Here is a very simple question for those in the RF/microwave industry: Do you actually like your job today? And do you enjoy working for your company? Of course, there is no such thing as a perfect job, just like there is no such thing as a perfect company. Having said that, hopefully the engineering profession has been (and still is) good to you, meaning the answer to both of those previous questions is yes.
When thinking about your working experience, maybe another question would be this: Would you recommend engineering to your kids? Answering that question would go a long way toward crystallizing how one really feels about his or her job. The simple fact is that much of our time is spent at work. So with that in mind, it is definitely a huge benefit to do something that you actually enjoy. Unfortunately, that is not necessarily the case for many. Most likely you know more than a few people who really don’t like their jobs.
So do engineers like their jobs? Based on the results we saw in last year’s salary survey, it does appear that most engineers actually do. Of course, the salary survey is only a small sample of the engineering workforce. You have to answer yourself whether or not you feel the same as the majority of the survey respondents.
In addition, do you think that your company allows you to maximize your ability? Or do you feel like limitations are placed on you that actually prevent you from doing all that you can or want to do? You can have a whole lot of brainpower, but it doesn’t necessary help if you don’t use it. In situations in which an employee is being underutilized, is that the fault of the company or manager for not recognizing that person’s abilities? Or is it somehow the fault of that person? That’s another question to think about.
One last point is that the RF/microwave industry itself has clearly changed with all the mergers and acquisitions. It would be interesting to hear how that has affected your job.—for better, worse, or not at all? Is your workload the same it was 5 or 10 years ago? Or has it significantly increased? We welcome any of your thoughts.