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Cousin_Eddie (Forum Supporter)
Cousin_Eddie (Forum Supporter) Dork
9/23/23 3:59 p.m.

This topic is certainly taking a turn.

DarkMonohue Dork
9/23/23 4:00 p.m.
Scotty Con Queso said:

I've complained before about how my industry, civil engineering consulting, has gone down the absolute tubes in my 15 years of employment. People are leaving in droves. Turnover is 100%, pay is lower than ever thanks to inflation, and clients have had so much control over the years that now everything is due with low budgets and extremely quick deadlines continuing the cycle.

I don't think I've had a job over a 5 or 6. I can't leave this industry fast enough. 

Have you considered a move? I've never done civil, but have worked with them on construction projects (typically institutional and municipal) from the MEP side, and at least in this part of the country (PNW), they don't generally give off the impression of being miserable.

Let me know if you are interested in some contacts.

Scotty Con Queso
Scotty Con Queso UltraDork
9/23/23 6:34 p.m.

In reply to DarkMonohue :

Appreciate. I'm leaning towards a specialty geotechnical contractor but will either be staying here in Pittsburgh or heading to Florida. 

Scotty Con Queso
Scotty Con Queso UltraDork
9/23/23 6:36 p.m.

In reply to Cousin_Eddie (Forum Supporter) :

Sorry for poo pooing on this thread. I really try not to do that but it's a topic I'm pretty amped up about right now. 

OHSCrifle UberDork
9/23/23 6:43 p.m.
Scotty Con Queso said:

In reply to DarkMonohue :

Appreciate. I'm leaning towards a specialty geotechnical contractor but will either be staying here in Pittsburgh or heading to Florida. 

Geotech work sounds like a great idea. A lot of trained civil engineers that I know work for various trades and general contractors - doing all sorts of things from managing projects to doing precise layout in the field. Seems pretty interesting.

I definitely sympathize with your description. Many design professions seem intent on participating in a race to the bottom. I've been working on the design of high rise office buildings since 2008. That specialty obviously has hit the brakes hard. I recently entered the world of airport renovation design work and aside from the huge bureaucracy it seems pretty fascinating. 

OHSCrifle UberDork
9/23/23 6:44 p.m.
yupididit said:

In reply to OHSCrifle :

Yeah and when genZ'ers said they didnt want a car, to pay for college, get married in their 20, have kids, or buy a house etc etc they get called lazy and unmotivated. I agree that the previous generations were taught that those things are what success looks like. We have to change that outlook for future Americans. 

Most definitely 

VolvoHeretic Dork
9/23/23 9:26 p.m.

It sucks and than it sucks more.

AAZCD-Jon (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD-Jon (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
9/24/23 12:05 a.m.

21 years in the military, 4 in the USCG and the rest in the Army. I'd rate it as an 8. Most of the stuff that really sucked when it was happening made the best memories looking back.

Almost 2 years at an interim job working part time at a small water district doing whatever needed done; clearing clogged sewer, replacing fire hydrants, installing residential meters, digging up the road with a brand new Case 580 Super M. Pay was low, but it was fun. I felt like I was playing most of the time and enjoyed the small town and four people I worked with. I needed low stress after finishing a high stress job in the Army. I'll give it an 8.

Air Ambulance work for two companies over more than 15 years. I've seen enough to know that my workplace is better than many. There's no interpersonal drama, our equipment is good and well maintained, and I've had very good management except for a fairly short period that ended when I changed companies. Currently a 9 and I expect that at some point I'll feel that I'm getting too old to keep doing it rather than wanting to retire.

pres589 (djronnebaum)
pres589 (djronnebaum) UltimaDork
9/24/23 12:48 a.m.

In reply to AAZCD-Jon (Forum Supporter) :

Curious what birds you flew/fly at the ambulance gigs.

AAZCD-Jon (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD-Jon (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
9/24/23 8:17 a.m.

In reply to pres589 (djronnebaum) :

A variety of AS350s and Bell 407s.  In the Army I flew UH-1H (for a short time) and UH-60 A/L.

A note about my current job - Everyone I work with wants to do what they are supposed to do and is very good at it. Because of that we are essentially unsupervised. Management provides us with what we need to do the job and leaves us to do it within their guidelines.

9/24/23 10:00 a.m.

It'll be hard to do this one without directly naming things.

Job 1: Paramedic, Long Distance Medical Transport out of BFE Nebraska. Paid $15.00/hr, worked 96 hours/week in an "on call" position and only because the station manager lied to me about the details and context of the job. I wasn't suicidal at the end of it, but at 20 years old working out of a strange town with no friends and no capacity to work on hobbies or do much of anything while at work, I was rapidly transformed into something browbeaten- especially when I'd drive 4 hours home and go straight to class with only 1 true day "off" a week. After the manager refused to reduce my hours and an epiphany I had while sitting at a starbucks, I realized that I didn't have to take any of that E36 M3 and put in my 2 weeks after 5 months of torture; nobody at the station talked to me once I did so, and I've never spoken to a single person there since. Moments from that company included it forcing me to take a transport in finals and failing me from one of my classes, refusing all requests for time off, threatening my job almost weekly, 20+ hour medical transports, and forcing an EMT to drive across the state on his own dime to give driver's classes after he crashed a rig JUST so he keep his job. Spying from cameras from the head office was constant. 2/10, I'd almost give it a 1 but it didn't succeed in killing me.

