9 Ways to Ruin Your Engineering Career
Your engineering career and professional reputation can take year’s even decades to build. It can be tarnished very easily and difficult to salvage. Below are my best tips to keep you career a fruitful one.
Back Out of a New Job
Once you make the decision to accept a position, stick with it. Keep your word. If you burn that bridge, your employer will chat about you among their industry. Be sure to conduct yourself with the greatest professionalism.
Quit without a notice
When you leave a job without two weeks’ notice, you’re burning the bridge. Always give your employer a heads up. By leaving smoothly, on good terms, you increase your likelihood of a positive reference. What goes around, come around.
Problems Without Solutions
You’re an engineer. Your job is to solve problems. Often those problems are not calculate this or design that; they are how much does this cost and how soon can we get that. If you are an engineer that consistently complains and you dedicate your time to being the “devil’s advocate” your co-workers and even your boss are going to get frustrated. Everyone has different problems to solve. You need to put effort toward solving yours.
Ignoring Emails, Calls, or Meetings
Things happen. We all get busy, but if you are someone who doesn’t respond to emails, ignores calls, or skips meetings when people are counting on you, they will stop counting on you. Be reliable, not a nuisance.
Never say never and keep an open mind. How long will a business last that doesn’t change? How long will you last if you don’t change? “We have always done it this way” mentality will only get you so far. You must embrace new ideas and perspectives to keep from descending into nothingness.
Over-Promise and Under-Deliver
If you can’t walk the walk, don’t talk the talk. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Manage your time well and turn in your work on or ahead of time. If you feel overwhelmed or may not be able to complete a task on schedule, speak up. Keep communications open and make sure you and your manager are on the same page.
Don’t play the victim. It gets old fast. It is not anyone else’s fault you missed the mark. Be a problem solver, not the problem. Learn from your mistakes, and take responsibility for your failures.
Honesty is a fundamental characteristic that always has value. When you make a mistake own up to it. Caught in a lie is much worse than admitting you are wrong. Your boss would much rather hear you own up to a mistake than try to cover it up. The cover up always makes a problem worse.
Sending an Angry Email
You are upset and you want to send an angry email to tell off a co-worker who wronged you. You want to let everyone know what happened. In reality, you’re coming off as immature and reckless. No one wants to work with those people. Cool off before you hit the send button.
Also, read: 10 Qualities That Get Young Engineers Hired
If necessary, write out some of the angry thoughts to yourself and revisit them after some time. If you still think they are valid, figure out your next steps from there. Ideally, you will reread them and find a better way to handle the situation.