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15 Things Only Engineers Would Understand

15 Things Only Engineers Would Understand

After years of crazy studying hours, insane exams, and wild expectations, you have made it! You’re an engineer! Whether mechanical, electrical, aeronautical, environmental, computer, civil, industrial (you get the idea…), you can proudly tell people that you are an engineer.

If only you could make them stop asking you to fix their fridge, or explain to them, in layman’s terms, what it is exactly that you do.

Here are 15 things that only an engineer would understand.

1. You were practically in a relationship with your caffeinated beverage of choice.  

The code doesn’t work like it’s supposed to. You need a week to understand the mathematical equations before you can even crack the engineering portion of it. The circuit board doesn’t work because of a burnt-out component. If there was something that could go wrong, it did. There weren’t enough hours in the day, but that’s OK. You don’t need sleep. You have Red Bull!

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    2. You took apart a radio or the back of the television just to see what was inside.

    Your mom was furious, but you’ve done it countless times again since then. I think you owe your mom a radio.

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      3. Your class size was always cut in half by the end of drop week.  

      You walk in on the first day of class. All the seats are taken. By the end of that drop week, half of those students are gone. And by the first assignment, you kind of wish you had left too.

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        4.  Everyone who knows you’re an engineer thinks you can fix their household appliances.

        OK, so maybe there are times you can fix it. But that’s not what you went to school for. You’ve worked on intricate projects. You’ve come up with revolutionary theories and technology. You’ve sat in one spot and coded for nights on end. You did not go to school to fix someone’s fridge or a Keurig machine that’s on the fritz!

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          5.  Contrary to #4, you have modified a household appliance that was working perfectly just to make it better.

          It’s not enough if something only works flawlessly.  It should work to your personally-desired needs.  Case in point: I know a NASA engineer who programmed his Keurig machine to his cell phone.  This way, he can turn it on from bed with no effort.  Ah, the user-friendly life of an engineer!

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            6.  Girls were practically mythical beings.  

            As a female engineer, I was a unicorn in the world for years. Sometimes, there would be one other girl in the class, which was twice as much as I was used to. Fortunately for all of us, there are more women coming into the engineering world. “Who runs the world? Girls!”

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              7.  When a child asks you a simple question, you explain the most elaborate answer possible.

              A little girl ask you, “Why is it raining?” You begin to explain the water cycle in detail, the transportation of water from the atmosphere to the surface of the earth, and of course, the different forms of precipitation. The little girl says “OK” with a blank stare and then walks away.

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                8. When you speak about your work, people think you’re nuts.

                Yes, it’s not just children, but adults as well who can’t understand the things you try to explain. Usually, someone will regret asking you about your work. But it’s not your fault. Sometimes, you can’t help sounding like a martian from the sixth dimension of the universe.

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                  9. You go above and beyond on projects….your kid’s science projects.

                  Chances are you designed this child’s project in AutoCAD or SolidWorks. You probably used PSpice if you threw in some electronics. Meanwhile, you son’s classmates have some baking soda and vinegar for their volcano, or a potato for their clock.

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                    10.  The people at Radio Shack can’t answer your questions. 

                    They’re always great at helping you locate what you need. But those intricate and convoluted questions are something you have to deal with on your own.

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                      11.  You were the president of the audio-visual, robotics, mathematics, and/or coding club at your school.

                      Your love of technology and the unknown is as real as your shopping addiction at Jameco Electronics.

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                        12. People think you know everything!  

                        The truth of the matter is that if you are an engineer, you realized a long time ago that you know nothing. And that’s great! It means your mind is open to everything.

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                          13.  The things you learned as an engineering student are not the things you do as an engineer in the real world.  

                          In college, those lectures, never-ending projects, technical reports, and mathematical lunacy were all just to help you lose yourself in the “reality distortion field.” It’s a place where nothing is what it seems. You have to lose your mind as an engineering student first in order to embrace the “anything is possible” mentality all engineers must embrace.

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                            14.  You envied those non-engineering majors.  

                            They had such balance in their life. They went to class, went to the library, and then, they actually had time to go out. Don’t even get me started on their study breaks! They could actually sit down to a meal without rushing or talking about the work. They didn’t even look at their study materials while eating. How luxurious!!!

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                              15.  You spend more time behind a computer screen than anywhere else.

                              And this was before the social media takeover! You were doing it before everyone else, and you probably still are. Since you’re usually looking at your screen, you might have more friends online than in person.