Job 2: Paramedic, now for a startup in my hometown as well as 911 in rural communities. Took a pay cut to $14.00/hr which didn't change the entire 2 years I worked there. I have stories for years about this company, because it was literally the Bizzaro version of the first- they'd take the "rejects" and the fired ones of that company and attempt to use them as a means to make a better one, all out of pure spite. On paper it sounded good- said earlier company had retention that was maybe 1 year on average- but it also meant we had their rejects. Worse was, that instead of overbearing management I suddenly had none- no guidance and no real manager, I can suddenly do whatever and what I did was work a 911 shift in a local small town of Auburn and a medical transport shift a week.

If you think of it, it happened. The 911 system was left out to rot because they had half the throughput the owners thought, which led us from working out of a rented house (where we'd just park the ambulance on the side of the street LMAO) to what could have been just at the local hospital; but a nurse came in clutch with her husband in the National Guard, and soon we were working out of a depot built in the 60s with no action or use for anything but police forensics since the 80s. There I got shot at by meth heads, had to tier up with volunteers across 3 counties (all of whom I didn't know), saw how goddamn weird rural America can be, and literally worked at a job that was doing something illegal like 24/7 as road cowboys. I was never even taught how to use the 911 radios properly, frequently worked on the reservations, and also operated out of a state prison. The job was like being on drugs and it was completely separate from the medical transport gig just 60 miles away.

I'll just list what happened, because if I began telling stories I'd fill the berkeleying page. Equipment was E36 M3, every squad was different and we didn't have enough 12-leads. Began thinking for myself and healing from the last job. Began to relax and feel confident for the first time. Began learning electricity from a 73 year old army electrician who was also one of the FIRST paramedics, ever. Became a manager only because bosses were badgered into it- then promptly was asked if rumors were true, and I was sleeping with my entire weekend shift. Had multiple homeless EMTs living at station, with one having her whole family live there for a short time. Had one of my EMT partners cut her finger off on the ambulance on shift, found the finger on the running boards of the rig later at the ER. Wheelchair jousting. Being known as some kind of tester for newbies, because we'd get a trainee and have E36 M3 hit the fan which made 100% of them leave. Left because the job was conquering my life to the point where my bestie made a joke about it, which caused me to have an epiphany- and because we weren't seen as being quality or professional. 4/10.

Octopharma plasma as a physician substitute: Imagine if a post-apocalypse cult that bows before corporate guidelines suddenly had a clan of paramedics descend upon them like predators. We were all fired within 4 months for "insubordination", but it was genuinely just a terrible place to work that had to send us all to multiple cities hundreds of miles away JUST to train us all properly. 2/10.

2nd Paramedic job in town: $16.00/hr, now back to the first company after it's prior owner was removed and it sold off repeatedly. We'd go through station managers at a rate of 1 every 3-4 months. Equipment was far better and standards were much higher, but I was uncomfortably back into "wierdoes from corporate are here again" and having management that couldn't decide if they wanted to lead or just pretend to be smart. I kept becoming a better manager in response to lacking leadership even without the title, which led to my downfall- corporate took as I was unionizing the facility (which eventually yeah, but not at first!) which was pushed by moments like us discovering our "Safety officer" was at our station because he sexually assaulted a female coworker at another facility. We didn't trust corporate to keep him in line, so we did what a lot of people just talk about instead. Got fired because a regional manager was demoted to station manager, whom to look tough fired me along with 12 other Paramedics/EMTs- which promptly put the entire metro area into a tailspin because they could no longer maintain contracts. He was fired, and I was offered by job back 3 months later by the aforementioned safety officer whom I told I would only take it if I was made a manager instead. They later had personnel suicides during COVID. Not rating/10.

Current ICU: Hired for cardiac technologist rapidly after prior job. Started at $17.00, rapidly went up to $22.00 before now becoming an RN at $36+. Been here 5-6 years. Has had ups and downs, worst was 4-5/10 when my schedule was basically dictated by another worker who refused to change their schedule (which not only pressed me into nights, but also kept them from getting other cardiac techs on days) but currently is far higher with the only issues largely being that I don't share interests or hobbies with most of my coworkers. Tele tech era I could do homework while at work, which made full time college/Full time work possible. Hospital has a bad habit of loading new responsibilities onto C-suite and supervisors. Weathered COVID very well despite our ICU Focus being on respiratory care- largely because we were so aggressive about who could visit, masking, and limitations- but that also got me a lot of threats and attempts at violence. Current CEO appears to be extremely effective and I have high hopes, which is good because I've outlived quite a few. 8/10 right now.

