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Episode Transcript

How’s it going in your engineering career? 

You probably never have much more than a one-word answer to this question.

Oh, it’s going fine… It’s good… Doing great! 

That probably means you’re still working, learning things, meeting people, getting paid. 

But really, how is your career going?

How do you really know the answer to this question? How do you determine if your career is in good shape or not?

That’s what we’re exploring today.

Since you’re an engineer and you like things to be quantified, you’d love to have a more concrete way to measure what shape your career is in. Whether it’s heading you toward monotony or awesomeness.

Right now you just kinda have a feel for it. No real metrics.

But there are some indicators for how your engineering career is doing. Indicators you can tie metrics to. And use to help gauge how well you’re managing your engineering career strategy.

5 Indicators that your Engineering Career is in Good Shape

There are 5 indicators that show you how your engineering career is doing overall:

  1. Career Ownership
  2. Your Next Step
  3. Your Network
  4. Influential Connections
  5. Pace and Balance

Each indicator has multiple facets. And if you consider all those facets, they’ll give you an idea of how well you’re doing in that indicator category. 

If you want, you can give yourself a score.

Let’s dive into each indicator. You’ll get a feel for what you can track in each one. And on the whole how well your career is doing right now.

  1. Career Ownership

The first indicator is career ownership. Your engineering career is in good shape if you’re in charge of it. You own your career. You have a career vision, and you’re calling the shots. 

Career ownership means you recognize that your career is more important than your job. And that career careis a necessary part of your work. 

Besides your career vision, you own your workload and your calendar. You create boundaries to ensure that the bulk of your work feeds your goals and your vision.

That you’re not overworked. And that your time is allocated for efficiency and low stress.

Career ownership also means you have a career message and share it regularly. You advocate for yourself. And you balance your commitment between your career and your employer.

  1. Your Next Step

The second indicator is your next step. Your engineering career is in good shape if you always have your next step in mind. You know what your next step is or you at least have an idea what it’ll be.

Depending on your current status, you may be deciding your next step, planning it, or actually working toward it.

You’re aware of your promotion potential and pursuing available opportunities.

You’re focused on keeping an alignment between your next step and your energetic center.

When you consider your next step you include the possibility of interim positions or broadening assignments. You think about best ways to refine your area of expertise and build your level of expertise.

  1. Your Network

The third indicator is your network. Your engineering career is in good shape if you have a robust network.

You have wide-ranging connections inside and outside your organization. With a variety of people who can potentially help you in some way in your career or your life.

A robust network means you frequently add to it and interact with it. And you approach networking with strategy and intention.

You strive for a balance of give and take with people in your network. In other words, you only rely on your network to serve you as much as you serve others in your network.

  1. Influential Connections

The fourth indicator is influential connections. Your engineering career is in good shape if you have influential connections.

Beyond your overall network, influential connections are those with people who have a high potential to positively impact your career success.

Influential connections might be high level managers or colleagues. They might be trusted leaders or credible experts. They might be mentors or role models. 

As a minimum your influential connections show you the way. They help you get good feedback and visibility. They connect you to opportunities and sponsor you for key roles.

  1. Pace and Balance

And the fifth indicator is your pace and balance. Your engineering career is in good shape if your pace and balance align with you and your needs.

Good pace and balance means that your career is in forward motion, with variations to accommodate changing life and work situations.

It allows you to advance while having a sense of self-assurance and ease.

You’re aware of where you are in your career journey. You strive to achieve goals and key milestones. And you get the resources you need by asking for them and investing in yourself.

Signs of good pace and balance are:

Striving for a Gold Star Engineering Career

Gold star to you if you score high in all these indicator categories. You’re definitely headed for awesomeness. 

But there’s a lot there. And it takes years to establish progress across the board. Chances are you’ll always have multiple areas you can improve on. 

And that’s the beauty of this approach.

You can see what areas need work to help you accomplish what’s most important to you right now.

You can see what areas will help you reach your goals. You can see what gaps need to be filled to bring you closer to your vision.

That’s what it’s about.

Then you can address those gaps. Single out the most important area and sign up for a strategy session with me. We can dive in and come up with a plan to get you on track. 

So now when you’re contemplating your career goals and progress, you have a framework for determining your status and tracking your trends. You have a set of markers to tell you how well things are going. 

You have a more complete and meaningful answer to how you’re doing in your engineering career.

Next time on Her Engineering Career Podcast our topic is giving and taking. We’ll explore this 2-way interaction in your engineering career. Be sure to tune in for Episode 97