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Career change at 30. Leaving cushy job. Am I crazy?

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Career change at 30. Leaving cushy job. Am I crazy?

Old 03-14-2019, 02:25 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by r_ventura_23 View Post
Civil Engineer here....43 years old. You can't get rich unless you own the company.
43 and you're not a partner?
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Old 03-14-2019, 02:27 PM
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Guys, thank all of you so much for the responses. I would reply to everyone if it was practical, buts since it's not there are some I'd like to reply to. If anyone has ever done anything like this I'm all ears.

I do have a wife and a 2 year old daughter. Wife works as well and has good benefits as well as insurance, so that would not be a problem. Both of them are top priority, especially spending time with my daughter, nothing will ever take priory over that. This is the main thing holding me back from making the jump.

Surfside made an excellent point as did many others. What do I want out of it? I think the best answer I can come up with for that is the America dream. While getting rich is not a priority, at least the opportunity is there. Even if I don't get rich, I would never get rich at my current job. I passed up an amazing opportunity at 19 to chase the dream and have kicked myself ever since. I don't want to be 40 and still wondering what if.

Channeltwo also had an excellent point and he is correct, I have an idea not a plan. This is an idea that I've went over in my head many, many times. It's time to make a plan. My wife actually has her MBA so she will be a tremendous help with that.

Several have mentioned using my old machine and starting part time. It's a good plan in theory but there is some problems with it. The machine is old a clapped out, literally breaks every few hours of use. It also doesn't have a enclosed cab, and I wont use a mulching head with out one. The trailer is fine to transport between family houses a couple of miles from each other but it's at the end of it's life. I would have to buy a new goose-neck dump trailer. The one we have now is a none dump bumper pull. The machine rarely leaves my folks house. We have mobile mechanic we use for it. I have a F150 right now so I would have to upgrade truck and trailer, this along with repairs would kill any profits doing it part time.

Steeveau also made another excellent point. I want to build a business (maybe something I can pass on to my kids one day) not just create a job for myself. I see what some our contractors do, mess up stuff, try to screw the client, can't get the billing right, and I think to myself if they would just be honest people and understand critical phases of a job a little better they would make a killing (more than they already do). Small and steady growth would be the goal. Start out mulching/clearing and work up to bidding out different projects.

I have an associates degree not a bachelors, I am not a licensed engineer and have no desire to become one. I know in my current position that sounds silly but I'm not interested in taking on student loan debt for a 15-20% raise. I would rather focus all of that energy elsewhere.

I do not have my PLS stamp yet but it is in the works and not far off. Having that stamp would definitely be useful in getting more business with the machine and could also be used as filler work.

I understand that work is work and it's not suppose to be fun. I know if I make the jump there will be times where I will be hating life. One main thing I see is guys in there 50s at my company that do the same thing I do. Getting belittled by a 25 year old engineer and having to it even though they know it's not the right way to go about it and end up changing it in the end. I don't want that to be me. Again I feel silly for even thinking about it. I do realize how lucky I am to have the job I do, but I've always been one to admire people who get their ducks in a row, lay their balls out on the table, and go for it.

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Old 03-14-2019, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Locke N Load View Post
I used to dread going to work. Then as I got older I realized work is not where I should be looking for fulfillment and life enjoyment. Work is to earn money to do things that bring me enjoyment. Much more satisfying going to work, getting paid and doing fun things outside of work. There are very few people that actually get paid to do what they like.
I used to HATE going to work. Stress would wake me up at 4 am and keep me up late. I was a miserable prick at home. I remember having nasty meetings just days before Christmas, sitting on the couch and thinking how unhappy I was.

I now work for myself and love it. I never dread going to work, I enjoy it. I'm not sure what I would do going back to a job like I used to have.
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Old 03-14-2019, 06:35 PM
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I come from the opposite spectrum. I got my CDL and contractors license for heavy highways and public utilities by the time I was 22. By 25 I was needing to turn $10k per day just to make payroll and ends meet. It turned out I was not emotionally mature enough to handle that type of responsibility and pressure. From 6 AM until 6 PM M-S I was a happy kid. All other times I was absolutely, positively miserable. Every rainy day was a curse from God. Every sunny day not working was a missed opportunity to get ahead of a $700 flat tire or $3k injector job of perhaps a new $30k bulldozer undercarriage.

I happened to be in a bar out of town one night when a competitor made an offer to purchase the business. Life restarted for me that day.