The_Jed PowerDork
9/24/23 10:54 a.m.

   I've had a LOT of jobs so I'll omit the ones I had when I was a kid and start with my first "grown up" job that payed enough for me to actually live.

   Diesel Mechanic in St. Louis, MO:

   I worked for a large nation-wide trucking fleet starting in '01. The supervisors and managers were megalomaniac turds and it was at-will employment so there was a high turnover rate. After 3 years or so I (along with a handful of my co-workers) was turned over. The pay was not bad for a 21 year old with no kids and $500/month rent. I was clawing my way out of poverty and living in a depressed area so I thought it was amazing money and I actually cried on my way home after being fired because I thought that was my one shot to make a decent wage. I didn't really enjoy the work and it was stressful with them always wanting more done in the same amount of time, or even less time. 3/10

   Diesel Mechanic in Brownstown/Vernon, IL:

   I worked for a small, mom and pop trucking company starting in '05. I was desperate for work and took this job when I was promised all sorts of E36 M3 that didn't happen. It was a fledgling company and I figured, and was told, that I could start in the shop fixing the trucks and trailers until we could hire some new mechanics that I would train, then I could move into a different, more lucrative role. Initially it was myself and one other guy that I trained. Then we hired a few guys but none of them stayed. Then we hired another guy and things seemed to be working out as promised. After a year or so I spoke with the owners and was told that now was not a good time, I had to stay in the shop just a little longer. Then one day while taking a break with one of the guys I'd trained he started complaining about money and said, "We're working our asses off for $500 a week!". I remember staring at him for several moments and slowly chewing my food. I remained silent. We had agreed to work for a salary, not an hourly wage. No matter how many hours we worked our salary stayed the same. We usually worked 70-80 hours per week. The big issue was, that $500 per week that he was bitching about, this guy that had been hired about six months after me that had no diesel experience, that I had trained, was $200 more per week than I was being paid. At this point I also had a pregnant girlfriend to provide for. I found the other guy that I had trained and been working with and asked him how much he was being paid. $500 per week, just like the other guy. Apparently they couldn't get anybody to stay with $300 per week and a bunch of lies. Anybody except gullible old me, that is. So, armed with this new information I had a chat with the owners in their office the next day and told them in no uncertain terms that they would pay me $200 for every week that I had worked there or their fleet of trucks would go from 20 to zero. They paid me and I left. No notice. The berkeleyers are lucky I didn't destroy the trucks and burn their shop down. -10/10

Edit to add:

It had slipped my mind previously but, a little parting gift from MK Hansen Trucking in Vernon Illinois arrived the January after I left and moved North to Pekin; a 1099 tax form. Apparently the pittance that I was paid was untaxed so I got a nice little, final long-distance berkeleyening. Looking back I can't believe I let myself get walked on like that.   

...to be continued...  

...okay, continuing...

   Diesel Mechanic Tremont, IL:

   After that debacle I was once again in desperate need of a job so, when dropping off applications wasn't yielding the results I needed, I simply walked into a random shop and asked if they were looking for a mechanic in late '06. They knew I was desperate so I was once again working for peanuts, hourly peanuts this time but, still peanuts. It was more work that I did not enjoy but, other than being severely under paid, it wasn't too bad. 3/10

   CNC Machinist Pekin, IL:

   I was finally able to break away from the impoverished mechanic cycle and, after taking an entrance exam and scoring VERY well, particularly in the math section, I entered the machinist training program at Excel Foundry and Machine in early '07. It was also a $2 per hour raise from my last job and I pretty much immediately started working 12-hour shifts so, we were finally making some financial progress. Which was a good thing because there was a second child on the way. I really REALLY enjoyed the work and most of the people but, one very dishonest manager started bringing in his buddies that couldn't run convential machines, couldn't write programs and could barely read micrometers and calling them machinists so he could start them at $20 per hour. (Non-union shop) After five years there I was at $18.90 per hour (with the shift differential), writing programs (long hand, no software), making tooling and fixtures and I had been crosstrained on dozens of machines so I could hop on any machine they had in the shop and run it 100% independently. I butted heads with this manager when, after several weeks of training, one of his buddies was still scrapping parts and crashing the machine. I had trained several other CNC operators and helped them become machinist but, for some reason, it wasn't sticking with this guy... it was almost like he'd never run a lathe or a mill before. I discussed this with the trainee, my supervisor, then the manager. He was not happy. My trainee's 90 day review was approaching as was my bi-annual review. Instead of my direct supervisor handling the duties as per usual the manager decided to take the reigns. The trainee got a $1 raise and I got $0.00. I went straight to my HR administrator (along with many other employees who had been wronged by this manager), explained the entire situation, gave them my two-week notice. The manager was canned shortly after I left. 7/10

   CNC operator Peoria, IL:

   I started at Komatsu in early '12 and for the first time in my life my hourly wage began with a 2. I went from being a one-man-show at Excel Foundry and Machine as far as machining goes to being nothing more than a parts-swapping, button-pushing operator at Komatsu. This was my first experience working for a really big company. I was bored but very well paid and the benefits were better than I could have dreamed thanks to the collective bargaining power of the Boilermakers Local 158. Management wasn't bad, the work was quite easy, and it was a clean working environment. This was the first place I had worked that offered a pension along with a 401k. I was looking forward to putting in 30 years then retiring and living the easy life. I was laid off in the spring of '13. berkeley me then, I guess. 7/10 for the job and 0/10 for the layoff.

