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What do you do for a living?


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Tradeshow manager. I produce tradeshows for a trade association that represents defense contractors; you know, the small struggling mom-pop businesses like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Remington, etc.

Have stayed in the sales/revenue generation field - did fundraising, B2B sales, then a bicycle messenger in DC which lead me to owning my own bicycle shop for a number of years, then went back to work for a small non-profit (NRA) doing membership sales. After leaving the consumer side of death and destruction, I went my current job of corporate death and destruction -- hah!

My degree was pure liberal arts (I suck at math, etc!) Government w/a minor in History. My career path (if you want to call it that) is long and winding but very rewarding.

"When the government fears the People, that is Liberty. When the People fear the Government, that is tyranny."

- Thomas Jefferson

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Let's see, I have been a farm hand, Gunfire Control tech, Cat. mechanic,Motor cycle mechanic,Engineer on Sea-going tugboats,building maintenance engineer,and a fire protection tech. I am retired now. My education outside the USN was in diesel technology. My advice is to get a good basic education in something you like and continue to get all the training you can while on the job. G

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I just passed the 20 year mark at my company. I'm a Senior Project Engineer for a Plastics Auxiliary Manufacturer. We make industrial dehumidifiers, pumps, blenders, etc. and my department contracts out the installations. As the BASF commercial used to say "we don't make the products you buy, we make the products you buy better". Never a dull day at my job.

I've got a BSMET (Mechanical Engineering Technology) degree from UNC-Charlotte (class of 1990).

Before that, I pumped gas, wrenched on cars, mowed lawns and was the Assistant Manager of the main NTW (now NTB) tire warehouse while I worked on my Associate's degree.

My wife was in IT for many years and got fed up with it last May. She is opening up her own Clothing Boutique shortly.

Don't be afraid to dream, but make sure you do some research before you sign up for any career. Good luck!

Jim Gerock


Riviera 69 2002 built 5/30/69 "Oscar"

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lots of things over the years. I have a degree in Civil Engineering but have raised and trained race horses (harness horses), co-owned an insulation company, owned a contracting company and now run a very large propane and oil company (family owned but not my family) - who knows how I got here, who knows where i will go next. At 59 I fully expect to try a few more things. I have never not enjoyed going to work. Try to find something you like and with a good group of coworkers. my motto - if I am not having fun, I am not doing it. Some days are tough but it is the overall picture you have to focus on. good luck and have fun!


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At your age, I didn't ask around too much, like you are. As you can see from these posts, there is a HUGE variety of things you can do, but if you don't ask/seek out the info, you'll end up with a narrow view of career fields.

One of the most valuable things you can learn about at your stage in life is...yourself. What do you like to do? Who do you like to spend time with? Why do you feel that way? I'm talkin' really think about that once a month or so, and start peeling the onion on what makes you tick. Don't accept the surface answers...keep digging down. Often a friend, a sounding board, can help you with this kind of introspection.

With that knowledge, when you talk to people about what they do, you can ask better questions, and better assess whether what they are describing sounds like you something you would enjoy, or not enjoy.

Now, as some folks here are saying, this is a life-long learning process. You will likely change over time as you get more experience in life.

Also, you'll probably learn more about yourself when you do something that doesn't click than when you do. That's when you can really learn a lot. So don't be afraid to try different things.

That's all I got for ya. Good luck.


02ing since '87

'72 tii Euro  //  '21 330i x //  '14 BMW X5  //  '12 VW Jetta GLI

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Go with your interests and they will become your passions.

Figure out what you enjoy and surround yourself with smart, positive, interesting, motivated people. Your career will fall into place.

After flunking out of engineering at 18. I got a summer job cleaning pools. I soon became interested in the names of the plants and flowers on my route. I then got a job at a nursery. I did many things along the way but always came back to plants and trees. Thirty years later, I do arborist reports as a sub-contractor for PG&E. I am not getting rich but do OK for myself. I realized that I wanted to work outdoors and not have a stressful job.

I got an Art degree in college. I worked my way through school working in nurseries. I have been to many amazing places because of my job and I do enjoy it.

Joseph O'Neil

73 02 - Polaris - 2587250

67 2000 TiLux- Chamonix - 1451152

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I own a body shop! Like others, I ended up doing this because there wasn't much else available!

I did have a "career" with General Electric for 11 years and I have an Engineering degree. My last job with GE in Evendale was a blast. I was in charge of reviewing the design of complicated structural jet engines parts, come up with the processes to make them and suggest changes that would reduce the cost without altering the design intend. The fun part was that I had a team of experts at my disposal, and I was constantly learning from them.

Did I get to use my Engineering degree... probably not, but it would have been very difficult to get that job without it.

Thirty years ago I would have never guessed that I would be a body shop owner! The truth of the matter is that I still enjoy going to work every day.

