Scary Things To Do in Your Engineering Career

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You are probably too comfortable in your engineering career, but do you know there are scariest things you should do in your engineering career to push you and take yourself to the next levels?

In this article, I will give you ten scary things that you should be doing in your career to push you and take yourself to the next level. You can stop reading now if you are not ready for these ten scary things that you can try in your engineering career to be uncomfortable and push yourself beyond your current boundaries and when you look back on your career in 10, 20, 30 years you will be able to say I took that risk and it paid off.

10 Scariest Things You Should Do in Your Engineering Career

1. Take A Risk At Work

Take a risk at work like giving your boss an idea for a new product or new service or even drawing up a business plan. For instance, I know some civil engineering professionals that are starting up drone divisions for their companies. They’re researching drones and giving their company an entirely new revenue stream.

So what can you do for your organization that would drum up more business and improves its bottom line? Maybe a new product offering is risky because you know you’re going to your boss and you’re saying I think I can make this work and then you’re going to have to do it. But if it pays off, it’ll be a big win for you and it might be a risk worth taking.

2. Change Your Living Conditions

Sometimes just changing our living conditions can impact the way we work in our careers because we’re in a different setting, different atmosphere, or maybe you’re in a different neighborhood that can have an impact on you.

3. Just Live More Simply

I’ve been doing that myself. I am trying to go through my phone and delete a bunch of apps. Get rid of a bunch of stuff in the office that isn’t necessary, but just kind of adds stress to your life and your career. So, think about some of the things you can cut out of your life or even your career that isn’t adding value but just causing stress.

 It’s not easy to do because we get comfortable as we have something in our career that’s just always there. It’s like you have a subscription to some service that just keeps charging you, but you never use it. So you can cut things out.

4. Get A New Certification Or License In Your Career

Get a new certification or license in your career, but tell your boss that you’re going to get it to add accountability in. If you’ve wanted to get your professional engineering license or a different accreditation, tell people in your company that you’re going to get it.

Put the pressure on yourself and get it done. We’re getting close to the end of the year, and I want to challenge you. Do you really want to take one of these after reading this article? Go after it.

5. Sign Up To Volunteer For A Society Activity

For example, maybe you’re a member of an engineering association, but you haven’t taken the next step yet, I want you to take the next step. I want you to volunteer to get on a board or a committee or run a local stem event. Commit to it, put your name on it, do it and you’re going to meet people.

By doing this, you’re going to build skills and become a better speaker, most likely because of the speaking associated with it. However, it’s risky because once you commit to it, you’ve got to get it done.

6. Volunteer To Write A Series Of Articles For Your Company’s Website Or Do A Series Of Videos

I’ve learned that creating content is a great way to get your mind going and thinking about different things can also help you build your expertise. It can also help you to get known within your company or your industry if your content gets out there on the right channels.

So go up to your marketing department and say, listen, I’ve got an idea for a good series of articles. I’d like to write them and commit to it. It’s uncomfortable and it’s scary writing a series of articles, but you can do it even if it requires some research. In the long run, it can build your own brand in the engineering world.

7. Commit To Doing Something Physical

Commit to doing something physical like running a marathon or having some weightlifting goals or whatever the case may be. When you push yourself physically, it will help you mentally in your career because whenever we’re in physical shape, it keeps us working productively.

Also, stretching yourself physically keeps you excited and engaged in life on a regular basis. So commit to something like that. You’ll also meet friends and colleagues in the process.

8. Ask For A Raise If You Think You’re Worth More Than You’re Getting Paid

Ask for a raise if you think you’re worth more than you’re getting paid and that’s possible. Then come up with a plan of how you can show your supervisor and your company that you are worth more than you’re getting paid and ask if they would make an adjustment appropriately based on whatever you feel the value is and they feel the value is.

 It may not work out, but at least they know you’re thinking about it and they know that you feel that you have value and you showed it to them in that conversation.

9.  Do Something Epic For Your Industry Or For The World

Quite frankly, I recently interviewed an engineer for our Women in Civil Engineering series on The Civil Engineering Podcast. Her name is Felipa and if you listen to the civil podcast, you’ll hear her interview soon. She is a British engineer, now working in Nepal and she left her last job to take on this project because she’s literally building a road and overseeing the construction of a road between two communities that are not connected in any way.

In terms of infrastructure, if someone from one community wants to go to the other community, they have to walk for three days as opposed to driving for four hours, which is going to happen when she finishes with this project. So I would say that that’s pretty epic.


10. Switch Jobs Or Careers

You can’t get much scarier or uncomfortable than that. I recently helped an engineer go from one discipline in her industry to another discipline, from one location in the United States to a completely different location in the United States.

She says, “I know this is going to be a lot of work and it’s going to be difficult for me to make this change,” but she enlisted the help of a career coach and we work together. She did a lot of work and now she is in one of the biggest cities in the United States, working for one of the biggest companies in the discipline that she wanted to get into.

So she’s building her new career in that industry all because she did something scary and she tried to make a career jump. Some people wouldn’t want to do that, but you can also try it.

The most important thing is to take a risk at work. Give your boss a new product or service, change your living conditions, live more simply, get a new certification license or degree and tell your boss.

Sign up the volunteer for a society, volunteer to write a series of articles or do some videos for your company, commit to something physical like running a marathon, ask for a raise, do something epic for your industry or the world and lastly switch jobs or switch careers if you’re not happy in your current job.

Joe Sturtevant
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