   The summer of '13 was spent applying for jobs, collecting unemployment and fishing with the kids. That last part made it the best summer ever!!

   Journeyman Maintenance Machinist Peoria, IL:

   I took a lengthy written test followed by a hands-on test and earned my Journeyman Classification for Keystone Steel and Wire in late '13. I thought I was a good machinist at Excel Foundry and Machine and I was but, apparently that was a small pond. Keystone was a very big pond... the ocean. These guys were MACHINISTS! For about the first year or so I was convinced that I wasn't good enough. I would come home panicked, telling my wife that I wasn't sure I was good enough to keep the job. This job was VERY challenging and I learned a LOT but, I also worked a LOT of overtime. I missed out on a lot of firsts with my kids. This was also the first job where I made more than $80,000 in a year. Up until then, I think somewhere in the mid 50's was the most I'd ever made. Awesome job... until they were bought out in January of '19.  8/10

   Correctional Officer Canton, IL:

   I left Keystone in January of '20 and became a C.O. for about 2 1/2 years. There's a ton of bullE36 M3 that comes with this job and not necessarily from the direction that you would expect. During the last six months or so I would get fighting mad almost daily and I had to put my hands on people on more than one occasion. 1/10 do not recommend.

   Machinery Repairman/Maintenance Machinist Mapleton, IL

   I left prison and entered Caterpillar. This is my current job and I love it. It combines the best aspects of Excel and Keystone and I'm making a wage I never thought I would achieve. 10/10, definitely recommend!

Beer Baron
Beer Baron MegaDork
9/24/23 12:39 p.m.

Brewmaster at a small craft brewery and (sort of) Distillery - bounces between 9/10 and 6/10

I love my job.

...but love makes things personal and makes the frustrations and disappointments weighty.

Most things are great. The work I do is fulfilling, my coworkers are great people, I have lots of schedule flexibility, and the pay is decent - especially for the flexibility I have.

But the owner is mostly checked out. He almost never comes in except for like a weekly managers meeting. He doesn't lead, support, or guide. He likes to talk about great things we *could* do, but won't make anything happen. So things kind of languish a lot of the time.

This means I often have *less* work to do than I would like. I wish I had could be busier, and see the positive effects from that work. That's when it becomes 6/10

But the grass is always greener. It's a lot better than being run down doing busy work that does not have any appreciable positive effects.

jr02518 HalfDork
9/24/23 1:30 p.m.

I graduated from college in December of 1982 with a BS in Management.  I spent months looking for work.  Went back to the restaurant business, had to start as a bus boy.  Very humbling.  But is was a start.  Three years later was married and making $1000 a week as a waiter, living in Carmel Valley.

For life style reasons we moved to Southern California and I landed my first job working at an aero space firm, 1987,  working in the Purchasing Department. No, I am not an engineer but I can read blue prints and I can see in three dimensions.  Not all engineers can visualize how their designs work in harmony in a system.  

After three years trying to fix how the government buys things, I realized that a bad day in sales is better than a good day in purchasing.  Of corse this is just in time for the down turn in the second half of 1990.

I got my start in the Financial Services world working for a large New York firm, thank you Snoopy, and their have been a number added to my learning curve.  But it has been 30 plus years.  I really enjoy my vocation.  I takes time to get up and running, spectator failures are part of the learning curve. But it is worth it.

Today I am almost 65. The happiest people I know stay alive doing what they don't call work.  I like that.







Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito UltimaDork
9/24/23 4:29 p.m.

Ok, I'll play. 

Job 1: Paperboy 3/10
Inherited a paper route at age 10 from my neighbor who moved away. When it started, it was a good way to get money as a kid, but things quickly changed. My route doubled in size due to a new McMansion subdivision going in the neighborhood. They had to split my route up, and I took the McMansion side of things thinking I'd have an easier time collecting money from the "rich people". Boy, I was wrong; constantly chasing these people to pay me for the papers was exhausting with no support from the route managers. 6 days a week, in all weather, and it was a grind. 

Job 2: Grocery Store Clerk/Assistant Manager 6/10
Ditched the paper route job to work at a small grocery store in-town at age 15. Started off stocking shelves, and worked there for 5 years and rose to being an assistant manager in my department. Affluent people shopped there, and many of the customers could be awful (because retail is hell) but the coworkers were lots of fun. Had some good times working there and witnessed some crazy stuff, like the time when two old ladies were complaining so much about the store that one of them got so worked up that she dropped dead on the spot, and another time when I caught two scammers dropping grapes and slipping on them to sue the store for falling on their "unsafe floors". Had to make a statement to the company lawyers and everything. All that said, learned a lot of good life lessons there, both from my coworkers and observing people's behavior. I quit when they wouldn't give me the day off to attend my grandmother's funeral; they thought I was making it up. 

