iTunes     Google Podcasts     Spotify     iHeart Radio

Episode Transcript

Week after week you listen to me give you all kinds of tips and insights, advice and recommendations to become a respected engineer and wise leader. 

Succeeding in your career and realizing your vision takes a lot of effort. There’s no lack for new suggestions and better ways.

Today I’m gonna make it a little easier on you. I’m gonna share my list of simple things to do more of – to get more out of – your engineering career.

From my own experience in engineering for more than 30 years, I’m gonna share with you my top 10 list of things to do more of in your career.

You may think some of these are insignificant. And you shouldn’t waste your valuable time on them. In fact that’s what I always thought. But now I can look back. Now I know better. Trust me on this.

Sometimes the things you think are least important make the most difference in your engineering career.

How Seemingly Unimportant Tasks Benefit Your Engineering Career

The benefits you’ll see by doing more of these 10 things are many. They serve to set up a positive space where you and your career flourish.

You don’t do them to show your technical knowhow. Instead you do them:

You could use some of these benefits. Everyone could. It’s what motivates you to go to work every day.

10 Ways to Pep Up Your Engineering Career

Here’s my top 10 list of what you can do more of to realize these benefits for your engineering career:

  1. Ask more questions.

There’s so much good that comes from asking questions. It’s engaging; it spreads information and understanding; it clarifies confusion; it builds rapport and connections.

Why don’t we do it more? Because we don’t like showing ignorance or being vulnerable or “taking up someone else’s time.” But that’s a small price to pay. 

Ask more questions because the benefits far outweigh the cost.

  1. Introduce yourself to more people. 

I always thought I needed a specific, work-related reason to introduce myself to someone. Don’t hold onto this limiting belief.

It’s a plus for people to know who you are and what you do. And every connection pays you back in some positive way.

  1. Share more about who you are and your personal life.

When you are one of few women in engineering you may tend to hide who you are in order to fit in. But being yourself is much less stressful and much more fruitful. 

Share your story more so people get to know the real you.

  1. Sit in on more technical seminars.

R&D settings are great for hosting seminars on a variety of relevant topics and presented by some pretty amazing researchers. 

If there’s an equivalent program where you work, take advantage of that. Learn about things that are within and beyond your specific technology area. Nowhere else will you get this perk for free.

  1. Have more water-cooler conversations.

Take some of the rigidity out of your schedule and make a random trip to the proverbial water cooler. Chat with people about… whatever. Share informal conversation and exchange smiles. 

You’ll pick up some good ideas, news bits, and tips. You’ll get to know people better, and vice versa.

  1. Attend more networking and social events.

Move these kinds of activities up on your priority list. They’re not a waste of time. In fact they’re sometimes more important than your everyday job. 

It’s the connections that get you places, bring opportunities and synergize work tasks.

  1. Seek more mentors. 

Thankfully this is not as hard as it used to be. Find people to mentor you. Find more and different kinds of mentors. 

Any level of perspective, experience and advice is super helpful. Mentors open your mind, help you to get ahead of the game and give you confidence.

  1. Mentor more people.

You can mentor people at any stage in your career. You always have something to teach or share or advise on.

You can even mentor up. That is, mentor someone who has been working longer than you. On things like new tech or intergenerational issues. 

As a mentor you’ll have the satisfaction of passing along all the benefits we just talked about in number 7. And trust me, you’ll get more out of this than your mentee will.

  1. Take advantage of more training opportunities. 

You’re probably wincing at this one. Who has time to take more training? But you know what? This is a great perk. 

Often your employer provides technical training or leadership training. It’s funded. And usually good quality. So learn more about what helps you in your job and beyond. 

  1. Take more breaks. 

Less is more, remember? Spending more time at the office doesn’t mean less work left to do. So take your vacations. Leave work on time. Take your breaks.

The advice I would give to my younger self in this category is go out to lunch more. With other people. Compared to eating food (too quickly) and multitasking at your desk, it’s a much better wellness practice all around.  

I hereby give you permission to do more of these things. And I invite you to give it a try. You’ll notice they bring more meaning to your work and facilitate your forward career progress. 

Next time on Her Engineering Career Podcast we’ll discuss the best investment you can make in your engineering career. I hope you’ll join me for Episode 83.