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Discussion Starter #1
I know this is weird to be asking career advice on an online forum but I have been thinking this over a lot recently. Currently I am majoring in mechanical engineering and had always planned to use my degree to work in the automotive industry, but recently I have given the motorcycle industry more thought. It seems to be going in a direction that seems more interesting. Motorcycles are all about power and style and building and designing them seems to be something that fits more into my interests. So i guess my real question would be what are you opinions on the automotive industry vs the motorcycle? Stability of both? I ask because i know some of you work in the automotive industry and obviously you all have a passion for motorcycles.

-Kyle
 

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learn to speak japanese.....


Seriously though, the automotive and motorcycle industry have specific schools that they focus their recruiting on, I woudl start by finding out which schools they are and then see about transfering.

The motorcycle industry is obviously smaller and therefore more competetive.

that is about all the advice I can give with my limited expirence.
 

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Auto industry in Detroit seems on the verge of collapse. Cars have become a commodity and the big three are just starting to figure that out. Learning Japanese really does sound pretty wise.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Right now I am planning on fratuationg with majoring in mechanical engineering a minor in spanish a minor in math an MBA and possibly a minor in education. I know I sound like a nerd but the japanese sounds like a very good idea for both the motorcycle or automotive industry so i think i might forget the MBA idea and get a minor in japanese also

-Kyle
 

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A while back, maybe this summer, there was an interview in one of the big car mags with one of the most successful and prolific designers in the industry. After graduating from one of the favored automotive design schools he worked briefly for Chrysler, I think, before he got his big offer.
Hot Wheels. He took the job and never looked back. Has the record for the most models of his own design in production, and yes, I said models, but they are indeed cars, and they're his designs.
FWIW...


FR
 

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Be careful not to restrict your options too much, cars and bikes can always be a passionate hobby. Keep working and studying for that dream job, but watch for other cool job(s) that may come your way.
 

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Talk to your advisor, see if your school has any sort of a mentoring program that can put you with someone already in the workforce. That may be able to give you an idea of a realistic career path. My experience is that most engineering school graduates spend a relatively short period engineering. My buddy that was just back, graduated, got a job with a utility, built one power plant and got transferred into a management position at another plant. While there they paid for him to get his MBA. He is now with another company, but in a totally managerial position. This is the career path I see most engineers following.

Learn as many languages as you can. It is my belief that in my lifetime I will need to know Spanish just to function. If I were gonna pick one Asian language it would be Chinese. They are the emerging superpower and still a little technology poor. As I see it unless you're a superstar, most Japanese companies don't need you.
 

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Fuck the big salary, career path, education, etc. Find out what really blows your hair back, and then figure out a way to make money doing it. Very few things which are truly important are work related.
 

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Learn Chinese (besides, more than half of the common Japanese alphabet is Chinese symbols anyway--though from my limited understanding they do not directly translate between the two languages, but I digress).

A friend in the motorcycle biz pointed out that the Chinese motorcycle (and car) manufacturers now are where the Japanese manufacturers were in the mid 60's. Limited production offered by subsidiary or up-and-coming companies of small displacement or niche models copied directly from other, more established companies' proven designs. Just look at the Roketa line...this little motor look familiar?

http://www.roketa.com/product/1/0/1887.shtml

(SIDE NOTE: Holy Crap! Check out their website! They sell Porcelain Dolls and "Blanketry" too!)

Back on topic, we have a Honda plant near us (Marysville, OH - among other things it is the Primary North American production facility for the esteemed Goldwing). EVERYBODY I've ever known who has worked there has said the Japanese are a BITCH to work for. One friend recently said the attrition rate among young engineers and designers is horrible. To be fair, this is probably due in some part to recruiters from other companies trying to cash in on some of Honda's world class employee training. I don't know.

Me? I'd like to be a designer for Ural. Because Russian is way cooler sounding than Japanese (or Chinese) and I think after 60 years, the company might be ready to look into some new designs.



Honda go sideways!
 

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One thing about japanese plants in the US... all the pieces are designed in japan, even if they're assembled here. Not built, assembled.

Get into robots and automation.
 

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My cousin got into robotics. He works for nintendo right now but he got his foot in the door there by being a japanese to english translator and living in japan for a while. Surprisingly, for all the amazing electronics they have and brilliant minds working for them english to japanese translators are still in high demand.

Interestingly enough, Honda is one of the largest companies in the field of robotics right now. I think they have even surpassed NASA in terms of technological advancement.
 

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I started my degree with the same goal. I wanted to be the guy testing the new Corvettes. Trouble is there are a shitload of guys thinking the same thing. And that job isn't nearly as glamourous as we all imagine. Somebody has to test the cupholders too.

I'd suggest getting into Formula SAE competitions if your school participates. It's gotten huge recently. Car manufacturers pretty much require that experience. Bike manufacurers should start recruiting too as some amazing technology is applied to the engines.

