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I Switched from being behind a desk to being in the field. And I haven’t looked back.

Engineer checking industrial generator fire control system, Diesel engine fire pump controller

The latest installment in our Spotlight Blog Series features long-time Generator Technician- Neil Dao.

It seems people these days don’t just get new jobs over the course of their career. They often switch the career itself several times. I get it.

I started out as a linguistics and computer science graduate from UCLA. For many computer science majors, the dream is to work in Silicon Valley. So, after graduating from UCLA, I did…but found out that the Silicon Valley lifestyle and atmosphere didn’t suit my personality.

Yes, the pay was good, but I didn’t like being stuck at a desk. So, I started all over again as an entry-level generator technician. I wasn’t on the same so-called lucrative career path, but what I gained was worth it. I could finally do what I really wanted: work with my hands, build relationships with lots of different customers, and get outside the office and onto the road. I wasn’t stuck in a cubicle any more – I was always out in the field!


Switching Careers


Now, two decades later, I’m glad I switched careers. And my computer programming education wasn’t abandoned, as I’ve had to apply many of those same skills to servicing generators from different manufacturers, each with its own unique software.

Working at Duthie Power Services has also made the transition worthwhile. They’re family-owned and really care about their employees. We’ve had the growing pains of all small companies who’ve had to evolve to keep pace with technology in the last twenty years, but I never feel like my voice isn’t heard. And the older you get, the more you realize that who you work with is equally, if not more, important than where you work.


Do What Makes You Happy


So, even if you’re years into a career that just isn’t working for you, it’s not too late to switch to another field. Don’t be fooled by glamorous titles or perks in careers you think you should pursue because, honestly, doing something that makes you happy is more important. If you’re not happy at what you do, you can’t do it for a long time – it’s going to be a drag day after day.  On the other hand, if you’re happy doing something that makes a comfortable living, the job title and bragging rights don’t matter. You’ve found the right fit, and that’s what matters.

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