Point is, go for being your own boss but the earthwork business is probably one of the most capital intensive, weather, and economy sensitive businesses you can get involved in.
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Old 03-15-2019, 06:03 AM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by Jughed View Post
I work at a job that I absolutely hate.


40 hours per week. Plenty of vacation. I’m home 90% of the time, and when I travel it’s to great places... I’m with my family on the weekends, plenty of time for friends and hobbies, can take off at will to do something g with my kids.

Make decent money, will retire with money... nice house, nice “toys”. Family needs nothing...

But I hate it.

Could I give up all the above to do something I like?? Be a fishing guide for 7 days a week and barely make food money?

I can tough it out for 40 hours a week.
I did that for a while, golden handcuffs and all. I convinced myself I could keep my work life from contaminating the rest of my life but I was wrong and finally walked away. That was one of the better days in my life.
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Old 03-15-2019, 06:22 AM
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Never heard of this guy but you can read here or watch this on Youtube (second link) if you prefer. Life Advice in a quite non-traditional graduation speech.

https://genius.com/Tim-minchin-comme...alia-annotated

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Old 03-15-2019, 06:22 AM
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Another thing to consider - the economy. While it's doing well now, we might be a year or two or three from some sort of recession. It might be a mild one, it might not. Starting a construction business at the peak of the economy has some risks, so weigh the potential pitfalls of that carefully.
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Old 03-15-2019, 07:33 AM
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I say you can give it a try if you don't have a family to support. The number one thing you are going to need is CASH. The number two thing is credit. Go ahead and sell your boat. You will be working everyday the sun is shining. At least you hope to be.There is so much work out there right now you could basically trip and fall into a job. The down side of that is everyone with a skid steer wants to be a contractor. Most of these guy's downfall is they don't understand their costs or they run out of cash flow when it rains 3 days every week. Owning your equipment outright would greatly improve your odds of making it. The next thing you need to do is not pay yourself any more than you need to live on and keep the money in the business. There are way too many mid tier guys paying themselves $250k a year and getting their equipment repoed and are 120 days behind on paying their suppliers.
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Old 03-15-2019, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by IMPLiberty View Post


I used to HATE going to work. Stress would wake me up at 4 am and keep me up late. I was a miserable prick at home. I remember having nasty meetings just days before Christmas, sitting on the couch and thinking how unhappy I was.

I now work for myself and love it. I never dread going to work, I enjoy it. I'm not sure what I would do going back to a job like I used to have.
You had not achieved your "A-ha" moment yet. Once you realize it is just a job and work and nothing to get stressed over it is easy to deal with. As long as you are doing your job you should feel comfortable. If your employer does not think you are doing your job and you do it may be time for a new job. My attitude is there is work to be done and only so much time to do it. If it takes a little extra time to get some things completed because of an influx, oh well. It will get done when it gets done. Everyone is happy as long as there is communication. So far it has worked well for me.
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Old 03-15-2019, 08:35 AM
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Here is my advice.

you sellp 1/3 if your life work 1/3 of your life and have 1/3 of your live to yourself where a fair amount of that 1/3 is spent doing things you don't want to do anyway. If you don't like your jobn now you won't like it any later and it becomes harder and harder to make a change the older you get and the more tenure in the filed you have and the more money you make. Life is short be happy

The othert thing to consider is what are you going to do when you are older? I mean late 40's and on? Do you think it will be easy to be employed by someone else at that point?
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Old 03-15-2019, 08:50 AM
  #51  
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As the tenured THT idiot, who's been going through exactly what you are currently going through but on a MUCH longer timeframe please listen to all the folks who are telling you to chase your dreams while at the same time not being reckless! They're 100% correct when they tell you that doing this NOW when your still young can indeed bring a lifetime of happiness to you and your family and might just be something that you can pass on to one of your kids in the future. We live in a very big world and there will always be earth to move, new buildings going up, people with money even in a depression that are taking advantage of the economy to make a killing.

Life is wayyyyyy to short at your age to not pursue something you love!

After age 45.......things get way more complicated and exponentially harder.

