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I am pondering lately about the course of my career, and maybe some of you can provide different perspectives that might help me making thought-out decisions.
Background: 40 y/o. I graduated in mechanical engineering in 2010, and I’ve been working for a big German car manufacturer since five years (I made military service and an apprenticeship before I started studying engineering with 25).
Currently my annual salary is around 70.000€ pre-tax (circa 75.000 US$ equivalent). Which is more than enough for me at the moment (live a minimalistic lifestyle).
Frankly speaking, it is not a very stressful job. It is rather easy-going. I never have to make over-hours and my boss is more like a friend than a superior. I get appreciated for my work (from both superiors and co-workers) and even get regular bonuses. I also have a high job security.
Despite all this, this job lacks several satisfactory elements. I love engineering, but in the last couple of years, I’ve started developing a kind of loathing for the corporate world, more precisely the structures and social-dynamics in big companies.
Recently I watched a Joe Rogan podcast with Duncan Trussell, where they briefly raise a topic about “Bullshit jobs” (“Bullshit jobs” means in essence unnecessary jobs that don’t contribute anything of value for the company you are working for, and, if they vanished, it would not make much of a difference).
I got slightly amused about this podcast, because I got the impression they talk in parts about my past and my current employments. I am likewise not convinced my job is 100% necessary for the world, though not entirely a BS-job. I seldom do some cool engineering stuff, most of the time I attend meetings, supervise the suppliers, write scores of emails, do tedious managements chores etc. (I did some cool engineering stuff a couple of years ago in another companies, but it was paid poorly and I had no job security).
There seems to be an inevitable spiritual price to pay for all the benefits that come along with these jobs.
Not to mention further disadvantages that come within the territory of engineering. The city where my employer is located, you’ll find almost entirely engineering companies, suppliers, and technical consulting businesses. That means in actual fact, decent looking women are virtually non-existent (I could make a walk to a mall or a supermarket next to my employer, and there is absolutely nothing worth approaching even when I loaf there for an entire day).
I’ve circumvented this problem somehow - my residence is 100 km away in a city with 500.000 inhabitants, which means on the flip-side three hours of commuting every day.
Most of my co-workers live a very traditional life with marriage and kids, many of them had built or are building houses somewhere in the nearby countryside. None of them is interested in e.g. meeting new women, go out, or try something different in their career (except climbing the career-ladder).
Especially that kind of self-improvement journey I am doing right now would alienate most of them if I talked about it (there are also a lot of nerdy and/or overweight people in engineering of course, which never had much business with women or have ambitions other than being accomplished with tech stuff).
So, what could be solutions to feel more fulfilled in my professional life (making more money is not the main goal)?
1. I talked with my boss about feeling not really satisfied with my actual work, and fortunately I got a new assignment (scheduled until 2020) with at least some technical content (which is very good).
2. I made a first try with a blog and an internet business, hopefully with some monetizing potential in one or two years. I enjoy writing articles and experiment with all the technical gimmicks in wordpress. I also enjoy programming. Perhaps a tentative first step towards self-employment (I could immigrate to Slovakia and build a business, since I know the culture and language well).
3. Change of employer could also be an option. I did this a couple of times after graduation (between 2010 and 2014). But I doubt I can get hold of a job with that big paycheck AND that degree of job security (the latter is more important). I got fired a couple of times at the beginning of my career, and that sucked.
Of course, I don’t expect a forum to make decisions for me. But as mentioned: maybe you can propose additional ideas and perspectives, since many of you are self-employed.
If you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room.
I know exactly how you feel. I came to the realization that all jobs are BS jobs. Unless you work for yourself where you actually see the fruits of your labor.
Let me ask you something, what would you do if money was not an issue? Would you write? Sing? Act? Play the guitar? Ride horses? What?
Apart of me wants to say fuck everything and do what you want to do. Fuck the money, fuck society. You're already a minimalist. Quit your job and work 3-days a week in a grocery store just to make enough income and follow your passion/interests. There are no rules to life. You can do anything you want. The real question is: "What do you want?".
Once you figure that out, do you have the courage to follow your heart?
1. Is it possible to work from home? Maybe arrange only going into the office 1-2 a week.
2. You can find work in countries all around the world with your degree, so really think big about your options.
3. You currently make a GREAT income. You could really take advantage of that. What if you really lived conservative for 1-2 years and could save up $30,000+? you could transition that into self employment or just take a 2 year vacation around the world.
You have tons of options so make BIG goals to go after.
@Cilindric, I had the following take-aways from what you wrote:
1) It sounds like you're not being sufficiently intellectually stimulated with your current job / tasks at job. BUT, it sounds like that may have been alleviated by talking to your boss with the new assignment coming up.
2) More crucially, you're not happy with where you are living: the area near your work is too techy / sausage-fest. There's a big city 90 minute drive away: too far away to go to every day. But it sounds do-able on weekends.
Regarding self-employment + programming: have you looked into cryptocurrency trading / development? I've dabbled in building trading bots and it's been fun (only tantalizingly lucrative so far).
Thanks for the videos, especially the second was very interesting.
I try to answer your first question. Maybe you happened to read parts of my log in the members-only section. I was on a four months unpaid vacation in Slovakia this spring (“sabbatical”), with the endorsement of my boss.
My daily routine there was in the main: 3h gym, 3h language learning, go on dates/do activities with friends/cold-approach (weekend: nightlife), rest of the day: write on my blog or reading books.
Because I've always sucked with girls, I wanted to fix that issue immediately (and indeed I got laid with a girl 12 years younger than me from social circle, and eventually I came home with a new girlfriend – never in a million years I would have found such a girl in Germany).
Now, if I had the whole day at my disposal for one year at a stretch (and money would be not an issue, currently it is not), I would travel through Eastern Europe and absorb as much of the culture as I can (my mother’s ancestors are from Poland and Ukraine). Probably that would make me happy.
Yes, it is possible to work from home at least one day a week, though they basically don’t want you to work from home too often (argument is: the pay high rents for the buildings so you have to be present there; they also want you to socialize with your co-workers). Meetings and supervising sub-contractors/suppliers also demand your presence most of the time.
I sold my car last year. Sold a lot of useless stuff on amazon marketplace etc. also. Own not very much presently. My savings are some 50.000€ or slightly more right now. I travelled a lot the last two years, and spent much (that is the reason they aren’t higher).
Admittedly, “intellectual stimulation” is a somehow double-edged sword for me. There are indeed days when I am glad about the fact that my job is not too demanding. Easy-earned money, in other words.
In the long run it is of course not satisfying when you are just another paper-pusher who pretends to make an important job (anecdote: when I have too much time on my hands I program little language learning tools in VBA. So when a superior happens to look over my shoulder it always looks like I’m a hard-working employee though what I am actually doing has nothing to do with my actual tasks).
I never heard about cryptocurrency trading, but it sounds interesting. I will try to gather mor informations about it.
If you're the smartest person in the room, you're in the wrong room.
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