Career Advice Needed, Stay in Current Job?

Engineer Career Advice

I need some major career advice. I graduated college just over 2 years ago and worked at a major defense contractor. My first role lasted about 8 months before I made the decision to switch to something more down my alley. I joined a program where you essentially do 3 rotations at different jobs within the company for about a year each. My first job was doing a lot of computer programming (with a mechanical engineering degree) so I made the decision to join the program and get in something I enjoyed more (and quite frankly, something I actually understood how to do). I really liked my 2nd rotation. It was stuff I knew how to do to some extent and the people were great. I was challenged every day but because I understood the work, it was very tolerable. I was by no means waking up every day excited to work, but I was tolerating it.

About 1 year into this role, I made the tough decision to move back to my family a few states away. With no remote work being offered, I was forced to find a new role. I am now 6 months into this role and I absolutely hate it. It is not a mechanical engineering job, but there is no computer programming so I figured it wouldn’t be that bad. I was wrong. I don’t understand the work, I have no drive to learn the work, and I have absolutely no human interaction at work. This new job was a smaller company until a year ago when they were bought by the major defense contractor I worked for and it is very obvious. People there are like family and outsiders do not get accepted easily. It’s not that people are mean or rude, it’s just that everyone is so busy that they don’t take the time to get to know you unless you’re one of the people who have been there for years.

My life outside of work is being affected severely. I can feel how unhappy I am, I am not treating my loved ones right, and I just feel so lost in life. I am no longer part of that 1 year rotation program (that will come into play in a second). I wake up every day absolutely dreading work. I know work isn’t always going to be glamorous and fun, but waking up every day and having to let out a deep sigh because of how unhappy I am with this role has been a tough pill to swallow.

The easy answer is to switch jobs, right? I am stuck here for at least another 11 months unless I want to pay back my move bonus (which is close to 10k and financially would be a bad decision). And on top of that, I am worried switching jobs AGAIN is going to look terrible on my resume. I have stayed 8 months, 11 months, and now however long I stay here. I am worried employers will see that and point out that me leaving jobs so quick is a turn off for them (and rightfully so, I know it looks bad even considering the rotation program because I did not stay the full year at my previous 2 jobs like the program is designed for).

I just feel lost. I am unhappy and don’t want to live my life this way. But at the same time, I know if I make another switch it could affect my career long term. This job has made me fully believe engineering is not for me, but I don’t know what else I could do to be happier but also not give up a good paying career.

Any advice, opinions, etc are welcome and don’t hold back, I am fully aware my problems could be much worse and that I might have to make some tough decisions in this situation. Thanks in advance, any of you caring enough to read all this means so much to me and makes me feel cared for.

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