Reposting my comment from last week's thread. Am still looking for advice/guidance from more experienced engineers.
22 year old. 5th year Petroleum Engineer graduating in May of next year, with 20 months of co-op work experience.
The job market in Alberta has been absolutely horrendous, and most of last year's class is still unemployed at this point. I have a very high GPA with work experience at a large producer company, and wasn't able to get any interviews back in September/October hiring season.
At this point, I am considering the following options:
Go to grad school for a more useful degree.
Look for opportunities in USA/other countries.
I'll have $40k in the bank and no student loans by graduation.
What I'm experiencing seems to fit the description of a midlife crisis. I only got into this degree for my parents, and after I found work, I thought I could make a life out of it. Then I didn't get hired back by the company I worked for and feel like I lost everything, compounded by the bust cycle of the oil market. Furthermore, I found that while I was working, I really didn't enjoy it at all. The culture of the oil industry in general was completely opposite of my personal values.
One of my fantasies has been to go to Europe for a free/cheap education in Germany/Switzerland/etc. for chemical/mechanical engineering, and work in academia.
I guess the biggest problem I have right now is that I have no idea where the job market is actually good. Honestly, I'd be willing to work any engineering job for 1-2 years while I re-evaluate my life, but I don't know where to look. Academia is supposedly extremely competitive all around the world. The market for lawyers is saturated everywhere (if I wanted to switch to law). None of the USA-based companies hire Canadian EIT's. And in general, it seems like I'll have a really hard time getting into a non-Petroleum job in any other city because there's more than enough supply of qualified engineers in the specific discipline.
tl;dr: I feel like I am finishing a useless degree in Petroleum Engineering, and I really need help with my options.