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  #1  
Old September 10th, 2015, 03:09 PM
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Unhappy Career change

I typically don't ask for advise or thoughts outside of Rover repairs but what the hell...

I recently moved up in ranks from an engineer (15 years) to engineering management and I'm finding the transition difficult. Yes, more $$$, but more headaches too.
I thought it would be better for my family, less travel, more flexible schedule, but I do not get the sense of accomplishment I did when I was doing engineering work.
I have a masters of science in engineering and have been technical my whole career. I have very little management experience. Managing people problems is so much different than managing technical problems.
I guess I could just work on my Defender to get my technical fix...lol

Any of you gone through this?
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  #2  
Old September 10th, 2015, 03:26 PM
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People suck, and you can't fix them with a torch.

I got laid off yesterday, company politics.

Have offers, gonna chill for a while and mull it over.

Best career advice I recieved is to lay it on paper, map out future pros and cons.
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  #3  
Old September 10th, 2015, 03:33 PM
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I have.

In my experience it all boils down to the company culture and who your boss is.

Are you a first line manager? Are you in a matrixed org? Are you a program manager or a functional one?

What exactly is the problem? Besides simply "managing people is tough". Do you have organizational objectives that you need to meet? Unless you're working for some tiny startup, it is inconceivable that the problems you are facing are unique.

Think about this for a second: You're not the first manager in existence. In this way, management of people is no different from any engineering problem you have ever faced.

Now, if "managing people is tough" is just a euphemism for "I hate my job"...well...that's a different problem.
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  #4  
Old September 10th, 2015, 04:00 PM
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I love managing, it's writing performance reviews that's exhausting. I don't have to deal with crap like in-fighting among employees, so if that's what you're referring to, then that sucks...but that's babysitting, not managing. In those cases it's usually a single caustic individual as opposed to multiple people not getting along with one another.
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  #5  
Old September 10th, 2015, 04:05 PM
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I have been asked several times to become a manager. I've said no thanks each time. There is a lot to be said to being a worker bee.
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  #6  
Old September 10th, 2015, 04:07 PM
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I manage engineers for a living. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
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  #7  
Old September 10th, 2015, 05:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by javelinadave View Post
I have been asked several times to become a manager. I've said no thanks each time. There is a lot to be said to being a worker bee.
You would miss the big heavy' anyway dave if you were stuck behind a desk!!
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  #8  
Old September 10th, 2015, 05:51 PM
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I was in management for 36 years. Don't under estimate the benefits of more money. Yes, more headaches, I had about 400 people with 15 direct reports. I would let them write their own performance reviews. They are better at pointing out their own weaknesses then I was. I have managed sales people, industrial engineers human resources and loss prevention, but spent most of my time in operations. When I felt the need to put hands on I took the opportunity to get on the front line and train a new hire. I found training a lot of fun. The people would get a kick out of me coming down from my office in my suit and getting my hands dirty. While management has some draw backs, I would do it all over again.
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  #9  
Old September 10th, 2015, 05:52 PM
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I like my lathe and my mill too, sometimes I mess around with the Inventor or Autocad mechanical. But this is only for taking breath for the next teaching week. Teaching managers how to get their scills up to date might be a challenge for me. But not for managers if you know what I would like to type.
Shakespeare brought it down to the bottom line: You should know the difference between hammer and anvil!
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  #10  
Old September 10th, 2015, 06:01 PM
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Went through similar time line, engineer in the construction industry moving up the ranks quickly- felt like my natural environment. Building high rises, flying forms, a floor a week- miss it lots. But, the managing multiple projects all over the country, traveling, etc, etc and of course managing people. Got sick of it, took a 6 month sabbatical, drove and camped all across the country, making list of pros and cons. Finally decided to do something more worthwhile and opposite brain, with gobs of down time. Ended up going into nursing before committing to med school. Loved the ER, and played there for 18 years. Then ended up building Rovers, and still do some cardiac rehab part time teaching. My wife and I did w/e nights, got paid double to do so, and dove the islands M-F most weeks- before kids.

Tough decisions, but lots of options. Think it through and determine what you really hate about engineering, and what you want in a career you don't have currently. The answer will come... Good luck!!
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  #11  
Old September 10th, 2015, 06:04 PM
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My father was an engineer with Pratt & Whitney at some point he moved into management and was completely miserable. I think I was in middle school at the time and remember it well. He then transferred back what he was doing before and finished out his 30+ years with P & W. At the end of the day he was just not cut out to be a manager of people - and knew it.


So you too have to sit down with yourself, take a hard look and figure out your highest value to the company.
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  #12  
Old September 10th, 2015, 07:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rovertrader View Post
Went through similar time line, engineer in the construction industry moving up the ranks quickly- felt like my natural environment. Building high rises, flying forms, a floor a week- miss it lots. Ended up going into nursing before committing to med school. Loved the ER, and played there for 18 years. Then ended up building Rovers, and still do some cardiac rehab part time teaching!!
An engineer turned CEM that got bored and became an ER Doc that builds Rovers in his spare time? Holy crap! Is this you??? ;-)
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  #13  
Old September 10th, 2015, 07:30 PM
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While not engineering, I have had a similar experience.
Started in 2001 at the bottom of the ladder in public works. Easily got promoted in the minimum 3 years to Maintenance II. Two years later I was promoted over someone senior to myself to Waterworks Operator. Did that for 8 years until my boss retired suddenly in May 2014. It took me about 2.5 months of kind of doing the job anyway to decide if I wanted it. I took over as Utility Supervisor at the end of July 2014.

