Mechanical Test Engineer
I work for an aerospace company in San Diego CA. I am a 28 year old female who has been there for 5 years. I have a bachelors in mechanical engineering from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and a masters in aeronautical science from Embry Riddle. Every day is a battle for me…I started my career as a bright and enthusiastic new grad and jumped into my first position at the company. My starting salary seemed fair. Very quickly I met resistance with my new boss. I’d ask questions and he’d tell me “because I said so” was the reason for anything I’d ask. I’m trying to have a mentor relationship with him because I am new to the industry and the workforce. I push back. I go to meetings where they assume I am from HR or a secretary there to take notes. I laugh it off. Another male is hired to be in between myself and my boss. This one directs me to do things I do not agree with (engineering tasks) so I question his judgement. He screams in my face that he could get me fired. I calmly tell him to f-ing try it. I report this to my manager/director. They meet with me, tell me I misunderstood and to drop the whole thing. I don’t want to make waves in my new job…so I listen and shut up about the whole thing. I was promoted to engineer two and made a lead. I was given high meets/exceeds on my review. Then the novelty wore off. They took my position away with no explanation and put another man in between me and my original boss. Clearly I am too much for the group. I get moved to a new group, their way of getting rid of the problem. They make it seem as if its in my best interest. I did not ask for this move… but ok the new job seems fun, I’m resilient, I got this. The first official day in the new group I’m sitting in the group meeting and the new boss asks me to take notes and to run the slide show/projector for him during the meeting. I am already a bit combative and outspoken when it comes to being tasked with so called “women’s work” but I laugh this one off…maybe it was because I was sitting near the computer?? Then it continues…he puts me in Microsoft project training, says we need someone to work schedules in the group. I am a fairly experienced mechanical engineer being told that all I can contribute to the group is to manage schedules. Again, new group, don’t want to make waves so I do it. And boy do I. My schedules are freaking amazing. Maybe I can prove myself and get back to engineering! No one even glances at the schedules for these projects. Ok, now I’m pissed. But I’m a self starter. I go out and find my own work. I decide what training I enroll in and luckily this new boss doesn’t like confrontation so he leaves me be realizing I will NOT be his secretary. Fast forward 2 years. I work my butt off learning systems that only one other engineer in the group knows so I can contribute. I travel, I work long days AND I have completed my masters degree with a 4.0. I feel GOOD. I ask for a promotion. I bring in documentation showing all the work I’ve done and I bring in job postings for engineer 3 from the company website and I demonstrate how I qualify. He sends me to the director. Great!! Not… the director proceeds to tell me that because of my “issues” with my last boss and the fact that my degree is not an engineering degree that he will need to look into whether I qualify for a promotion or not. Wow. Slap in the face. I was in tears at the end of that conversation. Still, I fought and eventually they gave me the promotion. I was excited! Maybe they recognize my worth! Then I see the actual documentation for the promotion and subsequent raise. There are pay brackets for every position, entry level to more experienced. For an engineer 3, the position I was promoted to, the new salary they gave me did not even meet THEIR OWN DEFINED minimum for entry level. I was baffled. I asked my supervisor, he shrugged, avoided eye contact. I sent it to HR and the director. They said the form was old and the ranges shifted. and that was the end of it. No promise to look into it. No attempt to reconcile anything. I am STILL furious about this. Come to find out, the 2 males recently hired in my group (SAME JOB), 1 fresh from school, the other with a masters and 1-2 years experience are making tens of thousands more than me. The baby is at least a good engineer but the other guy…it baffles me that he is capable of walking AND breathing simultaneously….and he makes $15-20k more than me… I am doing everything in my power to LEAVE this place. It is breaking me down. I waited to be fully vested in all my benefits…waited for them to pay for some awesome training and a security clearance…but I can’t do this anymore. I know I am better than this but I feel so useless and cheated. I question my skills and abilities because being my first job out of school I was made to believe I don’t matter, I’m not good enough. It sucks. Senior management doesn’t care. HR doesn’t care. I’m a fighter but this is tough. When my fight or flight response is engaged I want to just leave and find a new job where I am appreciated but then I think of all the others that have no voice that are experiencing the same or worse treatment. I want to help, I want to fight. I am worried it will impact my career in the future…I’m lost.