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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 January 13, 2020

                                Is It Time for a Career Change? (And How to Make the Change)

                                Is It Time for a Career Change? (And How to Make the Change)

                                Are you challenged at work? Do you regret career decisions? Are you happy? If the answer to the questions leads to a negative feeling, it is time to determine next steps.

                                Many people settle for a career that no longer brings satisfaction. Most will respond by stating, “I am surviving” if a colleague asks them “How’s work?”

                                Settling for a job to pay bills and maintain a lifestyle is stagnation. You can re-direct the journey of a career with confidence by taking control of future decisions. After all, you deserve to be live a happy life that will offer a work-life balance.

                                Let’s look at the reasons why you need a career change and how to choose a career for a more fulfilling life.

                                How to Know if You Need a Career Change?

                                The challenges of dissatisfaction in a career can have a negative impact on our mental health. As a result, our mental health can lead to the obvious appearance of stress, aging, weight gain and internal health issues.

                                You deserve a career that will fulfill the inner desire of true happiness. Here are common factors that it is time for you to change your career.

                                Physical Signs

                                Are you aging since you started your job? Do you have anxiety? What about work-related injuries?

                                It feels amazing to receive a pay cheque, but you deserve to work in an environment that brings out the best of you. If the work environment is hazardous, speak to your boss about alternative options.

                                In the case that colleagues or your boss take advantage of your kindness, feeling the anxiety of fear of losing your job because of a high-stress environment may not be right for you.

                                Mental Signs

                                One out of five Americans has mental health issues, according to Mental Health America.[1] In most cases, it is related to stress.

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                                I remember working at a job in a work environment where harassment was acceptable. I had to walk on eggshells to avoid crossing the line with colleagues. My friends started to notice the difference in that I seemed out of character. It was then that I knew that changing a career to freelancing was the right decision.

                                Here is a list of mental signs of workplace unhappiness:

                                • The tension in your neck
                                • Difficulties with sleeping
                                • Unable to concentrate
                                • High anxiety
                                • Depression

                                If you start to feel your self-esteem is diminishing, it is time to consider if working in a high-stress industry is for you. The truth is, this negative energy will be transferred to people in your life like friends and family.

                                Are You Sure You’re Not Changing for the Wrong Reason?

                                Most people that feel they need a career are frustrated with their situation at work. Do you really understand your current situation at work?

                                The reason it is important to think about the work situation is some people decide to change career for factors that are insignificant. Factors that can potentially change if the person works in a different department or new organization.

                                Here is a list of unimportant factors to think about before you decide to make the transition:

                                Desire for an Increase of Salary

                                The desire for a higher income can persuade some to believe they are in the wrong career. The issue with this is more money requires more time in the office or taking on several positions at a time.

                                At times, pursuing a high-income role can be the complete opposite of what one is expected. It is what happens when a colleague leaves a company to a new one and returns several years later.

                                Overnight Decision

                                Let’s face it. We make overnight decisions when stressed out or disappointed with situations at work. The problem with a quick decision is the negative and positive points is overlooked.

                                Rejected for a Promotion

                                I have heard stories of managers that applied ten times for a position throughout a 5-year period. Yes, it sounds to be a lengthy process, but at times, a promotion requires time. Avoid changing a career if you do not see the results of a promotion currently.

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                                Bored at Work

                                Think deeply about this point. If you work a job that is repetitive, it is normal to feel bored. You can spice it up by changing the appearance of your desk, socializing with new employees in a different department, joining a leadership committee at work or coming to work with enthusiasm. Sometimes, all it takes is you to change jobs into a fun situation.

                                A career change can take time, networking, education and the job search process can be a journey. Here is a list of things to consider before making a final decision:

                                • How long have you worked in your career?
                                • What is the problem at work? Do you work well with the team?
                                • Do you receive recognition?
                                • Can you consider working in a new department?

                                If after reviewing your work situation and none of the above recommendations can help, then it’s time to make a career change.

                                How a Career Change Will Change Your Life

                                I have a friend that works in the medical industry. She was once a nurse working directly with patients in one of the top hospitals in her area. After five years, she started to internalize the issues with her patients to the point where she felt depressed after work hours. It impacted her relationship with her family and she almost lost herself.

                                One day, she decided to wake up and take control of her destiny. She started applying for new medical jobs in the office. It meant working on medical documentation of patients which is not an ideal career based on what society expects a medical professional to perform. But she started to feel happier.

                                It is a classic example of a person that was negatively impacted by issues at work, stayed in the same industry but changed careers.

                                A career change can fulfill a lifelong dream, increase one’s self-esteem or revive the excitement for one’s work.

