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Side Work


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Hi all. Where can I find some Pro/e work that I can do from home? I'm a 38 year old mechanical designer working in the semi-conductor capital equipment industry. I have about 5yrs exp using Pro and 15yrs of hands on electro/mechanical/technical experience. I'm not greedy and will work hard for half of what consultant would charge.

Take care.
The answer to this would be networking, but I don't know if this is the proper forum for this kind of solicitation.

Dont let your desperation cheapen the profession as we get enough of that from offshore companies. Just because a consultant charges more per hour does not mean that they are greedy. Unlike you, we have overhead costs to pay, like your salary, benefits, bonuses, office space, licenses, hardware, maintenance, equipment, supplies, capital purchases, planning for growth and of course, taxes taxes taxes to name just a few. Get a better understanding of the topic before jumping out there at bottom line prices. Nobody will take you seriously if you dont respect yourself and the highly technical nature of the services that you want to perform.

I believe there is a need for freelance designers. I have a full time job at a design firm and I also do some freelance work. There are a lot of small companies/individuals that can not afford to pay design firm rates for developing their products.

I have my own equipment and software, it is expensive. All of my jobs have come through networking.


I would agree that there will always be a need for freelance designers as I utilize them when needed myself. I am surprised that the firm you work for allows you to freelance as this could definately be considered a conflict of interest but that is their issue. What I find most interesting is how companies view consultants/firms as costly because if one were to have a firm do a project and do the same project internally for comparison purposes, in many cases they would see that it costs more per hour to hire the consultant but the consultant can usually accomplish the work in a shorter and more focused manner. Companies also fail to factor in all of the related and unrelated costs to a project (project management, sourcing, concepting, support services, etc...) as they are very hard to capture internally. When a consultant/firm performs the work, the client has a hard proposal to work from and reference which spells out all deliverables for the project. What they fail to understand (or dont want to understand) is that this is only an estimate of the project work based upon the limited information that the consultant/firm has at the quoting stage but clients constantly look at it as a rock solid number. My point is that corporations will generally spend more time and money internally to develop a new product than if they went to a reliable outside resource that they have built a relationship and trust with simply because it is easier to track an outside resources costs. Spend a dollar to save a dime.


I agree with you. Design firms (like yours, Concept to Reality) have the ability/resources to push projects through much more efficiently. The networks you set up for design, tooling, manufacturing, etc. take a lot of time, but once the communication lines are in place, projects can be delivered in a much shorter time.

At my firm we spend a dollar to save a dime almost everyday (it seems to me anyway, but it is easy being a backseat driver). The reason we do it is because the dime has to come straight out of the pocket, the dollar gets diluted in the inefficiencies and non-billable time that is loosely tracked.

My freelance ventures started after a company staff meeting two years ago when all of our paychecks were 5 weeks late and my boss could not tell us when we would get paid. I asked him what he would do if he were in our position. He replied I don't know, just do what you have to do. I eventually got paid and I also purchased my own software and equipment to do projects on the side. I would never take a client away from my company, nor would I bid on any project that my company was perusing.

Here I am again, I am 7 weeks behind on paychecks, (I did get on 7 weeks ago, but it bounced) and I used my freelance jobs to make my house payment. I want to stay with the company, but I have to have money and security to live.

Is my freelance work a conflict of interest, maybe yes, maybe no. What do you think?


I was not trying to tell you that your freelancing was wrong but just that most firms will not allow the conflict of interest as anything that you do away from work is work that the firm could be accomplishing. Obviously you have a situation that is not, what I would consider, inside the norm and you must love working at this location if you are willing to do so under these conditions. I am not one to give advice based upon what I would normally do but since you asked, I think that your freelance work is the most stable source of income and that you should do it as the bills need to be paid. I am sure that your current employer understands this since they are not providing you with a stable environment for your livelihood. It is never a conflict of interest if you employer is aware of, and supports your efforts to earn a living. Good luck and if you are looking for a new position, we are currently searching for a Sr. level designer/engineer to add to our team on an immediate need basis.



P.S. My Spend a dollar to save a dime comment was made in reference to companies that will spend more on certain things with little regard to the savings opportunities that might be available only because that is what they know.
Conflict of interest or not, the matter of the fact is you need to survive, and if you can work on the side without any interference between your professional job and your side job than go ahead and do it. Ethics are good but when no one is applying them at higher levels the repercussions are fatal to employees on the bottom....

good luck....
Jules_1974, spot on! What the boss don't know won't f***'n hurt him! Sounds like bruce is a bit nervy, Greg

If you had read and understood the posts, you would see that every other person responding (including myself) were interested in helping the author of the original posting. I am not nervy, but simply providing a perspective from an employers point of view. It appears that Paperclips current situation supports his outside activities and therefore is not an issue. Your response as to what the boss doesn't know shows a complete lack of character and other attributes on your part. Honesty is usually the best policy as the deception will only come back to bite you in the end as it is a small world.
Hi all. The company I work for is very supportive to my seeking some side work. My immediate supervisor is actually using outside contacts of his to try and line up some work for me to do at home. Since he best knows where my skills and weaknesses are, I'm thinking this might be a good way to start. He has also been a very good mentor to me here at work.

Take care. Paperclip
Sounds like you have a good supervisor 'clip

Honesty and caring about employee's situations is rare these days indeed

I think that in the U.S. it's getting harder to make enough to live on and the companies we work for, are aware of it too.

I know very talented and hard working mechanical engineers who can't buy a house and are driving 10year old cars.

If you want things like house, car, and a family what do you do?

One guy I know has his PhD and another his masters. They should be making three times what I make and not just because they went to school. These are really good engineers who I respect for the

good work that they do.

The CFO's of companies are saying things like I'm not going to chase the housing market I think that pretty much sums things up right there.

Take care. Paperclip
It's my impression that in the US (and I could be wrong) that engineers have a higher starting salary than most other college graduates with a bachelors degree, but the increases and raises are less than other fields. So a person pretty much has to get out of engineering if they want to be well off financially.

(I know a lot of engineers who got their MBA's at night and went into management, or became lawyers.)

From working in the defense industry, I saw that many companies want their employees to earn industry average. In other words, two people in the same position with the same number of years experience make the same salary. In my experience, this destroys any incentive to be a top performer.
Hi Jabbadeus. You got it all right as far as I can see. Also, right now I know a good engineer who's about to finish night schoool for his MBA and I expect him to change jobs soon after that.

Take care. Paperclip


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