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Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

Posted February 28, 2010 4:45 PM by KER_Recruiter

Many highly skilled engineers I speak with have been looking for work for over a year now. Times are tough and we all know that jobs are not as plentiful as a few years ago. On many occasions, I've been asked questions like, "If I've been out of work for a year, how do I improve my chances of obtaining a position?"

Here are three strategies to keep your job search alive: volunteer, become the expert, and get LinkedIn.

Volunteer

Join a society, association or group that pertains to your technical background, skill set, and interests. This will allow you to network with individuals in your industry. Don't just become a member - be active! Try to hold a key position that will get you noticed.

As a headhunter, I sometimes call into local chapters and ask, "Who do you know that would fit the opportunity I'm recruiting for?" If everyone in your chapter knows you're looking for a job, this will increase your odds of having someone like me find you.

Volunteering also helps you to give a great answer to a potentially awkward interview question - "What have you been doing in the year since you left your last position?" A simple answer of "Looking for work!" should be supplemented with mention of an activity that keeps you busy and connected with your skill set.

Become the Expert

Many societies, associations, and groups need to meet metrics to obtain funding. Ask a local chapter in your area if you can present on a specific topic of interest that can benefit them and draw attention to your expertise.

Get LinkedIn

I have mentioned LinkedIn in many of my previous blog entries, and I can't emphasize enough what a great tool it is for locating new opportunities. Plus, LinkedIn is FREE!

After joining LinkedIn, the biggest mistake that many people make is not joining groups. You can join up to 50 groups that interest you and communicate with members in those groups who share your skills and interests.

I hope this helps! Best wishes in your continued job search! If you're not on LinkedIn, I hope you'll join, build your profile, join 50 groups and send me an invite to your network!

Editor's Note: Jake Briggs (KER_Recruiter) is a Technical Direct Hire Recruiter for Kelly Engineering Resources in Amherst, New York. His territory includes the northeastern U.S. as well as the mid-Atlantic states.

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#1

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

02/26/2010 4:11 PM

That's great advice, Jake. Thanks for blogging with CR4!

When you join LinkedIn (or if you're already there), I hope you'll join our CR4 Group there. One of the benefits of joining that group is that it pulls in all of the posts from CR4's Engineering Careers forum. That's the forum where employers post jobs on CR4 - and where you can meet recruiters such as Jake Briggs.

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#2

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

02/28/2010 7:14 PM

I have over a year of unemployment not including the work I picked up as a contractor.

During my interviews, I was told my experience level was more than they were looking for, and that I would become bored with the position.

Or.

This is a very condensed version.

They would make an offer that was equivalent to what I made 25 years ago and justified it with the market was situated with mechanical engineers/designers.

I asked would they also use my industrial electronics background....

the reply was most diffidently.

I then asked why is there value in it on your part but not mine.

I am basically holding out as long as possible because I have been employed at a reduced level with conditions of after the probationary period 90 days, adjustments would be made.

And after positive informal reviews, 20 months after the initial hiring and no formal review, due to a number of varying excuses, I left.

I have seen as of lately, a more one on one process with a more level playing field happening.

p911

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#3

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

02/28/2010 9:46 PM

Love it! Great advice!

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#4

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

02/28/2010 10:26 PM

sounds good...but one thing i don't get...our pollies have us to believe that there is a shortage of scientists, engineers and mathematitions. So where is the discrepancy?

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

02/28/2010 11:07 PM

"our pollies have led us to believe..." When's the last time they told the truth? The last truthful statement coming from a politician was "You Lie!" to President Obama by SC Rep Jim Wilson.

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#18
In reply to #5

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/01/2010 10:39 AM

And what an understatement that was!

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#23
In reply to #18

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/01/2010 4:20 PM

Why don't you guys give it a rest already. Do we constantly need this crap?:

"Politicians are liars!"

"yeah!"

"yeah!"

"yeah!"

"Politicians are idiots!"

"yeah!"

"yeah!"

"Throw the bums out!"

"yeah!"

"yeah!"

"yeah!"

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#30
In reply to #23

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/01/2010 11:52 PM

Why don't you?

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#31
In reply to #23

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/01/2010 11:53 PM

How 'bout this: "I know you are, but what am I?"

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#33
In reply to #31

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/02/2010 7:57 AM

Now, now, boys, play nice! Let's be civil!

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#32
In reply to #23

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/02/2010 7:49 AM

"Do we constantly need this crap?"

About Obama or politicians?

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#34
In reply to #32

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/02/2010 9:46 AM

crap makes good fertilizer, but the methane it creates as it breaks down is not good for the environment.

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#6
In reply to #4

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

02/28/2010 11:20 PM

there is a sever shortage of engineers, chemists etc in the teaching profession. Why is this? No matter how skilled in industry a new hire as a teacher gets low wages compared to old hires who get $80,000 here in Toronto. New is about$35,000.

Why is this? The teachers union wants it this way to resrict entrants at the bottom to ensure scarcity at the top, so the only people you get teaching maths and science in high school are insufferable drones whose task seems to be the prevention of the development of smart kids into scientists.

We are reaching the point with electronics that many new EE grads have a hard time getting jobs. The use of large scale intergartion has reducd the need for design engineers and increased the need for programmers of the smart part of these small LSI chips, which have an enormous degree of complexity.

We are degenerating into a society of consumers

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#17
In reply to #4

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/01/2010 10:20 AM

Re: "our (politicians) have us to believe that there is a shortage..."

...and THERE's the answer to the situation....

Legislation will create more jobs than you can shake a stick at! Now that automotive engineers have raised the bar, "for Safety's sake", this altogether brilliant and imaginative "Sky's-the-Limit" thinking needs to be brought into every other aspect of our lives.

Laws must be enacted in order to prevent the billions of hours and dollars lost each and every year due to people crashing carelessly into one-another while entering and exiting unsafe doorways.

Engineers will be put to work immediately designing alarm systems to warn others that somebody is approaching a doorway. Then, when the door is opened, a different alarm will sound, indicating the escalation of the situation. Simultaneously, alarms will sound and lights will flash to warn others who might be approaching the Danger-Zone to stop and read the flashing-back-lit posters (strategically placed all around all entrances and exits), which delineate the appropriate actions to take in order to insure everone's Safety.

The next step will be, of course, to make sure that this level of Safety is afforded to everyone, whether they have doorways or not. Hey; some people are so short that they can't see over the cubicle-dividers. This is where 40% of lost time accidents occur! When they come racing out of their cube into a hallway, it's inevitable that an overloaded file clerk will be there to trip on them and wind-up "shuffling" 2840 pages (all un-numbered of course) of time sensitive material --- 12 hours lost to getting it all reorganized.

So : IR 'beepers' will be required at every opening through which a human being can fit ... with the accompanying flashing lights , of course. And, just to make sure there is no room for error, shoes must be fitted with beepers to offer a telltale warning when others are approaching from any-which-way.

The shoes, of course, will have special sensors that detect when the wearer is approaching a doorway. If the angle of approach appears to be such that the wearer is going to go through said doorway, the wearer's cell phone will be sent a text message, forewarning them of the possible dangers lurking ahead.

The "Safe-Friends" networks will spring-up like wildfire, wherein fellow office workers can LIKEWISE receive txt-msgs warning them of potential trouble-spots that they might wish to avoid.

Escalators ~ elevators ~ revolving doors ~ (oh, drool !) ~

THEN there are so many other safety aspects with which to comply. Sensor arrays to provide "pre-smoke" detection of any material that has reached a specific threshold just below its combustion temperature...

LED car roofs that announce to helo-police what speed the car is traveling...

shoot...we've only just begun, and there's already a viable growth industry SIMPLY to produce the mandatory retrofits to existing shoes and car-roofs...!

