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Old 01-28-2016, 08:56 PM   #81
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I walked away from a very generous salary at the upper end of the numbers mentioned so far. But I gained so much more. When I think of what it cost me to draw that salary, it's not something I ever regret giving up.


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Old 01-28-2016, 09:55 PM   #82
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I'm also a female engineer and find it hard to believe that the percentage of women studying engineering has not increased since the early 2000's (I graduated in '84). The federal government agency that I work for and has been very good about hiring women engineers, promoting them, and addressing work/life balance issues but has a hard time attracting women. And I think to some degree that treatment of women in my agency can vary depending on the part of the country - I'm in a great location in the field but out west. Also, most federal jobs don't pay as much as industry although I am fortunate to work in one of the higher salary agencies (similar to NASA). And our work is more about oversight of our government contractors and is not hands on, cutting edge technology so does not appeal to all.
Government tends to be big on affirmative action. Also, unlike in private, there's no disparity in pay between males and females. The pay grade and steps are the same for everyone in that position (bar regional, etc adjustments). Besides, what the government doesn't pay in working salary, they tend to make up for with fringe and retiree benefits (pension, medical, etc).

Mind, I believe 1/3-1/2 of my EEE class during freshman year was female. Alas, a lot of them switched to other majors by sophomore year. The higher level EEE, engineering science and math classes tend to be killer. Of course, it's not just females who switched. A whole bunch of males did, too.
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What income did you give up?
Old 01-29-2016, 12:04 AM   #83
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What income did you give up?

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I've had long talks with my (female) former coworkers and my BFF (software manager). I think it comes down to a few things.



* fewer women choose stem majors. It's getting better - but when I graduated with my BSEE - there were only 2 other women in my class/major. There were fewer than 10% of the entire engineering college (undergrad and grad) that were women. (This was the early 80's). At the time there were no women professors in EE at SDSU. (This *has* changed.)



* women approach the job and promotion track differently. Women tend to want to acquire the skills before applying for the next level position. Men tend to apply, even if they only have half the skill set. I presume this is a cultural/learned behavior... but my friends and I have all seen it, lived it, suffered it.



* women often make the switch out of direct development/engineering to sales or project management. The two women who were in my class both switched in the first 3 years of their careers.

Another STEM major here, there were a total of 5 women in EE at Cal Poly and two women professors, in late 70s and early 80s. I graduated in 81. I don't think women left in drove but I certainly lost interest after having kids. I was not aggressive in the trajectory of my career. Took a back seat to my husband's because I didn't care. But I'm happy the way my career turned out, quite flexible. Base on my advice, I have one kid in STEM major, so who knows how long she'll last. But I think I never did experience any sort of discrimination, it was the opposite. I think any field, you'll hear dissatisfaction, especially after working 35 odd years.


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Old 01-29-2016, 12:46 AM   #84
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Even though they were envious, most people thought we were crazy for leaving early. However, we have never been big spenders and could maintain our lifestyle without working, so we chose to quit. Our LBOM lifestyle is hardly frugal, but we wanted to raise our children in a lifestyle that they could (mostly) sustain on their own in the future. Both DH and I were successful in STEM careers, but our earnings trajectory would be hard to duplicate. And, we were never comfortable with the lifestyle that spending most of our income would entail.

Between my DH and I, we left a low seven (!) figure sum on the table by leaving 5-7 years early.

However, what we have gained is priceless!
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Old 01-29-2016, 12:55 AM   #85
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At the time roughly $150k on target take home pay. Which would have jumped to $200k a year and a half later.

No regrets.
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Old 01-29-2016, 01:39 AM   #86
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I'm also a female engineer and find it hard to believe that the percentage of women studying engineering has not increased since the early 2000's (I graduated in '84).

