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Getting Bored of my Engineering job

  1. Sep 20, 2018 #1
    My apologies if the question is in the wrong forum or section.

    Anyway, I'm a mechanical engineer with 2 years of work experience and have just recently moved to a new company. And just like in my previous job, fatigue seems to be kicking in.

    The job is basically a mountain of documentation, people management and copying the old design with very little tweaks as specified by superior. There's very very little creative thinking that's required based on engineering knowledge and skill and because of that, I couldn't get excited about what I do. And more importantly, how am I gonna survive by doing the same thing over and over again for years to come?

    Recently I was watching this show on TV about a bakery and how the bakers come to work everyday thinking about how to make a new cake design to suit a specific customer's need or just to make a profit. That probably requires a hell of a lot more brain compared to what I'm doing, despite my expensive and 4 years of tertiary education. It's hard not to feel jealous.

    Can someone give me a list of jobs (preferably those related to STEM) that require a high level creative thinking? Thank you.
     
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  3. Sep 20, 2018 #2

    FactChecker

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    I have always been surprised by how much of the tedious Engineering work can be automated using computer scripts. It became one of my chief forms of creativity and entertainment on the job. There is a down side though. A lot of the automation work will not be appreciated by others and it can take a lot of your own time to get it working right.
     
  4. Sep 20, 2018 #3

    CWatters

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    Did you research what the job involved before accepting the new position?

    Is it a large or small company? Personally I've found smaller companies more Interesting to work for.
     
  5. Sep 20, 2018 #4

    berkeman

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    It does sound like you have ended up in a difficult position. I have to say that the word "boring" has pretty much never come up in my decades-long EE career. More like "intensely challenging almost every day" would be a good description for my experience. I think a boring day every now and then would be a nice break... :smile:

    One thing you can consider -- you can look at innovations that you think could help the company, and work on them in the background on your own time. If one of the ideas pans out and you can put together a simple prototype or demonstration, you can present it to your supervisor and management to see if they would be interested in it. During my time at Hewlett Packard, I worked on some ideas on the side and then ended up teaming up with another creative engineer there to propose a novel graphics tablet design to management. It was an order of magnitude cheaper to make than the existing design (which was done at a different HP division), and had similar accuracy. The product idea was accepted, HP patented it, and we did the full product design at our division. It was a really fun and challenging product to work on, and generated a nice buzz in our division.

    And if it looks like even that path may not work for you, it may be time soon to look for another position. Be sure that you update your resume to explicitly state that you are looking for challenging positions in product design and development. Good luck. :smile:
     
  6. Sep 20, 2018 #5

    anorlunda

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    Yes, it does sound like you and your current job are a poor match.

    A list doesn't seem practical. I suggest local networking instead. Talk to other engineers in your area. With luck, then can suggest more challenging jobs close to where you live.

    How are your software skills? If good, then you could follow @FactChecker 's suggestion. Become an independent consultant and contract with your former employer to automate those boring tasks you used to do. Combine a skill you have with special domain knowledge you also have (namely, what your former job requires). In other words, you crave creativity; then use your creativity to create a new job for yourself.
     
  7. Sep 26, 2018 #6
    How are you at working with your hands? Using tools? Algorithms and logic? There are a TON of opportunities out there in the industrial sector where you get to solve new and complex problems each and every day. Unfortunately, when it comes to general OEM and machine design, there is a lot of rinse and repeat involved. Lots of tedious work.

    Doing custom work for existing facilities always brings a different set of challenges and problems to solve. Sounds like you need some excitement.
     
  8. Sep 27, 2018 #7

    jrmichler

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    Fatigue is a result of boredom. Boredom is a result of a job that is too easy. And you will not survive an entire career of doing what you are doing now. The cure is to find a different job, not a similar job in another company.

    My first job was in plant engineering. It was a great job where I used something from every single engineering class I had taken. But after nine years, I realized that I had done everything I was ever going to do in that field. I spent a year thinking about what to do next, quit after ten years, and started an engineering business. I tried a couple things that did not work out, and ended up selling a machine that I had invented a few years earlier. I found out that I had no interest in owning a business, but it was fun telling people that I was paying royalties to my ex employer to use my own patent. So I went to grad school.
     
  9. Sep 27, 2018 #8

    FactChecker

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    There is always a trade-off between work that is too easy and boring versus work where impossible promises have been made and ridiculous work hours are required. And many jobs go from one extreme in one month to the other a few months later. I don't know if there are jobs with the perfect amount of interesting work without too much stress.
     
  10. Sep 27, 2018 #9
    Do you think there are things that you can do/learn in your current company that you think is/could be interesting, and that is related to your field?
     
  11. Sep 28, 2018 #10

    vela

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    With only two years of experience, you're still early in your career. You often don't get to do the fun stuff until you've gotten more experience and proved yourself to management and your co-workers.

    Have you talked to your manager about how you feel about your duties? A good manager isn't just concerned with what's best for the company but also wants to help employees with their careers.

    It could also be that engineering just isn't a good fit for you. In contrast to @berkeman, I quickly found electrical engineering to be dull. It was interesting when I was learning new stuff, but I found doing the actual work pretty tedious. I saw the light and went into physics.
     
  12. Sep 29, 2018 #11
    @vela that is fantastic advice. It isn't just electrical engineering that gets tedious. All aspects of the field have some really tedious points from getting the design on paper, to a build and install. I think you are missing out on the rewarding aspect of the profession. I built a medium-sized winery this summer. Of course laying out all of the electrical for the facility, and doing all the controls and monitoring for the process was very tedious, but I was out there yesterday and the owner was showing off his system to his family, and that was really rewarding, knowing that I took this customer's idea and turned it into a system that works and meets his needs makes me feel really good, and all that time I was forcing myself to do the boring part was worth it. It was also boring following around more experienced guys and watching them work. It was six months before I got my hands in anything when I started.

    I equate engineering to jumping down the rabbit hole. When you look at something that is seemingly simple and start laying it out, it almost never is. You get one thing lined out and realize something else needs figured out. I agree that you should first speak to your manager and let him know you find your position monotonous and would like to be more involved in the design process.
     
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