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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am in a really tight dilemma right now... three companies, one me. I need to poll the audience to help me make a decision.

Earth Tech, where I'm currently at right now, I'm well established here, under new management, have a rocky road ahead short term with potential for long term gains if I stay with big projects coming. New management thinks I'm being underpaid and will put me up for a review for my third salary increase of the year. Commute time: 120 minutes by transit, 105 minutes by car. Concerns: being laid off if these big projects don't come in. Helpful: Will provide me a laptop so I can use the 75 minutes I'm on the commuter train each way to work, cutting my office hours to 6 hours.

Flow, the startup company my three outgoing bosses at my current place are creating, have already given me an offer for a small salary increase + one extra week of vacation, just starting off but have a huge client base already of mostly a ton of smaller jobs. Commute time: 90 minutes by transit, 120 minutes by car. Concerns: I will be the only technologist doing design and drafting work for three engineers and will be absolutely swamped with work unless they follow through with their promise to hire more CAD people under me so I can focus more on design. Helpful: The MBP I bought under ET's interest free computer loan... "consider the loan paid off"

Stantec, probably the biggest engineering firm in Canada, the office I was at was formerly a Keen office so it's a small group of great people, many different small to big jobs, stable client base, huge potential to grow, will be a junior designer with very little drafting work from the get go. Commute time: 50 minutes by transit, 15 minutes by car. Concerns: Extremely minor concern really, totally new environment. Helpful: I'd be starting a company clean slate so no stigma on what should I do... I can more or less begin to define myself as an engineer. Also a really great group of people, the boss seems really outgoing, friendly, and honest.
 

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Sounds like three good options. Congratulations.

If you have no kids and low/no debt, then go where you think that you will enjoy yourself the most and do not worry too much about business risk or even small differences in salary. Seniority and taking on responsibility is more relevant for career-building.

For Flow, if they succeed (a good thing), they'll probably always be behind on finding employees so the workload will likely stay high but getting into a small company early has its advantages.

If the local Stantec office did not give you the feel of being in a large immobile corporation, then it sounds quite good. The advantages of a big company without some of the main disadvantages...plus a lot less commuting.

In the end, though, be happy about having good choices and don't worry too much about being able to predict the future.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Beej. :) I have no kids but in high debt mostly the mortgage and student loans but I've got all my debts covered no matter where I decide to go or stay. Just the extra salary would help me chip away faster at one particular credit card I have since college that I've just been paying off at minimum just because it's really low interest but would like to see that one debt go away.

will put me up for a review for my third salary increase of the year.
:eek: And one hour later, I get my third salary increase of the year.
 

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It certainly seems as though our current employer appreciates you - and is willing to compensate you for that. In each of the three, what are the opportunities for advancement? Where do you want to be in five years, and which of those firms will get you there?
 

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15 minutes vs. 90 minutes car commute times would be a high priority for me

you'll appreciate the short haul to and from work
great group of honest people
see if stantec would match the extra one week vacation
if so, i think it's a no brainer

a real quality of life issue

also, i like new starts
 

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Seems to me I'd try to have cake and eat it too.
The startup and current company most likely will always be in the market for you if you don't burn bridges.

Larger companies may not be so open door down the road.
I'd pick the opportunity least likely to occur again anytime soon - and keep friendly with the others.

Review in 6 months.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I've eliminated Flow from my choice of companies on the basis that although their company is going to be wildly successful beyond what anyone can imagine and I'm going to totally miss out on a chance to get a startup company, they'll mostly be doing smaller jobs with the odd exciting big job here and there. If I look at my project portfolio right now, it's a bit pathetic right now. Three years of experience and a lot of projects but only a few that stand out as wowwwwwww -- Royal Columbian Hospital New ICU Ward, a chiller replacement, dry cooler unit addition then a few hundred TIs although a great introduction to mechanical systems, does not truly expose me to more advanced mechanical systems designs and there are things I want to know how to design -- geothermal systems, new chiller systems, hybrid systems, etc. So yea now it's a battle between my current employer Earth Tech and the much closer Stantec.
 

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Lack of time spent commuting would be a big plus for me. It's good that one place will pay you for work you do while you commute. I'd rather read and listen to music than work on a commute, though.

Good luck in your decision.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
To update everyone on how things are progressing, I think I do have my heart set on the startup company Flow. The only problem is that I'll take a slight hit on cost of living but I've been promised a pay review in three months once they see where the company is at in terms of revenue and loss(profit)... and I can make up the shortfall by working for my dad once in awhile. (We do get along better now since that episode back in 2005 if anyone can remember lol... so long as we don't spend too much time together...) and I have a couple of people interested in renting my room one or two nights a week (one Sunday and/or Monday, one Wednesday and/or Thursday, they'd be on a contract..) that would give me that extra income as well. Stantec... there will always be work there. If things don't work out at Flow which I highly doubt it. I'm sure I can get a favorable raise that will bring my standard of living back to current levels so I can probably tolerate this for 3 months, which basically involves just taking the commuter train partway and using a city bus the rest of the way, it's $100 cheaper a month though it takes 25 minutes longer so my commute would be 120 minutes instead of 95 minutes. Is this acceptable? I don't feel like I should deal with these conditions and I should be able to take the commuter train all the way downtown and if not why should I leave Earth Tech if I'm facing less money and the same commute. But then again, short term pain, long term gain. Hm...

I have to make my decision soon. Really soon.
 

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i'd still go with the established big company that is fairly close
you have no idea how you will appreciate a short 15 minutes car commute
also, large companies look great on a resume and you can make great contacts
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
A bit of both I think, more sleep, more living time, and more time to develop myself professionally. I say an extra hour per task per work day. :)

Okay here's how things panned out... on Wednesday I had a meeting with my boss because he could tell I was quite irate at that point. I discussed salary as my main concern and needing to move on to bigger tasks as my second concern. He basically told me that I have to learn not to live beyond my means, I have to work to get a salary I would deserve, and agrees I should move on to bigger tasks especially with hiring of new staff. My problem is that engineers usually work more than 8 hours a day, something I used to do myself but these days find that because of my long commute I find that I just work my 8 hour day and get the hell out of there. No motivation to do the typical professional development stuff I used to always do and I'm always tired, really always tired. How am I going to be able to do that extra bit and better myself to get the higher salary I deserve? There's no way.

So yes on the first point he raised, yes I do have to learn not to live beyond my means. I totally agree with him!By moving on to Stantec I cut my monthly tranportation costs from 20% of my take home pay down to 13% of my pay even though my pay will be slightly lower. My boss is pretty awesome for offering excellent advice isn't he?

Too bad I slapped them in the face for asking for a higher salary when I ended up taking a job that paid $3000 less. I shouldn't let them know that right?
 

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Engineers switch companies like flies switch ... pies. (Cleaned up for the general public.)

Keeping track of 'em is the bane of my existence. I have no doubt that by the end of the decade you'll have worked at Stantec, Earthtech, Colt, SNC-Lavalin, CH2M, Associated, and a few others. (I keep collections of cards and the only ones who don't move are the ones who are partners.)

So: don't burn bridges. It ain't worth it. It's actually a VERY small community when you get right down to it.

But you knew that already. ;)
 
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