Find a candidate who will support legislating our way to more jobs and more growth and get behind him/her all the way~!

K.L.P.T.B.T.E.

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#29
In reply to #17

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/01/2010 11:47 PM

In the USAF, the phrase is: YGBSM!! Translation not required.

This, most likely, is the wave of the future...

If any of you are old enogh to remember Walt Kelly's "Pogo":

"We have met the enemy; and he are us".

r/s

Gar

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#21
In reply to #4

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/01/2010 2:56 PM

Its like any other country, they keep saying it enough times and people end up believing them.

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#7

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/01/2010 1:41 AM

Sorry kiddies that I'm administering a depressing dose of cynicism here.......

The wave of engineering employment follows the levels of investment in the future by large organizations. With the economy in the tank right now investment that employs engineers is real low. On top of that most of you long term unemployed guys are trying to sell the skills, experience and capabilities that were in demand in the century just past. Almost no one sees any need for that stuff any more enough to want to pay for it. (taking due note of the income we derive from our "consultant work" on CR-4)

If you see any kind of job opening you are going to have to convince the hiring manager that you'll bring the following attributes to the job:

1. A tremendous level of youthful energy and enthusiasm. (translation: ability to put in 70-90 hour weeks if needed without the slightest complaint. The "kids" can do it but they can also get away with complaining about it.)

2. Willingness to totally subordinate yourself to your manager and not show the slightest threat to his continued leadership and position. Do everything you can to make him/her successful while still maintaining the respect and credibility of your peers. Remember that you don't want the average human hiring manager to think you will be second guessing his directions let alone undercutting him in your interactions with others of his employees. Unfortunately senior experienced engineers are subject to a lot of suspicion in that area.

3. Ability and also willingness to work at whatever level of excellence that is required of you and still put on a professional "face". Realize that sometimes the organization's mission may not demand your idea of "perfection". Remember that if you are faced with doing something unethical or even illegal it takes less than 5 minutes to write a letter of resignation.

4. A persona of high energy, optimism, enthusiasm and positive thinking in pursuing 1., 2., and 3. above.

5. Lastly you will probably need to reaffirm your technical abilities to do the job required. Oh? You're not sure what is required? Then you are not ready to apply for the position. Go back and do your homework!! Remember, your technical skills for the job are a given. That's par. You should be so confident of that aspect of your qualifications (it'll help if a quick look at your resume will confirm) that it will be simply obvious throughout the interview.

So give some thought right now about what are the base skills an employer will be expecting to fill those jobs you are interested in and might possibly become available. You may have some preparatory work to do.

Ed Weldon

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#8
In reply to #7

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/01/2010 5:20 AM

Yep, a cynical attitude will yield a bunch of job offers...

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#24
In reply to #8

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/01/2010 5:49 PM

Steve - I can afford to be cynical. I'm retired and don't expect to be job hunting in the forseable future.

My cynicism comes from having worked for some real turkeys at one time or another. My comments nos. 1,2,3,and 4 were learned the hard way while working for said creatures. Of course you don't show your cynicism to your employers, past, present or future. But as a personal attribute a little quiet personal cynicism is a necessary survival component. It enables you to see problems more clearly.

A super positive attitude will get you to thinking that every mistake your boss makes has a noble and logical set of factors behind it. That is like the assumption we often make that the materials we specify in our designs will be free of defects. A pro proceeds with a more realistic view.

Ed Weldon

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#19
In reply to #7

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/01/2010 11:52 AM

Excellent comments Ed. Just wanted to include a few more. When I was Dir. of Eng. of a small 20 Million per year Electronics firm 18 years ago, it became obvious to me that too many people fall into a category that believes that even 15-20 years of experience says it all. In reality what they are actually saying is "it was one year of experience 15-20 times". People who get to stay think "outside the box" and never forget their major purpose for being there is to solve a "problem". One of my PHD,s actually thought he should be revered simply because of having achieved the rank of Captain in the Coast Guard. It was difficult and impossible to convince him that we needed performance in the EE area and not just to admire his Rank. This is not neg about the the Coast Guard.

AFarmer

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#27
In reply to #19

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/01/2010 6:51 PM

AFarmer -- Interesting how at 15 years in the engineering game a lot of us think we are a lot better at it than we really are. If you're like me you get to the 30 or 35 year point and look back at how little you actually knew at 15 and wonder how you ever survived. I attribute mine as a case of energy and enthusiasm; not always well placed.

I'm not sure every engineer should be expected to think out of the box unless that fits your particular style of management. Sometimes you need the guy that plugs along following the accepted routine. Usually in smaller companies each engineer wears several hats and a breadth of experience is a big asset. Often creative thinking requires some fairly deft management.

And then there is the rare (and sad) case of the manager who habitually reserves all the creative thinking for himself. Survival in such situation sees the subordinate engineer making the wrong suggestions just to maneuver the boss into that "Ah ha" that his ego so desperately craves.

Your Coast Guard veteran sounds like a case of someone who fell off the career ladder because he couldn't handle the training assignment that followed his promotion from Commander, where he likely skippered a big cutter, to Captain and a duty assignment that likely was more about training and dealing with administrative minutia and less about being in command.

I learned a bit about this career pattern when I was in the Navy for near 4 years and my last assignment was as the most junior officer on an admiral's staff. Once some of these officers have been through the "command at sea" experience they do not do well returning to an environment where they are getting detailed directions every day on what to do. But it's all part of a well developed career path for a peacetime military service. I imagine the Coast guard operates much the same way as the Navy. The lesson in this is that you do the job you're told to do as best as you can even if you think you should be doing something else that better fits your abilities as you see them.

The last company I worked for was in the semiconductor equipment business. In the various product business groups the top managers were all low level vice presidents. It was well understood that the primary reason they got that title was to put them in the right negotiating position for both the formalities and the practical dealing with important Asian customers. My son who also worked in that industry cynically refers to these VP's as "just somebody's bitch".

Ed Weldon

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#28
In reply to #27

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/01/2010 8:20 PM

Interesting how at 15 years in the engineering game a lot of us think we are a lot better at it than we really are. If you're like me you get to the 30 or 35 year point and look back at how little you actually knew at 15 and wonder how you ever survived. I attribute mine as a case of energy and enthusiasm; not always well placed.

I don't think nobody likes to think they peaked at 15, 20 or 30 years experience. And when one talks about experience. Its talking about practical experience, not a position that you look at the clock waiting for time hid quiting time so you can to go home. I'm talking about gaining valued practical experience.

Usually in smaller companies each engineer wears several hats and a breadth of experience is a big asset. Often creative thinking requires some fairly deft management.

Sometimes known as Organized Chaos

Once some of these officers have been through the "command at sea" experience they do not do well returning to an environment where they are getting detailed directions every day on what to do. But it's all part of a well developed career path for a peacetime military service.

So true, I worked at a shipyard that gave jobs to those carreer retired navy. They did not know how to be efficent managers in the private sector.

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#22
In reply to #7

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/01/2010 3:12 PM

Ed,

I pretty much agree.

!.) I agree with........but given the same tasks now that when I was first out of college or even half my age. one can accomplish it in 2/3 the man hours, were the project that is more accuracy, with better results. But it is very hard to quantify it.

2.) that has always been true.....nothing new there.

3.) I like to think all in the Field has the integrity, to correct a substandard or illegal situation or leave. You do not find many people that has the guts to to that.

4.) see number 2

5.) An attitude that you are always learning and improving....not becoming complacent.

One thing never let the employer see you sweat, in times like this.

I also have seen that compare to the 80's even if you have a interest in engineer, and can act alot of incompetent people (non-engineers playing engineering roles have been hired) and have spooked hiring managers that are non-engineers.