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                                As an engineer, you can understand the esoteric things. You love technical things, and there’s just something about it that calms your soul. After dealing with social pressure in school, demanding professors, and no sleep (ever!), you are an engineer. You can do anything. Congratulations! You’re damn near a superhero!

                                Featured photo credit: engineers via google.com.hk

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                                Last Updated on March 25, 2020

                                How to Set Ambitious Career Goals (With Examples)

                                How to Set Ambitious Career Goals (With Examples)

                                Taking your work to the next level means setting and keeping career goals. A career goal is a targeted objective that explains what you want your ultimate profession to be.

                                Defining career goals is a critical step to achieving success. You need to know where you’re going in order to get there. Knowing what your career goals are isn’t just important for you–it’s important for potential employers too. The relationship between an employer and an employee works best when your goals for the future and their goals align. Saying, “Oh, I don’t know. I’ll do anything,” makes you seem indecisive, and opens you up to taking on ill-fitting tasks that won’t lead you to your dream life.

                                Career goal templates’ one-size-fits-all approach won’t consider your unique goals and experiences. They won’t help you stand out, and they may not reflect your full potential.

                                In this article, I’ll help you to define your career goals with SMART goal framework, and will provide you with a list of examples goals for work and career.

                                How to Define Your Career Goal with SMART

                                Instead of relying on a generalized framework to explain your vision, use a tried-and-true goal-setting model. SMART is an acronym for “Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic with Timelines.”[1] The SMART framework demystifies goals by breaking them into smaller steps.

                                Helpful hints when setting SMART career goals:

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                                • Start with short-term goals first. Work on your short-term goals, and then progress the long-term interests.[2] Short-term goals are those things which take 1-3 years to complete. Long-term goals take 3-5 years to do. As you succeed in your short-term goals, that success should feed into accomplishing your long-term goals.
                                • Be specific, but don’t overdo it. You need to define your career goals, but if you make them too specific, then they become unattainable. Instead of saying, “I want to be the next CEO of Apple, where I’ll create a billion-dollar product,” try something like, “My goal is to be the CEO of a successful company.”
                                • Get clear on how you’re going to reach your goals. You should be able to explain the actions you’ll take to advance your career. If you can’t explain the steps, then you need to break your goal down into more manageable chunks.
                                • Don’t be self-centered. Your work should not only help you advance, but it should also support the goals of your employer. If your goals differ too much, then it might be a sign that the job you’ve taken isn’t a good fit.

                                If you want to learn more about setting SMART Goals, watch the video below to learn how you can set SMART career goals.

                                After you’re clear on how to set SMART goals, you can use this framework to tackle other aspects of your work. For instance, you might set SMART goals to improve your performance review, look for a new job, or shift your focus to a different career.

                                We’ll cover examples of ways to use SMART goals to meet short-term career goals in the next section.

                                Why You Need an Individual Development Plan

                                Setting goals is one part of the larger formula for success. You may know what you want to do, but you also have to figure out what skills you have, what you lack, and where your greatest strengths and weaknesses are.

                                One of the best ways to understand your capabilities is by using the Science Careers Individual Development Plan skills assessment. It’s free, and all you need to do is register an account and take a few assessments.

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                                These assessments will help you determine if your career goals are realistic. You’ll come away with a better understanding of your unique talents and skill-sets. You may decide to change some of your career goals or alter your timeline based on what you learn.

                                40 Examples of Goals for Work & Career

                                All this talk of goal-setting and self-assessment may sound great in theory, but perhaps you need some inspiration to figure out what your goals should be.

                                For Changing a Job

                                1. Attend more networking events and make new contacts.
                                2. Achieve a promotion to __________ position.
                                3. Get a raise.
                                4. Plan and take a vacation this year.
                                5. Agree to take on new responsibilities.
                                6. Develop meaningful relationships with your coworkers and clients.
                                7. Ask for feedback on a regular basis.
                                8. Learn how to say, “No,” when you are asked to take on too much.
                                9. Delegate tasks that you no longer need to be responsible for.
                                10. Strive to be in a leadership role in __ number of years.

                                For Switching Career Path

                                1. Pick up and learn a new skill.
                                2. Find a mentor.
                                3. Become a volunteer in the field that interests you.
                                4. Commit to getting training or going back to school.
                                5. Read the most recent books related to your field.
                                6. Decide whether you are happy with your work-life balance and make changes if necessary. [3]
                                7. Plan what steps you need to take to change careers.[4]
                                8. Compile a list of people who could be character references or submit recommendations.
                                9. Commit to making __ number of new contacts in the field this year.
                                10. Create a financial plan.