Job 3: Parts Runner/Inventory Specialist, Chevy/Hyundai Dealer 7/10
Only worked here for a few months, but it was fun. Basically, the parts department was under new management, as the old guy got canned for running some scheme with a GM regional rep that he would accept dead inventory for "perks" like going on cruises and other bonuses. I was there to help damage out and clean up inventory. Also picked orders for the counters. The place was huge, and I used to find all sorts of insane NOS stuff, like an entire pallet of woodgrain Caprice radios, oil filter conversion kits for early SBC's, and even a set of NOS 3rd gen Camaro T-tops. The front and rear counter guys were all characters, and some of them were pretty great to me. Then there were the times when the GM regional rep would show up and she would go into my boss's office for hours and all we heard was smashing around and giggling. Yikes!

Job 4: Delivery Driver for Landscape Supply Company 6/10
My dad convinced me to quit the dealer and go work for him for the summer. It was a significant pay increase, which was nice. Working with my dad was really weird; seeing him be "himself" outside of the house led to me butting heads with him a bit, but ultimately, we had fun. Definitely some characters that we dealt with there. Driving for deliveries was great, because I could just cruise around in his brand new company truck in the A/C and listen to music. 

Job 5: Parts Guy/Assistant Sales Manager/Delivery Guy/Commercial Sales, Autozone 5/10
After working with my dad for a summer, I needed something part time that was more flexible. Instead of going back to the dealer, I got a job at Autozone. I can write a long account of my time here, as it was good and hellish at the same time, but I'll keep it simple. Made some lifelong friends there while learning about how terrible humans can act toward each other and how soul-sucking a corporation can be to their workers. I worked a few different jobs there and was glad to leave after I graduated college. 

Job 6: Portfolio Accountant/Auditor 5/10
Left Autozone to work at my 1st corporate job at a big financial company. It was the mid-00's, and it was sort of a backwater office. If you've ever watched The Office, it was close to that. Lots of people just out of college, and the inmates were running the asylum. I worked my way to a promotion, but found myself getting demoted when one of my employees spent 6 months in jail in another state and I had to cover for them. Then, they announced they were closing that building in a cost-cutting measure, so I found another job in the same company and moved to a different office.

Job 7: Class Action Specialist 3/10
Same financial company, worse job, even though the subject matter was interesting. Interpreted legal class action cases and filed claims on behalf of clients. Management was awful, and aside from one guy on my team, everyone else was horrible. Lots of really weird crap from my coworkers prying into my personal affairs, and no matter what I said to HR, they sided with them. Mostly kept my head down and learned data analysis while trying to shield myself from the coworker BS. When it was time for me to move on, I tried to stay within the company, only to be told after a few interviews that management put me on an exempt list from being able to transfer out of the team, because only 10 people in the entire 20k+ employee company knew how to do what we did. That didn't sit right with me, so I started to look at a career change. 

Job 8: IT Engineer/Admin/Manager 8/10
Friend had an in at a small government contractor doing data analysis, so I saw the opportunity to leave the corporate hellhole and jumped to this place. I showed up to the office and there was a stack of laptops sitting on my desk. Apparently, they needed someone to set them up, so I stupidly did with zero IT experience. I had plenty of cybersecurity experience from the financial job, and lots of experience crunching data and writing policy, so it was a natural fit. Ended up being the hardware guy while learning admin stuff. The company grew exponentially and I eventually moved into a full Admin role, and then a manager role. Company is good to work for, and you control your own destiny here. Coworkers are mostly great and I get to partner with executive leadership most of the time on huge mountain-moving projects that are rewarding. 

Honorable Mention: Freelance Writer 10/10
I love writing, and documenting my hobbies is fun. Problem lately has been having the time to do it. I've done some really cool stuff with the writing gigs over the years, and need to find some time to keep that going. Met a lot of interesting people, made friends with people I looked up to as heroes, and had a blast so far. 

Doubleoh9 New Reader
9/25/23 11:48 a.m.

I'll talk about my three automotive jobs at least,

I started at the parts store ( Advance auto parts specifically ) as a basic counter guy and by the time I left 2 years later I was backup/2nd commercial guy and keyholder. It was a fun job most of the time and great for an early 20-somethings guy. It would completely dependent  on location and co-workers if it was a good job or not. We didn't have too much shoplifting or meth-heads at my store but at the store across town it was completely different. I'd give it a 4/10 because the pay wasn't great but the discount on parts was nice and the job usually didn't suck. 

After the parts store I went to the parts department of the big Ford dealer in the same big suburb as the parts store. It's a completely different world (at least money wise) from a parts store. Ford is pretty annoying how the do some of the parts, like discontinuing most anything electrical or interior after around 10 years, or sending out tons of recall letters before they have any of the parts available. That particular dealer was very sales focused so parts and service lost money to sales usually. They also loved to overstaff and then lay people off so being the low man on the seniority totem pole I was laid off after a year. I'd give it 6/10 because it was a good job with sucky ownership. 

