15 responses to “Weekend Journal — Leaving An Engineering Job”

  1. Nathan

    I’m sure it’s different in various places, but there are companies, especially smaller ones, where it is standard practice to get a raise by getting a higher paying offer. It works for both sides — if you are worth it your current company will make sure you are paid market rates or better, if not they will let you go and you already have a job offer, no hard feelings either way.

  2. Paul J Calrke

    Hi Chirs,

    All the best with the change – having been though 13 jobs now I know the fun of ‘moving on’ from one to the other. I have had good and bad changes but its all water under the bridge now. You just have to ride it out sometimes.

    One question I would like to ask – for your new job, have you told them about your online fame? Did thay already know about you? is this somehting you let them find out or be up frunt about?

    All best
    Paul :o)

    1. Chris Gammell

      I didn’t make a big deal about my online activities, but I do list it in my “interests” section of my resume. I’m sure HR wouldn’t like that kind of thing, but I know engineers like to see I’m interested in electronics outside of work. So yes, they know. I’ll be interested if any of them continue to read/listen but I’d be happy either way.

  3. Dave Young

    Leaving a job is seriously hard work! While it can be tough to work harder/faster to meet your final day deadline when all you want to do is finish up that last problem or spend time with co-workers I think you’re right in suggesting that this stuff needs to get completed. Nice article!

  4. Kismetic Keithley Katowse | The Amp Hour

    […] Chris has the whole week off! He wrote more about leaving his engineering job on Engineer Blogs. […]

  5. Cherish The Scientist
    1. Philip Freidin

      I was just about to post the exact same link. Ties in nicely to the picture at the top.

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  7. Brian J Hoskins

    Hello Chris. I just came across these articles via Google+. Thanks for the write-up, this was of particular interest to me because bizarrely I’m in a very similar situation to your good self! My current job involves the design and build of test instruments for a production line, and I’ve been there for 5 years now. In that time I have tried to build up the design department because when I first stepped into the role it was heavily biased in favour of manufacturing support. I have had some success at this, but ultimately I have learned that when you work in a manufacturing environment, then production will *always* be king (and for good reason, really) and you’ll never escape its clutches – even if your job title is design. If you have the skill required to solve a manufacturing problem then you’re going to be pulled away, sometimes kicking and screaming, from your pet project and you’ll be made to support the production line. The bottom line is that products need to go out in order for everyone to get paid, and there’s no way around that.

    So, I too have found myself in a position where I’m working primarily as a design engineer but my resource is being used for manufacturing support much more than I’d like it to be. For this reason, I am currently considering jumping ship (this is actually no secret, even my boss knows of my discontent). I am also considering the possibility of setting up my own company, as we chatted about a bit before.


    Now, this is one of my pet hates in life. I know it’s industry standard practice to try and keep the good employees in house and offer them incentives to stay if they hand their notice in. It happens all the time. Usually the only incentive they can offer that will tempt someone to stay is a pay increase, so that’s what they normally do.

    I know I should take it as a compliment if I’m offered more pay to stay, but unfortunately I don’t. In fact, I actually take it as a bit of an insult! After all, what they’re really saying when they dangle the carrot as you’re on the way out the door is;
    “hey Brian… you know that salary we’ve been paying you for the last five years? Well, the truth is we’ve been stiffing you because you’re actually worth five grand a year more to us than we’ve been letting on. But, since you’re now leaving and there’s nothing else we can do to stop you going, how about we give you the extra five grand you’re really worth and we go back to the status-quo?”

    I take deep offence at this. If I’m worth five grand more because I’ve been doing such a good job, then I should have been offered it at an employee review (we have these every year, they’re like performance reviews). It’s too late to offer it to me when I’m on the way out of the door because by that time I’ve already decided to leave. This opinion is fuelled by general principal more than anything else, I think.

    Anyway, in my opinion a better job trumps better pay. It’s no use staying in the job you’re not quite satisfied with just because they’ve offered more money. The extra money is just a band aid designed to offset your discontent. In reality it never does. You soon get used to the new salary and then the band aid isn’t really relevant any more so you become discontent again. The job has to be right first, and then you can worry about the pay.

    That’s my two cents anyway!

    Good luck with the new job Chris 🙂


  8. russ

    I think President Nixon’s resignation letter is a perfect example of what a resignation letter should be: short and to the point.


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  11. Components Direct

    Good luck with the new job.

  12. ferd

    Chris, kudos on your good attitude about leaving your old job. Very even-tempered and professional – as perceived by an engineer or logical person. In my experience, though, it can be perceived as arrogant or rude by HR or business types. I’ve left jobs just as you described, only to find unfair backlash from the people I was escaping. I always document my projects and leave plans for finishing anything that I can’t finish, only to hear that it was lost or trashed soon after I left. Oh well, they paid for it so their loss. Trying to leave contact information is a good idea, but I’ve found that the only people who ever contact me were coworkers who were friends (and some of them did it in secret, worried about the wrath of management). Although you did the right things, don’t expect much in return.

    A funny story about NDAs. While at Company A a friend was working on a hobby project that had nothing to do with Company A’s business, and without using any company resources. One day at lunch (off company premises) he discussed his project with a friend, and a manager overheard. Next thing he knew a company lawyer told him to turn his project over to the company. He did so, and after evaluating it for a month management told him that the company wasn’t interested in it, but due to the NDA they were going to shelve it and he was not allowed to work on it (even on his own time). After he left Company A, a new work acquaintance from Company B happened to come over to his home lab and saw the project. Soon a Company B lawyer demanded that he turn it over to them. He did, but explained that Company A already had a claim to it. Company B also didn’t want to pursue the project. But, lawyers for both companies fought each other over it anyway. It only made money for the lawyers. Meanwhile, we all learned to negotiate NDAs with employers to exclude projects you’re already working on and projects that do not fit company business. If a company really wants to employ you, they will negotiate.

    Best of luck!

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