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Electrical Engineer: Job Satisfaction, Location, and Family Life

  1. Jan 16, 2014 #1

    I'm looking into getting an electrical engineering degree. I understand that there is a very wide variety of electrical engineers, located all over the world, but my questions are a little more specific. I noticed there's a demand for electrical engineers in Texas and surrounding states, and anywhere there's an oil field. My questions are mainly directed towards people who work in those areas. Would you say you're happy doing what you do? Do you usually work long hours or is it like a 9-5? Are you able to go on vacations annually? Do you have to relocate or travel often because of your career?

    I am married with no children (which will never happen, if science doesn't fail me), and just concerned that my potential career may cause extra stress on my marital life.

    Thank you for any feedback!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 21, 2014 #2


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    I think it is probably quite rare to meet many engineers that work 9 to 5. There is just too much work to be done! When I was in industry the work varied from 70 hours or more a week max during a deadline crunch down to 40 or 45 hours during a rest period. Typically we worked between 50 and 60 hours a week.

    Depending on your specialty in EE (which can range from chip design to building lighting design to machine maintenance!) you may have to relocate. I'm an Analog chip designer and I have worked in Southern California, North Carolina, and Northern California. You have to move to where you can get a job.

    Overall my quality of life is very high! I take vacations often (not during deadline crunches) and am very happy.
  4. Jan 21, 2014 #3
    Most engineering work is project oriented. This means you have a fixed period of time, a deliverable, and then a transition time to new projects. Like any professional endeavor, there will be times when you put in extra work and there will be times when things are quiet. However, in more than 30 years of work experience, I have never known any strictly 9-5 engineers.

    In fact, this goes for all professionals, not just engineers. The experience related by analogdesign is typical, though some places may have less stress and overtime than others.

    The staff engineer jobs that are strictly 9-5 are usually such dull work that you probably wouldn't want to do it anyway.

    If this is the sort of thing that causes stress in your relationship, then you don't have much of a relationship. I say this as someone who has been married for 17 years and has three children. There WILL be stress. And if there is any commitment to the relationship, you will get through it. Working through a crunch is okay as long as there are also times when things are slack so that you can recover.
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