Three Simple Questions that Will Change Your Engineering Career

“I hate it here.”

Within 30 minutes of getting to the office, it is guaranteed that I will hear these words uttered over a cubicle wall. I hear it several times of day at my office. You probably do, too. Heck, maybe you’ve said it yourself. As much as I hate to say it, it’s not all that uncommon for people to be unsatisfied with their career situation.

 

What is uncommon is to see people take bold action to actually do something to change a situation they’re unhappy with.

Today, I’m going to offer you three simple, but powerful questions you should be asking yourself about your career. If you’re like most people, you’ll have never thought hard about them before. I challenge you to think hard about each of them and actually write out the answers in the comments section below. According to this study from Dominican University, actually writing down your answers can be the difference between staying stuck in the wrong career the rest of your days and leading a successful, fulfilling life.

And now, the three questions:

What’s your dream job?

Simply put, do you know what you would love to do? I’m sure most people have some kind of dream job, but often they aren’t realistic. Not everyone can be CEO of GE, or Apple’s lead designer. What is a realistic way you could use your skills and interests to secure an income?

One incredibly helpful resource for helping you answer this kind of question is a book called What Color is Your Parachute? This is an excellent read meant to help you answer this question. It’s been a best-seller for years, and something that has helped me personally in determining my path in life. One of the biggest benefits to this book is that it helps you see how you can apply your experience and education in other ways. Just because your degree is in engineering doesn’t mean your job title needs to be “Engineer”.

A simple way to answer this is to think about what you would do for free.

Answering this question may seem obvious, and in a lot of way it is. That being said, the simple fact is that most people don’t have an answer to it. Without a definite answer, you can’t possibly answer the next question…

How close is your current job to your dream job?

So, now that you know your dream job, it should be easy to decide whether or not what you’re doing right now is close to your ideal. 

The tough part is being truly honest with yourself. Many people trick themselves into thinking their current roles are good enough. Often, people don’t realize how big a gap there is between what they have and what their ideal is.

Don’t confuse being afraid of change with being happy about where you are. 

What are you doing about it?

Now that you can see the gap between your ideal situation and the one you currently have, what are you going to do about it? You’ve got points A and B in your journey, now you need to fill in the route between the two points.

Plot out specific points along the way. Consider what education, experience, and training you need to close the gap. Add definite start and end dates to each of your tasks. Start looking for or creating your ideal job now. Even if it takes you years to make the transition, it will help to know who might be able to give you your ideal job and what they’re looking for specifically in an ideal candidate.

 

Having a definite plan with deadlines will give you a roadmap that you can follow in order to actually attain your dream job.

@engineering.com

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