Post #36 Your Hard Work is Just Starting
You’ve put in your time at school. Your hard engineering work, student loans and sleepless nights have paid off. Congratulations if you have just graduated with your engineering degree. You should soak in the greatness of your accomplishment. Once you’re done soaking, however, I want to let you know that you have only scratched the surface!
You have Learned how to Learn
Congratulations, graduate, because you now possess one very valuable skill that will get you through any job: learning. It may not make much sense to you right now so allow me to elaborate. No doubt you worked extremely hard and sacrificed a lot to earn your engineering degree. And right now, you may feel a little, shall I say, entitled? Maybe you feel like someone owes you a job, someone owes you a paycheck with cushy benefits. If you feel like the hard work is over, you are sadly mistaken. You do not have the option of showing up to work and coasting by, as if there is no need to work hard anymore. The hard work will still be required, but it’s probably going to be a different kind of hard work…
Your Professional Job May Appear to be Obscure
Whether you have a job waiting for you or not, there are very few engineering jobs that require your use of engineering skills. Sounds crazy, I know. Unless you’re a highly specialized engineer, such as a structural analyst or a flight test engineer or a few others, you will use minimal engineering skills. Your actual job, once you arrive, may not be fully explained to you. Your employer may sit you with the rest of the department and allow you to figure out what needs to be done. You may need to ask a whole lot of questions and go on various scavenger hunts. It is highly likely you will be getting to know the IT department very well your first few months. What I’m saying here is that a big part of your job is going to be figuring out your job!
Anticipate Using Your Soft Skills
I discussed the importance of soft skills in Post #26. The smartest person in the world is no good without soft skills. During your engineering career, you will be using and developing a whole array of soft skills. In fact, I would go so far as to say your career depends on it. No matter your tasks or goals, you will be required to somehow lean on others. Chances are highly likely you will be required to work with others in order to accomplish your job. At some point, you will come across difficult people, lazy people, maybe even resistant people. It is critical you have the ability to work with a wide variety of personalities for the sake of your job. Your best bet is to learn how to influence others to get them to comply with your requests. On the flip side, you should be a willing team player who is also eager to help others.
In conclusion, your hard work has finally paid off in the form of your degree. But I caution you to remember this post because it will help decrease any professional shock you encounter.