Is it time to move on from working in the field?

woman in computer operations room

Coming into a permanent base after time as a field engineer

After months, years or even decades of working in the field, an engineer may want to stop travelling so much. The engineer may want to be based on a regular basis in an office, hospital, manufacturing plant or even work from home. The reasons for this vary from person to person but can include:

Changed family circumstances
Health reasons
Desire to work a more standard week pattern
Lack of career progression in the field
Want to try something new
Fed up with so much travel/constant travel

Making the change

How to make the change?
Firstly, don’t rush in to making a decision. Don’t hand in your notice straight away.
It is important to take the time to think about what you really want and if this is the right time to make the change. Thought and research at this stage can save time, frustration and unhappiness in the long run. In general, the more research you do, the better the decision will be. Sometimes it is difficult to start this process especially when you are balancing it with the demands of a busy job. The best thing to do is to start today and to start small.

work boots and hard hat on office floor

There are lots of things which you can do now which take just a few minutes. Why not try these:

Email a contact who works with you or in a different company or parallel industry
Network here within the Field Engineer community and with other members or post a question in the HR feed

Research a course which could enrich your CV/Resume

Send your current CV/Resume to a friend or family member for some initial thoughts on updating it

Arrange to meet a colleague who has made a similar move to the one you are considering

It doesn’t really matter how you start; the key is to begin and then do something else tomorrow, and another thing the next day….. After a week, all these small things will be starting to form into a plan.

Transferrable skills

Then when you have more time, make a list of all the transferrable skills you have. Include the soft skills as well as the technical ones. A lot of field engineers forget that people handling is something that they have a lot of experience with.

Read more from one of our recent blog contributors, Carl Clough:

Pros and cons

The next thing to do is to make a list of pros and cons. Set a time limit of perhaps 15 minutes and make your list. Include everything you can think of and don’t put them in an order yet. Be honest with yourself and include things like:

Fear of change
Less job security initially
Separation from current colleagues

remote worker at desk with headset

Once you have made the move, remember that there will be a period of adjustment. For a lot of people there are stages in a new job. The first stage is the ‘honeymoon stage’ when everything is new and interesting. There is also a lower level of pressure than there will be as you become accustomed to the new role. The next stage is the ‘reality stage’ when you realise that this job, like all jobs, has its negatives as well as positives. Then over time as you adjust, you reach the ‘settled stage’ when the new job feels like your own.

Some people never want to work in an office even if they have the skills to do an operational role. You may be one of these people, and the process of considering change, may highlight this.

If you have made the switch out of the field, what are your tips?

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