From Civil Engineer to…

November 27, 2012 at 5:48 pm 13 comments


With the recent recession beginning to fade further  in the rear view mirror, many civil engineering firms are struggling to find available talent.  As the economy improves and we are beginning to conduct searches in regions or specialty areas (i.e. land development) that we have distanced ourself from over the past few years, we have found that many of the civil engineering professionals we used to network with on a  regular basis have disappeared into thin air.  Not really.  But they have left the civil engineering consulting industry in order to make ends meet after being laid off.   Rather than scouring the country for available opportunities only to compete with dozens of other candidates who share their same story, they chose to do something different.  So without further ado, here are some great examples that we have unearthed from our national network of civil engineering professionals…

…they have gone from civil engineer to:

  • Middle School Science Teacher
  • Pastor
  • Youth Minister
  • Attorney
  • Leather Apparel / Accessory Manufacturer and Retailer
  • Real Estate Agent
  • Home Remodeling Contractor / Business Owner
  • Microbrewery Owner
  • Equipment Manufacturing Sales Rep
  • Civil Engineering Software Sales Rep
  • Corporate Real Estate Development

Most, if not all of these people were FORCED out of the industry and had no other options. But as a result, they uncovered new skills and a new passion for something completely different that provides food for the family, and for some, food for the soul!

I would not wish the unemployment line on anyone,
as I know it can be an extremely difficult life challenge.

Maybe they had one foot out the door anyway regarding
their level of interest in their civil engineering career, but none-the-less,
these people made lemonade out of lemons.

Please share with our readership any career transitions that you or your civil engineering peers have made as a result of being laid off. Was it worth it? Or was that transition just a stop gap until such a time that a suitable opportunity presents itself back in civil engineering? Please let us know, we would love to hear from you!

Authored by:


Matt Barcus
President, Precision Executive Search, Inc
Managing Partner, CivilEngineeringCentral.com
View Matt’s profile & connect with him on LinkedIn

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Entry filed under: Career Development, Civil Engineering, civil engineering blog, Civil Engineering Issues, Civil Engineering Jobs, Fun Stuff, The Workplace, Uncategorized. Tags: .

Civil Engineers – Yes, Even You Need a Mentor How to Make the “Age Issue” a “Non-Issue” When Searching for a New Civil Engineering Job

13 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Raul  |  March 18, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    Nice reading. I got a mix feeling about this situation. Companies are being very selective and the competition Is big. I’ve been searching for a job now 6 months and no luck. I’ve gone to career fairs and I hear other civil engineers having the same complaint as I do. Which is:”I’ve applied many places but no one calls”. and Employers response is: “yes I understand you, but you also have to understand I get like 1000 applications a day.” I’ve hear this two statements multiple times being said while waiting to talk to employers. I sure they hear the same complaints over the day and I try to take a positive approach by not mentioning that at all.
    I am about to finish a MS in structural engineering and I am already considering going to finance or IT to open my possibilities since I need to start working and being productive. I’ve been applying for entry level structural engineering positions all over the country with no luck, I’ve have also noticed that most employers want their entry level candidates with 2 years experience.

    Reply
  • 2. Kevin Johnson  |  December 13, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Interesting blog/posts. From experience, most engineers are smart and business minded. When things slow down, there is always a shuffel of nomadic engineers that seek out the major job centers where they can apply their skill set. Not everyone shuts down and closes their doors. Many companies/projects in areas that service oil & gas and mining projects often have posisions for civil engineers during a downturn. As a civil (land development engineer), it’s a tough decision to hold tight and fight out the resession when the dollars can be made “up north”, “off shore”, or anywhere but here.

    I’m optimistic that the economy is turning around, but it will take time. Land develpment in my area is still quite slow, as our community is primaraliy based on tourism. Hoping that things will pick up in the new year.

    Reply
    • 3. aepcentral  |  December 13, 2012 at 1:48 pm

      Kevin-thanks for reading and sharing your opinion. So many factors to consider – family, geography, financial, risk vs. reward, etc when people get caught in the crossfires of a layoff in determining what their next steps are going to be. Land development has been tough across entire country for the past five years, but we are beginning to see an uptick in land development searches on our end; hopefully that uptick hits your neck of the woods before too long. All the best, and again, thanks for sharing!

      Matt

      Reply
  • 4. Ray Shingler  |  December 11, 2012 at 10:07 am

    I’ve made a civil engineering video game to help get kids back into engineering. It is have great succes finaly in our school systems because of their push for STEM. The idea is we have to reach them at an earlier age.

    Check my efforts out at http://www.timeengineers.com

    Reply
  • 5. Judy  |  December 6, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    I was educated and trained as an Environmental Engineer. Now I work for the Railroad industry. If you can make it through engineering school, you can do just about anything.

    Reply
  • 6. Duoni  |  December 6, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    I can’t call myself a civil engineer yet, because I don’t have PE license. but I did graduated with civil engineering degree and got EIT. I had couple internships (one was MTA subway station in NYC 2nd Ave) before graduation, due to lower contracts, the company i interned did not need as many people as they wanted to. I had to turn away and find anything else i could find to support myself. I’m lucky enough to have a job now, but nothing civil related and I don’t see the path to go back to civil any more.

    Reply
    • 7. aepcentral  |  December 6, 2012 at 9:59 pm

      Hey Duoni – thanks for sharing, and I feel your frustration. If civil engineering is your passion do not give up hope. Over the past six months we have seen an uptick in opportunties within the civil engineering profession and more and more opportunities are surfacing. Keep your head up and keep doing all you can to stay involved in the civil engineering community and pursuing opportunities. Good luck!

      Reply
  • [...] last week I authored a blog titled, “From Civil Engineer to…,” which discussed some of the different careers civil engineering professionals [...]

    Reply
  • 9. Ramachandra HV  |  December 2, 2012 at 2:35 am

    This is a common feature which I have seen happening in very close quarters. I have a number of classmates from college in the 70s who are well settled in the US doing something which they never studied! The only difference is that it is happening more frequently and to more number of people. This is because there are more number of people graduating from more number of Institutions. Add to this the fast moving economies which frequently relapse into a recession which is the impetus for venturing into a more sturdy and reliable breadwinner – most often as a no alternative.

    Reply
    • 10. aepcentral  |  December 2, 2012 at 8:40 am

      Hi Ramachandra,

      Good morning, and thanks for reading and commenting. I know that often times folks with college degrees end up doing something entirely different, but I did not think that happened very often for someone with a specialized degree such as engineering. Very interesting, thanks for sharing!

      Reply
  • 11. Frank  |  December 1, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    I’m Croatian and I finished Civil Engineering, the current state of the building with us is a disaster and I had to decide to look for another line of work.

    Reply
  • 12. Career Guide: Engineer | The Career Advisor  |  November 29, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    [...] From Civil Engineer to… [...]

    Reply
  • 13. Peter  |  November 29, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    Interesting that few have leveraged their professional work experience. Meaning going in a field such as Management Consulting for Service Work for technology firms in “niche areas”…. efficient project delivery, joc, etc.

    Reply

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