And some of these hiring manager have difficulty in corrected their blunder. questionable

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#9

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/01/2010 7:14 AM

I suggest that lot of flexibility is required regarding qualification and attitude to wards getting a new job. If you feel that I am a qualified Mechanical Engineer then how I can accept the job which is not a Mechanical Engineering job, then it may be difficult to get the job you desire. I have heard many top engineers have jumped in the financial sector where there are good opportunities and better pay packages. It is basic intelligence level of the person who is good in any sector. If you could become engineer you can become good financial expert too because you have been blessed with higher level of intelligence.

I have heard some of the engineering students in the top universities here could cram up criminal law code, just for fun, which is part of Law eduction. More over if situation is so bad for getting the jobs then "Beggars can not be Choosers". (I hope I am not hurting one's feelings).

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#10

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/01/2010 7:54 AM

One can hardly question the advice of a head hunter if one is looking for employment, but looking at the other replies and taking a broad view, it seems to me that there are some obvious points:

1. If you want a job in a difficult employment environment then you have to increase your employment chances by putting yourself in contact with opportunity i.e. get LinkedIn, contribute technically to your community, network associates and think laterally about how to use your talents.

2. Regardless of the the Global Financial Crisis, a huge part of industry and technology itself has moved in the past decade with the associated jobs also moving. Who needs a super qualified designer electronic engineer when most of the work such a person might do can be purchased in a $1.00 chip, or failing that, when one can just buy the technology out of China (not true of specialist goods but true of consumer goods). Then of course there is the ability these days to outsource engineering work offshore.

3. There may well up be engineering shortages "out there" according to the politicians, but are you where "out there" is. The obvious example here in Australia is that much of the employment opportunity is not in the capital cities any more. It's out in the sticks where the mines are.

4. And of course that old chestnut - it doesn't matter how good you are if you do not present well. Bad presentation will always help you to come second and to stay unemployed. Part of coming first is to not present text with basic spelling and othr errers (!) in it.

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#15
In reply to #10

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/01/2010 10:04 AM

I love Trevor's answer above! Especially number 4. There are a lot of people out there that believe that anything and everything presented online are Tweets.

I always live by this one simple rule when it comes to typing anything: "Anything you put in writing has the potential to show up in court some day." While there are many things that you can dismiss as such immediately off the cuff, there are a surprising amount in your lifetime that end up having that potential when you would never have believed it when they left your desktop for the first time. I have had customers, suppliers, and friends all question me, paint me in a corner, or get upset over something that they misread. The clearer and more concise you can make it, the better off you are. If people misread my (admittedly over-wordy) e-mails, then how do you think they interpret LOL, WTF, and LOLROFPS? Especially if your customer gets wind of that e-mail?????

Furthermore, poor spelling reflects poor education. Of course there are Yale graduates that can't spell, but they shouldn't have gotten a diploma in my opinion. We all make mistakes, and trying to expand one's horizons results in mistakes, but spell checkers were invented for a reason. Use it!

Present a professional front of yourself to the world EVERY time you do anything. Proper Grammar is a life-saver and your English classes may have seemed dumb at the time, but they are highly important, unless you live in Bolivia and never leave the mountain you were born on.

Another policy I live by is that I leave a huge gaping hole behind whenever I leave anywhere. Not a "Oh crap - what did he take?" hole, not a "How much has this joker cost me over the years" hole, but a "How do I ever find someone to fill those shoes?" type of hole. Do what is expected of you, do what is wanted of you, and do what you feel is right for the customer. Yes, your boss is as much your customer as his customers are. This will result in your working more hours than you would like in a week, but it will also result in greater job satisfaction, greater appreciation, and - eventually - more money in your pocket. Always take the high road.

Do the same thing with your community. I have worked all sorts of jobs in several communities, but I know most of the owners of businesses in all those communities. I volunteer for several charities, including being the president of 3 of them and a board member of several others. I am also a rather large (often more so than large sums)money donor as well. You never know who the Dads will be on the soccer team or who on the board of directors will have a wife that needs to add an engineer to the staff. I also ran into the Engineering Manager of a major corporation (and now my customer) on Bow League one evening as well. Sure it requires some effort and time away from the family, but if you do what you enjoy, it won't seem like a hassle most of the time, and maybe your family can help you out. The Bow league was my son's idea, so a little friendly time with the customer is not even noticed by him, and great fun is had by all. Best of all this "extra curricular" time is a good excuse to not "work all the time", and most employers actually encourage it if they understand it is good for the bottom line.

Employers are not going to chase you down to give you a raise, but they will understand when the chips are down and they are having troubles with others in your organization who they can count on and who they trust to handle their needs. Picking the time to remind them they need to treat you right is a difficult issue, and everyone needs to take their own readings, but there always comes a time when it is appropriate and necessary to give an ultimatum. Do not ever issue one when you can't carry it out, and do not ever leave the boss with a sour taste of advantage taking or back-stabbing. Just point out the facts, his requests of your time, and your value on that time. Give him the choice, then if he fails to meet your expectations, either renegotiate (if he came part-way, but you feel not enough), or walk away. Leave a hole! Rarely will he beg you to come back to fill it, but one or more of the following will happen:

He will actively try to get you back when he understands the breadth and depth of the hole (he may not have fully understood what you did for him on a daily basis).

He will convey that he regrets letting you go when the next employer checks references (which they definitely do).

He will welcome you back with open arms should you decide you want to go back.

He will suggest you to colleagues and peers should they ask him about someone to fill a similar position to yours with their firms.

He will respect you.

Some employers will always be difficult and will not appreciate anything you do. I have had two of those. Both were left in the dust with a huge hole within 2 years. One of them begged me to come back, but I flatly turned them down as there was no future growth there for me, or they would have offered more sooner. The other was up for bankruptcy within 3 months, so it is pretty obvious that the issues there were larger than I could help out with (or I am better than I thought). You should try to work out issues with them, but try to secure employment elsewhere ASAP if you feel you are getting nowhere, or they just don't care about you. If you hate to get up on Monday morning week after week, it is time to start shopping.

If this has not been your policy in the past - make it so in the future. The next job may not come for a while, yet, if you have not done anything to "sell yourself" thus far in your career, but if you start to sell yourself right now, you are that much closer to your next job. Remember, selling yourself to a potential future employer is a 24 hour a day job. Talk to friends, family, church members, and even the guy in the video archery lane next to you. Don't sound like a desperate ne'er-do-well who is unemployed, come off as a friendly helpful gentleman with a willingness to tackle challenges and help others.

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#25
In reply to #10

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/01/2010 6:05 PM

Excellent answer!

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#11

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/01/2010 8:23 AM

KER Recruiter, thank you for the good advice about employment. I'm a big sour puss when it comes to this subject because I'm one of those middle aged overqualified types (if it were only true).

But, I do recognize good advice when I see it. Advice like this has helped to keep me employed and contributing.

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#12

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/01/2010 8:33 AM

Unfortunately for me, I'm in a temporary position that runs out in a few months (hopefully something permanent will come up here). It's a little scary because I know how the job market is here in my area of the US (SW Louisiana).

Out of curiosity though, how is the engineering job market in other parts of the US or around the world?

