The NCAA Tourney Shows Why Bigger isn’t Always Better in Your Career

April 21, 2011 at 10:00 am 2 comments

Featured Guest Blogger: Anthony Fasano, P.E., LEED AP, ACC
Civil Engineer, Author, Coach and Speaker
Author of Engineer Your Own Success: 7 Key Elements to Creating an Extraordinary Engineering Career (Available in May 2011)
Anthony is also the author of a FREE e-mail service for engineers called A Daily Boost from Your Professional Partner. Click here to read about this service.

The men’s college basketball’s annual tournament (March Madness) recently finished with the University of Connecticut coming out on top.  For those of you not familiar with the tournament, it starts with 64 teams (68 now with the play-ins) and over a few weeks, 6 rounds and 59 games later there is one team left standing.  What makes the tournament so special is that every team in it has a chance to win it; even the underdogs, often referred to as ‘mid-majors’ have the chance to make a run every year.

This year two of the mid-majors did just that.  Butler and Virginia Commonwealth made it all the way to the final four and Butler to the finals amazingly for the second year in the row.  During and immediately following the tournament there was a lot of talk about how the coaches of these two teams could pretty much write their own ticket to a ‘bigger’ college basketball school, which would be a step up in their career that would give them more money, more publicity and a better shot to win the tournament on a yearly basis.

While nothing has happened yet, it appears that both coaches are going to stay where there are.  Yes that’s right, they are going stay with the their mid-major school.  Are they crazy?  That’s what many people are asking.  Why would you turn down the opportunity to take a position at a bigger, better, more prestigious school (or company)?

Of course I can’t speak for either of these coaches, but here’s my take on the situation.  We often hear people say that another civil engineering position is bigger, better, higher-paid, a better opportunity, however it doesn’t matter what people say, it only matters what the individual offered the position thinks.  These coaches may consider their current jobs, their dream jobs.  They are settled in the community with their family and they have no desire to move.  They actually like the organization they work for and want to stay where they are.  After all, if they took their mid-major school to the finals once (even twice) why can’t they do it again?

There is a huge parallel here for corporate professionals in the civil engineering community as we are often faced with similar positions.  Do we take a higher paying job with that has an additional 30 minutes of commuting time each day?  Do we sell our small company to a larger one?  These questions can only be answered by the individual receiving the offer based on their goals and with the support and guidance of their loved ones.  I just wanted to offer some food for thought in saying that bigger isn’t always better in your career!

Please offer your thoughts on this issue and if you were ever faced with a similar decision please share with us if you are comfortable doing so.

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Entry filed under: Career Development, Civil Engineering, civil engineering blog, Civil Engineering Issues, Civil Engineering Jobs, Human Resources, Recruiting.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Anthony Fasano  |  April 24, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    Rick thank you so much for sharing your story, I hope this post and your story help engineers to consider the moves they are making and try to consider how the changes will affect them.

    I am not saying change can’t be a good thing, because often it is, but sometimes things look better until you actually experience them.

  • 2. Rick Rambin  |  April 23, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    I agree Anthony! I was working at a midsized Pipeline Engineering & Construction Firm in early 2002. When got a call from a engineer I had worked with eight years earlier. He and I started up a new department for a city of around 50,000 people before.
    He offered me a job with his new company that he was in the process of starting up. It was for the same amount of money and I was ready for a change so I jumped on the new challenge. The first week was cahotic getting desks, chairs, computers, etc… We were lucky enough to get a couple small jobs, then things took off jobs large and small came pouring in.

    I found myself working 10 and 12 hour days for a while untill we were able to hire another engineer and draftsperson. We kept getting more work than we could possibly get out with our staff so we hired more cad personnel untill I was no longer doing what I really loved doing, Drawing.

    We grew and then we would lose a few people then grow again. Untill we finally had three CAD people and a EIT along with myself and my engineer/owner. I thought I was happy because I took on more responsibility and got more pay untill I got to a place where I didn’t want to do anything but go back to drawing all the time.

    So I guess what I’m trying to say is it don’t have to be a larger company. If you get promoted or advance your career to take on more responsibility so you can make more money then eventually you will be in a place like I was a place you really don’t like. I was at my last company for eight years and then a year ago I got laid off. The economy took a dive and I was making too much money for the company to keep me.

    So now I’m 54 years old looking for a job in the Civil field that is struggling just like every other engineering field. Employer’s look at my resume’ and my age and no one wants to hire me not even for a entry level job because if the economy rebounds they think I’m the first one out to get a higher paying job. Which isn’t true, I’d like to think that I’m the fifth year senior that can go out and settle down the team when they are rattled and rally them back to a unbelieveable nail biting win!

    If you are a cad person you need to know why you are a cad person, is it because you like to draw? That’s what I like to do I don’t want to hold inexpericenced cad people’s hands and show them the light when they are wearing sunglasses hungover from being a young person. The software industry has made just about anybody that can read and write a draftsman. But can you draw?


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