Best of luck!
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Old 03-15-2019, 09:02 AM
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man reading all these post makes me want to do something else with my life. I'm in construction and 75% of the jobs any more absolutely suck the other 25% are fun and almost like going to hang out with your buddy's. I really do hate my job some times but without starting my own business theres no chance of me making the money I do. also i live for my kids after i leave work it's all about them no responsibilities for work or people calling. I guess I just imagine having my own business would be dealing with people all day and night long and chasing money to get paid.
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Old 03-15-2019, 09:05 AM
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couple of red flags to me:

skid steer breaks down after a couple of hours of run time? it is a very big POS or lack of proper maintanance and repair? chances are the latter.

hiring a mechanic every time the skid steer needs work? this will eat up profits big time! you need to learn to do as many repairs as possibly. it will save you time and money!

need a new truck and trailer, big expenses! do you have the money to make that happen? or will this all be on credit?

new skid steer with cab $60-80k
new trailer $6-10k
reliable truck $30k plus

what about insurance and operating costs? that is alot of money on the line before you even have a first job!


this is what i would do:

keep current job, when you get a site work job on the side, rent the machine you will need. rental company will drop it off and pick it up. factor the cost of the machine into your bid. as you start building your business you can start aquiring the items you need. i think the idea of going out buying everything you need, then find work, is a guarantee failure.

you have to build the business as the work comes, not buy a business and then find the work!
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Old 03-15-2019, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by spraynet 1 View Post
As the tenured THT idiot, who's been going through exactly what you are currently going through but on a MUCH longer timeframe please listen to all the folks who are telling you to chase your dreams while at the same time not being reckless! They're 100% correct when they tell you that doing this NOW when your still young can indeed bring a lifetime of happiness to you and your family and might just be something that you can pass on to one of your kids in the future. We live in a very big world and there will always be earth to move, new buildings going up, people with money even in a depression that are taking advantage of the economy to make a killing.

Life is wayyyyyy to short at your age to not pursue something you love!

After age 45.......things get way more complicated and exponentially harder.

Best of luck!
Great advice!
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Old 03-15-2019, 10:25 AM
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I see both sides, but for me I was in the same situation at 30, but stuck it out and went from dislike to tolerate to like to love over next 10 - 15 yrs. As you age a little further and take on greater family and financial obligations, that security becomes a great deal more appealing and improves satisfaction a lot. Finding ways to search out some rewards, recognition and advancement, even if you have to give them to yourself sometimes (hint: new boat) in return for what you accomplish also helps. With that said, everyone is different and I would never suggest not following your dreams while you can. The skills you have don't go away and if you have a change a heart in 2 yrs, you can probably make a career change back.
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Old 03-15-2019, 11:17 AM
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Thanks again guys. I sat down with the wife last night ran some numbers, looked at some things. I'm still a little ways off and have a lot to take into consideration. First step is going to be getting the licenses.
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Old 03-15-2019, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by joshd472 View Post
Thanks again guys. I sat down with the wife last night ran some numbers, looked at some things. I'm still a little ways off and have a lot to take into consideration. First step is going to be getting the licenses.
your in design/engineering already... switch to automation/instrument or electrical design and make more money. E&I designers are in demand, most of the folks are older and retiring... there is a void. And in my sector of engineering, you can pull 2x that of civil folks. Even more if you lead. 3d pipe desig .
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Old 03-15-2019, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Jughed View Post


your in design/engineering already... switch to automation/instrument or electrical design and make more money. E&I designers are in demand, most of the folks are older and retiring... there is a void. And in my sector of engineering, you can pull 2x that of civil folks. Even more if you lead. 3d pipe desig .
I tried like hell to get in on the I&E and piping side of things until I got my last job 5 years ago. I'm already so entrenched in Civil I would be completely starting over. I've even had few job offers for I&E and piping the last few years but for less money than I make now. What would you say the avg salary of a good pipe designer is?
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Old 03-15-2019, 11:54 AM
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I was a chef/manager til 30 when I finally had enough of people and changed careers. Became an operating engineer, went to school and retired after 35 years with a great pension. Change now, if you’re not happy, before it’s too late.
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Old 03-15-2019, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Quacktastic View Post
You already have the equipment. Start the company and build the business up on the side for a few months. That way you cut your teeth, learn the profitability side, and grow your customer base...all while still having a steady income stream in case you screw up royally or getting work takes some time to grow.
This is the proper strategy. When starting a business never quit your job with good money and benefits until it costs you too much to be there everyday. Your current job probably offers the chance to meet a lot of prospective business. Do weekend work, then hire somebody you can kinda trust to do the odd job during the week and help you on the weekend. Get the business rolling before bailing your current gig. If it can be your side hustle for a bit you can more quickly buy newer, better, more productive equipment. You have to separate yourself from the 50 other guys out there trying to do the same kind of work.
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