After five years of running my engineering design business I have been unable to bring in enough work to keep it going this year. So I am looking for a regular job. I have about 15 years experience in mechanical product design and development, with 10 years of that in Aerospace. While I am trying not to work for Honeywell or the large Aerospace companies, I am looking for anyone who may be able to give me a line on an opening. I have heard that someone who knows someone is the best way to get in the door. Since this is my most active community that may have some local members, anything you may be able to send my way is appreciated.
You can see my portfolio and skillset on my website at http://www.hudsondesignlabs.com
Thanks in advance!
With your qualifications you should be able to write your ticket! I hope you get the dream job. Sometimes getting a regular paycheck and going home at the end of the day and away from the work IS a dream job (seen it from both sides).
Thanks! I think that my qualifications are part of the problem. Being five years on my own seems to scare employers off. Not sure why; I think I would be able to transition to a normal job pretty easily.
My dream job is to have an income I don’t have to maintain so I can develop my own projects into products. Its going to be a long road to get there.
Definitely not about lasers but this is a very good use of the forum, imo. Good luck!
My son-in-law is also a mechanical engineer who designs tower crane platforms. He did the opposite of what you are doing. He worked for a local company for about 20 years then decided to go out on his own as a separate entity which would include consulting work. He and our daughter also have a farm and an organic blueberry crop and have raised our four grandsons. He’s had a really tough time with the engineering part…some times very good, others not so good. It’s the multi-million dollar insurance premium that makes it exceptionally difficult. I know his story doesn’t do you a whit of good in your own pursuit, I just wanted to let you know that your story rings a bell close to home to me and that I wish you nothing but the very best, Ben. Please keep us updated about your quest.
I don’t know what phoenix is like, here in Boston you’d likely get tackled by the gajillion tech companies in the area when you went out to get your morning paper, and dragged off to HR and forced to sign a contract. Available engineers in Boston are like unicorns… Every startup I know is is full HR panic mode that they can’t hire enough staff…
I don’t know of anything off-hand but, I will keep my ears open.
There is a lot of stuff going on in Tempe (around ASU) and Mesa, at a range of scales. Members of the local hackers pace community, Heatsync Labs ( https://www.heatsynclabs.org/ ), are likely to have more direct connections to some of that. Consider posting something to their Google group.
There may also be placement resources at or associated with ASU Chandler Innovation Center (which is intended to be a community facility, not just for ASU students):
Not sure if any of that helps. Good luck!
I can’t post at Heatsync due to a problem with one of their members. He wants to build a perpetual motion machine and asked me to write a proposal to design it. He didn’t take it lightly when I told him it couldn’t be done. I prefer not to get involved in anything he is associated with.
I will check out the ASU site.
Don’t get discouraged if it takes a while. While there appear to be a lot of engineering jobs out there, the problem with engineering is by the time you have experience you could be pretty specialized. That’s what we find when hiring - I need someone with experience, but the company doesn’t want to pay a senior engineer salary to train him or her in a new specialty. I try to explain to management they can have a larger, underutilized department that can absorb someone leaving or taking on a new project or a fully utilized department that requires 6-9 months to onboard someone and your project will be delayed by that much. They always want option C: hire someone tomorrow who has knowledge equivalent to three years working here. Then they get mad.
That said, it’s still a good place to work.
At any rate, good luck!
Thanks! I have had interviews with four companies since March and am getting a little desperate. I had three in person interviews with a local company and they have seemingly ghosted me, the other three companies all went with a candidate who is a better fit. None of them were willing to give any feedback. So I have no idea what the actual issue is, just that every interviewer seems stuck on the fact that I work for myself now and I get the idea they think I will have trouble transitioning.
Having been in on the hiring discussions I am sometimes amazed by the logic employed in liking and not liking any particular candidate. And from people who have otherwise sound technical judgment. I’m pretty sure it’s random luck once you’re past entry-level.
On the flip side, it’s amazing how often candidates ghost us for entry-level researcher/scientist positions and the one time we tried to hire an entry level programmer.
If I may? (As someone who has been on both sides of the recruiting table.)
Knowing all the answers, or being the absolute best in your field is not always the most important thing. (They can train you, if they feel you’re worth taking a chance on.)
Being able to work with other people is the most important thing.
Being determined to finish a job is.
Being honest about your skills and your limitations is.
If you can demonstrate that you can make the other guy’s job easier, you will be hired. So do some research about what the company does, figure out where you would be a good fit, and then go in and tell that to the recruiter. Very simple. Be confident. No nervousness, just a couple of people talking.
Thank you, my consulting fee for that 10 minutes is $500.
Been there, done that.
That was a big prompt (and impetus) for me to strike out on my own and do my own thing.
It probably didn’t help that after it was painfully obvious that they had reneged on their offer, I let the owners know that it was obvious I was quite lucky, based on their actions, that I didn’t go to work for them.
Thanks! I think I hit all those points. Limitations are one of the things I mention as soon as a question is asked. I always say something along the lines of “I don’t have a specific answer because I don’t know your system/product/application in enough detail yet, but this is how I would go about that based on my current experience.” I also will tell them up front when I don’t have experience with software or specific processes, but that I am self-motivated and will do what it takes to come up to speed as quickly as possible.
One employer asked about increasing design documentation for their quality process and I told him about applying several built-in software features that they weren’t aware of, with examples of how I use technology and my experience to do exactly what they were needing.
I have designed products that are on the shelf and can be bought right now; I think that shows I can finish a job. I have these products on my portfolio.
I try to do the research before I write the cover letter and address where I think I can contribute using a short example. Unfortunately, many of these companies don’t have a lot of detailed information online that I can use, so I extrapolate when I think I can do it accurately.
I am starting to wonder if they think I am overconfident, that what I have done is somehow faked. Maybe I should stop using the NASA project as an example of what I have done in the past.
Yeah maybe. You don’t want to appear to be smarter than the person you’re working for.
If I had a way to handle the marketing and financial parts of working for myself in a way that meant I could just focus on the work to be done and not on getting new work or chasing the payment I think I would be happy to continue working on my own. I just don’t have what it takes to bring in new consulting contracts and the stress of clients not paying kills me. I am conflict adverse and I hate going after clients who don’t pay.
This company hadn’t made an offer, but also haven’t followed up with the results of the third interview. It is annoying because their interviews have always been with less than 48 hours notice and I have always been able to meet their needs. To have them just stop talking to me after all of that is discouraging.
Do you think a virtual assistant would help?
I don’t get that. If they have a need for someone who can come in and get up to speed quickly and pick up their projects and finish them, I should be on the top of the list. Doesn’t matter how smart the hiring manager is; they are hiring for a specific area and someone who is able to meet their needs in that area should be on top of the list.
I think I come across well-rounded and personable. I usually get them to laugh at least once during the interview, and try to balance what I can do and have done and how I would apply that to their published need with where I am going to need help and time to learn the system.
I think it might come back to the whole point that working for myself I am used to a level of freedom and responsibility that I would have to change. I try to address this, but I don’t know if I do it well.
A virtual assistant has been mentioned. The problem I have with that type of service is that the cost doesn’t seem to provide a benefit. I really need a marketing person and someone who can do all the books. The virtual assistant services I have found will help with the financials but I haven’t found one that is in my price range that will do marketing.