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Jobs in the downhill/mountain bike world.

Discussion in 'Downhill & Freeride' started by Iridemtb, May 12, 2009.

  1. MMike

    MMike A fowl peckerwood.

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    Always remember that welding/fabrication can be outsourced to Malaysia......
     

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  2. davep

    davep Turbo Monkey

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    The down side to this route is you will most likely be a self employed contract worker and you will never be home. You get to pay ALL of your own expenses out of pocket (gas, food, and lodging to visit all your accounts. All expenses related to trade shows that you 'must attend'. Sales samples, catalogs, promo materials for you shops. Health insurance, dental , 401k, other benefits) and it adds up REAL quick.
    Good friends of mine that were the reps for a larger company in a similar industry had ~ $250,000 sample bill each yeat from the company that they represented.

    Up side is you make your own schedule and are your own boss......


    There is also a real possibility that finding a job that is your free-time interest.......may make your-free time interest a job. Are you willing to view something that you currently love....as your JOB.

    I would HIGHLY suggest finding a type of job that interests you (engineering, design, mfg, sales, marketing, etc) and focus on that skill set to make yourself great at that particular field. If something in the bike biz comes along, great...if not, you still have a functional skill that will apeal to other employers). Letting the desire, (at your age, sorry but it is a factor) to work in an industy (doing anything to be in that industry and only that industry) that you currently think is cool, drive your education path is not a good decision IMO.
     
    #42 -   May 12, 2009
    Last edited: May 12, 2009
  3. djjohnr

    djjohnr Turbo Monkey

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    During the dot com bubble burst, I took some time off from tech and spent a few years working in the bike industry - first in shops, then for a large manufacturer, and then running an online retailer. It was a really fun and low stress experience, but as others have pointed out - low paying (and I had a fairly decent paying job for the industry). Eventually I needed to make more money again and went back to being a tech worker (I live in the San Francisco bay area, buying a house on bike industry money is a tough proposition).

    That being said, if you really want to make a career of it then move to where the jobs are, and make sure it's someplace that you can afford to be happy over the long term on a bike industry salary (IE, don't try to do this in the bay area or NYC).

    The main career options available in the industry are sales/marketing, engineering or manufacturing/logistics. The most plentiful jobs are in sales/marketing. You'll need to decide what you are good at and what you enjoy before you can choose one of those options. Take an entry level marketing class and if you can a logistics class (these tend to require pre-reqs) to see if marketing/sales or logistics are right for you. If engineering is your thing you probably already know - start your pre-req science and math classes ASAP.
     
  4. DirtyMike

    DirtyMike Turbo Fluffer

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    Ok, I did not read any of the other posts yet, But I will here in a bit.

    Check it out, if you want to be in the bike industry, you need to understand something. There is not much money at all in DH. You cannot, I repeat cannot make any kind of a living by sticking with one line like DH, unless, your ar pro factory rider, you design the next world changing suspension system, or you design and make a product that is the next world changing peice of gear that is a must have for everyone.

    Now if you want to make it in the bike industry and your not going to chase just DH, you really can make a decent career out of it. Start by getting yourself a Parttime at a Local shop, preferably a shop that is fairly busy and Diverse. Study up while you are young, learn about different technologies, different terms used, and how to do the work yourself.

    To make a decent living in the sho itself, your going to need to be at least at the management level, I dont care what people say, if your at a busy shop, you stand to make a good living as a manager, just expect to have alot fo work to keep up with.

    The easier way to make a living in the industry, is to get into outside sales for a big company IE Giant, Specialized, Trek ETC. They are big names, that deal with big money. You need to know the companies entire product line, that means bikes, small parts, equipment, clothing......Everything. Know your customers that you supply and stock up, know there customers and what they want as well.

    An internship with the big companies can really get you moving in the proper direction. There are alot of position in the industry were money can be made, but ithey are all def jobs you will have to put the effort into.


    Bussiness classes, management classes, and Chinese, German, and Italian are all areas you will want to study in.

    Here is the crazy part, its all about dedication for making it in the bike industry. You may find that having a great schooling background will help, you may also very well find that hands on will get you ALOT further than schooling will. It will all depend on what you put into it.

    Know were the bread and butter is.....LEARN THE ROAD BIKES, you will need to know the roadies if you plan to make a decent living at all. xc is ok, DH is jsut not were the money is. YOu will really need to hit all lines of cycling if you want to make it better than 28K a year as a floor salesman for the Local shop.
     
