Friday, November 5, 2010

Coffee with the engineer

I'm meeting with an old friend for coffee today. The guy's a mechanical engineer who's been out of work for almost a year. He's been willing to work well below his last pay grade at a lower position. Very few job interviews have come his way.

His old job is not coming back. The whole engineering department was fired and the work outsourced to another country. It happened with little warning. He and his wife were about to buy a new home and new car. Fortunately, they were taking their time and hadn't made the move yet.

They are better off than most. She's still making a decent income and their living expenses are reasonable. Still, it's got to be a blow. The guy worked all his life to become one of the top people in his field. There are patents in his name. That doesn't matter to the bean counters who can replace a whole department and maybe save a few bucks.

He has the sort of skills that everyone's been encouraged to train for. That only works if the jobs remain in the country.

I've faith that he'll either find a new job or make one for himself. Still, it's tough out there, when even the skilled experienced people have a hard time finding work.



  1. Is there any way he could work for himself? That seems to be the only way to create jobs these days. Even a part-time gig or temporary work would be better than nothing. New patents?

  2. There are things he could do. However, the best use of his skills requires a sizable manufacturing operation.

  3. Please don't blame the bean counters - their jobs on on the line, too. My husband is an accountant and fears for his job like everyone else in this economy. But his boss and the V.P. above him both seem to be enjoying their positions and the perks that are kept politely discreet from the workers below them... Until someone from another department shares a tidbit now and then...