After that I went to the parts department of the Ford/Lincoln dealer in the affluent suburb of Nashville. This is by far the best job I've had and I've been here 5 years so far. We have a ton of service business and probably a 65/35 warranty/customer pay split and they do a good job of keeping the departments from stepping on each other. It usually isn't a money issue selling jobs here as much of a timeframe issue. All the managers here are good and will usually deal with the shiny happy people themselves instead of making the employees deal with them. I'd give it an 8/10.

Toyman! MegaDork
9/25/23 1:19 p.m.

In my first full-time job, I worked in a warehouse for a construction company. I was fixing tools or counting supplies. I ended up in charge of inventory for the entire company for 100s of crews spread all over the southeast. It was terrible. Lots of time on the road. Crappy hotels, always on the run, followed by endless paperwork.  2/10.

Warehouse being a dead-end job, after a couple of years I transferred to a construction crew digging duct bank at the Charleston Ports Authority. The first two weeks of that job were spent hanging on to a 90# jackhammer but I stuck it out and ended up that job running a backhoe and front-end loader. I'll give it a 7/10. I learned a lot and I really enjoyed running equipment. 

Another transfer within the company and I started on a service crew in the commercial electrical division. It wasn't terrible but it got old quickly. We always ended up with the E36 M3 jobs with no materials so I moved on. Give that one a 5/10. 

From there I went out on a regular commercial/industrial electrical crew. Lots of different bosses over the years. Lots of different types of work. Some of it was 2/10, some of it was 9/10 but overall it was mostly a 4-5/10. If it was hot, I was hot. If it was cold, I was cold. Doing the same work day after day was slowing killing me so I quit and got out of construction. 

For 12 years, I worked at a hobby shop. It was by far my favorite job from a work standpoint. Being retail it didn't pay anything. I would still give that one a 10/10 and if I could have afforded it and been able to buy the owner out, I would have stayed there. Alas, that was not to be. 

From there I answered an ad for an automatic door installer for a regional company. Easily got that job and worked it for 1.5 years before I left for more money. That one was an 8/10. Not too hard, not too boring, and a lot better pay than I was getting. 

I left there for more money and got a job as a service tech for a multinational. While the pay was excellent, the corporate BS made that job unbearable. I was busting my hump to bring in business and customers and the office staff was driving them away. They treated their employees like numbers. It was a constant battle to make sure you were paid for the hours you worked. In the end, I had to call the labor board on them to get them to stop their shenanigans.  That job was a solid 1/10 solely due to the work environment and the E36 M3ty way the company operated. So, I quit. Again.

And became self-employed. The boss is still an shiny happy person but he's consistent and everyone knows where they stand. The pay is better. The company culture is pretty good as well. All in I'd say this one is a 1/10 some days and a 10/10 others.

Today? Today was Monday. There are always fires to be extinguished on Mondays. Let's give it a 5/10 and leave it at that. Tuesdays are usually much better. wink

93EXCivic MegaDork
9/27/23 6:05 p.m.

First job post college: A mining safety system. Smaller company. 6. Honestly I enjoyed it mostly and I learned a lot. It got me started. What sucked was getting laid off and idiot upper management.

Second job: Starter up working on magnets. 4. The work was super interesting but my boss was a dick, never got a raise and worked way to many hours and it burned me out super bad. Company ran out of money and I was laid off

Third job: Smaller company under multinational corporation. 5. Great manager and great people to work with but the work got super boring and I just felt like I didn't have enough to do. Started getting worried about the finances of the company and left

Fourth job: Automotive OEM. 7 or 8. I quite like it and it has been a great job so far. Fairly interesting work. Good boss. Not overworked. Good benefits.

GCrites Dork
9/28/23 10:48 p.m.

In order

Teen farmhand: 2. I hated this but lived on a farm and everybody in the business wants to make sure you do it especially if they know you're going to own a farm one day, which I do (but thought I'd get out of). Didn't do it long since there actually wasn't much to do since we don't own our own equipment or have livestock.

Supermarket worker: 3. Not bad work but too many nights and weekends. Crap pay of course.

Loading semis: 1. Just awful. Terrible hours. Too physical. Too hot/cold. Lonely. Of course the hourly pay was elevated for the time.

Filter factory: 3. Filters don't weigh much and the equipment can't hurt you too badly unlike other factories. Didn't like coworkers. Nights. Boring.

Graduate research assistant/web design/student teaching in the Finance Division: 10. This job was incredible. Tasks I could easily handle, was good at it, great bosses, met lots of girls. Only cons: can't do it forever, too far from home.

Radio DJ: 8. Got to share my favorite music to the world, fun, easy. Everyone knew who I was once I told them. Impressed women. Cons: didn't get paid, nights. Would go back if it wasn't about money -- which for me it isn't always luckily. Concurrent with Graduate assistant.

