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Has anyone ever felt guilty doing their job?

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I graduated a while back with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Houston. I love engineering, and I really enjoy doing it for a living. However, most likely due to the fact that I live in TX, I ended up in the drilling/petroleum business. I really wasn't too keen on it originally, but I couldn't turn down the money I was going to make...plus most of the electives I took emphasized oil. But as time as gone by, I've seen firsthand what the oil industry does to people, to the environment, to the economy...now with the debacle down in the gulf, I'm really starting to gain a very negative view of my industry.


I guess what I'm getting to is: has anyone else had a job where they felt bad doing it, and how did you deal with it? On top of that, would it actually be possible for me to switch industries, even though almost all of my experience is in one field? BTW, I mean nothing bad about any of this, and pass no judgement on anyone else who works in oil...

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I'm not sure what you mean by what oil does to people.

If oil were to stop flowing now, the economies of the industrialized world would be dead.

Yes, the gulf is a disaster and there have been previous disasters.

One way to look at your role in this industry is to ask yourself how can you make it better? It is a lot more effective for people inside an industry to make positive changes than by those outside the industry complaining.


As for switching industries, that really depends on what commonalities your work in the oil industry has with other industries? If you are involved with fluid mechanics, I'd think there are other industries that deal with fluid mechanics as well.

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I guess what I meant by it's effect on people is more so caused by the financial aspect (greed, corruption). But that aspect of it will be found in any industry. I suppose my biggest beef with it all is what it's doing to the environment and well being of people on so many different levels.


I'm pretty well-rounded in all areas of my knowledge of engineering, but the work I'm doing right now is pretty much only applicable to the drilling industry. I guess I just need to keep my eyes open for something more fitting for me...

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My dad's an engineer and has worked in all sorts of industries: automotive, oil, railways and many more. He's done this by developing his transferable skills. He's also broadened his skills to do project management, quality assurance, health and safety. So you could think about getting qualifications in those areas.

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At my current job - a receptionist/medical assistant for 3 heart surgeons, I often feel extremely guilty asking for money even though it's my job. I understand how hard times are right now and even though I don't mind paying for my OWN medical care, I feel bad for some people who have to while I know they're struggling trying to make ends meet. I hate asking for the copayments their health insurance requires..and I definitely hate asking for money from patients who have no insurance at all, half the time we never get anything from them anyway. It's my job and I have to do it..but that's definitely my least favorite part of the job.

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