A friend of mine called, looking for work. I met him working at a previous job, he does software quality assurance, ie, that gizmo won't try to kill you if it malfunctions (one malfunction; if two occur at the same time, you're toast). My situation is bad too. Not paid weds, this is thurs pm, tomorrow is two weeks plus a half week. One paycheck 2.5 weeks ago, after six weeks of furlough. Not good at all. I'm working on a medical state machine interpreter; about 600 lines of C not including 200 lines of header. It will probably double; it handles messages from the hardware and issues commands to the hardware. The hardware sucks; it is unreliable, custom, and must be "trusted but verified". For about a week after a new hardware spin I get to validate the hardware, which means spending a day going "its not working right, is it my fault?" and eventually getting a hardware guy and an oscilloscope to check it out. If I find a hardware bug during that period, I feel very worthwhile. When its my own software I find bugs in, it is not so rewarding.
Engineering is a calling, more that a "career". If you are an engineer, you will engineer, even when relaxing. If you are not employed as one, but are, you will do same. You needn't a degree to be an Engineer, its more than that, and certainly doesn't follow: you aren't an Engineer because you got a certain degree.
In fact, and I won't go into it here, some of the best Engineers I've ever met have not had formal degrees. I do, but everything I do is self-taught, like these others.
Lets dance through the fire.
Toking with the swimmers and sumos. Being ok with each other. Respect.