Economic development research assistant: 10. Amazing co-workers, worked in Downtown D.C., met so many cool people. Good at it. Cons: too far from home, high rent.

Investment advisor: 4. High status, decent amount of time spent in the office, in home city. Cons: not outgoing enough for the job by far, criticism from clients, too much driving, weird appointment times, rejection, had to be pushy.

Stagehand for conventions and trade shows: 2. Terrible hours, too physical, didn't like the work, didn't like half of co-workers.

Carpet warehouse worker: 2. Yes, this list is chronological. It is now 2007 and I'm still in my 20s and poorly networked at home. Since I wasn't established yet, 2007-2008 is a baseball bat to the face. Low pay because of budget cuts and you didn't have to pay people barely anything in the late 2000s.

Video game store clerk: 5. Yes it's still 2008 and the financial sector isn't hiring anyone but of course the video game industry is on fire since the economy is bad (which always happens). 90% of customers suck, 10% are really cool. Interesting but also depressing product. Nights, weekends and low pay because every male under 30 wants to work there very badly. They also all apply since it's 2008.

Hobby shop R/C tech: 6. Get to work with stuff I actually care about. Hours aren't bad. Make extra cash soldering and fixing broken R/C cars. Cool conversations with some customers. Cons: Many customers don't understand the difference between hobby-grade cars such as Associated and Losi and toys like Tycos and Nikkos. We were full-line so I had to spend a bunch of time figuring out things I didn't know anything about like Magic cards and Warhammer. Chinese cars hitting the market and getting grilled about them when there was little information and parts support for them at first.

Game store chain owner: 4. Just like working at the video game store except worse. Yes I got to do high-level tasks such as business strategy, site selection and negotiate leases but as video games start going to digital distrubution I had to add a bunch of products I didn't know/care about to stay afloat. Customers still mostly terrible. Lots of junkies demanding money for garbage. Pay super inconsistent -- sometimes I made 6 figures, other times low 20s.

Farm manager/elder care: 7. Every day is different. Sort of like retirement (I'm only 44). Pay is whatever I want within reason when full-time if crop prices aren't too low. Tons of free time. Independent decision-making. Cons: super lonely and isolating. Frustration over weather. Parent doesn't understand seemingly basic concepts since spouse did all the thinking before passing away. Concurrent with game store chain owner for 10 years until last year which totally sucked at the time.


GameboyRMH MegaDork
10/20/23 9:02 p.m.

I made a spreadsheet with all the data from people who posted multiple job ratings, jobs where the rating changed or varied were made into a mean average, and out of range ratings were put on the appropriate end of the scale:

Just under half (9 of 20) have a median score of 5.5 or higher - glad to see this, when I started this thread I was worried it might be under 1/10th or something.

The median rating range of those people is 5, just slightly below the overall median range. So there doesn't seem to be a strong trend of enjoyable jobs begetting enjoyable jobs or vice-versa.

If I had fancier tools and more stats knowledge I'd like to do things like distribution analysis and entropy testing.

GCrites Dork
10/20/23 9:30 p.m.

So this means people's work lives are just as likely to get worse as they are to get better. No wonder people distrust work.

buzzboy UltraDork
10/21/23 10:31 p.m.

I grew up in my parents surf shop. I wouldn't call it work, but I randomly helped out and pretty much lived there for 18 years. Also had my own lawnmower/weedwacker that I put to good use working summers from 14-18.

During summers in college I worked as a waiter in a touristy surf-n-turn joint. Usually made $100-150 cash nightly. Waiting table sucks. The boss is scatterbrained and changed his mind often. Some years the team worked well together and other years it didn't. I learned a lot about cooking! People on vacation are often cool, but sometimes really suck. I had waitmares for years after  quitting. I liked that I could wake up and surf until 3pm every day. Also the restaurant (still) is next to my parents house.

Took a part time job at a "sports themed family restaurant" (totally not a sports bar wink wink) as a bus/run/expo because I didn't want to wait tables again. This restaurant seats 400. They transitioned me from bus to expo which was a switch from tips to hourly. I asked for more hours and they hired another guy to take some of mine. The coworkers were cool but 2 out of 3 managers sucked. Watched my manager take a smoke break while I was swamped and he didn't understand why I was pissed  off when he came back in to "help" me.

Went back to the previous surf-n-turf for a few months to make some real money. For 3 months I was working 5 lunches and 3 dinners each week. I was pulling $900 cash weekly. At lunch I hosted/served/bussed/bartended all by myself for 50-100 patrons. Stressful but nice to not have the crazy boss around.

Worked for a month painting houses. Easy job working four tens. Worked with an ex GF(we were cool) and a friend. They let me do the upper floors because I like heights. Boss was young, and an idiot, but it was some sort of college internship position so hopefully he got better.