    #44 -   May 13, 2009
    Last edited: May 13, 2009
  5. buildyourown

    buildyourown Turbo Monkey

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    I don't work in the cycling industry anymore, but I do work at an outdoor company. I've also worked at a high-end custom frame shop as a framebuilder.
    Get an education (or training) in a field that you are really excited about. Something that you can be committed to a excel at. Get lots of experience at other companies and the then come back to a fun company.
    My job has nothing to do with cycling, but it has all the perks of working "in the industry" and I get to work with lots of people that are stoked on bikes and the outdoors in general. I also get to make products that millions of people use everyday to enjoy the outdoors. All this while making a livable wage.
    Don't let the desire to work for a bike company pigeon hole your career path.
     
  6. ?????

    ????? Turbo Monkey

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    Just takeover ownership of Shimano. You'll make plenty of money.
     
  7. Ithnu

    Ithnu Monkey

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    Hmmm...seems like too many people (myself included) give too much info. All right kid here's how to win at life...

    1) High School girlfriends (boyfriends) aren't worth it, move on
    2) Get a college degree, going back later never works
    3) Don't get an STD at said college
    4) Graduate and move somewhere you'll love - then it won't matter what industry you're in
    5) Worry about marriage and family after you've completed steps 1-4
     
  8. Brian HCM#1

    Brian HCM#1 MMMMMMMMM BEER!!!!!!!!!!

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    I wish I could go back to age 20 so my body doesn't ache every flippin day:disgust1:
     
  9. rayhaan

    rayhaan Monkey

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    awesome, best advice yet :clapping:
     
  10. Iridemtb

    Iridemtb Turbo Monkey

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    I have already thought of these steps. Yea, it's tough controling that girl thing :disgust1: But I broke up with my last girlfriend because I was at the skate park when we were supposed to hang out. And the weekend before that I went downhilling when she wanted to hang out... Haha, so I don't even try.

    Well thanks for all the replys, it helps having some words of wisdom. I am not too savy with math, it doesn't interest me much. I could do well if I liked it. I know I have people skills, and I know if I want, I can sell stuff better than others. Hence why I was thinking marketing and advertising.

    You guys are right though, don't allow persuing a career in the riding industry put a hole in my future. I am not a radical, only because I see a passion can destroy one's self. While I wouldn't mind living in a bummed out trailer, a $500 car (like my 89' buick lesabre with rusted paint and a dented bumper that gets me riding places), I know it would get old.

    This summer I intend to race a lot. I think I am decently fast. I mean, I'm not by any means like Neko Mullaly (I think he's a year younger than me), but I want to place some results, make a video, and send it out to get a small company sponsor hopefully to help pay for riding while I'm in college. Other than that, it's work more than 45 hours a week probably to fund it all.

    Thanks so much for your help so far though, I will probably end up going back to this thread several times.
     
  11. Iridemtb

    Iridemtb Turbo Monkey

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    On second though, maybe if I could huck 50 feet to flat, I could be a freeride pro. :lighten:

    :imstupid:
     
  12. rollertoaster

    rollertoaster Monkey

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    my wife and her friend told me, your car makes them sad
     
  13. rb92078

    rb92078 Guest

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    Look, there are many jobs that have to do with the bicycle industry but you are not "per say" working for a bicycle company. Example would be Nike, RedBull, Oakley, Monster...etc. All these companies pay decent and are involved in cycling but there money is not relying on the comparable small market of bicycle sales. I would suggest finding a BIG company with money that uses cycling as a form of marketing there product. It's definitely a nich market, and might take a while to finagle your way into one of these jobs but from my experience these are the guys and gals usually having the most fun and based on there lifestyle (including wife and kids) money can't be to bad either.

    Hope that helps
     
  14. slowitdown

    slowitdown Monkey

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    that's a nice Hallmark card sentiment, but the overstatement is killing me. "wanting it" is all a person needs? that's a riot. it's incredibly naive. I can count dozens of people I know personally whose "wanting it" didn't make the grade for various goals they held.

    the only thing I agree with is that if you have a goal, you will optimize your chances of reaching it by wanting to reach it. but I don't for a minute agree that merely wanting it will cause you to reach that goal. people pick goals well beyond their personal reach all the time. as I said, I know dozens of people who have failed despite "wanting it" badly.

    I am not saying the original poster should be told he'll never make it. I'm saying it helps him to be honest with his chances of making it. but the slim chance shouldn't cause him to ignore trying. he should try, he should try with all his energies and talents. that's the only way to learn whether a person can reach a goal, is to try to reach it.

