Post #73 Practical Advice for the Future
In Post #69, I discussed three common engineering misconceptions based on my beliefs as a student. I’d like to continue that discussion here. These are important notes to make as current engineering students go about their studies and their future plans.
After Graduation, you Will Live Happily Ever After
This seems to be a common engineering misconception among the student community. It shows itself in various forms and as young students, this message is something you so desperately want to be true. You’re working hard, after all. There should be a significant, rewarding payoff at the end, right? I caution you to be wearily optimistic. There were many students in my cohort who believed that graduation was the key to a happy, fulfilling future. And that, as lovely as it sounds, is not the way the world works. Don’t get me wrong: your hard work will most certainly pay off… but, perhaps it won’t pay off in the manner you expect.
The Hardest Part of Life Is College
No doubt, your engineering collegiate career is going to offer one of the greatest challenges in your life! But, I want you to realize that life doesn’t necessarily get ‘easier’ after graduation. A big mistake I personally made was to believe that once I started my professional career, I could relax and coast. I thought that I was going to eagerly perform my job, take home plenty of money and enjoy my free time away from work. It did not exactly turn out this way and that is perfectly okay. Life isn’t ‘better’ after graduation, it’s just different. At this point, you will face new joys along with new problems. And the problems may surround your living arrangements, your desired geographical location, your salary or colleagues, maybe even your family, etc. What I like to tell people is that it’s GREAT you can achieve a degree and a career. But upon graduation, do not deceive yourself into believing the hard part is over.
Engineers Always Have A ‘Stable’ Career
We engineers love to believe in a stable career, this is another common engineering misconception. But, there are a few problems with this statement. Firstly, what is stable? What’s stable to you is not stable to me. Stability could mean money, benefits, job responsibilities or general employment. Secondly, this statement presupposes you are going to remain in the engineering (or similar) field. There are plenty of engineers who happily move forward into other careers. Thirdly, and most importantly, no career is stable (okay, maybe except for the US Presidency). Every industry will go through the cyclic phases of good times, bad times, mediocre times. Please do not depend on your job for stability; I recommend you depend on your own brain. It is the most powerful, innovative and creative tool you will ever own.
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