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#13

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/01/2010 9:10 AM

I got laid off from a full time chemist R&D position, and couldn't find any similar positions anywhere around. But I found opportunities as a contract worker and consultant. I changed from what I thought I was, to what the market was looking for. "Change brings opportunity to those who are prepared to accept it" is a principle learned during a reorganization for growth. If nobody else would hire me, I'd hire myself. If I didn't have confidence in myself, how could I expect somebody else to? Contract worker was a temporary bridge and learning experience to my next change to forming my own company and running it. Sounds impressive, doesn't it? I'm the Head Honcho! But I work in a garage, sweep and mop, and carry out the trash as needed. I put together a research lab and pilot plant from scavenged, surplus equipment. I networked with colleagues who were also laid off, who had complimentary business skills that meshed (not duplicated) mine. We assembled a loose collection of R&D, marketing, sales, production and financial expertise, each element working from a garage or spare bedroom at home. I do R&D work for several small start-ups. I have a page on a chemical consultants network site that draws international traffic, and I've done projects over the net or phone from clients world wide. Its not the way they taught in business school, but it evolved out of necessity. No, I'm not wealthy, but I pay my bills and have enough left over for a little fun every now and then. I'm still learning, and love what I do!

If you take a long term view, ask local university science depts if they are aware of any new start-up companies who are working in an area of your experience. You might offer them your experience as a consultant for now, and build some equity in the company over time, if its a good match. Start-ups spun off from universities tend to be staffed by very sharp people who could tax your skills, rather than consider you over-qualified.

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#14

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/01/2010 10:01 AM

The politicians tell us that we don't have enough scientists and engineers because you can NEVER have enough.

The US Air Force is one place for American engineers with very short rap sheets to look. The software organization I now belong to is hiring as fast as it can. That's not very fast because it just takes a while to get someone on - as a prospective employee you won't get hired "tomorrow." But once you're hired you can actually start planning your long-term career. It is so liberating to not have to worry about needing to find a job three or so years from now.

Further, due to security logistics and developmental policy, overtime is sparing. In order to support your working after-hours, the facility must be opened, entrances guarded, etc. We don't release the system until it's RIGHT - that's just downright weird feeling. And due to employment law, any overtime is fully compensated (comp time or extra pay). I never saw THAT in the private sector.

I can't say for sure, but I suspect the US DOD as a whole is working to improve its "organic" technological capabilities. There are probably many openings for engineers of all flavors department-wide. Over-reliance on contractors has presented subtle (and not-so-subtle) problems to the government. Combine that with the fact that the only thing moving in the economy right now is the government, and it's a safe harbor for competent people - or the not-so-competent ones with the right connections.

Being mobile improves your chances of finding a job. I've spent many more months unemployed in the past simply because I live in a pretty nice part of the country and didn't want to move.

I haven't been happier in my career.

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#16

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/01/2010 10:13 AM

Another item I did not mention is that you need to look where no one else is...

My company has not put out an ad or hired a recruiter for as long as I have known them (10 years?) that I am aware of, and have definitely not since I have been an employee with them (2 years). However, we hire whenever we come across a person in the industry that is a perfect fit (that's how I got here), that is referred (often by one of us already here), and/or that inquires about opportunities out of the blue. We don't hire more than we do hire, of course, but if everything is right, we go forward no matter what the current job market is like.

You very rarely have someone show up looking for a job that is a perfect fit for the position on the day it was decided to fill the position. You are better off telling the sales guys to kick it up a notch to support another (qualified) mouth to feed than to feed an unqualified mouth to keep a seat warm.

If you are as good as you think you are, then there will be someone who will recognize it and take you on board!

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#20

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/01/2010 2:49 PM

Volunteer: OK not a bad idea. There is always work for people who are willing to do it for free.

Become the Expert: Again not bad advice.

Get LinkedIn: Up until this point you were doing OK. I would like people who are registered on LinkedIn to tell me how it actually helps. I am registered on LinkedIn and I would not recommend anyone that I personally don't know, afterall it is not like you "know" the person (yes you read their profile and they sound great but is this a show or is it for real - now before I start getting bashed for this, remember that everything you read on the internet is not true, if it was then I would buy one of those over unity machines and make a fortune). As far as I am concerned a recruiter (no matter how good) cannot get you a job unless there is a job to be offered.

Your post reminded me of the song by Meat Loaf: Two out of three ain't bad.

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#26
In reply to #20

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/01/2010 6:27 PM

Recruiters don't find people jobs! I find people! If you have been looking for work for a year, but know one knows your looking for a new job and your hiding underneath a rock...how do I find you? Roughly 70% of people find there job by networking and that includes recruiters like me who are looking to network to find talent! Case in example...An unemployed Supply Chain Professional who we did business with many years ago had dinner with my manager for networking purposes. My manager contacts me and introduces me to her, we talk in-depth with each other about career goals, etc, etc. We keep in contact with each other...2 months later a new client of ours mentioned they have an immediate need for a Supply Chain Manager with a strong technical background. Guess who received a call, 3 interviews and a job offer extended to her TODAY?!!!! Networking works, don't let anyone tell you different. This is what I do for a living! GET LINKEDIN!

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#59
In reply to #26

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/03/2010 8:01 PM

I average about one to two inquiries or job posting emails per week from my contacts on linked in, and I am not even looking for a job. But if you dont join a group you wont get that....

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#74
In reply to #20

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/08/2010 9:08 PM

We needed to hire an accounting mgr and a sales person. It costs $800 to run an ad in the local metro paper. I belong to about 15 groups on linked in. I identified a dozen candidates. The one we hired started March 1. We had all the info we needed and I had made several 'in network' reference checks before we called the person to interview. Their in person interview confirmed the facts, and looked like a good fit. Thats what LinkedIn does. milo

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#35

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/03/2010 6:47 AM

Here is interesting article on the following link appeared in USA To-Day:-

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2010-03-01-townhangingon_N.htm?se=yahoorefer&POE=click-refer.

Please read and comment.

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#36
In reply to #35

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/03/2010 8:26 AM

I love how some of the comments at the bottom blame Obama and the democrats. Others blame W. Bush and the republicans.

Did any of these people actually read the article? It says the company was bought out in 1987 and it was at that point that working conditions became so horrible which lead to strikes. I don't remember Bush 1 or 2 being in office 1987.

I only skimmed the article but I really wish people would quit pointing the finger at the opposite political party. All that does is give people a false hope that their political party will liberate them from their current situation.

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#37
In reply to #36

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/03/2010 9:32 AM

I love how some of the comments at the bottom blame Obama and the democrats. Others blame W. Bush and the republicans.

I do not know what separates the two parties anyways when it comes to job creation by the time one takes effect another party is in the house.

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#38
In reply to #37

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/03/2010 9:55 AM

I honestly don't think the politicians are the problem. We are. The politicians are just doing what they have to do to get reelected. Our problem is that we want everything and don't want taxes. And I'm not talking about Healthcare, I'm talking about Social Security. Here's how I see it.

Baby boomers expand entitlement programs in the 60s, then they cut taxes in the 80s and use the money they're paying into Social Security to cover the shortfall. Now they demand that we don't touch Social Security even though it's bankrupting us and instead want everything else cut.

I say screw that, I'm 35, I'll never see Social Security, why the hell should I pay for it? I say cut Social Security completely. Look at the graph below.

Completely cutting Social Security alone would save 700 billion dollars. Wow, next thing you know we've got a small deficit, soon no deficit, all without raising taxes.

(Please note, this is an "Reductio Ad Absurdum", I don't actually think we should cut Social Security.) What I'm pointing out is that even the most fervent Anti-entitlements advocates somehow believe they are "entitled" to Social Security. Point out that they and their employer haven't nearly paid in what they will get out of Social Security, point out that for years the government spent the Social Security funds because taxes were too low to pay for everything, point out that the current generation is paying in and everyone pretty much understands the benefits will be cut by the time we retire so we are being taxed more heavily for being young (basically to cover the previous generations SS shortfall), point all these things out and they still feel "entitled" to Social Security. That in a nutshell captures the hypocrisy of the anti-entitlements crowd.

However, if you are so anti-entitlement that you refuse social security as a matter of principle then you have my deepest respect.