Get an education, for the sake of becoming an educated and cultured person, if that leads to a job, good, otherwise, enjoy the process. Point and decide: I want to do this, I want to live here, I want to learn this, even if that is being a beach bum in Santa Cruz! (I know someone that is having a blast doing it in Panama and making a living). The point is, it is your life, your only chance, a job will enable to do the things that you want to do, but it should not define you.

FAQ Member # 91

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I am the last of a dying breed, I work for the same employer that I joined after graduating from college almost 37 years ago. I am the director for Cost & Schedule Management for Northrop Grumman's Space Systems Division in Redondo Beach. It has been a great place to work and I have been involved on almost every program we have had in those years including 747, F-5, F-18, YF-23, F-20, B-2 and now space programs providing business management support. The bureaucracy and micro-management of the last two years as we once again drive to reduce costs, reduce management layers and such has finally gotten to me however. In June I plan to retire so I can spend time with my wife and kids, and BMW buddies too, along with fly fishing, hiking and backpacking, exercise (yeah right) but I won't be sitting around. I consider myself very fortunate to have survived the up and down nature of the Aerospace industry but it is time to move on.


`73 3.0CS Chamonix, `69 2000 NK Atlantik

`70 2800 Polaris, `79 528i Chamonix

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I am a graduate mechanical engineer. I have worked in the nuclear power field for almost 38 years (except for the 2 years I spent in petrochem engineering). It has had it's good parts and bad parts. As in any business or work environment I have worked with some very good people and some real jerks. The jerks made for most of the bad times. The last 20 years I have been working in the probabilistic risk assessment area, which I have found to be interesting, challenging and fun for the most part. The thing about the nuclear industry is that the majority of the people are within 5 to 10 years of my age (60). This should make for a lot of opportunity for young people entering the industr.

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Great thread, lots of engineers! I'm a 29 year LAPD detective, been doing narcotics work for 21 of the 29 years. Ive got three years till retirement. will start looking for another career (hopefully part-time) in a year of so. Was in the Army before that. Great career, lot of fun, little hard on the body tho (home now recuperating from hip surgery). Would not of traded the job for anything.


1973 2002 Chamonix sunroof (soon to be M42 swap)
2015 Ford Explorer-Wife
1999 Jeep Cherokee

1991 318i convertible (donor)

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I own and operate an import auto repair shop. Almost twelve years now. I spent a dozen years prior wrenching for new car dealerships (Toyota & BMW) and independents. I went in blind. As so many "entrepreneurs" before (and since, I'm sure) have learned, being talented (even highly competent and certified) at ones trade or profession in NO WAY qualifies him to operate a business specializing IN that trade or profession. The transformation from mechanic / technician to businessman has been long and painful. I actually enjoy the business end of things now that I know what I'm doing but it is extremely challenging. When a young mechanic tells me he'd like to open his own shop I don't discourage him... but I tell him (very frankly) that if he is SERIOUS about it he needs to lock his toolbox, go to college, and get a business degree. The business and service end of a repair shop require ENTIRELY different skills and experience.

Budweiser...It's not just for breakfast anymore.

Avatar photo courtesy K. Kreeger, my2002tii.com ©

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Go with your interests and they will become your passions

Well stated. I am a plastic surgeon. I own Otis' Augmentation and Cat Rescue Emporium. Here are a few of my satisfied customers.

The young lady in red? We were running a 2-for-1 special, and we screwed up the math.






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Well... Being 18 and in High school I cant say much. I do a whole slew of things, I mow lawns, run a tractor, roof, build fences, fix computers, work on cars/tractors/trucks, and maintain our high school shop. So Ive had a few things and am looking at going into Oregon State for Mechanical Engineering. Being a high school teacher looks like more fun everyday, I have been tempted to get a teaching degree also!

'76 2002 in Malaga (110k Original, 2nd Owner, sat for 20 years and now a toy)
'86 Chevy K20 (6.2 Turbo Diesel build) & '46 Chevy 2 Ton Dump Truck
'74 Suzuki TS185, '68 BSA A65 Lightning (garage find), '74 BMW R90S US Spec #2

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My son has this dilema. I told him to go live his dream. Find what you love to do or what makes you happy. After that it will all work out!

I spent 22 years in & out of the hardwood lumber industry in production, sales, traffic management, and then right before the economy went south in the fall of '08 I was very fortunate to get hired on with a great company that has a manufacturing division(plastic injection moulding) and I am the Operations Manager for the Distribution arm of the company. We sell to Distributors of boat parts and manufacturers of boats. I love it! I don't have to sit at a desk or only do one thing a day. The owners are great and we just had the best year in the companies history.

Good Luck to all of you younger guys!



1970 Grey 02 (the never ending project)
2007 328xi coupe (DD)

and a couple hondas for the kid.

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