                                You know a career change can be the right decision to make if you experience one or all of these:

                                • Working in a negative workplace: Don’t be discouraged. A negative workplace can be changed by working at a new organization.
                                • Working with a difficult boss: The challenges of working with a difficult boss can be stressful. All it takes is communication. You can address the issue directly with a manager professionally and respectfully.
                                • Feeling lost about what you do: Most people stay at their jobs and settle for mediocrity because of the fear of failure or the unknown. The rise to success often comes with working a tedious role or stepping outside of one’s comfort zone. If you fear the idea of being involved in activities that are new, remember that life is short. Mediocrity will only continue to make you feel as if life is passing you by.

                                How to Make a Career Change Successfully

                                The ultimate key to success is to go through a career transition step by step to avoid making the wrong decision.

                                1. Write a Career Plan

                                A career plan has a dead line for action steps that includes taking new courses, learning a new language, networking or improving issues at work.[2] A career plan should be kept in your wallet because it will motivate you to keep pursuing the role.

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                                You can learn how to set your career plan here.

                                2. Weigh Your Options

                                If you have a degree in Accounting, write down five positions in this industry of interest. The good news is diplomas and degrees can be used to a variety of roles to choose.

                                You don’t have to stick to what society holds a top job. In the end, choosing the right role that will make you happy is priceless.

                                3. Be Real About the Pros and Cons

                                It is time to be honest about strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the job market that are impacting the current situation.

                                A SWOT Analysis of a career can include:[3]

                                • Economic factors
                                • Direct competition: Is this role in high demand?
                                • Location: Do you need to move? If the goal is to work in tech and living in Cincinnati is not realistic, consider moving to San Francisco.
                                • Achievements: To stand out from the competition achievements like awards, committee involvement, freelance work or volunteering is a recipe for success.
                                • Education: Do you need to go back to school? Education can be expensive. However, online courses, webinars or self-study is an option.

                                  A career blueprint is the first step to creating realistic goals. A person without goals will be disappointed without a clear direction of what to do next.

                                  4. Find a Mentor or Career Coach

                                  A mentor or a career coach that works in the desired position can share the pros and cons of working in the role. Here is a list of questions to ask a mentor:

                                  • What is required to be successful in the role?
                                  • What certification or educational development is needed?
                                  • What are the challenges of the role?
                                  • Is there potential for career advancement?

                                  A chat at a coffee shop with a mentor can change your mind about the desire for a career change.

                                  Find out how to pick a good mentor for yourself in this article: How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed

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                                  5. Research Salary

                                  Some people decide to change careers for a role that pays less or perks like benefits to make up for the difference in previous to potential salary.

                                  It can reveal the cities throughout the country that offer a higher salary for those that have an interest in relocating for work.

                                  6. Be Realistic

                                  If your goal is to move up into an executive position, it is time to be honest about where you are in your career.

                                  For example, if boardroom meetings, high-level discussions about financials or attending weekly networking events are boring, an executive role may not be right for you. If you are an introvert and working with people every day is nerve wrecking, you need to reconsider a job in sales.

                                  Ask yourself if you can work in this role for the next five years of your life. If other benefits that come with the role are enticing, other roles are fit that will make you happy.

                                  7. Volunteer First

                                  A person that wants to become a manager should take on volunteer opportunities to experience the reality of the position.

                                  Becoming a committee member to pursue a presidential opportunity can provide a perspective on leadership, maintaining a budget and public speaking.

                                  Volunteer in a role until you are certain that it is the right opportunity.

                                  8. Prepare Your Career Tools

                                  I recommend asking a boss, colleague or mentor for career tools. If you prefer professional assistance, you can seek out resume writing assistance. Here is a list of things to consider when preparing career tools:

                                  • Online search: Search your name online to see what shows up. I recommend searching images that are on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or other sites on a personal account. The last thing you want to realize is the job search is unsuccessful because there is unprofessional content you posted online.
                                  • Be LinkedIn ready: Recruiters conduct a LinkedIn search to see if the work experience is the same on a resume. Remember to change the wording on LinkedIn from the resume, or it will appear there was no effort put into creating the profile.
                                  • Portfolio: A portfolio of work is recommended for people that work in the arts, writing, graphic design and other fields. I recommend a portfolio online and one that is available in hand when attending job interviews or networking meetups.
                                  • Cover letter: A good cover writer will always impress your potential employers. Here’s how to write a killer cover letter that stands out from others.

                                  Bottom Line

                                  It takes time to move towards a new career. Pay attention to the physical and mental signs to maintain your health. You deserve to work in happiness and come home stress-free. If you avoid the common mistakes people make, you will find a job and discover the role in a career field that is the best fit with your skillsets.

                                  Master these action steps and changing career paths will be on your terms to make the best decision for your future.

                                  More About Career Change

                                  Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

                                  Reference

                                  [1] Mental Health America: The State of Mental Health in America
                                  [2] MIT Global Education & Career Development: Make a Career Plan
                                  [3] Creately: Personal SWOT Analysis to Assess and Improve Yourself

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