But unfortunately I don't actually know anyone who lives what they say when it comes to entitlements.

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#39
In reply to #38

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/03/2010 10:22 AM

I'm 55, anti-establishment, and don't expect to see much out of Social Security. I'd gladly give up claim to any entitlements if THEY would give up half their claim to my earnings! The Social Security program is a giant Ponzi scheme that makes Bernie Madoff look like an amature. Politicians bribed us with our own money. When that no longer sufficed, they bribed us with borrowed money. The bill is soon coming due, and there's nothing left in the til but IOU's. If the President really cared about this country, and not getting re-elected or covering his political a$$, he should declare a national emergency and impose a 5% cut across the board in ALL programs except interest on the national debt, with another to follow next year. In the real business world, companies have impposed 20% salary reductions on upper mgmt and 10% reductions on the rest. They have laid off workers, reduced hours, cut benefits, so they can survive and come out of the crisis stronger than before. Why should government be any different? I've e-mailed my congressional reps and told them to cut spending, including cutting entitlements like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, as well as their bloated government staffs and salaries. I want them to share our pain! I encourage you to give your own congressional reps an earfull about unbridled spending and debt! We have far more government than we can afford!

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#42
In reply to #39

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/03/2010 10:29 AM

Look, if you're 55, then you can remember Ross Perot's campaign in 1992. Back then we faced equally frightening debt levels, only we've added a zero to both (all) sides of the equation. Fast-forward eight years to 2000, and suddenly all that deficit turned into record-setting surpluses. Dubya's policies then turned it back around in just two years.

Much of that was probably due to accounting tricks, but since we've been off the gold standard, it's ALL accounting tricks.

Take all gloom-and-doom warnings with a grain of salt. The economy isn't going to shrink/stagnate forever, and even 10 years is plenty of time to turn things around. 20 years is plenty of time to come up with creative ways to make the entitlements bomb fizzle.

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#50
In reply to #42

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/03/2010 11:48 AM

Fast-forward eight years to 2000, and suddenly all that deficit turned into record-setting surpluses. Dubya's policies then turned it back around in just two years.

You forgetting something very inportant, alot of those surpluses came from massive miltary cutbacks and cancellations from the buildup in the 80's. It was a windfall numbers game.

btw, The military personal pay and equipment was in shambles in 1980.

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#51
In reply to #50

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/03/2010 12:13 PM

You raise a good point. Perhaps it's Defense Spending, not Entitlement Programs that is bankrupting us. Defense Spending has gone from 16% of our Federal Budget to 23% in 2009. And that's 23% of a bigger pie. If we cut the Military to 2000 funding levels (percentwise) we save 7% right there. Cancel Social Security on top of that and we should save considerable money.

Clearly they are already starting to reduce Defense Spending (Compare 2009 and 2010).

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#52
In reply to #51

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/03/2010 1:56 PM

I believe in a strong, ready, dependable defense, not like it was in the late 70's.

But its cutting Defense in the right spots. There is waste, some of what can't be help, such as development. But after having worked in the defense industry the waste is there. They have to start spending the budget more smartly.

In the 80's.... I believed we over spent on military only because we had to update and modernize the equipment. But before the cuts, there was enough already spent to help employment, but if we carried through it could have bankrupt us also as it did the USSR

And we have to have the middle east secure because we can't count on the UN, and if we did, the majority of the UN is US. As soon as the oil run out.....maybe only then we can turn our backs.....(and focus on the Arctic regions )

As far as Canceling Social Security, That can never happen, Phased out yes, but either way, its going to cost money.

Nice charts Roger, one can grasp it alot better.

p911

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#53
In reply to #52

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/03/2010 2:22 PM

As soon as the oil run out.....maybe only then we can turn our backs.....(and focus on the Arctic regions)

Or we could continue the current administrations policy of increasing Science Funding in alternative energies to reduce our oil needs considerably. Without money the middle east is basically the Sahel. In the end, Israel's greatest strength will end up being that they don't have oil. The rest of those countries are in trouble.

We have enough of a domestic oil supply to handle our plastics needs.

There is a common misconception that since the technology hasn't been developed yet (I'm speaking of Solar here) that it will never be cheap enough. The thing no one ever wants to hear is "you get what you pay for". For years and years science funding has been cut and so we've fallen behind. If the U.S. wants to escape oil and the middle east, it's going to have to turn to science to do it, finally that's what we're doing.

Don't forget, in Roman Times Yemen was called Arabia Felix (Blessed Arabia) because of the tons of money it was making and selling frankincense. Once the need for frankincense disappeared, that gravy train ended. Someday oil will be just as cheap, but that day will be later rather than sooner if we don't invest in research.

I suggest:

1. Eliminate Social Security
2. Raise taxes on people 50 and older
3. Scale Medical Insurance based on use (like auto-insurance is now)
4. Invest 100 of billions of dollars in Nuclear Fission / Fusion, Solar, Wind, and a smart grid (currently we invest 10s of billions)
5. Draft anyone over 50-65 who hasn't served previously in the armed forces to act as peace keepers in the countries where we still need the oil. After all, it was that generation's reluctance to address our energy issues that led to the current crisis.

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#54
In reply to #53

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/03/2010 2:49 PM

"5. Draft anyone over 50-65 who hasn't served previously in the armed forces to act as peace keepers in the countries where we still need the oil. After all, it was that generation's reluctance to address our energy issues that led to the current crisis."

You really don't like old people do you?

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#55
In reply to #54

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/03/2010 3:01 PM

I love old people. Old people gave us civil rights and won the cold war. It's just if we are going to have an honest discussion about entitlements, then we need to admit that most entitlements go to the old.

If the older generation want entitlements, they should pay for it. If they want oil for heat, they should fight for it. I think that's reasonable. Rather than "old people want heat, so you guys in your 20s go and get repeatedly redeployed in Iraq" or "old people want monthly payments so we're going to have to cut money to services that benefit everyone".

I'm perfectly willing to pay taxes for the services I use, why aren't old people? I think I'm just being fair.

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#58
In reply to #55

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/03/2010 7:47 PM

your talking as though these entitlement just started, that these so called old people never paid into them.

It's just if we are going to have an honest discussion about entitlements, then we need to admit that most entitlements go to the old.

These entitlements was sold to the public by the government that stated its for their future. And after 30 years after you pay into it would you hold the same position?

If the older generation want entitlements, they should pay for it. If they want oil for heat, they should fight for it. I think that's reasonable. Rather than "old people want heat, so you guys in your 20s go and get repeatedly redeployed in Iraq" or "old people want monthly payments so we're going to have to cut money to services that benefit everyone".

And the ones that already served?

I'm perfectly willing to pay taxes for the services I use, why aren't old people? I think I'm just being fair.

Thats inconsistent thinking. with that kind of thinking you must think that the public school system should be banished.........because you already got your education. Maybe we should also tax the younger people also. Look at the last line, thrid paragraph.

All what this tells me is there are no economists speaking here only loose opinions.

What might be a better position is a smaller government.

p911

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#56
In reply to #53

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/03/2010 5:43 PM

I meant Turn our backs on the Mideast.

`There is a common misconception that since the technology hasn't been developed yet (I'm speaking of Solar here) that it will never be cheap enough.

Actually that tech has its originals through miltary and space funding, and I am surprised at the actually funding Nasa has as compared to 30 yeasrs ago, or even 20.

Don't forget, in Roman Times Yemen was called Arabia Felix (Blessed Arabia) because of the tons of money it was making and selling frankincense.

That is still being brought up. Iran will not alow aflights over its contry unless you call the Persian gulf its prior name.......the Arabian Sea.

