I am a Mechanical Engineer working in the electrical connector industry. I have been in this industry for a little over a year now. I assist the Senior Mechanical Engineer is the design and development of high quality electrical connectors. Typical uses for these connectors range from military use, such as tanks, Hummers and aircraft, to commercial use such as trains and cranes. Some specially designed connectors made by my company have even been used in satellites that are in orbit. My responsibilities include designing, part inspection of prototypes, intercompany audits, reports and customer technical support.
My job is about a 7 for satisfaction rating. I very much enjoy being an engineer, but have found that excitement can be limited in an electrical connector field with many aspects being governed by military specifications. For me I feel this experience is to help me build on my working knowledge of engineering so that I can take any new skills learned and apply them to future positions I may have with other companies. After a few more years of experience I can move on to a company that would fit more inline of what I imagined for myself. I would like to get into the design and development of large projects such as aircraft or other vehicles.
I feel thus far in my young life I have had a fulfilling experience and getting to know different people from different backgrounds has helped me broaden my interpretation of how the world works. I always wanted to be an engineer from the time I was very young.
Going back the only things I might do differently may include continuing on after getting my bachelor’s degree and receiving my master’s degree. I understand that I can still achieve this though, and see that financial barriers are what have thus far kept me from doing this.
The toughest challenge that I have dealt with in this job would probably be learning to deal with the sales people and their customers. Many details can get lost in translation when communicating back and forth, and it seems that every sales person feels they should be first priority even though I may have ten people who need help at one time.
The most important thing I have learned outside of school is how to work with others inside of a company. It is different then when I worked in group projects in college. Working with others and communication are key to getting things done in a timely manner and knowing who to tell what to is very important. This job by far has helped me to learn this.
The strangest thing I have encountered in my job comes from an instance when discussing specifications for a connector with a customer. One customer provided a connector they wanted to be custom made, but did not provide any dimensions for it. When I asked for the length and diameter to at least be able to get a start, they sent me a drawing with the same diameter on two different parts of the drawing.
I get up and go to work everyday because I enjoy what I do. I like knowing that my designing goes into actually working products out in the world that helps other people’s lives. The most proud moment so far in this job would be when I finished my design on a sealed connector for a customer who is sending a satellite into space. It was a highly profitable order, but knowing something that I created was going into space meant a lot to me.
My job can be stressful at times, but for the most part I get along ok and I know I am good at my job. I tend to get stressed when someone challenges my work and it turns out to be right. I don’t mind if I was wrong in a design somewhere, but this is something that generally never happens.
Salary for my position at the moment is low because I am a new engineer. I make about 40k a year right now, but that will go up with the more experience I get and if I become desirable to other companies. I live within my means, but I do struggle with paying student loans.
I get a week of vacation per year, which I have yet to take. I do enjoy the holidays when they are here and do wish I had more time to enjoy other areas of my life, but I understand that where I am right now I have to work hard to gain the experience and respect that will allow me to lead a more rich life later on.
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