    I just think it would be folly to tell him that he definitely will get his dream job merely by "wanting it." there's all sorts of things that factor into finding a dream job, and "wanting it" is merely the starting point. there's also connections, eduction, experience, and most of all -- being in the right place at the right time, having the right mood and presenting yourself in the right way at that right place and time.
     
    #54 -   May 13, 2009
    Last edited: May 13, 2009
  15. WhiteRavenKS

    WhiteRavenKS Turbo Monkey

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    you're really going to split hairs with semantics like that? I think you're missing the point. "want it" isn't any different to "wanting to reach it" ...? "wanting to reach it" is redundant.

    "wanting it" and giving it an honest shot but not "making it" is a life well spent. "wanting it" but going for the safety of a 9-5 desk job and looking back regretting your choice is a failed life especially since you'll probably still want it but have no way of even trying that time around. that's the point of "wanting it is all it takes"

    if you really, truly want it then dont ignore that desire and you can't fail.
     
  16. WhiteRavenKS

    WhiteRavenKS Turbo Monkey

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    I have an arts and crafts degree. I'm using my film degree to work in the industry. It's great. I'm underpaid, overworked, and constantly frustrated.

    But I'm not working in LA with all my other film buddies for a reason: I don't want that.
     
  17. Iridemtb

    Iridemtb Turbo Monkey

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    Well hopefully I will be buying a newer pick up at the end of this summer. And to think I have parked infront of your house, sorry. I hope I don't make your mom cry when we go ride over there (that didn't quite come out right). :pirate2:


    I understand being a pro definetly opens a whole new world to connections. Like I said I am making an attempt to become sponsored this summer. The problem is with placing at races I am up against guys who have been riding since they were 6. I have been riding since I was 12, but we'll have to see how it goes. I am going to try. I doubt I could become pro, I just don't have parents that are that supportive of riding, and I know I have to go to school (both of those mean less time and less money).

    Just go to a riding resort and you see 13 year olds whose parents blow 5 grand on a bike, I had to pay for everything (except the helmet) ever since I was 12, even if that meant mowing lawns and shoveling sidewaks because I wasn't old enough for a work permit. Well I do have to give them some credit, my parents use to drive me to bmx practice, they dealt with riding events if they conflicted with other events, and last year my mom drove me to the U.S. Open which was pretty rad. So yea, I guess they do help.

    If I didn't go to school, I think I would have a chance.

    A big part of it is time management too. I think I will do better this season though actually having a real dh bike. It is so much more forgiving and so much faster. I can rail berms easier, hit gardens a lot faster etc.

    And I agree, you have to at least try. I don't want to be that 40 year old stuck behind a desk that never took a risk to do something to expand his horizon and become something even a little better.
     
    #57 -   May 13, 2009
    Last edited: May 13, 2009
  18. Sonic Reducer

    Sonic Reducer Monkey

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    i'd say get sick at TIG welding, then you have a skill that lets you work in the bike industry or go make bank in any number of other ones.
     
  19. spornographer

    spornographer Monkey

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    i guess i didn't want you to reach the meaning of my post enough.

    i definitely hear your side and respect it, and i believe there's truth to what we're both saying. everyone has a unique experience and i have been fortunate with timing and decisions, but it was a "want" of "not wanting" to be stuck working 9 to 5 for someone else that got me where i am today...nothing to do with hallmark, everything with me trying to do what i felt i should, given my gifts and desires.

     
  20. stumpjump

    stumpjump Monkey

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    In time like this I like to think of the sayings of Confuscious: Man with hand in pants feel cocky.
     
  21. drkenan

    drkenan anti-dentite

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    Go to school for entrepreneurship. Seriously...that's your best shot at anything. Think of the next big thing (I know I'm always trying to). Take I9 as an example...they only burst onto the scene a few years back and now they're (arguably) the industry leader in high end wheelsets.
     
  22. Stray_cat

    Stray_cat Monkey

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    See! Your already on the right path. I had one of those too. It met a sad end on a dirt road in New Hampshire though...
     