With your sugesstion,

1.) ok, do you have an opinion how, and what to do with the contributors that already contributed

2.) I like to think that 50 and older is already in a higher tax bracket because they should already be making more.....also this is a bad idea because it can be age discrimination

3.) good, nothing to add

4.) You need an incentive plan

5.) that generation helped get you your education directly or indirectly, your not totally clear there with out responsibility. Those issues have been there since before the 70's.

stuff I like to add, but goota go.

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#57
In reply to #56

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/03/2010 7:08 PM

Here's my responses:

1.) ok, do you have an opinion how, and what to do with the contributors that already contributed?

Yes they contributed, but cut taxes at the same time creating deficits. It's a shell game, their entitled to nothing due to "contributions".

2.) I like to think that 50 and older is already in a higher tax bracket because they should already be making more.....also this is a bad idea because it can be age discrimination

Last time I checked an 18 year old can serve multiple terms in Iraq but I can't legally buy him a beer to thank him, so there is already age discrimination in this country. I'd love to see a breakdown of age, entitlements, and taxes paid for the common age groups. Certainly older people make more, but pay more taxes? With all the cushy write-offs they've written into the code for themselves....I'm not so sure.

3.) good, nothing to add

This will of course scale like life insurance, which means I'll enjoy much cheaper healthcare.

4.) You need an incentive plan

You mean like they did at Bell Labs, or at GE, or the Manhattan Project, or the Apollo Missions? Last time I checked, scientists aren't motivated by wealth, otherwise we'd just go work on wall street as quants. Our motivation is the chance for glory and even immortality (like Newton, Pythagoras, Bohr, etc.). When was the last time you heard of a scientific scandal where instead of building the big machine we need we instead pocketed the money? That's right, never. Now apply that question to any other field. Just give scientists money and make them present their findings. As long as we are forced to stand up in front of a crowd and explain ourselves, we'll do the right thing.

5.) that generation helped get you your education directly or indirectly, your not totally clear there with out responsibility. Those issues have been there since before the 70's.

Not following you here. We had public education before this last generation, and it was better than it is now, so seems like they owe me a little on my high school education since they seemed to have dropped the ball. College I paid my own way while I worked. The issues may have existed before the 1970s, but that generation just made it worse by ignoring / denying the problem (remember the mocking of Jimmy Carter's attempt at a green White House.....Ha Ha, what an idiot........doesn't seem so dumb now does it?)

As far as I can tell, after the Greatest Generation came the Entitlement Generation. They wanted everything and didn't want to pay for it. They ran deficits for decades. I say, let them pay for them.

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#60
In reply to #57

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/03/2010 8:31 PM

Yes they contributed, but cut taxes at the same time creating deficits. It's a shell game, their entitled to nothing due to "contributions".

Already mentioned

#49 last line, 1st paragraph

#50 last line, Second paragraph

and

their entitled to nothing due to "contributions".

1.) on Social Security, what are you talking about, every 10 years I get a report from Social Security stating what I contributed and what I am entitled……you should also get that report, or your not old enough to made the contributions yet to receive this report????.

Last time I checked an 18 year old can serve multiple terms in Iraq but I can't legally buy him a beer to thank him, so there is already age discrimination in this country.

that has been around for more that you've been on this earth,

and I'm surprise at you because secondly if you only realize the problem alcoholism is for the troops you would not say something that immature

With all the cushy write-offs they've written into the code for themselves....I'm not so sure.

you need to explain, what kind of write-offs. I know that to take advantage of a write off, first you have to make money

Last time I checked, scientists aren't motivated by wealth, otherwise we'd just go work on wall street as quants. Our motivation is the chance for glory and even immortality

no but the investment has to come from somewhere, the incentive is for private industry not the scientist... You actually think a scientist or engineer will work for nothing. There is one thing I know is, A scientist is still human, and still has to be held accountable. don't make them gods.

We had public education before this last generation, and it was better than it is now, so seems like they owe me a little on my high school education since they seemed to have dropped the ball.

did you pass, or are you saying you failed high school, When I went to high school they also tried programs that fell flat, the difference probally is, I didn't cry about it.

I paid my own way in college also, I applied for grants I deserved but did not receive due to a computer system error. I was disappointed, but I put it behind me, and took an extra job. Roger you'll have to do what the previous generation did also.....and that is get over it and push forward. And that is the actual differences between the generations

As far as I can tell, after the Greatest Generation came the Entitlement Generation.They wanted everything and didn't want to pay for it. They ran deficits for decades. I say, let them pay for them.

you mean like the GI bill?...These are opinions your making, and here you are wrong. Eisenhower balance the budget, he choose to a balanced budget 3 out of the 8 years. It was later discovered that the government is better off economy wise to have a deficit (thats under control). And as far as Clinton Admin balancing the budget, The majority of that was from the cuts earmarked in the 80's in for the Military and defense. He inherited that windfall. (BTW LBJ also balanced the budget)

p911

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#65
In reply to #60

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/03/2010 11:32 PM

I've been working since I'm 16 so yes I've gotten the report. If you pay social security, but you pay less federal taxes so that the federal government has to use the social security money to operate, then you haven't really paid social security, have you? You've just renamed federal taxes and called them Social Security. That's the shell game I'm talking about. It is also a Ponzi scheme as you mentioned in your posts. Hopefully you will stop misunderstanding that last statement. Perhaps if you looked up "shell game" you'd have a better idea of what I'm saying.

You Wrote:"and I'm surprise at you because secondly if you only realize the problem alcoholism is for the troops you would not say something that immature"

I'm surprised at you. You think a man who fights for his country has to be told when he can and can't drink? What's next? A soldier can't eat doritos cause he'll get out of shape? Maybe you want to ban soldiers from smoking cause of second hand smoke. If believing a guy who's willing to die for his country is mature enough to handle drinking makes me "immature", you can call me downright childish. If you don't, that's your business.

Dividend taxes are lower than income taxes. Old folks raking in that income paying 15% interest is one example.

You Wrote:"You actually think a scientist or engineer will work for nothing."

Nope, but I bet if you payed them a reasonable wage and gave them research money we'd have affordable solar power by now. As for holding them accountable, I believe I mentioned that in the original. Present results I said.

You Wrote:"I didn't cry about it"

Nah, you just cry the second someone suggests we make older people pay their share.

You Wrote:"I was disappointed, but I put it behind me, and took an extra job. Roger you'll have to do what the previous generation did also.....and that is get over it and push forward. And that is the actual differences between the generations"

I don't know, there was an awful lot of "crying" about politicians before I got here. As for the difference be generations, I think you hit the nail on the head, that's the exact difference between the "greatest generation" and the "entitlement generation".

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#72
In reply to #65

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/04/2010 10:34 AM

If you pay social security, but you pay less federal taxes so that the federal government has to use the social security money to operate, then you haven't really paid social security,

They (government) borrow and use the SS account.

You think a man who fights for his country has to be told when he can and can't drink? What's next?

That has been going on for a very long time, Wisconsin they dropped the drinking age to 18, and then raised it because the the federal government would withhold funding for roads.

Second, it more personal, Three stories, Not just beer drinking acquittance's.

1st, I was in the DMV getting my drivers licences updated. There was a man there about 25-28 yo taking his written and then going for his drivers test. I could only see his right side, but I knew he was in the army. wearing a army tee shirt, military hair cut, square jaw, shoulders about a yard wide, and arms like pipes, talk about intimation. He made me proud, and I never met him, others were staring at him also I thought admiring.

For some reason I kept my eye on him....like everyone else. The he finished the test and looked my way, and I realize why the others stared at him. Left side of his face was scared from burns, so was his left arm, I shook my my head in pity, but I saw the look in his face, optimistic and happy.

