A/E Leaders Make Changes: Staff Should Take Note!

August 17, 2016 at 2:18 pm 1 comment

self knowledge
When I began recruiting within the A/E industry in 1986, consulting firms purported the ability for staff to choose between a technical track or a management track. In reality, if you were a competent engineer and personable, then you would be pushed up the management track (whether you wanted to or not).

If you weren’t as outgoing as your employer desired, then you were encouraged to follow a technical career path. Consequently, I witnessed many staff rise to positions in firms that they neither wanted nor were really good at doing. They followed the course as many of us were taught that the goal is to be a manager, a leader.

Over the past two years, a trend has developed with senior level architects and engineers. They have reached a specific level in their careers and realized, “I don’t need to prove my capabilities to myself or anyone else.”

Towards the last third of their career, many desire to take on roles that they love. For many, this is focusing only on client management or large programs. For others, the desire is to mentor staff and/or overseeing technical competences.

I’ll provide an example. I recently found a leader who was excited to leave their role managing 500 staff, across multiple offices and states, to grow a small office for a much smaller company. He wanted to “have fun at work again.” And, after working for a large public engineering firm, he wanted to “practice engineering again” and not feel like he was working for an accounting firm. These sentiments are becoming the norm not the exception.

Fortunately, I realized in my late 20’s that I was an average department manager. Convinced that my goal was to manage people, I didn’t feel the “fit” in the job. Armed with that realization and the confidence that I was a good recruiter, I founded The Metzner Group, LLC. Twenty-seven years later, here I am.

Hopefully, the trend of those in the last third of their careers will motivate those architects and engineers who are in the early stages of their jobs. Do what you LOVE, not what you think you are supposed to do!

Freedom that self-knowledge brings is enjoyable!

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Carol Metzner President, The MetznerGroup Managing Partner, CivilEngineeringCentral.com

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Entry filed under: Career Development, Civil Engineering, civil engineering blog, Civil Engineering Jobs, Human Resources, The Workplace. Tags: , , .

When Life Gives You Lemons… What is the ASCE Grand Challenge?

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. dlperrings  |  August 17, 2016 at 5:45 pm

    “Do what you love”, This is a great idea. I’m just not sure how one applies it in a practical sense. Life is a journey and we each reach epiphanies along the way in our own time. We have to have the courage to walk into the abyss to discover the treasures that await us. That is scary and has nothing to do with what we know we love. We have to grow into the shoes that we are trying to fill. Many years ago I posted the following as a response a similar post. This still holds true today for me at least as it did back then.

    The Engineer

    I stopped
    searching for
    my father
    in my employer.

    I stopped trying
    to discover
    all the mysteries
    of the universe
    in a project.

    I came to know
    as a man
    rather than
    as my

    Now my
    is over.

    David Perrings, PE


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