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Changing companies questions

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200+ posts Supporter

The license is the hardest part and you've got that under your belt.  Now all you have to do is decide what you want because you are in the driver's seat in this economy

Posted : January 9, 2022 4:16 am
Rich Roberge
100+ posts Supporter

Become the Mom & Pop operation: start your own firm, control your own destiny. Once you become your own boss, you'll never want to work for anyone else over again.

Posted : January 9, 2022 4:42 am
OleManRiver, Marine2844, BStrand and 2 people liked
1,000+ posts Member

This is almost like finding something I may've written 20+ years ago.

I eventually made the jump to a bigger company, and it was great for a while.  Big trucks, best equipment, interesting jobs, travel to other states, company phone, big company events, parties, etc.   I did that for about 12 years, made some money, and learned a lot, but also met more A-holes and back-stabbers than I'd ever thought existed.

And now I'm back with a small company, no stress, no jerks, decent equipment and trucks, not always the most interesting projects, but I'm ok with that now.

My advice is to give it a go.  You'll never know unless you do it, and if you don't, you'll always be restless and wondering.

And don't worry about not being qualified.  Be honest about it during your interviews, voice your concerns, and most of the time they'll ease you into it.  But I have experienced the opposite, where they only heard what they wanted to, or didn't really understand, or were so intent on hiring a LS, that they disregarded what was said.

And definitely don't burn a bridge when you leave where you're at, but you probably knew that

Good luck, whatever you decide.

Posted : January 9, 2022 5:26 am

1,000+ posts Member

Change is always a little scary never knowing in advance whether we will look back on our decisions with regret or satisfaction, however we will never know our full potential and build confidence without taking on new challenges. I try and approach these forks in the road with optimism and not trepidation because we never know what we don’t know without putting ourselves out there and risking failure. I guess the only thing I can tell you is to try and be a little fearless, not by making promises you know you can’t keep but by making promises you believe are within your potential and then reaching for that potential with everything you’ve got. Satisfaction and success are not found in avoiding difficulties but rather in overcoming them. Good luck and carry on.

Posted : January 9, 2022 11:28 am
10+ posts Member

Thanks everyone for all the great advice and making me feel a little better about all of this. In fact, I pulled out my books and computer today and started reading and reviewing different topics that I don't use frequently now but feel will be useful when a new opportunity arises. I already have kept my resume up to date now it's time to make the leap I suppose!

Topic starter Posted : January 9, 2022 5:18 pm
lukenz liked
I. Ben Havin
200+ posts Member

Size of company may or may not have anything to do with the types of tools the company has invested in. As an example, my 2 crew outfit started using GPS in the early 90's, and began experimenting with Erdas photogrammetry software and model helicopters/cameras in the early 2000's, while no other larger competitors were. Also, our tiny outfit started using CAD/plotters in the 80's using AutoCad/DCA, and robotic total stations since Leica 1100's. Also, prior to all the modern stuff we initially invested in Wid T2/Distomat Di10 and Wang Laboratories 720C (computer/programmable calculator) back in 1972 at the inception of the company. 

Today our field equipment includes the latest in GNSS from Leica/Trimble (and now a set of Carlson BRx7's), as well as DJI drones (M600/P4), and Pix4dMapper/Agisoft Metashape/Virtual Surveyor software products.

So, I personally feel it's not the size of the company, but rather the types of owner(s) regardless of size. Look around and ask questions, you may just find a smaller outfit that has a keen interest in keeping up with technology (if that is what you are seeking).

Good luck in your quest.

Posted : January 10, 2022 11:29 pm
ncsudirtman and JPH liked

James Fleming
5,000+ posts Member

There is no real answer to this because every company (small, medium, or large) is different and will have a different corporate culture.  The key (as someone who has hopped around a good bit recently, including this month 😀 ) is to research the companies that you are considering. Ask them as many, if not more, questions than they ask you.  In this job market (especially with firms that work in infrastructure and energy) you are interviewing them, not the other way around.  

Had I done more due diligence before taking my last position (80 +/- person firm) I might have discovered the seven figures worth of tax liens before I came onboard, or the fact that the corporate charter had been forfeited by comptroller three times in the last decade for failure to pay unemployment tax.  You know, those little red flags.

If you're worried about getting up to speed on proposals, accounting, etc. at a bigger firm have them lay out their onboarding procedure during the interview process.  One company I worked for had a 30-60-90 day plan for me to slowly add responsibilities so I wasn't trying to learn everything the first few days. For my new firm I flew to Denver last week for training on company safety policies, HR, proposals, marketing, IT, project controls, and accounting system training and to get to know the senior corporate staff.  



Posted : January 11, 2022 5:39 am
Jitterboogie and JPH liked
Chuck Beresford
100+ posts Supporter

DMS330 touched on this above- with this economy (and in conjunction with what they're referring to as "the great resignation" going on right now) you are most definitely in the driver's seat. Every firm where I live (Denver Colorado area) is hiring and the headhunters are driving those of us currently happy in our current positions (and not planning on making a change) crazy at the moment. I suggest just being honest with what you consider to be your strengths and express the things you want to learn as one of the objectives you have for moving on/moving up from your current position. I made a couple of jumps in my career years ago along the lines of what you are currently considering and looking back it was definitely the right choice to make that move- the experience I gained was invaluable.