Then he got up and started walking from behind the table with strange gate, I saw why, it was from the 2 prosthetic legs he had.

I went up to him and started talking, his names Derek, and it was from a mine, his sister brought him there. When I left, 2 other gentleman came up, shook his hands put their arms around him. He didn't what to be put on a pedestal, just given a chance, thats all. People say what they'll do, but few people actually do it.

Second, A vendor I dealt with had his 2 boys being deployed to Iraq, they were about a year apart. he was proud of them as a father would be, good student, smart, helpful real go-getters. I had gotten sick and did not see him for about year and a half. When I did he was the same happy guy, and we had small talk, I asked him about his boys. Head and shoulders dropped, not good, they came back, but they are not the same person, Drunk every night, getting into trouble....he was still proud of them, but he didn't boast about them. You may mean well, you have to think.

The third, my girlfriend son is being deployed end of the month. As a kid he would drink, got into trouble, can be bullheaded. but when he joined he actually became the Designated driver. Well at Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, they were having a fair, and his mother wanted to see him before he deployed to Iraq. She misunderstood this fair, I knew what it was. We went, it was all about getting you life in order, Wills, Insurance, Personal Prop, where you'll live.

We were there for 10 days, her son appreciated it. She thinks its safe because he's being deployed at a safe zone, but the problem is, hes in the motor pool, he'll be participating in the convoys, probably to the hot zones.

Even though you may mean well about buying them a beer and treated them special, each of these guys just want there life back, and be treated like everyone else. Some can't handle drinking.

Nope, but I bet if you payed them a reasonable wage and gave them research money we'd have affordable solar power by now. As for holding them accountable,

But this money would be coming from private industry through incentives.

Nah, you just cry the second someone suggests we make older people pay their share.

No just listening to crying because someone thinks somebody else had it easier. Get over it.

I don't know, there was an awful lot of "crying" about politicians before I got here. As for the difference be generations, I think you hit the nail on the head, that's the exact difference between the "greatest generation" and the "entitlement generation".

It will be hard to beat that generation for that is a benchmark.

The more you talk the more you just contradict yourself. The GI bill was started for that generation you call the greatest. The GI Bill was an entitlement.

p911

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#43
In reply to #39

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/03/2010 10:35 AM

You suggested we cut 5% across the board. What would that do? That would still leave us with a massive deficit. 5% saves us 175 Billion. Our deficit is over a trillion dollars.

I notice you aren't recommending raising taxes along with cutting benefits, even though your suggested solution falls over a trillion dollars short of eliminating the deficit. At this point we don't have time for fantasy pie-in-the-sky solutions that solve nothing. Give me a solution that saves 500 billion or more.

If we cut Social Security tomorrow, we save 700 million dollars. I don't retire for 30 years at least, I have plenty of time to save for my retirement. Why should I have to pay for your retirement because you didn't plan?

Then I propose a tax increase on people aged 50 and up. Here's my reasoning. People 50 and up have been running deficits for 30 years (basically since they could vote). They've essentially borrowed from the future to enjoy a higher standard of living in the past. Well, the bills due, pay up. We'll raise your tax rate to 50%, I think that should cut into the deficit.

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#44
In reply to #43

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/03/2010 10:58 AM

My suggestion of a 5% across the board was a starting point. Big enough to make a dent, start a trend and end the ever-upward momentum, but small enough not to be a catastrophy for anyone. We have to start somewhere. The debt wasn't made all at once and won't be paid off all at once. Most of the recent debt increase is due to revenue short-falls due to less taxes being paid during the recession. Taxes not being high enough isn't the problem. Spending at too high a level pandering to self-centered voters is the problem. Think of your average voter. Then realize than half the voters are dumber than that. That's part of the problem, too.

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#46
In reply to #44

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/03/2010 11:07 AM

Taxes not being high enough isn't the problem.

Really? Because I seem to remember 400+ billion dollar deficits when GDP was growing at over 3%. I think low taxes are part of the problem.

By the way, promising to balance the deficit without raising taxes is pandering too. But why let math get in the way of your fantasy, right?

Hey, we still can go with my "cancel social security / tax old people" plan. That would actually work.

NO! NO! We don't want fiscal responsibility if it involves us tightening our belts!

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#41
In reply to #38

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/03/2010 10:27 AM

"I honestly don't think the politicians are the problem. We are. The politicians are just doing what they have to do to get reelected. Our problem is that we want everything and don't want taxes."

For once, I agree with you. Mostly.

I think the politicians are as much of the problem as we are. We seem to blame them for everything instead of taking some responsibility for ourselves.

I say this speaking from my project management experience. You want a 60hp pump, 200 feet of pipe with valves and other fitting (all 321 stainless steel, fully insulated, and painted), and a relief valve with discharge line. Now, you're only giving me $150,000 to do it, well what do you want to cut?

I think if politicians are going to manage the budget then they shouldn't spend without considering the source of the funds. Unfortunately, I agree that politicians are only doing what they need to get reelected.

By the way, where did you find those charts?

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#45
In reply to #41

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/03/2010 10:59 AM

"By the way, where did you find those charts?"

The internet.

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#47
In reply to #45

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/03/2010 11:10 AM

Really? Well then it must be true (just kidding).

Maybe we should start putting a term limit on all congressional members.

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#48
In reply to #47

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/03/2010 11:17 AM

Or eliminate term limits on the president.

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#73
In reply to #48

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/08/2010 12:04 PM

Good God NO!!!!!

I couldn't handle W for 1 second more!

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#49
In reply to #38

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/03/2010 11:44 AM

Roger good graphs, but it was not just cutting taxes in the 80's. SS was in trouble way before that. In the 70's, particularly the late 70's Social Security has been having solvency problems even then. Nothing to do with the eighties. At the time they just stole from Peter to pay Paul at the time and it just keeps on moving up.

The problem with SS is without government support is very similar to a pyramid operations. You need more and more new people to support the upper portion that is living longer.

They try to offset this by imposing to move the retirement age higher, but thats only a temporary fix.

Social security works as long as population increase sufficently.

I have always felt SS should be eliminated, and it was talked about since the 70's instead of putting into SS to put it into private retirement. But can you imagine, about what happened in the 2000 when the investment bubble burst, and enron and madoff. What I see the government wanted one to take out IRA's while saying when you cash out you'll have less taxes when you retire that its worth to have an IRA. Congress sees alot of money there that can be taxed, and I have a feeling that congress will be taxing that just as heavily or more so than if you just saved it.

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#62
In reply to #49

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/03/2010 10:17 PM

Much as I believe you guys have important points about grand issues facing our nation I don't think such discussion is contributing much to the discussion of "Engineers and Long Term Unemployment" and answering the question "how do I improve my chances of obtaining a position?"

Let's remember that there are a few CR-4 members out there that are unemployed and are still looking for this topic to give them some new ideas.

Here's one. It's a minor one; but I think it is valid. This came out of a discussion I had with a 40 something friend currently looking for work in a technical trade. If you are at the age where you need reading glasses get yourself a pair of conventional glasses with graduated lenses rather than the half eye reading type you look over the top of for distant vision. Then wear them to the interview. They will tend to hide the natural aging appearance of the skin immediately around your eyes. If the interview talk gets around to your glasses don't hesitate to mention that your glasses provide good eye protection for things you do that produce eye hazards. I'll leave it up to the experts on interviewing and the phenomena of first impressions to comment on whether it is better for your lenses to be photo darkening type or not, especially if you are coming into the interview from a bright sunny environment.

Ed Weldon

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#63
In reply to #62

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/03/2010 10:33 PM

Ed,

Much as I believe you guys have important points about grand issues facing our nation I don't think such discussion is contributing much to the discussion of "Engineers and Long Term Unemployment" and answering the question "how do I improve my chances of obtaining a position?"

