my multiples of skills and knowledge in science, technology & engineering. 3) Being able to get out of the office, maybe field work. 4) I enjoy exploring e.g. cultures, languages, the canyons of Utah. I have traveled globally.
Road Blocks:
    *Job security.
    *Being able to pay the bills and support my family no matter where I am working.
    *Can't move until my son finishes highschool. 4 more years.
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Re: Change to a Career that matters

Postby SquarePeg » Sat Sep 21, 2019 8:15 pm

Welcome, WS!

I'm also an EE.

Does your son's school have a robotics club? A few other EEs I know volunteer their time to mentor students in high school and middle school through these clubs.

I've heard of Engineers Without Borders. Some employers allow their engineers to volunteer with that organization.
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Re: Change to a Career that matters

Postby WindShadow » Sun Sep 22, 2019 11:29 am

Thank you SquarePeg...
I have been a Boy Scout leader (Cub Scout den leader, Cub Master, Assistant Scout Leader and now Merit Badge Councilor (sort-of teacher)) My son just started in High School and STEM. That hasn't felt fulfilling. I'm not needed too often there.
Last night I felt a bit successful photographing a friend's pro dance troupe at a city Asian event. But those are far and few opportunities.
Part of it, I think is the high population and being overly busy near city. I had thought about moving out to be a teacher in a place that needs teachers.
Just spewing a bit...
I'll look up that Engineers Without Borders...
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Re: Change to a Career that matters

Postby inspiresuccess » Sun Sep 22, 2019 3:02 pm

Welcome, Wind Shadow. I'm glad you've shared your wishes here with us. I don't have any immediate ideas. I'll give it some thought. I think it's a good start that you're clear about what you want and what your obstacles are. Supporting a family and having a reliable job are big obstacles but Barbara Sher's views are that despite that need there are always things you can do to get closer to your dreams. Hang in there. We'll see if others here have some good ideas about what you can do in the next 4 years while waiting until your son graduates. There have to be some things that you can do to give you more satisfaction in your life currently and move you closer to the big dream of a new career in the future. Inspire Success
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Re: Change to a Career that matters

Postby SquarePeg » Sun Sep 22, 2019 7:44 pm

There's also "Habitat for Humanity"....
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Re: Change to a Career that matters

Postby SquarePeg » Sun Sep 22, 2019 7:56 pm

And I'll offer "Work Away" just for ideas: https://www.workaway.info/
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Re: Change to a Career that matters

Postby Elaine Glimme » Sun Sep 22, 2019 11:01 pm

What does an electronics engineer do? I am envisioning setting up electronics systems for airports around the world.
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Re: Change to a Career that matters

Postby SquarePeg » Tue Sep 24, 2019 6:02 pm

An electronics engineer solves problems or meets challenges using a technological solution that mostly involves electronics.

A simple example:

Challenge: Keep a dog confined to a portion of the owner's backyard.

There are many solutions such as "build a fence" or "attach the dog's collar to an anchor" or "behavior modification". Each might have a few pros and cons. The electrical or electronics engineer might say "bury a loop of wire in the perimeter of the containment area and apply an AC power source and then place a special device that senses the signal from that AC power source when nearby and delivers a shock to the dog when it approaches the perimeter."

Anything that you put batteries into or connect to a power source involved an electronics engineer to go from idea to reality. Even something simple like a flashlight might have had some electronics engineers select a switch or bulb, or they might devise a manufacturing or testing method, or they might oversee production in a management role.

Yes, definitely electronic systems used at airports had been designed by electronics engineers. Radar and communication systems used in the tower, lighting, barcode scanning of tickets or luggage tags -- all this was made possible by electronics engineers.

A great question, Elaine. Thank you for asking.

It might be a nice feature of this message board to discuss various careers. I understand that your career was very interesting, too, and maybe not entirely obvious. I recall it had something to do with hazardous materials.
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Re: Change to a Career that matters

Postby Elaine Glimme » Wed Sep 25, 2019 12:23 pm

I did have a fantastic job. I was a hazardous materials specialist, and I responded to chemical emergencies, helped businesses comply with regulations, and nailed hazardous waste dumpers.