  23. SPINTECK

    SPINTECK Turbo Monkey

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    Tony, you're a cool kid and you will find a fun job. You should give youself credit that you drive a $500.00 car so you could spend 6000.00 on bikes the last 2 years!!! That's the heart and the spirit of this sport. There are many statements in this thread that are dead on:

    1. Want it, yes, but you have to actively make it happen through connections, skill and being engaged.
    2. Do the school thing, BUT TRY TO INTERN at a bike company or company that OVERLAPS the sport in ANY CAPACITY, sales, tech, secretary- get a foot in and make connections.
    3. Don't skip school, especially in an economy like this. It's not frowned upon (it's actually a right of passage for many european countries) to take a year off after college.
    4. 9 out of 10 guys that I know making a living at this moved to California, so intern or spend some time there. Utah might be a good place too.
    5. RIDE BROTHER- JUST FREAKIN' RIDE!! You will never have this much disposable time in your life and it's your biggest assest to get into shape, make good connections and REALLY DO WHAT YOU LOVE, which is ride!! You know all the east coast players now, so just freakin' ride with them!! Don't spend 40hours a week at a job!! Ride in allentown, race your bmx bike. Shuttle Duryea and French Creek. Use that freakin' road bike I talked you into getting and meet the philly roadies. There are many sales reps, pros and shop people who do week night philly rides.

    Sorry to be so long, but my experiences in the bike world and pharmaceutical industry ( and a little in video) is that it's really who you make connections with that matter because after college everyone has the same playing cards to get into the game. It's the relationships you have that opens doors. You got the time to build the relationships.
     
  24. MobileChernobyl

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    Lol funny that's mentioned cause that's what I'm doing right now. I got an internship/job this summer as a Tig welder on stainless steel piping for E.DO. an R.O. water purification systems shipped out to power plants around the world. I'm only in my first week, and while I have had prior experience Tig'ing I got hired based purely on my welding skills almost immediately. Not a bad skill to have I'm starting to find, and it's my first job I've actually been able to use a semi-unique skill (rather than conventional data entry clerk positions interns usually get) and I really like it so far.

    From what the other workers say I'm extremely young for the job (and field) and most of the Tig welder's are baby boomers getting ready to retire, or even some that are hired after retiring. So it really would be a good skill for anyone to learn if they are looking for a good chance at getting a job!

    I'm going for an ME degree, but I want to be a little more well rounded then the next run-of-the-mill good test taker graduate. I've had to work pretty damn hard at my classes but finally got straight A's this semester. Haven't had grades like that since Middle school :shocked: lol

    Tony/IrideMTB - I hear where your coming from man, but like many others have said I would look into focusing on bettering yourself and aiming for a broader profession up front than the bike industry. You can ALWAYS help the bike industry as an engineer/marketing/whatever expert, but if your aiming to work in the bike industry and nothing else and don't set your sights any higher you may be destined to work there regardless of a change of heart later in life for a longggg time. It's always good to have extra cards in your hand man. And I'm definitely not putting down anyone who works in the bike field, or dismissing it as easy - it's just as hard as the next job, but if you aim for a broader profession like marketing, or engineering, you can always tailor your skills after college to work in the bike field, and will probably have more to bring to the table. I always look to DW's path as a good example, the guy could have built robot's for the defense industry (or so I've read) and made a boat load of loot but he used all that knowledge after college and made a bangin ass suspension system that changed the face of biking in the upper echelon (and prolly still makes very decent bank). He got learned in school and was able to take many more cards to the table when he decided to work in the bike industry than someone who would have just worked in the bike industry from the get-go (statistically speaking).

    It's ur life tho...

    P.S. I know we were talking about this earlier, but don't blow all your money on crystal meth, save up and move blocks of white girl it's so much easier to sell and you'll see much higher returns.
     
    #64 -   May 13, 2009
    Last edited: May 13, 2009
  25. slowitdown

    slowitdown Monkey

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    how does that play out, exactly? how does it explain the times I and my friends have wanted something, but didn't get it regardless?

    please don't talk "semantics" with me, I don't think you know what the word means!
     
  26. blue

    blue boob hater

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    Uh, not to be a dick, but the fact that they're also in Asheville might have skewed your perception...Just because they're the "industry leader" or they make nice MTB hubs/wheels doesn't mean they're a successful company financially or that anyone with a stake in the company is making more than 75k/yr...or that anyone outside of bike nerds who spend more on a new bike than a car have heard of them.

    People become so wrapped up in the world they associate themselves personally with they fail to realize how small that world really is.
     
    #66 -   May 14, 2009
    Last edited: May 14, 2009
  27. DirtyMike

    DirtyMike Turbo Fluffer

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    As much as I hate to do this..... I agree with blue...I9 is FAR from an indusrty leader with wheels.

    I would have to give that title to Mavic by a long shot.
     