                                For Getting a Promotion

                                1. Reduce business expenses by a certain percentage.
                                2. Stop micromanaging your team members.
                                3. Become a mentor.
                                4. Brainstorm ways that you could improve your productivity and efficiency at work
                                5. Seek a new training opportunity to address a weakness.[5]
                                6. Find a way to organize your work space.[6]
                                7. Seek feedback from a boss or trusted coworker every week/ month/ quarter.
                                8. Become a better communicator.
                                9. Find new ways to be a team player.
                                10. Learn how to reduce work hours without compromising productivity.

                                For Acing a Job Interview

                                1. Identify personal boundaries at work and know what you should do to make your day more productive and manageable.
                                2. Identify steps to create a professional image for yourself.
                                3. Go after the career of your dreams to find work that does not feel like a job.
                                4. Look for a place to pursue your interest and apply your knowledge and skills.
                                5. Find a new way to collaborate with experts in your field.
                                6. Identify opportunities to observe others working in the career you want.
                                7. Become more creative and break out of your comfort zone.
                                8. Ask to be trained more relevant skills for your work.
                                9. Ask for opportunities to explore the field and widen your horizon
                                10. Set your eye on a specific award at work and go for it.

                                Career Goal Setting FAQs

                                I’m sure you still have some questions about setting your own career goals, so here I’m listing out the most commonly asked questions about career goals.

                                1. What if I’m not sure what I want my career to be?

                                If you’re uncertain, be honest about it. Let the employer know as much as you know about what you want to do. Express your willingness to use your strengths to contribute to the company. When you take this approach, back up your claim with some examples.

                                If you’re not even sure where to begin with your career, check out this guide:

                                How to Find Your Ideal Career Path Without Wasting Time on Jobs Not Suitable for You

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                                2. Is it okay to lie about my career goals?

                                Lying to potential employers is bound to end in disaster. In the interview, a lie can make you look foolish because you won’t know how to answer follow up questions.

                                Even if you think your career goal may not precisely align with the employer’s expectations for a long-term hire, be open and honest. There’s probably more common ground than they realize, and it’s up to you to bridge any gaps in expectations.

                                Being honest and explaining these connections shows your employer that you’ve put a lot of thought into this application. You aren’t just telling them what they want to hear.

                                3. Is it better to have an ambitious goal, or should I play it safe?

                                You should have a goal that challenges you, but SMART goals are always reasonable. If you put forth a goal that is way beyond your capabilities, you will seem naive. Making your goals too easy shows a lack of motivation.

                                Employers want new hires who are able to self-reflect and are willing to take on challenges.

                                4. Can I have several career goals?

                                It’s best to have one clearly-defined career goal and stick with it. (Of course, you can still have goals in other areas of your life.) Having a single career goal shows that you’re capable of focusing, and it shows that you like to accomplish what you set out to do.

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                                On the other hand, you might have multiple related career goals. This could mean that you have short-term goals that dovetail into your ultimate long-term career goal. You might also have several smaller goals that feed into a single purpose.

                                For example, if you want to become a lawyer, you might become a paralegal and attend law school at the same time. If you want to be a school administrator, you might have initial goals of being a classroom teacher and studying education policy. In both cases, these temporary jobs and the extra education help you reach your ultimate goal.

                                Summary

                                You’ll have to devote some time to setting career goals, but you’ll be so much more successful with some direction. Remember to:

                                • Set SMART goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, and Realistic with Timelines. When you set goals with these things in mind, you are likely to achieve the outcomes you want.
                                • Have short-term and long-term goals. Short-term career goals can be completed in 1-3 years, while long-term goals will take 3-5 years to finish. Your short-term goals should set you up to accomplish your long-term goals.
                                • Assess your capabilities by coming up with an Individual Development Plan. Knowing how to set goals won’t help you if you don’t know yourself. Understand what your strengths and weaknesses are by taking some self-assessments.
                                • Choose goals that are appropriate to your ultimate aims. Your career goals should be relevant to one another. If they aren’t, then you may need to narrow your focus. Your goals should match the type of job that you want and the quality of life that you want to lead.
                                • Be clear about your goals with potential employers. Always be honest with potential employers about what you want to do with your life. If your goals differ from the company’s objectives, find a way bridge the gap between what you want for yourself and what your employer expects.

                                By doing goal-setting work now, you’ll be able to make conscious choices on your career path. You can always adjust your plan if things change for you, but the key is to give yourself a road map for success.

                                More Tips About Setting Work Goals

                                Featured photo credit: Tyler Franta via unsplash.com

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