5 Tips for Smooth Engineering Career Transitions is a blog post by Carol Evenson
Switching engineering jobs isn’t as easy as switching car gears. There’s a lot of paperwork and bureaucratic red tape involved, a lot of re-training, and of course, the awkward handing in of your two weeks notice followed by the dozens of goodbyes from your coworkers. Nonetheless, this shouldn’t scare you into pursuing what you are truly passionate about. Here are five tips to help you iron out smooth career transitions:
1. Don’t Quit Prematurely
It goes without saying that you should have an actual job offer or at least a plan in place before you hand in your resignation letter. Otherwise, it can end up being a financial disaster in the event that you are unable to find work for a prolonged period of time. Evaluate your current level of satisfaction at work by journaling day-to-day interactions with your co-workers and employer. Which aspects of the job do you enjoy most and which ones make it unbearable? There are situations wherein people love their line of work but hate their place of employment.
2. Figure Out Your Interests and Core Values
Look at your past professional roles, mainly those that you enjoyed and were good at. Whether it was a full-time job, sideline, internship, or volunteer work, it’s worth the time and effort to examine your past professional endeavors as it lends a glimpse into what your future roles should be. Aside from your professional exploits, examine your hobbies. What do you do during your free time? If you like volunteering your time and services to pet adoption centers, perhaps becoming a vet may be your true calling. If you are interested in helping injured people, perhaps leaving the office desk clump and going for physical therapist jobs may best suit you.
3. Avoid the Paralyzing Question
You’ve seen it asked at least once in various online publications regarding self-help and career advice – “What is my true passion?”. Most people aspiring to change careers often get stuck on this one question. Yet as research shows, the characteristics that make people love their career are very general and can be seen in more than one career path. It can be detrimental to think that you must first find the “perfect” career path before you can call the search off. Acknowledge the fact that traits have little to do with pursuing an innate passion and that they can be found in other industries too.
4. Maintain Positive Relationships
Even if you are leaving your current company, it won’t hurt to maintain good relations with your supervisors and coworkers. Worst case scenario, you lose contact with them after leaving the company and never hear from them again. Best case scenario, you can ask for a glowing reference that can help you get the next job you apply for. Even if it’s from a different industry, a flattering reference from your employer can indicate that you work well with others and is a good presence in the workplace, which can go a long way during your job interview.
5. Prepare For Some Setbacks
There’s a decent chance that you’ll need to re-train for the next career you want to pursue. For instance, if you decide to change into a stockbroker or a real estate broker, you’ll need to learn the ropes and get the necessary license and permit to legally function as a broker. During this time, you’ll have limited income coming in to shoulder the expenses hence some temporary cutbacks on your lifestyle should be expected.
What’s Next For You?
Career Transitions are exciting and huge steps in your life. But to make sure you don’t wind up in the same conundrum you’re in right now, look at all possible career paths and exhaust your options. Measure twice, cut once – as the old adage goes.
About the Author Carol Evenson:
Carol Evenson is a process automation consultant who specializes in systems management. She has worked alongside Fortune 1000 companies and currently assists organizations within the US and UK.
We would love to hear any questions you might have or stories you might share on career transitions in your career.
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To your success,
Anthony Fasano, PE, LEED AP
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success