It wasn't all about pay for me, though that was nice. At the time I was 35 years old and had been doing hard labor for 13 years. Watermain breaks on Christmas Eve, being On Call 24-7 for snow plowing from November till March was getting really old. I had to think about my future and what was best for my body and my family. Did I really want to be pulling 32 hours mainbreak/plowing shifts when I was 50??
By taking the Supervisor job I was no longer REQUIRED to plow snow. I usually can if I want to but don't have to. I can take off anytime I want. Because I'm not in the Union anymore I really can't work watermain breaks, so no all nighters. I won't be killing my body for another 15-20 years. Getting this management experience will help if I want to take on a similar job somewhere that doesn't suck like IL. I can spend Holidays with my family. I'm taking two weeks in November to go to Disney and visit family in Georgia, something that never would have been possible before. The bump in pay has allowed my wife to stay with our 3 kids this year, WITHOUT watching other kids for money, for the first time ever. She can focus on their homeschooling and is a lot less stressed. That last one has really been great.

But its not been all rainbows and unicorns either. I had to get over my fear of leaving the Union into an unprotected position. In February I had to come back from a weekend trip to the Bayfield Ice Caves because we had a giant watermain break dumping straight into a storm pipe we couldn't find. Trying to keep pressure in the system resulted in about 7 other mains popping. Our fire department just caused 6 main breaks simultaneously last week. Sometimes I get system alarms at 3 in thw morning and I'm checking the water system on my iPad or phone way more than I probably should. I also have to deal directly with other management, some of whom are a royal pain. I have boat loads more paperwork. I don't get into the field as much anymore and do the things I was REALLY good at. But the biggest headache is the employees, my former coworkers. Somebody is always butthurt, or injured, or won't do their job. I just want to slap them and tell them to act like adults, LOL.

I sat down and wrote out the Pros/Cons, discussed it with my wife and friends, and also prayed about the decision.

If the ONLY benefit you're receiving is more pay and you don't need it then you should probably reconsider if the position is what you really want. GOOD LUCK!
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  #14  
Old September 10th, 2015, 08:19 PM
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You should stick it out. Machiavelli said it is better to be feared than loved. As a manager, you should be both.
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  #15  
Old September 10th, 2015, 09:14 PM
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Congrats on your advancement. This would not have occurred unless your company knew you had what it takes. Engineers are wired to be self starters and problem solvers. Give an engineer a task and the full picture of how their efforts contribute to the project/client, your management role just got a whole lot easier. Idle engineers are not happy ones. Don't compartmentalize the work, micromanage, or limit their exposure to the client else the good engineers will soon be looking elsewhere. Okay to build 'your' team though increasing responsibility of the keepers. Else attrition can be okay. Good people make for a good team = growth and more prosperous life for you and company. Isn't that what it's all about?
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  #16  
Old September 10th, 2015, 09:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evilfij View Post
You should stick it out. Machiavelli said it is better to be feared than loved. As a manager, you should be both.

http://youtu.be/kmd-GqU_LGA
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  #17  
Old September 10th, 2015, 10:41 PM
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Originally Posted by D90Overkill View Post
An engineer turned CEM that got bored and became an ER Doc that builds Rovers in his spare time? Holy crap! Is this you??? ;-)
Not a Doc, enjoyed the Pt contact, and stayed at RN. Certainly not for everyone, but no regrets for me. Hard to put value on Pts remembering you several years later and having made a difference in their lives...
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  #18  
Old September 10th, 2015, 10:44 PM
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I manage engineers as well. Not easy. My advice - if the corp culture can handle it - is empower the employees to own the outcome. Will eliminate the complaints and employee issues. Read a book called "scrum" by Jeff Sutherland. The techniques he advocates will empower your team and eliminate the management headaches. The hard part will be those who resist the change need to go. Some short term pain for long term success. Empowering your people, along with your street cred as an engineer yourself, will lead to success.
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  #19  
Old September 10th, 2015, 10:46 PM
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Toughest bit bring on that first rung is getting pressed by managers to meet their needs and having to get those under you to do their bit.
If it's not for you can you go back
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  #20  
Old September 11th, 2015, 12:10 AM
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No real substantive advice from me since I'm an institutionalized guy, but having worked multiple interagency gigs and seeing other cultures aside from the USMC has given a perspective that is worth sharing:

Objects are managed, people are led.

If you refer to yourself as a manager vice a leader than it is very difficult to find satisfaction or be more than just a conduit for the company. I can't speak to the challenges any of you guys face in balancing the need for productivity and the like, my job doesn't really work like that-but what I do know is that people crave leadership (and typically resent being managed). It would seem many of you have to strike a balance in a corporate environment, but if I had to lean one way it would be toward leading subordinates, i.e. the stuff Scott was talking about empowering those below you.

Just some food for thought from a dude that makes zero widgits, just leads Marines.
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