WIndshadow, your wish made me think of a man who used to live next door to me. He was a computer programmer, and when I knew him, he worked as an independent contractor. He would accept a project, go to the job site - wherever that was- and fix or create whatever his client wanted. Then he'd come back home, and either take another assignment or take a break. He had a great reputation, which is why he never had a problem finding work. Years ago when the Denver airport went down, he got the system up and running. I don't think he did it single-handed, but maybe he did. Anyway, I wonder if something like that would work for you.

Good luck.

Square Peg, I watched the video. I too liked Star Trek.
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Re: Change to a Career that matters

Postby WindShadow » Thu Oct 03, 2019 12:46 pm

Elaine Glimme wrote:What does an electronics engineer do? I am envisioning setting up electronics systems for airports around the world.

Electrical Engineers are usually high voltage items. Power lines for example. While Electronics Engineers work on devices, etc.
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Re: Change to a Career that matters

Postby WindShadow » Thu Oct 03, 2019 12:52 pm

Elaine Glimme wrote:I did have a fantastic job. I was a hazardous materials specialist, and I responded to chemical emergencies, helped businesses comply with regulations, and nailed hazardous waste dumpers.

WIndshadow, your wish made me think of a man who used to live next door to me. He was a computer programmer, and when I knew him, he worked as an independent contractor. He would accept a project, go to the job site - wherever that was- and fix or create whatever his client wanted. Then he'd come back home, and either take another assignment or take a break. He had a great reputation, which is why he never had a problem finding work. Years ago when the Denver airport went down, he got the system up and running. I don't think he did it single-handed, but maybe he did. Anyway, I wonder if something like that would work for you.

Good luck.

Square Peg, I watched the video. I too liked Star Trek.


Thank you. - I had started out like that long before I owned a home, had a family and before the internet was broadband :shock: ... there wasn't enough work. But yes, miscellaneous work can be interesting.
>>>Square Peg, we could probably be friends since we can relate.
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Re: Change to a Career that matters

Postby SquarePeg » Thu Oct 03, 2019 7:07 pm

WindShadow wrote:Electrical Engineers are usually high voltage items. Power lines for example. While Electronics Engineers work on devices, etc.
Yes, and even today, if you want to go to school to be an Electronics Engineer, you'll need a degree in Electrical Engineering. There still is no degree in Electronics Engineering AFAIK. I know you know that, but I write it for Elaine's sake, in case she's collecting research for another story. ;)
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Re: Change to a Career that matters

Postby SquarePeg » Thu Oct 03, 2019 7:29 pm

WindShadow wrote: >>>Square Peg, we could probably be friends since we can relate.
Yes, I suppose. I definitely can relate to your wish. So how do you feel about it so far?

It just occurred to me that my job matters, even if the career is a bit insignificant.

The job matters for the usual reasons, such as the ones you mentioned: job security & support family.

But in my case, there's something more. The small company I work for was acquired by a much larger company that fired 30% on day one. (And that company was acquired 11 months later.) On that day, I found myself suddenly as the one with the most seniority. My peer was put in charge of the business -- a serious responsibility.

He and I are working hard to keep the little division profitable so that the "higher ups" don't close the division to save a few beans. So my job matters to all the folks I work with who want to keep working there.

So my homework for you is to think about this: To whom does your current job matter?
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Re: Change to a Career that matters

Postby Elaine Glimme » Thu Oct 03, 2019 9:18 pm

Thanks for the electronics/electrical info. It's something that may come in handy some day.

Re your comment about does your job matter - in some way, almost every job matters. If you mop floors in the phone company building for a living, you are helping the people in the building who are keeping the phones working and some of the phone calls will save people's lives. The only exception I can think of is a job involving greenmail, selling drugs, or doing something that causes damage rather than assistance to the world.
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Re: Change to a Career that matters

Postby Write2Live » Tue Oct 29, 2019 3:43 pm

I used to work in libraries and I think, if you put word out, that you could tutor kids with your skills in the library settings. Tutors come into libraries all the time. It's better than having them come to your home. Some ways to put the word out, would be to contact the local schools to ask them to announce tutoring help to any students who need what you offer, or if there are community bulletin boards or facebook for the schools. And word of mouth is great. Best of luck to you.
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