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Sharing Chemical Engineer's Challenging, Exciting, Interesting and Stimulating Life...

Chemical Engineers Come and Go

In a private company or organization, it is normal to see chemical engineers (or other engineers) come and go. They work for a duration of time and gain as much as they can, then leave the company. There's nothing much the company can do about the firm decision they made on leaving (bear in mind, this is a worldwide problem for employers). If the company consider the chemical engineer as an asset, they will normally counter offer and/or increase remunerations/benefits for the engineer. On the other hand, if the chemical engineer is not really performing, the employer will be more then welcome to receive their resignation letter.

I have seen few of my colleagues leave the company for various reasons. Just to share with all of you, various reasons that made them leave the company, among them are:

1. Bored!!! When an engineer has this particular reason to leave the company, he/she usually has already learned and experienced substantially a lot to the stage that he/she is in search of a new challenge. A friend of mine, having worked in a plant (downstream) for 8 years and established himself in his workplace, a multinational company, decided to leave. When asked why, he said he was already bored. He wanted a new challenge. He wanted to work in the upstream area. He managed to get a job in another multinational giant company, and I can see him very excited and looking forward to learn and venture a new field.

2. Pressure. This is a very normal and common reason for engineers to leave (but they would never say so). Sometimes, they are given huge responsibilities, tasks, projects, assignments etc. There'll be high expectation for them and they are expected to perform excellently. Not to mention numerous meetings they have to attend and reports to prepare. Various problems created by down-line and up-line levels may create some turbulence in the engineers' mind. He might not be happy working, constantly being pressured by his nagging boss. This can be a every strong factor for the engineer to leave. Frankly speaking, this is a popular reason many engineer quit their job. They simply cannot handle the pressure. They don't care about the money or the high salary anymore. I've seen a lot of these cases...

3. Opting for higher salary. This is quite an obvious reason - Money Matter...Money oriented.....Everything is all about money....Everybody has different perceptions on money. A colleague of mine, who is a senior executive, is offered a good high level position to manage a few plants, BUT, not in Malaysia, instead in a foreign country. His salary was already quite high here in my company, but after he was offered quadrupled of what he was earning he could not resist. Well, on the other hand, I know he has a lot of debts to settle before retiring, and that's why he has to grab the opportunity. What about you?

4. Getting Promoted. When an ambitious engineer discovered that there's no chance of him getting promoted in the company he's working in, he might not waste a wonderful opportunity when another company offered him a higher position (which comes with a substantial salary increase, possibly with some profit sharing as well!!!). A friend of mine who's a dedicated engineer was offered to be a factory manager in a newly built utility plant. Despite of several huge amount counter offers (few thousands dollar) made by his current employer, he still insist to leave, even though his job at present is a comfortable one.

5. Wind of Change. Sometimes, an engineer is bored of the hectic technical life he lives in. He feels that he wants to experience a different working environment. He might consider giving up all his chemical engineering knowledge and skills to something with lower pace. I have a friend whom decided to quit and choose to become a teacher, which many consider far more relaxing than becoming an engineer. He is entitled to work half day and will also enjoy the school break (lot's of holidays). At the same time, they can have one or two tuition session to earn something extra. Well, that's his choice...

6. Unsatisfied. In some cases, a chemical engineer might be unsatisfied with some internal political issues. Ideas and suggestions brought forward by the engineer may have always been taken lightly or simply pushed over. The engineer will have a feeling that the company is not appreciating him and his ideas/plans. This will make him consider leaving the company. However, this particular reason is very rare.

7. Family matter. An example of this category is myself. I used to work in a local oil and gas servicing company. I enjoyed and loved my job as a project cum chemical engineer. Traveling and working, tasting upstream and downstream working environment really enriched me. Unfortunately, the company decided to move to Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, in order to increase the chances of securing more oil and gas tender/projects. I was instructed to move as well. Unfortunately, I'm already settled in Johor Bahru (JB). FMy wife, who's pursuing her pH.d (chemical engineering) here is doing very well as an academician, researcher and consultant. Furthermore, my parents are living in JB and we have also bought a house in a nice neighborhood. So, I decided to hunt for a job nearby and here I am, working in a physical refinery plant, in JB (after resigning from that company, of course).

7. Combination of some of the above reasons. To be more transparent, I can say, most of the engineers leave because of a combination of reasons stated above. It's going to be lengthy if I explain or give examples here. But, the bottom line is, combination of the factors above will be a catalyst to increase the rate of reaction for the process of an engineer leaving and seeking for a better job.

My opinion/comment:
This is an interesting issue. It's the engineer's decision and everybody has to respect it no matter what reason(s) they have. Let's just hope that the move will be a positive one towards a better career and profession.

Next issue...
Nowadays, there are many graduate chemical engineers. Every year, thousands of chemical engineers are produced from various local and international universities. However, only small percentage of these chemical engineers managed to get themselves a decent chemical engineering job. This is a phenomena resulting from several reasons. I'll share the reasons why they failed to qualify and be employed in my next post.

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posted by zaki yamani @ 9:15 PM,


At Saturday, April 14, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love your blogs, keep it up. I'm a chemical engineer undergraduate. You inspire with every blog I read. :)

At Saturday, April 14, 2007, Blogger zaki said...

Thanks....really glad that you like it....You can always inform me for any improvement that i can make for the benefit of all of us....

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The Author


I’m Zaki. I used to be a project, process and chemical engineer. Few years ago I successfully became a Chartered Engineer (IChemE) and Professional Engineer (BEM). I'm now employed as a chemical engineering educator/researcher/consultant. Hope you like reading my blog. I welcome any feedback from you. My email: zaki.yz[alias]gmail.com. TQ!

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