Thursday, January 13, 2005

Decisions, Decisions!

"Job" vs "Career". I sometimes wonder what this means exactly.

I figure a job is something you just do to earn money, and don't really care about.

A career is something you really want to do in life.

I took engineering, and then subsequently electrical engineering, because it's seemed the "logical" choice. I'm good at math, science, have a bit of creative flair, am interesting in physics/electronics/computer junk. It wasn't really a calling so to speak. Then again, I know of few people for who it was.

But now after 3 years of it and working in the auto industry, I find there's not a great deal of real "engineering" in Windsor.

Let me clarify. The engineering I want to do is design / research. That is, building or designing something and making it work. The Chief Operating Engineer at the Ford Powerhouse told me that one time, that would be an engineer's goal. His biggest achievement was getting the plant running after it had almost crashed ("operating engineer").

The engineering done at the Big 3 (at least from my experience at Ford) in Windsor (namely manufacturing) is what I would call "patch" or "maintenance"or "project" or "Management" engineering. Something small isn't working, figure out something you can purchase to fix it. Fix some logic in some PLC code. You might help design the overall part of a project, but mostly just the financial and purchashing stuff; the actual technical work is done by contractors. The one engineer I knew at Ford, who actually did engineering work when he was first there, designing the cold testing process, is now stuck doing bug testing with little or no support from the company. He'll soon move to bigger and brighter places.

Sure, there are some smaller companies in Windsor that do a bit of design work for Ford/Chrysler/GM, but you get about half the pay. Hrmm. I'm not all about money, but I'd like to live comfortably. I guess working at one of these companies would be good experience.

So I guess the question I should ask myself is, where should I work? There seems to be little opportunity in Windsor, the place I've lived my whole life, where all my friends and familiy are, and in one way I would like to stay. But another part of me wants to move away.

Anyways, my plan:

1 Look for potential jobs in this region (Windsor - Toronto) over the next 8 months.
2) If I don't find a job of interest, take a Master's of Engineering (already applied), take that (min 1 year), work on a design project, then ?

People tell me I'd be suited to be a professor or something. As much as the idea intrigues me, that's another 3 years or so after a Master's. I kinda want to get my life started, my own place, etc. I dunno.

I hate pondering stuff, but since this is a relatively important decision in my life ( "career"), I guess it doens't hurt.

Ah fuck it I already can't wait to chillax by the lake in May. :)


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