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Part-Time Engineer

  1. Nov 16, 2005 #1


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    I read down in the engineering forum that aerospace engineering takes over your life. Anybody have any encouragement for someone (ie, me) who wants to go into aerospace engineering but won't be able to handle a full-time job?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 16, 2005 #2
    You could alway teach (if you have a bachelors) at a community college or technical school part time. I don't know how fulfilling that would be overall. I know when I am done with school I will teach part time to help pay off student loans.
    I would venture to say almost any discpline of engineering will "take over" your life. I mean it is your profession it is what you are working towards. Basically it is what you WANT to do. If you want a straight 9-5 with no attachments you might want to look elsewhere.
    Just my opinion.
  4. Nov 16, 2005 #3


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    Bummer. OK... If we're not talking 9-5, what are we talking? I was so taken with the idea of engineering it just never occured to me to ask this kind of stuff; and no, teaching wouldn't be all that fulfilling, though at least I'd get to do math/physics/other such fun.
  5. Nov 16, 2005 #4
    What do you mean you won't be able to "handle" a 9-5 engineering job?
  6. Nov 16, 2005 #5
    is there a reason you dont think you would want to work 9-5....

    i figure, if you are willing to do all the hard work to get the degree, there must be some sort of passion toward it, and i fail to see why such a passion would not carry over into the work place after college etc.

    yes this is a simplified view, and i do apologise if i offend you, but i am curious...?
  7. Nov 17, 2005 #6


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    Thanks, guys.
    I do have a passion for engineering. The issue is that I want to know my kids, and when I see a post about "enginnering takes over your life," I get kind of nervous. I guess I could "handle" a full-time job, so long as it was full-time as in a 40 hour work-week, and not full-time as in 24/7.
    But I want my family to come first; I don't think it's fair to have kids knowing you won't be raising them. Which is why part-time would make my life easier.
  8. Nov 17, 2005 #7
    Well, my situation is this I am a currently in my junior year of the Electrical Engineering degree at University at Buffalo. I have a wife and kids. To succeed the time must be put in each day and certain sacrfices are made. For me I value quality family time and to insure that we get that I don't begin my studies until 8pm and usually don't finish until 2-3am. My sacrifice, sleep. When I go into the work world I know that working extended hours will be necessary. However, if you make it known ahead that you will not consistently log 50+hours a week. Your employer should respect that. If not then maybe you should look into a different employer. But it must be understood that sometimes this will take over your life.
    As engineers we must solve problems, this is just another problem.

    Just my 2 cents
  9. Nov 17, 2005 #8
    You should expect to work at least 40 hours a week, which is full-time. This is the bare minimum for a working adult, imo......If you want to develop your career into a successful one, then additional time may be required.
  10. Nov 17, 2005 #9


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    Thanks for your input; I really appreciate hearing this stuff. I guess what I'm really asking is this: After getting a couple of responses on this thread, I googled "part-time engineer" and found sites offering part-time employment. But is this incredibly rare? As in have you ever met a part-time engineer? (NOT are you one. As my roommate pointed out when I was stressing over the responses to my question: "What kind of people go on a physics website, anyway?" I answered "me" before I realized what the real answer was. Oops. Confirmed Obsessee, what can I do? Who still wants family to come first.)
    Also, I don't suppose any of you have a clue about this whole topic in Israel? Or where I could find out?
  11. Nov 17, 2005 #10
    I think a default of 40 to 45 hours a week (depending on how your employer counts lunch) is pretty close to a typical work week for a scientist or engineer employed by a company (academic work schedules are generally far more demanding). Many firms are liberalizing their child care and scheduling policies for parents, particularly those who just had a child born, depending on where you are and your ability to negotiate. A reduced schedule could probably be arranged (with appropriate scaling for compensation) while your kids are still young, although once your kids head off to school, a return to a regular 40/45 hour workweek is pretty much expected.

    Some companies actually have on-site daycare centers for kids who are too young to attend school.

    I think a lot will depend on the company. I know there's increasing discussion regarding work schedules for management level employees (where anything below 60 hours a week is considered unacceptable by some), but that's not really something that applies to someone just entering the work force.
  12. Nov 18, 2005 #11


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    I think you are in for a bit of a let down. I personally have never been employed with a part timer. The only part time engineers I have ever met were consultants with many, many years under their belt. Plain and simple, the majority of the first few years of your employment is going to be learning how a company does business and how things are done in their systems. I just can not see a company, in today's market, would be willing to hire an engineer fresh out of school, for a part time position. That would create too many headaches. The biggest problem is that, for a company to decide to hire someone, that means they have a need. That need will never be "we need an engineer, but only kind of..." If a company has come to the decision to pay an engineer, they're going to want that person there all the time. That would mean, if they hire you part time, they would need to hire someone else to cover when you are not there. Do you see where this is going?

    If this is the way that you really are certain you want to persue, perhaps your best bet is going to be with a type of temp or contract agency. I can't say one way or the other if that is even feasable. You may want to look into that.

    In regards to wanting to be with your kids more, that is admirable to say the least. However, I think you may be over reacting about working full time. If you get in the biz, you'll see two types of engineers; those that put in whatever time they need to to get the job done and those that watch the clock. The clock watchers are those that sit down at their desk at 8:59 am and are starting their car at 5:01 pm. There is room between the two extremes for most of us.
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