If you are reading this post, you’re most likely an engineer working for an engineering company. You get up each morning and go to work in what appears to be a ‘stable’ job. In reality, though, no matter how safe or stable your job appears to be, your employer can decide at any time to stop paying you and take away that perceived stability. However, your skill set, your professional network, and your reputation can allow you to react to a situation like this and quickly replace that paycheck. Developing your engineering skills as well as your non-technical skills will give you the tools to truly maintain a stable engineering career. The following are some things you can do in your engineering career to ensure that it is genuinely stable.
Realize the Importance of Your Own Development
Don’t get tricked by the illusion that your 9-to-5 job and paycheck create a stable career. Don’t build your entire financial future around that paycheck. Go through your career with a plan B that addresses the question, “What will I do if I lose my job tomorrow?” Having a good answer to this question and a good plan to go along with it is where true stability will come from.
Build a Very Strong Professional Network
A company can always take your paycheck away from you and end your employment with them, but they can’t take away your relationships. If you build strong relationships in the industry, it is very likely that should you lose your ‘stable job,’ you will be able to quickly find another one. I can’t stress this point enough, as many engineers rank networking low on their list of things to do because they feel that they can lean on the relationships of their company. WRONG. If you take this approach and lose your job or decide to relocate, you will not be able to lean on the company’s contacts. Also, having a strong network gives you a direct avenue to potential new business for your employer, which is like gold, especially in today’s economy. [Read more…]