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Topic Title: Finding a direction I can bring passion to...
Topic Summary: Career Guidance
Created On: 18 February 2014 02:58 AM
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 18 February 2014 02:58 AM
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Posts: 1
Joined: 18 February 2014

Hi all,

Firstly, I'd like to thank any advisers in advance who go to the trouble of reading this and detailing their thoughts to me. I know it sounds cheesy, but I have no second guesses about how busy you all probably are so if you decide to give me a hand with this - muchas gracias!

To give you an overview of where I am: about 2-3 years ago, I graduated from Loughboro Uni with a 2.1 in Engineering Physics and following that, got an MPhil (basic research degree) in Applied Physics. Despite being bright eyed and bushy tailed upon graduation (as always with grads before the real world kicks in! Haha), I still wasn't entirely sure what I wanted to do with my life. I decided at that point that a career in Engineering would be best suited

Since then I have had two jobs that haven't worked out as well as I'd hoped - the first in mechanical design and the second in quality (in a manufacturing setting). Both have lasted around 7/8 months time (both being on a probationary basis, I haven't had an official contract to date). I lost the last one about a fortnight ago. I feel the root-cause of this more than anything has been a lack of passion for the industry that I have experienced to date. Though I am certainly capable as an engineer and always worked-hard in my roles, I have a hard time picturing myself doing it long-term and building a happy and fulfilling career out of it. I feel that at this stage, it is so important to push-forward in the right direction before I jump into another job out of necessity and do more harm than good to my career (that's a big worry of mine at the mo).

The advice that I've usually seen is to choose a direction that suits your personality, as opposed to trying to make your personality suit your direction. As an individual I am quite open, progressive-minded and enjoy exploring new ideas and concepts. Although money is important to me, it's certainly not the root of my motivation; I feel that if I am doing something I enjoy and am passionate about, then money will come as a natural by-product of my success. I guess I just want to do something long-term that has depth, meaning and adds a dash of real value to the world. But I'm not sure where to find this within engineering (or how possible it truly is)?

For this reason, I've been doing a fair amount of reading into sustainable business and 'b-corps' within the UK - it seems like something I could develop genuine passion for - but it's in a completely different direction it seems. The issue for me it seems would be finding an entry point, I've had no experience within anything of this sort and competition in this market is typically stiff. Do any of you fine folks have any advice with regards to embarking on something like this? Are there any structured programs out there through which you can 'get your foot in the door', or am I thinking too 'inside-the-box' here?

Aside from that, I truly am stuck for ideas at the moment! I've had a read through some of the other threads on here but unfortunately am not really seeing any suggestions that I feel apply to myself and could 'tick the right boxes.' Based off of what I have written here, could any of you suggest some areas for me to research and look into more? I'm more than happy to put the research and background reading in if you guys are happy to throw a few suggestions at me!

Any help I can get in this would be highly appreciated on my part!


Ryan (27)
 18 February 2014 01:27 PM
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Joined: 10 October 2007

You have studied Physics and then worked in mechanical design and quality and you have based your opinions on that; however there seems to be a little bit of a mismatch between your study and the jobs you have had. Oh and I do appreciate that in a world where you cannot get your ideal because there are not so many jobs about sometimes you need to take what you can get and/or else you need to try different things to find out what you do like. For some people it's easy, they know what they want from early on whereas others either do not find out until later or else simply like variety. So basically do not go thinking you are alone in your dilemma!

You did a research degree to quite a high level, MPhil is one year short of a PhD, as you know. In your research you need to be objective amongst other things, I suggest to keep that objectivity in your search for work, you have learned something of value so ensure you apply it.

Did your studies 'float your boat' or did you just drift into them? If they were your passion then of course you need to find work which gives you an outlet related to your study, maybe you will not find that work quickly in which case of course gain other work experience and earn a salary and see that as part of the journey towards what you want to eventually find. If however the studies did not really float your boat but of course you completed them anyway then I suggest another approach. Go back and have a chat with your parents and ask them what they saw as the theme of your childhood and teenage years, and I do not mean listening to music, getting drunk and chasing the ladies, because you will need to join the Rolling Stones to take that as a career. As a child you were able to do most anything; was your theme to always go outward bounds and walking, did you like cook a lot, were you always stuck with your head in a book, did you mostly like to build things, etc., etc. Were you actually passionate about anything as a child/teenager, apart from the booze, music and ladies of course? Within that of course I include your school years and maybe there were subjects which floated your boat. If you want to be a Physicist then I think you need a PhD to have a fair chance or else you need to get a job as a research assistant and work your way up; I tend to feel however you will be in competition with the PhD holders and there are quite a lot more of them nowadays.

If through all your growing up to date nothing at all has thus far floated your boat then you are going to just have to try different things until you find something that does and not get too despondent if you find a few things along the way you do not much enjoy. Every thing you find you do not much enjoy is also a positive if we learn/earn from it. However, I would also suggest you look back objectively at why your last two opportunities did not work out and learn from that.

Good luck.

 21 February 2014 01:53 PM
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Joined: 02 November 2012

dont think that the things you have done in mechanical etc is what mechanical is all about, for my apprenticeship i worked on cranes mainly to do a lot with control of motors, load cells, encoders PLC automation etc i spent a year in the same company and then moved to the steelworks where i did similar work but on older cranes so different types of control. Since then i have moved companies again to a graduate scheme but have found the things i used to work on are classed as instruments here.... yet i have never worked on instrument loops or flows or pressures in such as fluids etc so i wouldnt be suited to an instrument job. I am electrical but have more of an interest in automation (dont mix this up with process). however my current job seems to have a wide range of electrical engineering design (not drawings design but whole systems), and anything specialized gets sub contracted out, i feel slightly in the same boat but i am willing to stick with it for now as im gaining a large amount of experience in many aspects. Even though my main interests are in automation i still like what i am doing but it will benifit me greatly as im learning new skills. Maybe get some experience in a rough feild you like if you cant get the exact and keep looking for that exact place you want to be skills ARE transferable with knowledge how to adapt.

Good luck

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