Chair Force Engineer

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Thoughts from an Unemployed Engineer (Part 1)

I'm trying to understand why so many corporate headhunters will contact a job-seeking engineer about a position requiring skills that are listed nowhere in their resume. This has happened to me a few times over the past year or so as I've been looking for work. I am not the kind of person who would spin a fable about my so-called abilities, only to be exposed as a phony when it came time to start working with the particular employer.

I am an aerospace engineer, yet I get contacted to do hardware and software engineering work that I am totally unqualified to perform. For that matter, my basic familiarity with MatLab somehow gets spun into an ability to work with SimuLink by the recruiters. All of these illusory teases of a job only serve to make the job hunt more frustrating and ultimately futile.

For that matter, the aerospace industry seems to only show interest in me when it comes to doing engineering tasks similar to what I performed in the Air Force. Truth be told, if I actually enjoyed what I was doing in the Air Force, I would have stayed in. But I got out because I needed a change. It just seems like the industry is only interested in people who can deliver a vital skill out-of-the-box with no additional training required.

I really wish that some recruiter would look at the things I learned in college and say, "You know what? This guy really kicked ass doing structural analysis and aerodynamics classes. Why don't we train him up to do one of those things?" I would give anything for the opportunity to make a fresh start in this industry.

The aerospace industry used to give second chances to people; after all, the people most culpable for the two shuttle disasters got to stay in the industry (even if they were reassigned from their previous positions.)

The economy is tough right now; maybe there is hope that the jobs situation will get better once business picks up. But it's hard to keep your head high when you're still battling the shadows from bad jobs of the past, with no glimmer of recognition for one's strengths and past accomplishments.