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Why does this keep happening to me?

  1. Dec 21, 2009 #1
    Right now im a Mechanical Engineering student(3rd year of a 5 year program) and it seems that each time i get amped up for my career possibilities, i then come home and get down because i keep asking myself have i made the right decision, am i gonna be miserable??? Like my other posts, it seems like im interested in Civil Engineering but im downright scared of that profession right now, there is no job security and there's just so much instability involving it. Im a witness of how civil engineering has been tored down into pieces, my dad who's a 20 year man as a construction engineer has been unemployed for almost two year now with no signs of getting back into the field as he's now gone with a different career path.

    Why do i worry so much about this??? there's various topics in Mech Eng. that im interested like energy conversion, energy efficiency, hvac, building systems, renewables etc. the list goes. But then i get down thinking what if i had the chance to be a City Engineer or something and be involved in some satisfying large scale project.

    I started school as an EE student, then i was in the decision between Civil/Mech Engineering and looked at the economic situation i decided Mech avoiding Civil even though im interested. The Civil Engineering academic counselor suggested that i do a double major as the school permits it now.

    It seems like i make posts here asking about different career choices not being civil engineering that relate to it so i can satisfy my little personal itch.

    Any suggestions are welcome, i know engineering is for me really i love the courses but i keep having a mind war about this to be honest. Sometimes i think of going to a shrink. My friends already think im crazy and have no idea what i want in life.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 21, 2009 #2
    I feel like drowning myself in beer seriously. Im at a point that im about to lose my mind.
  4. Dec 21, 2009 #3
  5. Dec 21, 2009 #4


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    Science Advisor

    Perhaps one can be proactive and become a student member of ASCE and/or ASME International.

    I'd strongly recommend visiting their sites and browsing just to see what opportunities are available.

    American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) - www.asce.org

    ASME International - www.asme.org

    For undergrad students - http://www.asme.org/Communities/Students/Undergrad/


    http://files.asme.org/asmeorg/About/13917.pdf [Broken]

    Believe me, there are lots of opportunities out there.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  6. Dec 21, 2009 #5
    My grandma's been a CE (structural) for almost 30 years now and her job's pretty stable, but she has a gov't job. A lot of the job market has to do with which sector you end up in, and there are lots of public CE jobs. Licensing is another important thing to keep in mind, as it also provides a level of security (and is basically a must in CE) 'cause you can always go off and do consultant work on private construction once you're licensed.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2009
  7. Dec 21, 2009 #6
    Where i live, the civil engineering is so bad that even people with doctoral degrees are struggling to find any type of projects at all. A structural engineer from MIT who's a friend of my dads had to close his office as he was a consultant.
  8. Dec 21, 2009 #7
    Wanna move? I'm in a big city where there's almost always construction of some sort, including big public infrastructure projects.

    Just kidding, kind of. If you're not bound by money and time, take the double major and maybe you'll luck out and the economy will rebound by the time you're out. If you've gotta get out, get licensed as an ME and maybe you can end up in CEish type work anyway.

    You're also in a totally different hiring position from phds and your dad 'cause you're a lot cheaper than they are, having no experience, licensing, or any of those other things companies have to pay for. Look and see if there are entry level positions floating around.
  9. Dec 21, 2009 #8
    in terms of money im covered for 10 years if i decide to stay in school for a second major because of my grades, so it would be an issue of time really. It's traditionally a five year program here, i would finish both degrees close to 7 total years, could be less if i take summers instead of getting real world experience.

    What are my chances of becoming a City Engineer or just simply a municipal engineer or some sort, it seems like all positions are covered for a long long time and it's a "political" position as well.
  10. Dec 21, 2009 #9
    Just throwing this out there. If i specialize say in Fluids within my Mechanical Engineering major and then specialize in Water Engineering within Civil, would that solidify my chances to find a job that would value a double major??? or taking the HVAC/Plumbing root in ME and then specializing in Construction within Civil.

    Seems like interesting aspects.
  11. Dec 21, 2009 #10
    Eek, too long for bachelors. Wanna do a masters in CE? Can you?

    Can you get internships? From what I've been hearing, seems like a lot of the people I know are getting hired straight off those.

    edit your post instead of double posting.

    Talk to professors, recruiters at job fairs, and anyone you can find in industry and find out. They usually are up front about what they want to see in new hires.
  12. Dec 21, 2009 #11
    if i a confine myself, i could do it in 6 years. An extra year from the "normal" five year program.

    I was offered an intership but it was in the energy industry, nothing related to civil engineering.

    Also about a Masters in CE instead, how will it affect my chances on how others view me or take me serious?
  13. Dec 21, 2009 #12


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    First of all, if you're going to get all worked up over something, make sure it's over some real numbers and not just a perception. Obviously your father going through some tough times is aclear and ever-present example of instability in employment in that field. But what is the actual unemployment rate for that profession and how much different is it from the global average?

    Second, everyone faces a little uncertainty in the job market. The days where you signed on and the company took care of you and your family until you were cold in the grave are gone. Your best bet is to continuously upgrade your skills, keep sharp and learn how to market yourself. When you are employed, make sure you devote a certain fraction of your earnings into savings in the event you lose your job.

    Third, misery and happiness are states of mind that have very little to do with the profession you decide on.
  14. Dec 21, 2009 #13
    I mean, there's some overlap from civil engineering into mechanical design that really intrigues me like heavy plant design, piping design, hvac, boilers, etc along those lines that could end up pretty satisfying.

    But then again, it's the whole construction package that amps me up from Civil. I guess i can always get a Master of Engineering in Civil.

    I think one of the reasons for engineering unemployment is the lack of multidisciplinary knowledge, they are too many speciality engineers or at least the majority of the baby boomers who don't want to retire just yet. Im not saying this is bad, If you found a niche then go for it to the fullest but then thats the problem. My dad was one who never left any other doors open for the "just in case" when times were good. One day you can be hot and the next day not.
  15. Dec 22, 2009 #14
    I find that this usually (temporarily) solves all my problems. :devil:
  16. Dec 22, 2009 #15
    I think i have some sort of bipolar disorder, I had two chances in the past month to be officially in Civil Engineering and i turned them both down.

    The first time around, i swore i was decided for MechE and then this happened, so they give me another chance to decide and chose MechE.......... Now for the third time, im having regrets....

    Why.... ****ing economy..........

    I don't know why i put so much pressure on myself, this **** depresses me.
  17. Dec 22, 2009 #16
    No offense or anything, but here are some ideas: Shut up; quit whining; realize that the rest of the Country has to deal with the same economic crisis as you; make a decision and follow it through to the end.

    You cannot foresee and plan for every little thing that might not go your way in life. Nor can we predict the future for you. Astronuc gave you some solid advice as did Choppy. Stop talking and start listening.

    Not trying to be rude, I just think someone needs to slap some sense into you :wink:
  18. Dec 22, 2009 #17
    i completely understand lol :)

    I've been searching and found some neat stuff, im gonna try to visit a construction site to see what goes through my veins.
  19. Dec 26, 2009 #18
    I would not stress out about it! I was a ME major who dropped out my junior year with a 3.4 In order to pursue a career in aviation. People told me I was foolish and you could not get a good flying job without a degree. Fast forward 15 years later and I am now a captain flying a 737, although I was hired without the degree (they said it could'nt be done), I have recently completed my Degree in Math. My point is don't worry about what everybody else is doing. Things will sort themself out. Pick your passion and DO IT!
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