Best of luck- go forth and conquer!


Posted : January 11, 2022 2:12 pm
JPH and Jitterboogie liked
1,000+ posts Member

Just don't BS the new company; tell them what you told us and I'm sure you'll be alright.

Posted : January 11, 2022 9:27 pm
JPH and Jitterboogie liked

FNG Member

Sounds like maybe the company you work for is limited on type of work.  If they always do the same stuff, not much room to grow.

If not then have you talked to them? I'm surprised at how many times I see people unhappy with their job and don't speak up.

Im not a LS, but was once asked by a JR VP what I wanted in a career. (This was just in passing, not a formal review.) I look at him and said, "I want your job." He initially looked pissed off, but then I said, "Imagine where you would be when I make it to your rung since it's easier to push you up then toss you off."

He started passing me more responsibility. A few months later I was sitting in the meetings, then dealing directly with the clients, contractors and crews.

A year or so later, managing smaller projects and writing Processes and Procedures.

I work for myself now... Still not licensed, and just do drafting and design and some project management for a client... But the point is there were a ton a drafters/designers at that company, some with more than 20yrs at the company. Others with a decade... Over 500 employees and 475 of them I never met. And at the time I was just a few months employed there... I was the new guy. If you are waiting for more opportunities, they rarely come to you. If you seek opportunity you will find it around every corner

This post was modified 4 months ago 2 times by Marine2844
Posted : January 16, 2022 8:54 am
Shelby H. Griggs PLS
500+ posts Member

It kind of depends on what you want out of your career. I have always worked for smaller companies, less than 30 employees and have had no desire to jump into the cooperate rat race. I am sure there great larger companies, but there is also a lot of office politics and from what I have observed grass isn't always greener. If your goal is to own a small company maybe you already have the experience to do that? Only you know what you want. I suspect you have some college classmates in bigger companies telling you cool stories, you have to decide if that is what you want.


Posted : January 16, 2022 3:49 pm
10+ posts Member

I was in your same position up until now, actually just accepted a position as a PM and will be starting in a few weeks

At both places I interviewed, I was up front that I want to be a PM and will need training. They had no problem with it

It's hard finding new surveyors, they probably know that and will most likely accommodate you instead of leaving that position open for even longer

Posted : January 22, 2022 9:13 pm
Brad Ott and JPH liked

Chris Bouffard
500+ posts Member

You have obviously gotten allot of replies but I'll put in my two cents as well.  It sounds like you are relatively young and looking to expand your horizons but the first thing you have to do is ask yourself where you want to be in 20 or 30 years.  Money isn't everything but it does come with and value to your employer.

I started surveying right out of HS and had some great mentors along the way who taught me allot of valuable things.  When I got married at 22, my father in law wan an upper level executive in Firestone Tires.  His words of wisdom to me were that if I wanted to reach the top, the best thing to do is to move around every three or four years to see how the same things are done differently, combine them all and figure out what the most efficient and effective way is to use what you have experienced, this applies to production in the field, management styles and financial business management & decisions.

From the day I started surveying, I knew that I wanted to do what my senior PLS was doing and my first move was to get licensed.  Through allot of hard work, studying and good mentoring, I reached that goal with the minimum required 10 years of experience and then started using those words of wisdom.

I find myself at 57 years old being exactly where I wanted to be and loving life, it was a tall mountain to climb but I have reached the summit.  I enjoy owning a nice piece of the company, get the profits sharing checks and no longer do the actual work, except answering the technical questions, mentoring my staff and making sure our equipment remains current and being the best tools for the work we do.

The variety of experiences you get from moving around a few times is immeasurable.  You'll likely see the good, bad and ugly and will be better suited to figure out what works best without guessing.

Good luck and best wishes in whatever choices you make.

Posted : January 23, 2022 2:21 pm
BStrand, ncsudirtman, GMPLS and 1 people liked
Stacy Carroll
500+ posts Member

You might consider the company name. "xyz Engineering and Surveying" or "xyz Surveying and Engineering" could mean a huge difference depending on your perspective

Posted : January 23, 2022 5:41 pm
Moe Shetty
1,000+ posts Member

I've found myself in a similar uncomfortable position in a medium sized company. They needed a licensee, and I was available to apply. Good interview et cetera, and I took the office.

Half mile walk to work, lunch spots around the corner; everything looked like it would be ideal, until it wasn't. It was evident within a month. Long days became longer, Saturdays became catch up days within that month. Sundays became catch up days within another month. Had a couple Sundays off that year, but worried everyday that I should have been at my desk because something unexpected needed my attention.

Minimal help from management and/or colleagues didn't make anything better. I kept working as hard and smart as I knew. I didn't feel like a shark-but I was the Hyena. Get the occasional kill and chew on it until you get to the bones.

A colleague of mine was in a tough situation at about the same time. He is also very smart and much more ambitious. He took on a very difficult position that brought him to anxiety/panic attacks, general work worries, and ensuing health troubles. He wasn't able to drive for a bit (forgot how long, exactly, but you get the point). 

I'll take a modest, healthy life over having my name on the letterhead, so to speak. This works for me; but do what you have to do based on your ambition, stress handling tolerance, energy level, and so on. Look out for number one.

Posted : January 26, 2022 6:54 am
lukenz and JPH liked

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