Advice to a young engineer

February 25, 2013

Jack Ganssle-February 25, 2013

Stability and security are the least important career drivers when young. Go for the wild and crazy!

A good friend visited his newly-married 29-year-old son and spouse in New England recently. This young man is brilliant, very social, and has a PhD--a success by any definition.

He recently began a new job with a near-startup of 50 people doing cancer research. Lately, an influx of several hundred million dollars has meant they can do their work without the normal money problems faced by new and small businesses.

Yet everyone there is unhappy.

The new money means everything is changing, and change always causes discord. Established procedures get tossed, new approaches ruffle feathers and abrade established hierarchies, even in a small, young business.

To top it all off, the new spouse feels her hubbie needs a job that pays six figures.

My friend, this young fellow's father, is advising his son to stick it out for at least a year or two. Sure, he could find a more stable (boring?) job elsewhere. Probably one that pays a lot more. With reasonable work hours and less friction. But should a young person with enormous talent and education go for the tried and true, the safe path with few challenges and less opportunity?

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