Living in my college town post-grad I ended up working in a surfshop. I was well experienced from my childhood. This shop moved location so I spent the first month doing construction work. I learned a lot as the boss was an ex General Contractor. The new location of the store was very poor for business as they had moved further from the beach and the college. We didn't do much business so I spent a lot of time doing body weight exercises. Lost 15lbs and got much stronger in the 8 months I worked there. I got 40hrs at $8.25 which was enough to live but not to save. While bored at work I sent out ~40 cold resumes and cover letters.

Worked for 4 months at a surveying company. Mostly manual labor as an entry level but they started me at $14.50 and we worked 50 hours weekly and I got insurance! I learned at lot there. I got in with the team doing as-builts for the DOT which was a lot of surveying parking lots and intersections. Kinda boring. But we also got to survey lots and stake out houses and other stuff that was much more interesting and stimulating. The work atmosphere was really toxic. Lots  of guys trying to show off how much they loved the company and putting the company above their families and regular lives. Guys milking the clock while whining about nothing getting done because everybody else is milking the clock. The job let me mentally zoom out looking at the town I was living in(wilmington NC) and realize that it wasn't the town for me. I hated how it was growing at an unsustainable rate.

Left the college town to get away from the town/job/GF and moved to Tahoe on a whim to be a ski/snowboard instructor. My childhood dream job. I get to teach my favorite sports. I have happy people wanting to learn from me. My direct supervisors are genuine and helpful. My coworkers have all come to Tahoe to share our love of skiing/snowboarding with the public. I'm up to $24/hour 35 hours per week, overtime possible over holidays, incentives, good tips and a very well laid out system of raises. I don't like the corporate part of the business or what big corporations are doing to skiing, but that doesn't affect the job itself. And I'm on snow about 100 days per year!

In the summers between ski seasons I work for my family's surf shop. I work full time retail which is super easy and can be fun. I also work 15-20 hours per week repairing surfboards. Repairs can be very different so I get a lot of new and fun things each week. Lots of very unique problem solving situations. The work is sporadic, but it's only my side gig so that's okay. And it's my family's business so one day it will likely be mine.

NY Nick
NY Nick Dork
10/22/23 9:55 a.m.
GCrites said:

So this means people's work lives are just as likely to get worse as they are to get better. No wonder people distrust work.

I suspect some of this is that things generally seem better in hindsight for most people. They remember the good things and flush the bad. 

my jobs since college

part time body shop helper while in college. Paid cash everyday, also free beer at the end of the day, let me work between classes, cool guys really liked this job, it also didn't pay great. 7/10

Machine Design Engineer, Tier 1 auto parts manufacturer. Great direct co-workers, small town in SC that I liked. Pay seemed good for the time. Auto ups and downs led to layoff cycle and plant relocation. 6/10

Project Engineer OEM machine took place. Learned a ton, smart people fast pace, good pay, travel. Tons of drunk coworkers (which I was young and joined in). Same high and low layoff cycle. 7/10

Research Engineer at Duke University. I really hated this job when I started because the pace was so different to manufacturing. It grew on me and I loved the people I worked with and working in the center of campus was cool. Pat wasn't great but you had total freedom. 8/10

Machine Design Engineer. Designed awesome machines for wire and oil and gas business. Super fast paced, high pressure, very enjoyable. Some shiny happy people that shouldn't have been where they were because it was a business that grew from family owned. No bonuses, insane travel, mostly international, rarely with warning. 7/10

Ops Director for a start up. I went to one of the customers from the last job. Salary almost doubled, fast paced, built the business from 3 people to 25 which was fun. Lots of decision authority. Then new boss and went from dream job to quit this job in days. 2 years 10/10 3 months 2/10

Megacorp several jobs, all basically engineering management. This is the ultimate golden handcuffs job. They pay you just enough that leaving is really hard. Almost any comparable job is a pay cut, starting your own gig has risk and this is really stable. Tons of politics and not enough respect / understanding of the actual bits and bolts of the business. That said 40 hour weeks, very good pay, nice bonus, good benefits, good retirement. 7/10. 

AirTight New Reader
11/28/23 4:12 a.m.

I currently work as an account manager for Amazon. It's a solid 8/10 for me. I genuinely enjoy working with my colleagues – they're a great bunch, and we've never had major issues. The main challenge is dealing with clients. It's typical in any job involving client interaction, but sometimes it can be really demanding.

triumph7 HalfDork
11/28/23 10:26 a.m.

I won't bore you guys with the last 45 years of 3 to 6 level jobs because my current gig is a definite 10.

I'm working for a startup that builds autonomous boats that clean up marinas and lakes.  My job title even took a jump to VP of Fabrication and Design.  Currently, I'm the guy doing almost all the physical building but with 30 years of aviation maintenance and another 14 years working with an EET degree it's cool to get to use all my skills.  I have had input into all the design changes and usually (for now) work by myself with no micromanagement from above.  Also, we just outgrew the local university incubator and moved into our own space... which has enough extra space for me to move in with my workshop though I will be sharing some of my shop equipment.  Pay is a little low but I was given enough stock that I'll be in really good shape as the company is taking off (we're waiting to hear on a $30 mil contract!).

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