IMO, Thats true....but in all the discussion if limited to the OP, threads would be short thats why we have off-topic. And addressing unemployment reasons is not all dress for the interview to look intelligent. Acting definitely helps, but there are alot of good actors out there that burnt hiring manager. I still like to think first impressions are good to open the door, (you only get one first impression), but substance is still more important. I for one have been long unemployed. I'll tell you during an interview the interviewer asked me a question that had absolutely nothing to do with the job, Just to see how one reacts off the script....when I've done that, you can really uncover alot about a person when you leave the script he memorized.. And considering that most of this is off-topic, is a hint that is a matter of choice to read. And that is why we have off-topic.

p911

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#64
In reply to #63

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/03/2010 11:27 PM

"IMO, Thats true....but in all the discussion if limited to the OP, threads would be short thats why we have off-topic. ……... And considering that most of this is off-topic, is a hint that is a matter of choice to read. And that is why we have off-topic. …….p911"

P911 -- The elements of your response #63 copied above disappoint me. But I am not very argumentive this evening.

BTW, Roger Pink. Your suggestions to eliminate Social Security are absurd. The inflow of money into SS until some future date (is it 2019, 2037 or what?) is greater than the outflow; and besides it is all off budget anyway. I do think the Ponzi scheme aspect of SS is bad in the long run.

What we get out of SS as individuals should be the present value of what we put in. After that the means testing levels on payments should be set so that along with savings from people dying before they got out what they paid in should be used to balance the books and take the burden off the young workers. The other unmentioned aspect of Social Security is that it could be considered to be a tax you pay so you don't have to support your elders the way it works in more primitive civilizations.

Ed Weldon

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#66
In reply to #64

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/03/2010 11:46 PM

Of course it is which is why I wrote this in my original post.

(Please note, this is an "Reductio Ad Absurdum", I don't actually think we should cut Social Security.)

But it isn't absurd for the reasons you list. My arguments are very much valid. Especially the shell game I mentioned. Social Security certainly isn't cash flow positive. Aside from the obvious moral implications, canceling it would probably destroy our economy, or at the very least lead to a depression. On the other hand it does demonstrate the hypocrisy of the Anti-Entitlement crowd who somehow believe that Social Security is the exception to their crusade.

I had to go years without health care because I was part time at my job and part time at school. Neither would cover me at the group rate. The individual rate was over $800 a month. So I did what I had to, I went without.

People without a bachelors degree have a hard time getting health insurance. They've got to take less pay and more garbage to get it. There's an awful lot of people in this world who don't know what it is to take a bus, buy second hand clothes, or not have enough money for food, who are preachy about entitlements. But start taking away their entitlements and whoaaaa, that's a different story.

As for you protests about this side discussion. Respectfully, had you spoken up when they were whining about politicians then I wouldn't have had to launch on this circus. I'm tired of only one side being allowed to be heard and the other side being "above the fray". We're all in the fray sooner or later.

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#67
In reply to #66

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/04/2010 12:42 AM

Roger -- Quit trying to goad me into lighting my torch. I am a patient person when it comes to being critical of our commentaries, especially the OT kind. I go OT a lot myself. My position here is simply that after a while a very important topic for some of us who are job hunting or trying to get their career back on track seemed to be drowned out by an OT discussion some of which was slow to get classified as such.

Another problem fairly unique to CR-4 is these extremely lengthy threads that get all tangled up by sub-strings of responses. When some of these sub-strings drift way off topic it becomes almost impossible to find and reconstruct the logical development of the thoughts even with the help of GA's as place markers.

For me once the topic threads get into the high 100's of replies I start to abandon the whole thread because it is too time consuming to follow looking for pertinent replies. I guess usually by reply 50 or so the OP has gotten enough useful material to be satisfied; so it doesn't really matter if the topic drifts.

This was one case where I think the importance of the topic suggested some restraint in the OT stuff, especially because it may continue to be a good source of vital information for our members and guests.

Ed Weldon

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#68
In reply to #67

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/04/2010 8:13 AM

You make a good point, I tend to abandon threads when they get over 100 posts too. Ok, I'll stop stirring the pot here.

Roger

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#71
In reply to #66

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/04/2010 9:48 AM

I had to go years without health care because I was part time at my job and part time at school. Neither would cover me at the group rate. The individual rate was over $800 a month. So I did what I had to, I went without.

How many over 50 is with out health insurance. When you went without healthinsurace the odds were in your favor, that being young healthy and active. And those people over 50 are doing what they have to.

I'm tired of only one side being allowed to be heard and the other side being "above the fray". We're all in the fray sooner or later.

Thats true and either/all party is not clear of that, but it is unfortunate that we rely on the politicians to clear it up.

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#61
In reply to #38

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/03/2010 10:08 PM

Heres an interesting thread from the past on the Phillips curve and Phelps thoery on the **inflation/unemployment relationship

**inflation and the economy are tied together but they are not the same.

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#40
In reply to #35

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/03/2010 10:25 AM

Not good! Something needs to change!

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#69

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/04/2010 9:32 AM

I have two thought on this based off of my personal experience and what I have seen posted on here and job search sites.

1) I think engineers need to quit looking at their areas of expertise and broaden their horizons to other areas. There are always environmental and sustainability engineer positions open for those who have enough engineering experience. EPA and state environmental departments always have a hard time finding engineers to fill these positions. Many states have put in licensing exemptions for their environmental departments. The US military has had the same difficulties filling these positions. Granted most state governments are not hiring at the moment, but the federal government is (mostly military civilians). Almost any engineering degree (e.g. civil, chemical, industrial, or mechanical) and experience can be converted to environmental or sustainability engineering experience. These positions usually start at around $60-70k in the private sector with little or no experience. Last I looked EPA start at $75k.

Then there is also the Environmental, Health and Safety manager positions that I would love to see engineers filling. As an environmental engineer inspecting facilities in my state, it would greatly help if engineers were filling these positions and calculating the pollutants.

Their are environmental boot camp classes available online for a very reasonable price. The biggest part of environmental work is learning the laws, rules and regulations. These are free to view (US federal and the states). US EPA is under 40 CFR along with the CAA and CWA. States are usually covered in the Administrative Code (if they have environmental rules). AP-42 has emission factors for air emissions. Purdue University now has a SME Green Manufacturing Specialist Cert. classes available. It only takes 1-2 yrs of college to get an environmental management masters at most schools. This will give the person something to do instead of sitting at home watching tv or playing video games.

My point here is think outside the box. I did! I came from residential design and site development and was laid off. After 3 yrs in this field, I am a Sr Environmental Engineer (title) with a stable career (even though I got moved from pollution prevention opportunity assessor (job description) to air inspector and enforcement manager (job description) to save the state money and fill a critical position).

2) People need to understand and be willing to accept a reduction in pay during these difficult times. As long as the take-home pay is higher than the person's unemployment, the job is an advantage.

These are the philosophies that I used when I was laid off. I ended up with a new career. Hopefully, this helps someone get back on their feet.

__________________
"We cannot sow thistles and reap clover. Nature simply does not run things that way. She goes by cause and effect." Napoleon Hill
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Anonymous Poster
#70
In reply to #69

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

03/04/2010 9:41 AM

Great response!

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Anonymous Poster
#75

Re: Engineers and Long-Term Unemployment

06/12/2010 5:14 AM

I am From UK i completed my Engineering B.Tech electronics 2 year ago, but did not get the right job yet? what is the reason. http://www.samplejobdescriptions.org/category/engineering-job-descriptions <a href="http://www.samplejobdescriptions.org/category/engineering-job-descriptions">Engineering job descriptions</a>

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