  28. bikerpunk98199

    bikerpunk98199 Turbo Monkey

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    IRideMTB, I was in the same situation you are except I just got done with my first year of university. I went in to my first year at a liberal arts school thinking that I would major in business. After taking a intro to business class I discovered that I did not like it as much as I thought I was would. I was pretty bummed for a while because I didn't know what else I could major in so I could work in the cycling industry. I decided to take some core classes and see what I liked after the next semester. I ended up liking human kinetics the most. Now I am a human kinetics major with a concentration in coaching. I realized that there will be opportunities in my field for the cycling industry or I can go and do my own thing in a different industry and make more money so I can afford to still take trips for riding and ride sick bikes.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is, do what you like. Don't do something that you don't like just because it will give you an IN into the cycling industry. It would really suck to be stuck in a degree program you don't like and a career you don't like just to be in the industry.
     
  29. Kanye West

    Kanye West 220# bag of hacktastic

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    That.

    It's absolutely appalling how many engineering graduates have ZERO hands on skills, and ZERO social skills.
     
  30. WhiteRavenKS

    WhiteRavenKS Turbo Monkey

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    christ. really? I'll go use the dictionary then and look up semantics. Maybe you look up the grammar of "I and my friends" while we have the reference materials out. When you're done looking that up you can put that attitude back on the shelf too. it should fit right next to the definition of semantics.

    if your friends wanted something and they tried their damnedest but for whatever reason(s) they came up short, then you're short changing them by calling them failures. they tried and didn't succeed but that doesn't necessarily make them a failure.

    a failure is when a person wants something but only half goes for it and then complains later about what could have been. that kind of pansy ass "just the tip" going for it constitutes "fail"

    if you really don't understand this then I guess we just have fundamentally different paradigms through which we view life and define "achievement"

    you know your crap is salty when some one known to be a hater thinks you should be more glass half full about life.
     
    #70 -   May 14, 2009
    Last edited: May 14, 2009
  31. Alloy

    Alloy Monkey

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    Don't worry about the kids who were born on a bike. Just train smart, push yourself harder than they are willing, do lots of timed runs. Soon enough you'll be pro.
     
  32. PepperJester

    PepperJester Monkey

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    another option is to go a take the Mtb. Operations program at Capalino University in BC. Learn to be a pro trail builder. I'm going this fall and can't wait. I already have skills as a graphic designer so can top up my funds by free lancing when not in the forest building gnarrly stuff.
     
    #72 -   May 14, 2009
    Last edited: May 14, 2009
  33. Ithnu

    Ithnu Monkey

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    ME here, I can run an end mill and a lathe:happydance:

    However, I was a TA in a lab class that taught undergrads how to use shop tools-great class really. I was the only TA who could teach the lab because none of the others could even use a drill press, let alone a lathe. Well other grad students could, be they had fellowships and didn't need to be a TA.

    I'm not so sure about the social skills though, all the other engineers at my work hang out together while I go snowboarding and mt biking without them. Is it ok to be an outcast of other engineers?
     
    #73 -   May 14, 2009
    Last edited: May 14, 2009
  34. drkenan

    drkenan anti-dentite

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    Why the hate? The OP asked how he could get into the bike industry and I was trying to help him out. I doubt many people outside of your "bike nerds" have heard of most of the bike-related companies that are referenced on here every day. Just because I live in the same town as I9's HQ doesn't meant that they're not a successful company.

    Not sure if you're referring to me with your jab on realizing "how small that world really is" but I don't work in the industry so I tend to concentrate most of my time on real life issues.
     
  35. MobileChernobyl

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    lol it's pretty sad how true the first part is. I loved the time in the machine shop i've had so far, mind you I worked in a custom cabinetry shop for a few years before that so the transition to metal machining was smooth, but for the rest of the kids who had only heard or seen of machinery on orange county choppers and that was their inspiration to become an engineer... well they had a rough time...

    The lack of social skills issue seems to be because there is almost no emphasis on public speaking or business oriented skills in the standard ME degree. I actually took quite a few of those classes and found it to be a relief from regular core classes. I'm probably veering off towards industrial engineering when I transfer next semester because I like the greater emphasis on real world strategies of manufacturing and industrial process.
     
  36. ire

    ire Turbo Monkey

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    I have a BS in Software Engineering and it was the same way....most of the people I went to school with had serious social problems. As for how to get into the bike industry, I say don't. Get a degree that will pay well when you come out so you can make a living, have a house, family, and money to buy bike parts. I say the key is to find a job that is flexible enough to let you ride your bike a lot...thats what I did and I have no regrets