If you have a new account but are having problems posting or verifying your account, please email us on [email protected] for help. Thanks :)
Hello all! Please ensure that you are posting a new thread or question in the appropriate forum. The Feedback forum is overwhelmed with questions that are having to be moved elsewhere. If you need help to verify your account contact [email protected]

Career Change

  • 21-12-2022 12:01am
    Registered Users Posts: 8

    Hey all.

    Hope you are in good health. I have been pulling my hair out lately and would like some help.

    I was until recently studying Marine Engineering, I had completed my first 2 years of theory and my placement at sea on both oil and gas carrying vessels. Sadly after 3 years of blood sweat and tears, I found out this was not the career for me. I really enjoyed travelling the world, living among other cultures and the atmosphere onboard the vessels. I could not however, adapt or ever find myself enjoying the work of an engineer as it was something completely different to I ever imagined.

    I have always been a mechanically minded guy and loved working on projects, cars and trucks but I always wanted to have a career at sea and Marine Engineering seemed to bridge the gap and combine both of those things. Sadly it wasn't to be. Working 12 hours a day in an environment in which I was losing 1 or 2 kg in sweat a day is something I never want to return to.

    I am currently stuck between starting an apprenticeship as a machinist and going back to college to study Nautical Science to become a Navigational Officer.

    I wanted to ask if anyone has been in the same situation as myself in which they switched career or if they know anyone who is currently trained as a Navigational Officer and if they think it is career switch that could work.

    Thanks for your help. I look forward to hearing from you.

    Wish you all a safe and happy Christmas and New Year.

    Kind regards,


    Post edited by Spear on


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,366 ✭✭✭Ginger83

    I worked as a tradesman on a machine for years. It ran 24/7 and 12hr shifts. I remember standing outside the factory about 3/4am having a coffee looking across at a housing estate in darkness wondering what the fcuk I was doing. The time off was good but working weekends with young kids not great.

    Don't waste your life in a dead end factory job.

    Post edited by Ginger83 on

  • Registered Users, Users Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 1 Gailleo

    Hi Alan

    That seemed a tough job with poor WLB, since you say you are a "mechanically minded guy" with experience in engineering I would explore the possibilities of switching to becoming a mechanical engineer. There are loads of good paying jobs in Ireland in this area and is usually 9-5 hours. Surely with your background in marine engineering, you could do a master's or conversion course of some sort?

  • Moderators, Computer Games Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators, Help & Feedback Category Moderators Posts: 24,831 CMod ✭✭✭✭Spear

    Moved to a forum that's related to the topic instead.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8 alanwalker

    Hi Ginger83,

    Thanks for your feedback.

    Thats the lifestyle I have heard about and something I would like to avoid as it sounds very unsociable and and you said not ideal if living with a family

  • Registered Users Posts: 8 alanwalker

    Hi Gailleo,

    Thanks for your comment.

    Mechanical Engineering was my second choice on my CAO if I didn't get Marine Engineering. After 2 years of engineering theory after being told by the college itself I didn't need to do higher level maths and physics for Leaving Cert, neither of which I did meant I really really struggled with the theory.

    I understand maths is in everyday life and something you can't avoid but I have always learnt through practical rather than theory.

    Thanks for the suggestion though, it is something I had not considered.

  • Advertisement
  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators Posts: 9,809 Mod ✭✭✭✭Jim2007

    OP, doing a degree in a topic and choosing it as a career are two different things. Most of the people I know have had very different careers to the subjects they took in college, so it's no biggie to want to do something different. Outside of jobs in the area of your studies, what your degree says to future employers is that you have the stamina and are capable of mastering a body of knowledge and that is not something everyone can do. So before ditching it, I suggest you take the time to figure out where you want to go next. The other think to keep in mind is that most jobs turn out to be very different what was expected by college graduates.

    Your chosen alternatives, machinist and nav officer are very different and in deep even very different the mechanical profile you presented, so I'm wondering how you see these things dovetailing with each other and what are your expectations for each career.

  • Registered Users Posts: 827 ✭✭✭farmingquestion

    Your skills will be transferrable so don't worry that you can only be a marine engineer.

    You could be a project manager, co-ordinating the installation of mechanical systems in buildings.

    You could be a designer, working in autocad.

    You could be a Mechanical engineer, co-ordinating maintenance of machinery in a factory

    The great thing about studying engineering is that it's not about learning technical knowledge of specific things, it's about learning how to think and approach things.

  • Registered Users Posts: 64 ✭✭Commoner

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,366 ✭✭✭Ginger83

    I think farmingquestion made a very good point. You have many more directions to approach rather than just being a number on a machine.

    A major consideration is work / life balance, commute and job satisfaction. We did a range of shifts-3 on 4 off 4 on 3 off,4 on 4 off,5 over 7. As I said time off is good and shift allowances brings earnings up but it can make for a poor family and social life.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8 alanwalker

    Hi Jim2007.

    Thanks for your feedback.

    My reason for having narrowed it down to these 2 careers is mainly down to interest. Theory in terms of maths and phsyics aside in which both careers are involved in. I have always really enjoyed working with lathes, milling machines and general benchwork as I am a bit of a perfectionist who enjoys working within tolerances of thousandths of a mm.

    On the other hand, whilst I was on the ships as part of my training I spent time taking watches on the bridge and helping with work on the deck. Even though this is a very clean handed job, I still really enjoyed it as you get to see the most amazing sunsets/sunrises, watch the world go by and sail in and out of ports all over the world.

    I have still been unable to decide between the 2 but thats where my thinking and debating has gotten so far.

  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 8 alanwalker

    Hi Commoner,

    Thanks for your question.

    So if I am successful in starting a Machinist apprenticeship next September then it will take 4 years to become qualified.

    If I go back to college in September it will take 3 years to become a qualified Navigational Officer

  • Registered Users Posts: 8 alanwalker

    Hi Ginger83,

    Thanks again for your feedback.

    After dealing with covid and being away for 10 months my world has become very small in some ways.

    My argument for staying on land and getting an apprenticeship/ degree is the career that will give me a job of 9 to 5 Monday to Friday with weekends off. At home for parties and celebrations but then again I am the kind of guy that goes to the local and never to the clubs so it is not something for me.

    However on the other hand, if I go back to sea as a Navigational Officer, I will work 72 hours a week for 3 months and then have a minimum of 2 months in which I am untouchable and free to do whatever I want with my time. Yes they are long working weeks but 8 hours a day are spent on the bridge on look out while completing paperwork and another 4 spent on deck. Unlike my previous time onboard slogging away for 12 hours a day in an engine room with the noise and heat being generated by the machinery

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators Posts: 9,809 Mod ✭✭✭✭Jim2007

    Well you can always play around with mechanics, workshop etc as a hobby, which you obviously can't do with large ships.... perhaps that might be a way to go, but only you know.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8 alanwalker

    Thanks Jim2007,

    That is one of my strong debating points going forward. The mechanics and machining has always been something I really enjoyed but never something I could see myself doing as a full time career.

    Thanks again, I appreciate your input