I am young mining engineer with three years experience. I am at that point where I should really commit myself to the trade or back off and go a different direction. I am thinking about an advanced degree/further education but I am not sure on what: Mining engineering, geotechnical engineering geared towards mining, or business/entrepreneurship. Or just relax and enjoy my life and extracurricular activities like running/camping (bagdaddy.blogspot.com). I have an undergrad in mining engineering from Virginia Tech Any advice or thoughts would be really helpful. Also, I might as well ask about this while I have your attention, how would you invest your money if you were my age (25).
Here is how I answered these questions. If you can add your advice to the advice that I give this young mining engineer, I suspect we can keep him on a productive path as a mining engineer, and help him enjoy a good career in mining just as we have.
At the age of 25 I would not worry too much about career or investing. I recall, however, that at 25 I was indeed worried about career and investing. In retrospective it is so long ago and so much has happened that I did not foresee and could not have planned for, that now the worries of those days seems irrelevant. A number of economic crashes have affected my investments. The only constants have been what I know, what I can do, and income from the mining industry. Plus a few lucky breaks in buying houses in good locations.
At 64, looking back, things have worked out well and I would pretty much let it play out the same way if I had to do it over. That said, what I was doing and planning at 25 undoubtedly affected the way my life has turned out. To whit:
I became a civil engineer and specialized in geotechnical engineering. Most of my career has involved working as a consultant to the mining industry, although for about ten years, I focused on the landfill industry where they also work on large geotechnical structures involving waste. It gave me time to enjoy California.
As regards your thinking about what to do, I would say that you have to follow your heart, while keeping a firm eye on the fact that it helps to have a good job and a steady income as you pursue all the other things that it is fun to do in life.
Thus I would recommend you stick to mining: you have already invested time and effort therein. And mining is so broad that you could follow almost any personal interest in that industry. From investing to closing mines. As a mine employee to a consulting career. And running in your spare time. Once I could run up the Sandias in Albuquerque, nine miles from elevation 6000 to 10,500. Today I can barely get around the dance floor for a fast waltz, but I can still make a good living from mining.
As for investing at 25, I would stick every spare bit of cash into shares of oil sands mines. They will continue for the next 300 years; oil from Canada will be needed in the USA for a long time; and there are few substitutes as we see Tunisia and Egypt and the Middle East change.
So we must hope this young man pursues his mining career; follows his heart, instincts, and abilities. Let us encourage him to build on his education and make mining a better industry than every. And keep running and blogging. For there are too few of us blogging about mining. And I cannot but help thinking that blogging keeps the world honest. For in mining and blogging are professional satisfaction, prosperity, and an opportunity to contribute to the overall community and its benefit.