on February 13th, 2009

Dear Colleagues

Moving into a new engineering job or simply moving from college to work

I have noticed that a number of you (perhaps more than usual in the past year of boom and bust) have just started a new job. This can be an enormously painful experience – whether it is a job straight from college or merely a new position in a new company. Herewith a few suggestions on the best strategies to ensure your engineering career grows in your new environment:

Don’t be disappointed. Set your expectations at a reasonable level in your new job. Whilst you may have been a guru in your previous job; it may take time to achieve this status in your new job.
Study the basics. Learn how everything operates - particularly from a simple administrative and operational point of view. Learn who the key players are in your new environment - “Who’s who in the zoo”.
Build your engineering reputation systematically. Ensure that you build up everyone’s awareness of your strengths and abilities – as modestly as possible. Everyone knew what these were in your previous job, but now no-one has a clue about how good you really are.
Listen carefully. Absorb as much as possible from everyone around you and keep your opinions to yourself – at least until you have established the lie of the land.
Communicate meticulously. When writing or talking or doing a presentation ensure that it is world class – don’t compromise with mediocrity. People are watching you carefully; trying to work out where you feature in their (perhaps mental) pecking order.
Project yourself professionally. Represent yourself and your firm professionally - you are being paid to do a professional job (presumably at a good rate). So ensure you are dressed reasonably cautiously and come across as a considered engineering professional.
Keep physically fit and fresh. Avoid late nights and blasting your body with minimal sleep and “noxious” substances. This is especially true of young graduates who have been used to extensive socializing.
Network vigorously. Do this both within the company and at the associated professional organizations - ranging from engineering to simple social get-togethers.
Look for a mentor. No matter how experienced you are, I always believe there is someone out there who can help you with your career or simply act as a sounding board.
Be politically savvy. Now I hate admitting this; but a lot of career progress depends on who you know, rather than what you know. This doesn’t require you to be slavishly subservient, but be aware of who makes the decisions and what they “thrive on observing” (!).
Enjoy yourself. Your career can represent a big chunk of your life. So ensure you are enjoying it. If not don’t compromise forever, make a change or move upwards and onwards…..

Thanks to Nina Patel of the IEEE for her article inspiring me to write this note.
Take advantage of a complimentary gift from IDC:

An IDC Engineering manual worth (over $120)
Let me explain. We are always keen to let people know about our engineering training courses and books. If you are so inclined we invite you to send out a non-sales email to your mailing list offering a free downloadable gift set (6) of our pocket guides (500 pages of purely informative material):

Industrial Automation (new)
Data Communications
Electrical Engineering
Formulae & Conversions

With your mail going out to a minimum of 2000 of your database we would like to thank you with an electronic 350 page IDC Engineering manual of your choice (see the list at www.books.idc-online.com

In a nutshell:
We will provide you with the email to pass on to your database. They will then have the chance to download our informative pocket guides and enter our database for engineering training updates. Alternatively we have software here to cope with mass campaigns. I can assure you we would not use or distribute your database if you choose this method.

And remember as Ralph Waldo Emerson remarked: “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm”. So keep persisting and remain positive.

Yours in engineering learning

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