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this engineer needs to find a new job with polymers

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this engineer needs to find a new job with polymers

Old 09-22-14, 09:11 PM
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spectastic
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this engineer needs to find a new job with polymers

I work in the oil & gas industry. It's exactly as I had expected.. working as a 20 something engineer with operators and technicians twice my age on a process that I don't particularly give a rat's ass about. I went to engineering because I like science and problem solving, not to become a paper pusher. I've always like research, and did plenty of it in college. That said, PhD sounds like a nobrainer, but I'd like to plan a little further ahead than that. Even for engineers, a lot of PhD grads end up in jobs they don't like, simply due to the oversupply of these graduate degrees. I'm pretty sure I don't want a professor job, but I'm pretty sure I want to do some kind of research work dealing with polymers. Secondly, I'd like to move closer to Austin or the SF bay area, just to be able to stick around warm climate, and race the sh*t out of my bicycle every week. Right now, I just want to get a better idea of what's out there, and get a broader perspective that you can't really get with a job search.

not the most fitting forum to post this, but I figure it can't hurt.
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Old 09-23-14, 09:58 AM
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Well, sounds like you need to do your research and find out which companies are working on the kind of stuff you like to do. Find out who exactly is doing this work for them. Make contacts. Get involved in professional organizations, go to trade shows, give talks and network like a boss.

Check out "Never Eat Alone" by Keith Ferrazzi" for good tips on networking.
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Old 09-23-14, 11:08 AM
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"Polymers" is a pretty broad and deep topic. Tires? Carbon fiber resin? Shag carpeting? In any of these research will involve a ton of paperwork; you need to mix up your recipes and see if the material properties come out what you want.

You also need to figure out what kind of engineer you are and what you wish to be. I've got some informal categories. The nerds are there for the sake of problem solving and wind up doing design and analysis. The bureaucrats are nerds who like rules, and they wind up writing and enforcing specifications and planning, tolerances and quality. Either of these tend to settle in for the long haul company career. The mercenaries are there for power and money. They become project engineers, which involves a lot of logic and scheduling, and they might be working on their MBA's. A person who is a good combination of nerd & mercenary make a good chief engineer. Werner Von Brauns are rare geniuses capable of comprehending what the whole program or company needs. They might be one in a few hundred engineers. Within these categories, everyone tends to find their level. Those not interested in achievement will find it and settle for it; those ambitious will find it and keep crashing against it.

Edit: I need a testing category
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Old 09-23-14, 07:49 PM
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DuPont, Dow, BASF, Akzo Nobel . . . those are a few of the polymer companies I can thing of right off the top of my head. Just type in something like 'polymer resins' or 'plastic resins' into a search engine and you should get another dozen.
FWIW: I got a degree in biology/concentration in botany, was looking at getting a masters degree to do research, but the ag science companies all wanted me to have a PhD if I wanted to do research. Result: I'm not working in biology/botany, but as an industrial chemical speciaist for a govt regualtory agency. And 30 years after graduation most folks I knew in college aren't working in their degree field either.
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Old 09-23-14, 10:17 PM
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Old 09-24-14, 10:38 AM
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Sounds like Utah to me.
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Old 09-24-14, 12:21 PM
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My son recently got a job as an engineer in the oil/gas industry in San Antonio. Not much paper pushing but he is out in the field getting dirty and he loves it.
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Old 09-24-14, 12:25 PM
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Just me, but if I was going to get a PHd or other advanced degree in Chem. Enginieering or related fields, I'd seriously look into biotech or other medical research type of degree and positions.
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Old 09-24-14, 05:49 PM
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wow I didn't expect to get this many good responses.

I can totally relate to the categories darth lefty was talking about. I see that hierarchy here at my company. I definitely want to be someone who gets to stick to the technical side, and work with chemicals, run experiments, compile/present data, keeping up with global trends, etc. I definitely don't want to be a manager that has to get too much involved in politics. or at least I don't see myself doing that until spending a good amount of time working in the nitty gritty and becoming an expert.


I did some medical related research in college. I can't say it was my favorite job though. maybe it was a bad project, but it never went anywhere, and it just wasn't nearly as interesting as it started out to be. I've been curious about polymer applciations in the organic electronics industry. I was actually applying to grad school to do research in that area... twice, but never got the offers I wanted. but I don't think that industry is doing too well. the main driver behind organic electronics is to lower the cost and improve distribution, but then you run into problems with performance losses, longevity, fragility, and everything else you get that comes with plastics that can't really compete with silicon and other metals/metalloids.

So.. I need to do more research. But at the same time, would love more suggestions.
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Old 09-25-14, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by spectastic View Post
I definitely don't want to be a manager that has to get too much involved in politics.
Politics are a part of any work place, whether you're a manager, researcher, professor, phd student, etc. The more success you have the more b.s. you'll need to deal with.
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