Giving Job Search Advice to an Engineer

About five years ago I adopted a new personal mantra: do NOT give advice. A few pieces of "advice" I'd given family members had not panned out quite as I thought they would, and although nothing bad happened, the spectre of a bad outcome lurked in the shadows, making me aware that I'd dodged getting over-involved that time, but I should not tempt fate.

(It reminds me, too, of a time when I took a curve very quickly, too quickly, and almost lost control of my car. I was young at the time, but I realized that I'd best not tempt fate and never did that again.)

Every once in a while it seems that I am tested. Have I truly stopped "giving advice"? And this case, the test of resolve came in the form of an email from an engineer in another country:

I am an Industrial Engineer with around 10 years of experience in the manufacturing field, I have always been working in the field of Continuous Improvement, and I must admit that I feel stuck doing the same thing for so long. Actually, now I have the opportunity to study in Canada (I am from - name of country) and eventually migrate and work there. My big doubt is, should I continue my studies in my field in order to take advantage of my vast experience? or should I study another thing that I am more passionate about and start from scratch in the canadian workplace? I really hope you can help me out to dissipate this doubt. Thank you!

I removed the name of the country simply to ensure that no one could jump to any conclusions.

There is no way that I would  give potentially bad advice or suggestions that could be misunderstood. Here's my reply:

An interesting question, but not one that I could answer for you - that's a large responsibility that could have life-altering consequences, which is a responsibility that I would not take on.

But I can offer a few questions that you could ask yourself that may lead you to a decision.

1. What is this more passionate path that calls to you, and what is the usefulness of this new career within the Canadian context? You could set up a job search (using an aggregate job board, perhaps, like for Canadian jobs with the job title of that exciting field that is calling you. You can narrow it down to a geographic location as well. This would give you some hard data and this knowledge may help you decide to stick with the tried and true or to strike out for the new.

2. As you conduct this study, explore too the salary expectations, if earnings are a consideration or concern. Conducting research for both - your current and your proposed - will give you an indication of salary ranges, perfect for contrasting job a with lots of experience and job b as a newbie in that role. Here's a link to Canadian salary information:

And once here and ready to look for your first position on Canadian ground, if you need a professional's help with the resume, I would love to be of service! Exciting times for you!

The closest I get to advice is "reasoned and seasoned suggestions, tips, and insights."

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