In some stem areas like computer science female enrollment peaked in mid 80s and has since fallen like a rock. (I know technically CS is not engineering)





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Old 01-29-2016, 07:35 AM   #87
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In some stem areas like computer science female enrollment peaked in mid 80s and has since fallen like a rock. (I know technically CS is not engineering)
A bit off topic, but I think the majority is due to H1Bs are generally male. Since the Mid 80s, millions of H1Bs STEM people have been brought in, I would guess 95%+ male.
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Old 01-29-2016, 07:53 AM   #88
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My job hasn't felt like an optional, disposable part of my life so far, and it's hard to shed that feeling of job as safety net.
It sound like you are a good candidate for OMY! Nothing wrong with that. Don't leave a job you love because someone says you should.
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Old 01-29-2016, 08:00 AM   #89
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I'm also a female engineer and find it hard to believe that the percentage of women studying engineering has not increased since the early 2000's (I graduated in '84).
It's plausible that getting a business/finance degree is easier and possibly more lucrative relative to hard-core engineering - 2 cents.
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Old 01-29-2016, 08:16 AM   #90
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This thread reminds me of an incident when I first started as an engineer at Mega. A friend of my wife had expressed envy at my good fortune, but knew it would be rude to flat out ask how much I was being paid. So, instead she asked me, "how much would an engineer, in a position like yours, make at Mega?"
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Old 01-29-2016, 09:27 AM   #91
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The important thing I gave up was the ability to shelter some of my income by contributing it to my TSP account. Our pensions are totally taxable, except for a pro-rated portion of my pension contributions.

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Old 01-29-2016, 09:30 AM   #92
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Well, taxable pension is still better than no pension.

And then, IRA and 401k withdrawals are also taxed.
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Old 01-29-2016, 09:59 AM   #93
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I retired 4 years ago today from a 120K salary. 50K of the salary was going to taxes and savings, so it wasn't that painful to leave it. It was a stressful job and my health and psyche have both greatly improved. No regrets.
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Old 01-29-2016, 09:59 AM   #94
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I'm not complaining. Sometimes I do surmise that having invested that 7% pension deduction for 35 years would've resulted in a better deal, tax-wise (living off proceeds/SWR and only paying CG tax), but how could I have known that in 1980?

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Well, taxable pension is still better than no pension.

And then, IRA and 401k withdrawals are also taxed.
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Old 01-29-2016, 10:09 AM   #95
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Regarding that 7% pension contribution, I never worked in the public sector, but recently looked at the benefits of the Federal pension out of curiosity. CSRS is quite groovy, but inside the FERS, the non-SS parts are not at all shabby, compared to 401k for the private sector. Not all employers offer matching with their 401k.

And of course, I saved outside of 401k and IRA too. A public worker can do the same. Without the after-tax savings, I would have to do 72t distribution to ER.
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Old 01-29-2016, 10:14 AM   #96
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I'm not complaining. Sometimes I do surmise that having invested that 7% pension deduction for 35 years would've resulted in a better deal, tax-wise (living off proceeds/SWR and only paying CG tax), but how could I have known that in 1980?
I seriously doubt it. Have you run the numbers just for fun?
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Old 01-29-2016, 10:16 AM   #97
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Naaah...I'm lazy that way

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I seriously doubt it. Have you run the numbers just for fun?
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Old 01-29-2016, 10:23 AM   #98
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A bit off topic, but I think the majority is due to H1Bs are generally male. Since the Mid 80s, millions of H1Bs STEM people have been brought in, I would guess 95%+ male.
Continuing the hijack... I was surprised over the last decade how this was changing. I would say half of the new hire H1B folks at my company were female. We had a development group of 40, 7 of us were women. 4 were H1Bs. There were 5 H1B men.

I think India and China are pushing STEM on women more successfully than the US.
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Old 01-29-2016, 10:23 AM   #99
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I struggle with this too, giving up that salary. It will be a one way ticket, no one else is going to pay me this much. Currently doing another OMY. Salary plus bonus will be around 130K this year, plus 401k match, and pretty good benefits.

I'd like to get an ER buy out offer, but, after decades of downsizings, always wondering if it was "my time" this time, no downsizings are in sight.
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Old 01-29-2016, 10:57 AM   #100
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In some stem areas like computer science female enrollment peaked in mid 80s and has since fallen like a rock. (I know technically CS is not engineering)





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It is depends on the university. My kid is in CS and its under college of engineering at her school. It's BS CS not BA CS at her school.


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