Anyway, there are options for gearheads out there. I ended up working on industrial gas compressors. 16" pistons, 300 RPM, but the same thermodynamics that apply to F1 cars apply here.

The industry is just now facing a lot of the issues the auto industry faced in the '70s - emissions and fuel concerns - so there is a lot of work going on. Fuel injection, turbocharging, closed-loop controls and a bunch of automotive technology is being applied to these 60 year old behemoths. It is interesting work and pays for the motorcycle hobby.
 

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quote:
Very few things which are truly important are work related.
I love this quote. It fits right in with my life experience.

We live in an age of cut-throat economic competition, not craftsmanship. It's all about low-cost and high efficiency, not passion. Our society and our economy almost force us to be "workers", not artisans. That's the nature of global capitalism. So it's really very difficult to find paying work that feeds the soul. Most well-paid jobs have a deeply unpleasant aspect to them, even if they have glamorous or exciting aspects as well.

I'm not saying this to bum you out. I'm just trying to add a little perspective.

In other words, don't devote too much energy to career choices, this school versus that school, this industry versus another industry. Career "choices" are a lot like throwing darts blindfolded; you rarely hit what you are aiming at. As Judey said, you're likely to get your real enjoyment in life elsewhere anyway.

Just wander toward work that appeals to you on a gut level. That's probably about as good as you can do. Learn Japanese because you enjoy it and because it might help you get laid in Tokyo someday, not because you think it might lead to a better automotive engineering job.
 

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That article's good, real good. It's getting reprinted and filed somewhere I can find it.

I've been doing a lot of thinking the last week or so about such things. I spent two solid days with my engineer/MBA buddy before Thanksgiving, most of the time feeling straight retarded. I'm not claiming poverty, but it was humbling to know that he gave almost double for his boat that I did for my house. Life choices have been on my mind, I have a degree and chosen to work w/my hands.

Here's where it gets better. He called last night to ask some things about my carwash. He was going to look at one today for sale in his area. I know he lives well below his means, so money's not the issue. It seems that his corporate existance doesn't meet some real psychological needs in his life.

So it comes back around to what I've said about myself all along. I had a "job" once, didn't like it. Education gives you options. Options give you the ability to make informed conscious descisions about how to live your life.
 

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I too, work with my hands by choice. Dropped out of art school because I became disillusioned with it. Too many people in college chasing a piece of paper to allow them to get a job and make a lot of money. My wife has an art degree also, which she doesn't use anymore. Americans don't have enough appreciaton for the people who do creative work. What kind of degree you have is more important than what you can do. I was shocked at my little sister's high school graduation, how many awards were given to scholars who were also athletes, skills few people will use past their teens, while the shop students who are learning skills they will use for the rest of their lives recieved only half a dozen awards.

I have a brother with 2 music degrees, and a master's degree in marketing (or something like that), and he's still in school because he can't make any money with the music degrees unless he has a PhD. He's working for Marriot, doing sales.



Edited by - judeyramone on Dec 02 2007 06:35:34 AM
 

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Funny, I was also in Art School at UW Milwaukee my freshman year of college, many years ago. There were several good professors, but some that were just assholes. My brother-n-law went thru the same program 4 years ahead of me and gave me the low down on some of the profs. My brother-n-law has been an art professor at a small state university down south, but he really had to work hard at it. He also sells his own work and makes a fair living. I on the other hand had to get out of the subjective crap that was going on at that school. Being the ever wiseass, during one of my painting art foundation classes, we would bring in work of other artists and discuss them. I, sorta as a joke, brought in a photograph of a painting done by an artist. The entire class, including the professor, went over the piece with a fine tooth comb. Discussing what the artist must of been thinking. Some crtical comments as well. After about 10 minutes, I had to tell folks who the artist was. I held up a picture of the artist. It was an elephant. Some elephant sanctuary had oen of the elephants paint pictures with its trunk, holding a brush. I wanted to really educate folks at that session, that they should really consider art for themselves and not for others to judge. Famous artists are famous for as much marketing ability of themselves or a patron as their own skills! The professor was really pissed and "yelled" at me after the class. I dropped the class and transfered the next semester. I now paint, draw and play music for myself and my kids. Everyone else can enjoy it or go fly a kite. I have no idea how this helps with the orginal post, other than, do what you want to do and sometimes, even the best schools, are just full of assholes, so be aware!


Yeller'
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Ask not what the wanker can do for you, but what you can do for your wanker!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks guys for all the advice. Working on engines has always been my dream but i think i will just let it go where it goes but i am interested in either learning japanese or chinesse which one would each of you suggest?

-Kyle
 

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I think Chinese is easier. I've been studying it off and on for a couple of years, mostly off, but just in terms of numbers, it seems Chinese will be more useful in the future. At work we deal with Chinese (art) dealers and clients so it comes in handy every now and then.
Who else on this forum went to art school? I went to Mass College of Art in Boston. Still doing my own painting and drawing and I show every now and then. But to pay the bills I work with an art dealer which is interesting and takes the economic pressure off my own work.
 
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