One of your goals in your engineering job search was to find an organization that aligns with you

To find a place to work where you feel a good connection.

And certainly this connection is largely what drew you to your current employer. 

Why you chose to work there. Why you accepted their job offer.

It turns out that the connection you feel is real, and you love your job because of it. Maybe you’ll stay on with this organization.

As time goes by, though, you’re beginning to realize that the organization doesn’t always have your best interests in mind.

And you’re starting to doubt whether taking this job was a good decision or not.

But here’s the thing: The best interests of your employer are not the same as the best interests of you and your engineering career. 

That’s just the way it is.

Your Engineering Career is Not Your Employer’s Primary Concern

You are not the primary concern of the organization. There’s always going to be a separation there.

Yes, you want to work somewhere that aligns with your values and goals. But it’s never going to be a 100-percent alignment.

No matter what they say, you’re not their primary concern. 

The organization is focused on the mission. And on making money to stay in business to carry out that mission.

Whereas you are focused on getting on the right career path. And having it lead you to opportunities to make your unique contribution.

Why You Need to Take Charge of Your Engineering Career

There is a gap between you and your employer in this way. 

And the gap never completely closes.

This is why you need to take charge of your engineering career. 

You need to pay attention to where you are and where you’re going. To who you are now and who you want to be in your engineering career.

When you’re in charge you can decide if your job is synergistic with your career

And you can learn how to optimize your career decisions to reach your goals and realize your vision.

Here are 3 ways to get the most out of your engineering work experience at any organization. 

3 Ways to Handle the Gap Between Your Engineering Career and Your Employer

  1. Manage Your Own Career

This is what being in charge means – owning your career and managing it to meet your needs and wants. 

Creating and revising your vision is a great first step. But then take control of it so that you’re heading in the direction of your choice.

Manage your workload by focusing on what’s most important to you. And set boundaries to avoid overwhelm and burnout.

And be in charge of your calendar to maintain life balance and reduce stress.

If you’re not managing your career, someone else will probably lead you according to the their own – or the organization’s – best interests. 

Which might be okay. But it’s not ideal for you.

  1. Put Your Career Ahead of Your Job

Your career is always more important than your job.

The number and type and location of jobs you have are inconsequential. What matters is your career overall and where you’re headed with it.

So focus on your vision and the contribution you want to make.

You might reach your career goals while working for one organization. Or you may have to go elsewhere to stay on your career path.

It’s easy to lose sight of the forest among all the trees. Same is true for your career. 

Keep your eye on what you want to accomplish in your career, and strategize your jobs – and your employers – to get you there.

  1. Prioritize Commitment to Yourself over Commitment to Your Employer

You’ve figured out by now that to be successful in any organization requires you to have a level of commitmentto it. 

But your commitment to yourself should be stronger. 

Your commitment to your job and the mission is admirable. Just make sure you’re keeping an eye on your career path. 

Make sure commitment to your organization is not at the expense of you and your career.

Supporting the Mission while Advancing Your Engineering Career

For more guidance on bridging the gap between you and your employer sign up for a strategy session with me

Together we’ll find out how you can leverage your experience to provide your skills and talents for the mission while reaching your goals and advancing your career.

The gap between the best interests of your organization and your own best interests should not trouble you. 

It’s always going to be there.

You can learn what that gap is and have a healthy respect for it. 

You can contribute to the mission and still realize your engineering career vision.

Next time on Her Engineering Career Podcast, we’ll revisit confidence and how to have more for your career success. 

Be sure to tune in for Episode 146.